FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen.
Heb. 11:1

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!   I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving day!!!  I am so grateful, appreciative, and thankful to all of you who helped us bring Faith home.  And I haven't forgotten you.  Life
is well, busy.  The transition has been loooooong and not easy.  But we are making some progress.   I will be back on my groups and FB one of these days.  Working full time with 4 kiddos is a little challenging.  But I'm finding my way. 

We just celebrated two birthdays this week; Emmi turned 13 on Monday and Faith turned 13 on Tues.  They are like night and day.  I think about it often how Emmi was adopted at 1 year and has grown into this beautful young lady.  Now with Faith, I think about all she has missed.  She is a beautiful young lady as well and I look so forward to seeing her heart warm and grow, especially in God.   We are having to go back and reteach behaviors.  But we are making some progress.  You can read all the books there are to prepare you for an older child adoption, but nothing I read prepared me for this adoption.  It's not bad, just challenging and sometimes a little overwhelming.  But we've come a long way in the last six months. 

Here are some pictures of my virtual twins (age only).  Aren't they beautiful? 

Emmi with Jacob!!!  She chose strawberry cheesecake instead of a traditional birthday cake.

Mmmmmm!  Cheesecake!!!

Jacob taking pictures of the event!

Faith turned 13 too!!!  The very next day! 

Oh my goodness!!!  She loved her cake!!!

Emmi recycled her groovy girls and gave them as a gift!!!  Faith loved 'em!!!

She loved opening her presents!!!

This child grabbed me and gave me the biggest hug for this ring and bracelet!!!  It's very glitzy costume jewelry which she loves!!!  I think it was her favorite gift.  Oh yea, she LOVES pink!!!! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

family update

I apologize that I've not posted this summer.   I've had several families e-mail me to check in and quite honestly I feel very bad that I haven't "made" the time to write a quick post.   Needless to say, trying to find the new normal has been WAY harder than I imagined.  In fact, a few weeks ago I told myself why do we have to have a NEW normal?  Why can't we still have some of the old normal.  I miss the old normal!!!!

I so admire those who return home and can get right back into the groove of things.  Honestly, I don't know how it's done.  There have been many days that I'd just like to hide under my pillow all day.   Faith has been amazing in the transition.  She is an extrovert with a capital "E".  She reminds me so much of Maggie when we brought her home, but she was only 20 months.   Everything I read didn't really prepare me for her becoming so attached so quickly - immediatley.   Thankfully, the shadowing is calming down and since I've been back to work and school has started, she has become much more comfortable when I'm not around.   Please don't think I'm griping cause I'm not.  I'm just putting some of it out there.  All is quite good and I couldn't ask for a better transition. 

Here's where we are now:  Faith is in the 7th grade in ESL.  She has an amazing teacher with an assistant and is making progress in her English.  In fact, I think she's doing better than Jacob did at 4 years old.   She loses her patience very quickly and gets frustrated.  Hmmm, just like Jacob.  They have something in common.  In fact, just 2 days ago I heard him tell her that she needed to not get mad playing her DS or she was going to break it.  He said it so calmly too.  Sounds just like something I used to say to him.  I think he finally gets it.   I've seen so many blessings in just the small stuff.  Faith attends Chinese church at our church on Sunday mornings.  At first she didn't want to stay, but now she goes right into the class and doesn't say anything.  She probably figures it won't do any good, anyway.   I find that she does much better if I push her to try to excell in something (even if it's just picking out her own clothes).  If I don't, she either wants me to do it for her or she won't do it at all.   Really, it's just like having a 4 or 5 year old.   Her confidence level is growing with leaps and bounds.   The girl's pick out their school clothes the night before and Faith used to want me to pick hers out.  Now she will pick it out on her own.  Hey, we're ,making progress.   She is learning not to say "no" to mamma.  That's a no no.  I think the first time she tried me and said "no", the other kid's eyes got sooo big.  Respect is huge in our household and it goes both ways.  So learning to respect not only me but brothers and sisters has been a little challenging, but we're getting there.  I just have to remind myself that this child has lived the first 12 years of her life somewhere else, not here.   Sometimes I just forget.
All in all, all is good.  With each new day, our new normal is coming together.  It doesn't happen overnight, like we'd like.  It takes lots of time and tlc.   Below are a few pictures that were taken over the summer.  I'll try to post later with some updated pictures.  I don't even know if I took school pictures this year.  We need to rewind just a wee little bit.   I'm feeling just a little behind.

