Friday, February 29, 2008

Paris





Check out our Paris pics from a few years back over at
-also-
Part 2 of "The Big Reveal" at

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fleur du Joanna

......so we got home from a workout at Bally's to find these beautiful arrangements waiting for us. How thoughtful at this very important time in our lives!


Thank You to Don's brother, Paul, and Longtime Lady, Rhonda.

Thank You to our wonderful friends Ray & Dannye (http://laydfrog.blogspot.com)

Your kindnesses are taken to heart.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Joanna Mei, Bebe & HomeDaddy - or - Tales from the Cryb


We have a pic of our future daughter, Joanna Mei, on our new blog "Joanna Mei, Bebe & HomeDaddy - or - Tales From the Cryb". We are doing a 'closed' blog for her protection, so send us an e-mail to duoloco@cfl.rr.com and let us know that you'd like to visit. We'll include you on the list of readers.
We'll keep "Pregnancy by Adoption" going, however it will be absent of any images of JM.
We are still walking on air, we are so happy. It has been just over 24 hours since we were matched and the whole day has been a blur. Spoke with our SW today who couldn't stop smiling and laughing for joy.
Thank you for your comments of congratulations! We'd like to be able to hug and kiss all of 'ya! Blogsters are the best!
And stop by Don's blog "The Other Blog - Content: Questionable" http://contentquestionable.blogspot.com/ and read about our encounter at the Mount Dora Art Festival. Very interesting .....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Got A Match?


We have a match with Joanna Mei Yang Qiongxiao !!!

Thank y'all for your prayers and thoughts as our agency went through the process of matching the 23 Special Needs Children with their parents. We are blessed to be among the ones to add a beautiful girl to our family!

We intend to put up another blog which will be closed except to those who have been following "Pregnancy by Adoption". For her protection, pictures of Joanna Mei will be limited to that site. We also need to check with our agency to ensure that it's OK to post her pic before we hear back from the CCAA.

We are beside ourselves with joy as we announce the matching of our daughter, Joanna Mei, to our family. We fell in love with her when we received her photo from our agency last week, (the gal in the pic is not her) and hoped and prayed that she was the child through whom God would reveal Joanna Mei.
We consider the next 3 – 5 months before we travel to China the pregnancy period. The CCAA rarely disputes the matching of child and parents by our agency – but there is always the remote circumstance that things could change – just as in a regular pregnancy.
But, at this time, there is reason to celebrate. Joanna Mei has a condition called syndactyly – her fingers and toes are not totally formed. All other development criteria fall in the normal range, so we will be blessed many times over in our mission to help her achieve her maximum potential.
Her caregivers describe her …. At the age of 3 months she knew how to smile when teased, her eyesight learned how to follow colorful things ……at the age of half a year she began to like sucking her fingers, wanted to suck a soother (pacifier) when going to sleep. She sleeps soundly (praise God!). At age 7-8 months she began to learn crawling and can sit for a moment.
Now, Qiungxiao is more than 9 months old and grows more and more beautiful. She has a pretty face with the shape of a melon seed (a high compliment in China), large black eyes, fair skin. She can sit steadily, walk around in a walker, is gentle and quiet, clings to caregiver and likes to play with peers and new toys. ……
It has been a long and difficult 3 years of paperwork and waiting, but we never lost faith that it would happen in God’s perfect time. Thank you for following our journey and supporting us during our “Pregnancy by Adoption”.

Blessings,
Don & Be

duoloco@cfl.rr.com

http://donandbe1.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Adoption? ... Why NOW? .....


Every so often, I move our adoption story to the front of the blog for those who may be first timers ...... this was originally posted in Sept, 2005 when we first started our blog.......

Don here............

For the past 20 years, Be and I have had the world at our disposal with my airline job. We've climbed the volcanos and did the scuba thing in some pretty exotic locales. We essentially had our retirement early on in life. We are both fortunate for this luxury when we 'had it in us' to enjoy the benefits............
I remember the day about 6 years ago ..... Be and I were standing on the pier at Daytona Beach and as we looked out over the ocean, we turned to each other and began to reflect on all we had done and what the future could possibly hold for us. We were thankful to God for His remarkable goodness to us, but the element of children had not been in the mix. The topic of adoption came up, but it was left for discussion and prayer in the future. Then it hit .............

