Friday, March 23, 2012

Ethan is 7!

An alternate title for this post could be, "Wow! Time sure flies..."

Ethan posing with his Lego cake! He really liked his cake this year!

Ethan and Aaron alternate years having a birthday party with friends over, and this year was Ethan's turn.  (Andrew and Hannah will alternate, too.  This cuts way down on my party bill...)  He really, really wanted to have his party at the park this year, so that is what we planned to do.  When we sent out the invitations, the forecast was for a high of 70 and sunshine all day.  With 3 days until party day, the forecast was for a high in the 50's with 100% chance of rain. :( I made an executive decision to move the party to our house.  The problem with that being that I hadn't planned for any activities or things to occupy the kids during the party since we would be at the park! What on earth was I going to do with 10 children for 2 hours???  Thanks to Pinterest, I knew we would do a Lego Party.  (Yea for Pinterest to the rescue!!)
I downloaded a Lego font to print up the decorations and prizes.  It was so cute!

We ended up with a Lego cake, that was pretty awesome, Lego games, and Lego prize bags!

Lego Bunting  for decorations!  Ethan thought this was the best - it is still up! :)

Lego toss...

This game was hilarious to watch! The kids had to suck Legos to the end of their straw and drop them in their bowls - no hands allowed!  The poor, two girls - they weren't bold enough to shove their way in between the boys to get more Legos and lost. :(

A row of mom's watching the fun.  I am so blessed to have good friends with children the same age as mine!!

Blowing out the candles!

Overall, the party was a success, but I didn't have enough planned to fill the time.  There was some wild play in the un-filled time, but no one got hurt, thank goodness.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Long Overdue

On January 17 we got a very unexpected phone call and e-mail.  Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows that we started the process of adopting a daughter from China almost 4 years ago.  Due to many factors in China, the wait for a healthy baby has grown and grown to the point that people who are getting their babies now logged in their paperwork with China over 5 years ago, and the wait is still getting longer.  Almost a year ago, we started praying about whether we should expand our application to include some known medical issues - partly due to the long wait for healthy babies, but also because God had been working on our hearts to show us that no child is "perfect" and the babies on the waiting list deserved a family just as much as the "healthy" babies.  Long story short, we submitted a revised application in November and started the process of updating our immigration paperwork after being told we would likely receive a match based on our new application in 6-18 months.  Just over 6 weeks later, we got a phone call telling us that our agency had a file for a little girl that they wanted us to review!  What, what??  We were shocked!  Jerry knew pretty quickly that this was our daughter, and I spent 2 days praying before I had total peace.  On January 19th we accepted her file!  Of course, we were not allowed to share our joy until we had confirmation from China and we happened to accept this girl right at Chinese New Year, so all of their offices were closed for a week!
These two pictures were included in the file we first received.  Hannah is 8 months old in these pictures.  In the second  one, you can see the swelling still visible from her lip repair 2 months before these pictures were taken.

I cannot believe that I waited so long to share this here, but I have been sharing on Facebook.  We have been in a whirlwind of paperwork since accepting her file.  We have updated our home study, renewed our application with immigration, had our fingerprinting redone for The Department of Homeland Security, put together a care package to send to Hannah, and begun to research what we will need to do to address her immediate medical needs when we bring her home.  Because of her cleft lip/cleft palate, she will need several surgeries.  We are hoping we will be able to put off her first one long enough for her to bond with us before putting her through so much pain, but really until we have her home and have her evaluated by a cleft team, we will not have any answers.
We received an update with pictures of Hannah at 12 months.  She is 14 months old now, but we don't have any newer pictures than this one.

The best estimate we have right now is that we will be going to China sometime this summer to get Hannah.  Once we have approval from immigration, we will have a better idea about timing!  Hopefully I can keep this better updated as things start to progress.  I have been thankful to have a written account of the process here, and now I have gaps!