Maggie and Faith on the playground

Faith, Emmi, Maggie, & Jacob

Maggie's 5th grade graduation - she's on the stage walking off

Maggie's 11th birthday.  WOW!!!  So hard to believe she's growing up so fast.

Maggie's birthday again with Emmi.

Faith learning to ride her bike.  Bless her heart, she had many wrecks but finally got it and now can ride without training wheels!!  You go sweet girl!!!  We knew you could do it!!  We had the faith!!!

Jacob's birthday (11 days after Maggie's)  He turned 10!!!

Oh yea, Emmi made Jacob's cake!!!  It was amazing!!!  And he wanted her to make it too!!

Make a wish!!!  Hmmm, wonder if it's for a brother?

All of us incluidng our puppy dogs!

Again, thank you so much for praying for us, following our journey, checking in on us, and supporting our journey.  We are so blessed to have so many sweet and caring friends.  God has been so good to us and He alone knows the plan.  I'm so glad we obeyed and followed His plan to bring Faith home.  

I will do my best to post more frequently.  And get back to normal with updates.   I have some other ideas up my sleeve and just need to plan my time so I can have mommy computer time.  Thanks so much again!!!!

Many blessings,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day/One Week Home!

  Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's today!!!  I can't believe I'm the mom to four kiddos.  Never
would I have imagined I would be blessed to be a mom and to four amazing kids. 

  We've had a lot of firsts this week.  It feels so good to have made it through our first week home.   I could tell Faith was sad when the kids went to school on Monday.  They played pretty good together the first weekend she was home.  Other than being annoyed at her for being too loud and not being respectful of personal property, we certainly can't complain.   Even though we've talked about it over and over again, it's hard not to have the "normal".   And what we all tend to forget is that this isn't normal for Faith either.  Her world has been turned upside down.  We'll eventually get to the normal.  It'll just take some time. 

  Some of the first this week for Faith includes "probably" her first ever hair cut.  Her hair was so damaged that I just couldn't wait to get it cut.  While we were in China, I tried to put some leave in conditioner in it while it was wet but she wouldn't let me.  When she brushed her hair big clumps of it would come out.  So when I asked her about cutting her hair, she immediately gestlured that she wanted it cut like Emmi's, bangs and all.   We went to the mall last Monday and she sat down in the chair and eagerly showed the lady where she wanted it cut.  I can't believe how much healthier it already looks.  Of course some of it could be that we're actually using shampoo now.  It's so pretty and thick, very course like Maggie's. 

  Earlier last week we walked over to our school's playground and Faith sat down in a swing.  I know for sure that that had to be her first experience to swing.  Now that I think about it, there are no backyards in China and I really don't remember seeing any swings at the parks (but not sure about that).  I pushed her in the swing and Maggie and Jacob showed her how to bend her legs to push herself to swing higher.  By the time we were ready to go, she had it down pretty good.    I'm sure she also slid down a slide for the first time too.  When it was time to go, she shood her head "no".  She wanted to stay and play more. 

  Her first appointment with our pediatrician wasn't so great.  Unfortunately, she had
to retake seven shots and we still have to go get a polio shot sometime this week.  By the 6th
shot, she started crying.  I felt so bad her.  It just makes no sense that she had to redo
"everything".   After we finished, I stopped and got her a chocolate milkshake, probably another
first too! 