My mom died in December 2000 leaving behind my dad who never had to function independently (he relied on mom for EVERYTHING). During mom's long illness (congestive heart failure) prior to her 'graduation' to be with God, there were many flights up and down the east coast (thank the Lord for free flight benefits) to attend to her needs and to be with her just in case God called her home. After her passing, (Be and I were both with her as she walked into eternity) there were the flights up and down the east coast to ensure that dad was OK. In May of 2003, dad came to live with us, occupying the spare room on our first floor. He had trouble walking (I tell him that he has an allergy to gravity - he doesn't find it as funny as I do) since 1995 (even though he continued to drive -oy!) and as he continued to deteriorate, it was obvious he could not be left alone while Be and I were at work. ........... During his residence with us, Be's cancer was diagnosed and the mastectomy with subsequent surgeries and reconstruction left even less time for dad. He moved into Madison House Assisted Living Center about 1 mile from our house. What a gift! We can walk the dog over there to visit and we have no worries about his care.*** In addition, Be is cancer free and our lives began to resemble something normal....... cut to March, 2005 ...........

We are on the road to Lakeland, FL (about 60 miles from Orlando) ........ we are in bumper-to-bumper traffic due to construction (it looks like the road to Baghdad Airport) .... fortunately, it's late March and the weather allowed us to roll down the windows and enjoy a cool evening for a change..... we have been basking in our freedom from the worries of the past several years ....... I'm 30 pounds fatter and Be looks like a million bucks ...... she's driving as I read to her from Max Lucado's "Come Thirsty" ..... he refers to Ephesians 1:4-5 ..... "Before the world was made, He chose us, chose us in Christ, that we should become His adopted sons and daughters through Jesus Christ......." .... the scene on the Daytona Beach pier flashed on my mind's monitor ...... I shot a look at Be ....... I think it hit her at the same time ........ and we drove and read on. We were in high gear for the Steven Curtis Chapman concert in Lakeland. We even left early to to allow for the traffic that had now come to a complete stop ("free parking on I-4") ..... but, we began to move and arrived in Lakeland about 2 hours before concert time. We sat back and had a great steak dinner (OK - Be had salad - I had steak) and parked our car in a remote area so we could escape the glut of traffic leaving the venue at the end of the event. "Casting Crowns" opened the show followed by Chris Tomlin and ending with SCC. Toward the end of the evening, SCC offered a rather lengthy video presention on adoption. It hit me. It hit Be. We were no sooner out of our seats (conviction by Lucado, Paul -of Ephesians fame- and Chapman in about a 3 hour time span) than were talking about how to begin the adoption process........ that weekend, we began the internet search on agencies......the following week, one of our best friends asked "Hey! Have y'all ever thought about adoption?" ........ "Well, as a matter of fact" .......... we decided on Bethany Christian Services (65 years experience with placing kids) and we are now in month 7** of the process. We liked their philosophy, initial presentation, encounters with the staff and overall environment of the organization.

More ramblings/reflections/prayer needs/updates/parsley/sage/rosemary/thyme as the process continues ........ Thank you for making it to the end ......... God Bless ......... Don
** now, month 34 from our initial contact with Bethany, almost 23 months from LID.
*** dad passed away in July of 2007 - he was instrumental in financing part of our adoption and we wish he could have seen his new grand daughter.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Just Checking In


....... over the weekend we prayed and agreed that 3 of the 4 beautiful children, who we had initially considered, were the best choices for adoption in our unique situation. We had to reflect on our advanced ages in the decision ...... our greatest concern is for our future daughter,
(would we be able to care for a SN child with medium -or greater -impairments 20 years from now?) and although our agency graciously provided us with information on a possible 22 children, we still had to contemplate our own individual circumstances in the total mix. We feel like we have aged well beyond our years over this past weekend, we came to an intelligent and prayerful decision. One of the children has syndactyly of the fingers and toes and two have repairable cleft lip/palate issues.
In the adoption process, our agency's policy is to make the profiles of prospective SN children (that have been forwarded by the CCAA) available to the forthcoming parents of SN children from China. The future parents consider and pray for the kids and then inform their SW of their interest in specific children (what an emotional and selective process!!!!)
On Sunday evening, we both discussed our evaluations of the information, and without-a-doubt, we were in agreement on the 3 possibilities. I guess after 26 years in a marriage absent of fights and unkind words, harmony and accord are going to happen.
It is up to God and the agency as tomorrow, we will inform our SW of the direction we will take. On Feb 21, the home office will pray and consider the many applications for the SN children on the February list. Your prayers and support are valued beyond words .........