  I took her shopping earlier in the week too.  We looked for some shorts and something for church. 
When we were walking into the store she looked at me and said "happy''.   We walked out with
a few needed items including some new cute flip flops.  Her feet are healing nicely and they look
so much better now that they can breath and actually stretch out.  Her poor feet look like they've been
scrunched into too small of a shoe. 

 Today we had another first,  She attended church for the first time.  I took her to the Chinese
fellowship.  They were so kind to give me a small electronical advice where a sweet Chinese
lady translated the entire sermon just for me.  It was really good.  I didn't know what to expect
but he certainly did a good job.  I know Faith probably didn't get a thing out of it, but,
hopefully soon, she'll begin to understand God's word and how He loves her.   One day at a time!!! 

  Tomorrow we see the nerurologist for the first time.  Faith has been taking a pill twice a day and now we're almost out.  From what I've found out about this medicine, it can slow thinking.  And it
looks like it's way too strong for her age.  It'll be great to get her seen by someone here in the states.
The neurologist is actually Chinese so hopefully he can talk to her and find out some more information and she'll know what's going on too.   We did find out at the pediatrician that Faith's
thyroid is enlarged.  This could be the reason she isn't active and her weight is off for her age.
We will also be having blood work done this week too.  Please pray she gets through all the
lab work. 

  All in all it's been a good first week, sleepless nights and all.   Tomorrow starts week 4 since
we've had Faith.  Hopefully we can pick up some more English this week.   She will be
enrolled in the 6th grade for fall and evaluated once she's enrolled.  We're learning
as much as we can to help us along when we do start.  

Many blessings,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Home Sweet Home!!

After 23 hours of travel, we arrived  home Friday night at 7:00 p.m.   We had
the best welcome home ever as our family and friends were waiting to welcome
us.   This is the first time I've driven to the airport.  We've always had someone
take us and pick us up. But this was the best route this time.  When we
finally reached Nashville we made our way to our van and hit the road for the long
drive home.  I know Faith thought we were never gonna get here.   It takes a good
1:15 on a good day and Friday of all days there were traffic delays so it took us
longer to get out of Nashville.  

None of us slept on the long plane ride home.  I just knew Faith would sleep, but
she played backgammon almost the whole way home.  I'm not sure if she knows
how to play, but it certainly kept her entertained.  Since we've been home, we've
worked puzzles (she can breeze through a 100 piece with no problems.  The 500
piece is challenging and she gets tired of looking - me too!!) We've just introduced her
to the Wii, but so far she shows no interest.  We have the "just dance" and I
thought she'd love to play, but I seriously think it's the activity part that leaves her to
watch.   She'll shoot hoops with the basketball and has watched some of her Chinese
videos I purchased her while in China.    All in all things are going well.    When it's
time for bed, she  is ready to go and as soon as her head hits the pillow she's out.
She snores!!!  Now we have two that snore.  I love it cause I can always tell if they
are for sure asleep and not playing possum (lol)! 

As soon as she wakes up in the morning she makes her bed.  She's helped me clean off
the table after we eat and I'm sure she'd do more.  I'm just plain tired to throw out the
chores just yet and thankfully Mike has been home to cook and keep the kitchen picked
up.  Thanks honey!!! 

The jet lag has been terrible this time.   By bedtime Sat. night I only had three hours
sleep since we left Hong Kong.   When I closed my eyes I still felt like I was on the plane
and I've been sick at my stomach, with no appetite.   I slept good last night and feel much
better today. 

The kids are doing great!!  However, I know the language barrier is wearing on everyone.  I feel bad
for Faith as everything here is so new to her and of course the other kids get tired fast and want
to move on to something else.  It's been hard trying to keep her busy.  She hasn't cried since we got her that first day.  She's still easy going (innocent, country girl as our guide told us).  She does
give me that "look" when I tell her "no" or try to correct her.  But at least she hasn't waved her fist
at me since we've been home.  She did throw her arm back and act like she was going to hit Maggie when we were working on the puzzle.  I don't think she would actually hit her, I think it's just
a way of showing emotion.  Maggie found a puzzle piece before she did and it worked. 