Just to clarify: The children mentioned in the above post are not "referrals" as such. We have been made aware of their eligibility for adoption into the homes of those who have indicated an interest in SN children to our agency. There could be many 'in the queue' to adopt any of them .... we'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

It's been a while since we've blogged!

Please keep us in thought and prayer.

We are considering the adoption of 1 of 10 special needs girls who have been brought to our attention by our agency. We will indicate interest in 4 of children presented to us, 3 with cleft lip/palate issues as well as 1 with items involving the development of her hands.

We should know by Feb 23.

We are confident of God's plan in this whole process and want only to do His will in this journey. Thank you for hopping aboard with us. Your support jazzes us!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Joanna's First Nativity Set


video


Our good friends, Donna & Murray, gave Joanna her first Nativity Set based on the popular VeggieTales characters. Bob the Cucumber & Larry the Tomato played a shepherd and a wise man respectively. We howled when we opened it and sang along with the angel - it was actually a birthday gift for Don, but he has already passed it down to our future daughter - whatta guy! This evening, as we were packing it in and preparing to go to bed, Don pushed the angel who began singing as in the vid clip - Be was just bringing down the foot rest on the LazyBoy and, when she heard the sound, she thought the cat had gotten caught in the workings - we howled again!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Other Blog - Content: Questionable

Today, I thought I'd clear out my Drafts file for our blog. I have a tendency to get up and write things in the middle of the night when imsonia hits so, consequently, items do not get published on this blog because ..... well .... they're kinda weird and irrelevant, sometimes irreverent to an adoption audience. When Be reads them she says "Those should go on the other blog." She was being sarcastic (I love sarcasm and she knows it) and I thought "Why not? I can put all those blog clogging vacation photos in there as well. Then if a reader wants to, they can choose to go over the edge into the unknown."
So, here it is - "The Other Blog - Content: Questionable".
Enter At Your Own Risk
O.K. - the first post is rather tame - we took a weekend getaway to Saint Augustine, Florida.
It includes about 20 something pics of this historic city from various trips as well as a few historical tidbits with hyperlinks (because my memory is almost full).
See you over the edge ......

Monday, February 04, 2008

What A Great Story for a Film......

....... in search of a director. In "Smile" a "Valley Girl" becomes involved with a 'missionary' program designed to aid Chinese children disfigured by cleft lip/palete through a teacher. The teacher arranges for a trip to China for students bound by the eccentricities of American 'culture' to aid and observe the victims of disfigurement.


Our ValGirl's family life reveals a disfigurement of her own----conflict, conflict, conflict. Outbreaks of emotional/psychological violence between her mother & father (in her presence) cause her to find refuge in the counsel of her teacher who endorses a program of short time missions to aid in the reconstruction of disfigurements in the world's less fortunate individuals.


I see her interest (in the program) as a form of escapism from a witchly mother (who espouses the use of 'the pill' to safe sex and first-and-foremost ------ abstinence.) She (witchly mother) and (removed from the program) husband are at each other's throats --- for no apparent reason --- while ValGirl takes it all in.


ValGirl discovers (through her teacher) that she and a poor girl, from a remote Chinese province outside Shanghai, share the same birthday. The only difference --- ValGirl is dressed in fashions from 'SlutTeen' and whines incessantly (during 2 of her outbursts, I hit the mute button. Would be nice in real life) - and the girl from China is disfigured and trying to live from day to day. Her father sacrifices his own family to give his daughter (whom he found abandoned) a decent quality of life. So, ValGirl sets out on the mission trip to meet the Chinese girl who shares her birthday. What follows is a story of deliverance & redemption - you just have to get through the crap of the first 80 or so minutes of this film (centering around her life in high school in Malibu with concurrent events in China involving her disfigured soul-teen) which could have been a lot more than what it ended up to be. Eventually, the girl in China (now 17) has corrective surgery and .... well, watch the last 30 minutes of the film and you'll have the whole story.


As the future parents of a child with a correctible impairment (such as portrayed in this film), we had our eyes opened to the possibilities which lie before us.


As far as a 'motion picture' goes, this one is best suited for HBO/Showtime or as a last resort - the "Lifetime" network. As I surfed movie sites on the internet, I found several plots for this film which lead me to the conclusion that it was edited to fit budget, writer & cast availability as well as the inclusion of enough sexual references to turn this piece into a 'work' worthy of a PG-13 rating. It could have been a lot more than what it became ---- and I imagine most movie watchers would have turned it off during the first 30 minutes. Really though, it's a wonderful story in search of the right production team.

If (your daughter's) premarital sex is just fine with you, then this is a family movie. If otherwise, watch and be ...... well, you decide.











Friday, February 01, 2008

I Picked It Out Myself


Our agency offers tips on their blog which are adoption related. Here is one such item on Gift Giving in China.


When families travel to China, it is customary to bring "gifts" to present to individuals that help you along on your adoption trip. In China (like many other Asian countries) gift giving is a cultural gesture. The value IS the gesture of the gift, not the monetary equivalent. You are not required to bring gifts, but it is strongly recommended.


-Generally, China families can bring along approximately 6-8 gifts. These small gifts should not be wrapped, as they may be unwrapped by airport security in the U.S. or in China. Most families take gifts bags & (red) tissue paper along and simply place the gift in the gift bag when needed.

-Gifts should be non-gender specific so that they can be interchanged as needed.

-These gifts can range from very little to $10, and should not be large or expensive. Please also remember that these gifts are gifts that you would also like to receive. Please do not take "junk" to China. Oftentimes we hear families “stress” over the gifts to take along, but that is not necessary. More often than not, the gifts are all pooled together and given to the orphanage staff behind the scenes. It is rare that you hand give a specific gift to a specific person .

-If you give a gift directly to someone, offer it with both hands as a sign of appreciation and gratitude. Be prepared for the person to deny the gift at least once or twice. This is typical to show humility. It is appropriate to insist that they accept the gift.


Who to bring gifts for?

-Caretakers: 2-4 gifts for orphanage or foster care providers.

-Orphanage Director: Some families have the opportunity to meet the Director.


Suggestions for gifts:

-Items that represent your home community (i.e. souvenir keychains, postcards with personalized 'thank you' notes written on them, NBA, NFL or MLB t-shirts).

-Picture books for children

-Children's books (in English or Chinese)

-Perfumes & lotions (no shower gel, most people in China do not have showers)

-Cosmetics

-Fine Stationery or note cards

-American candies (these are great for orphanages) & individually wrapped American chocolates

-Photo Frames

-Quality Pens

-If your child is in foster care, a hand written personal 'thank you' letter is nice

-U.S. Postal stamps, these are highly collectible in China!

-Solar calculators

-Be creative!

*Many families ask about taking additional items for an orphanage donation. Every orphanage's needs vary. It is recommended to give cash (in addition to the required orphanage donation of $3,000 USD) if you would like to provide a "donation." This way the orphanage can purchase very inexpensively in China what they need and when they need it. Oftentimes, travel groups will pool monies together and purchase formula, furniture, appliances, etc... for the local orphanage.

Text is from the agency.
Pictures are mine (Who'd have known?)



-Gifts brought to China should not say "Made in China" but rather "Made in U.S.A."
-American or patriotic items (please, no t-shirts with US flags or "Proud to be an American" or "Support our Troops" etc...)

-Be mindful of other cultures and countries religions and private religious views. Evangelizing or religious gifts are not appropriate, nor are they necessarily "safe" to travel with.

-Gifts that require reading instructions to operate (if the instructions are in English!) should not be taken.-Although recommended above, during the summer time, chocolate that could melt would obviously not be a good choice :o)
-Clocks - they are considered bad luck.
Well, at least this one is.

-Items that are stricly "white" (in color)... this color signifies "death." NEVER give white flowers!
-And NEVER write in red ink. It symbolizes severing ties.