She gets along well with all the animals and isn't scared of any of them.  That's a first with all of our
adoptions.  The animals terrified the other three when they came home and it took some adjusting.
Food hasn't been an issue so far.   She has eat what we've put on the table and taken normal portions.
I'm really surprised but very thankful she's adapting.   Praying things continue to go well and we all
get through our daily hurdles.  The kids go back to school tomorrow and Faith has an appointment
with the pediatrician.    It'll just be me and her this week and I've tried to plan out little things for us
to do.  Who knows, we may throw a nap in there too.  

Thank you to everyone for the sweet comments!!  I couldn't access my e-mail
account while in Chin and just went through all my e-mails today.  It was the first
time I've turned on my computer since we've been home.  I really appreciate each
of you and thank you so much for helping us get our girl home!!!   We're praising
God for all He's given us and for another sweet daughter!!!   I can
honestly say that adopting an older child is different.  But it's good!!!   
Our "normal" has changed and will never be the same.  But, now we have a "new
normal" and will eventually get there.  It just takes time, love, and lots of patience!!
I forgot what it felt like those first few weeks after returning home.  There are so many
mixed emotions.  What have I done?  How is this going to work?
What if? How?  But I remember having those same emotions with all of the other
adoptions too.  You take it one day at a time and move forward.  God got us through
the first 2 years of our journey and isn't going to abandon us now.  Now we are
moving into part 2 and looking forward to what each and every day brings.  

I'll be adding pictures a little later.  We have a good system down where Emmi dowloads them for me
on her laptop.  It's much easier than me downloading on my computer.  Oh, and while I've been typing, Faith decided to give the Wii a try.  She's out of breath and just outscored Maggie.  I can
see the biggest difference in her energy levels since gotcha day.  She could hardly make it to the market and back to the hotel in Tianjin.  Any walking wore her out.  We progressed daily as we walked more and more.  Yes, she complained but the mamma bear in me pushed her to keep going
(no whining please)!  I think we'll continue to see her make progress in this area. 

For those who made last minute purchases to help us raise the extra $400, thank you so much!!!  I can not tell you enough how much I appreciate your help.  I was totally stressed the Thursday before we left and our village came through for us.  Thank You!!!  I'll get your packages in the mail this week.
I have some catch up e-mails to do too and will take care of those this week as well.  I had a package I mailed to someone come back while I was gone so I'll take care of that as well.  It feels so good to
be home and trying to get into a routine again.  I think tomorrow will help alot!!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quick catch up post/ Beijing

Woohooo!!  We downloaded Go Trusted and it's working, for now.  We meet Richard in :15 so this
will be a quick post.   Wed. morning we met Alice around 10:00 a.m. and made several subway stops
to Tianamen square/Forbidden City.  Wow!!!  It has certainly changed since 2000.  There were people
everywhere.  The economy is very good now in China, so many Chinese people are touring.  Lots of
groups.  We learned a lot from Alice and I'll need to get my thoughts together to post.  I really hate that
we haven't been able to post.  I should have written everything down.  Emmi really enjoyed the
Forbidden City tour.  We learned a lot and she got to see a lot. I think it's something that she'll defiately
remember.  After the tours, we walked through the back gate of the city in search of the bus.  Yes, we
rode the city bus.  And yes it was an experience.   It was a tight fit, but we made it.  Lots of looks for
this white caucasion female.   It was a little scary trying to get off the bus.  I was the last one, wait for
me Alice!!!!!!   We walked a little way and ultimately found the street I had asked about.  It was Wangfujing and it's where the nicer stores are located.  I just had to see the Gap.  It hasn't been open
long and wanted to check it out.   If you haven't been to this area, I highly recommend it.  There was a
huge shopping mall.  The street is closed to traffic and there's lots of music, dancing fountains, vendors,
etc.  We purchased a couple of "Gap" t's for the girls (Hong Kong, and Beijing) and ate at the Korean
restaurant (the same one that was in Tianjin).  Then off to the subway again.  The subway is only 1 Y
per person so very inexpensive.  We made three stops to our final destination, the pearl mart.  I wanted to get the girls a jade bangle bracelets.  Needless to say, we left without one.  Too expensive!!!  Emmi said she wouldn't wear it anyway, good thing!!  Wow, jade has really gone up in
price here.   We did manage to pick up a couple of things at the toy mart.  Jacob, you're gonna love
your gift.  Just wait!!!  And Maggie, we bought a couple of things on your list too.   After a long
day of walking, riding subways, and the bust, we took a quick taxi back to our hotel, the Novotel and
it was 5:00 p.m.  We were pooped to say the least!!  I'll post more pictures later.  It's time to meet
Richard.  Sorry if there are grammar mistakes.  I'm typing very fast.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Provincial paperwork complete!

I'm a post behind due to not being able to access through the VPN. 

Yesterday, Tues. we finalized Faith's paperwork in Tianjin.  After breakfast, we met Alice in
the lobby to drive to the Civil Affairs office and meet Mr. Foo.  What a drastic change in the
weather too.  We went from a high 70 degree day on Monday to low 50's and rain on Tues.  So
glad I found some tennis shoes.  Flip flops would have been a disaster this day.  We first drove
to the Civil Affairs office and completed the paperwork complete with signatures including Faith's where she consented to the adoption.  Yay!!  She's a Vantrease!!!  We left the Civil Affairs office
and drove to the Notary.  After checking, rechecking, and checking each and every document, we
were able to move on to the passport office where Faith had her picture made.  This office was located
in a different location so we took yet another taxi ride.  We were really hoping to be able to take the
bullett train back to Beijing early, however, the documents would not be ready until after 2:30 p.m.
Since we had already checked out of the hotel, we sat in the lobby and Emmi taught Alice and
Faith how to play "UNO".  Now there's something you don't see everyday in China.  And Faith loves
it too!!  The weather stayed wet and windy all the way to the train station, yuck!!  We walked and
jumped so many puddles to get inside the train station.  The ride to Beijing was Faith's first ride on
a train.  We were going 279 K per hour, FAST!!!  The train runs every :15 so there are several
trains.  Not sure how Beijng/Tianjin managed to get by before the bullett train.  It's packed!!!  However, you do have seat assignments and there are attendants dressed like flight attendants. 
It was sad to leave Tianjin!!!  But I know one day we'll be back.  Faith did great on the train and loved the ride.  We decided to take a taxi back to the hotel instead of the subway since it was
rushhour and we had tons of stuff to carry.  Beijing was wet and windy too!!!  We arrived at our
hotel around 5:30.  The girls and I decided to try the bakery next to the hotel for dinner. Alice suggested it as they had ham/cheese bread.  I can certainly tell that Faith loves to eat.  I had to
say my first "no" to her.  She chose a hot dog on bread, some type of donut with chocolate icing,
and a (long john) looking item with chocolate.  Then she wanted a fourth item, chocolate.  That's a lot of bread and
icing.  Plus we had other things to eat here too and a coke.  I've figured out that her days mostly
consisted of watching tv and probably eating/snacking.  She loves to snack too!!! 
   Last night Emmi pulled out her Chinese book from school again and Faith was repeating English
words Emmi was giving her.  It's weird cause she sounded really country saying those words.  I
think she'll fit right into her new Kentucky home.  The girls laughed and giggled til bedtime.  We
finally had lights out at 11:00 last night.  The child knows a lot of tv programs.  Hence, I'm sure
the tv stayed on and she had free will of the T.V.  Hmmm, it's gonna be interesting when we get home.
A little sad that she want have normalcy, but change is good.  

Things we know about Faith:

1.    She'd rather be called Emmi.  I don't think she likes the name Faith.  I might try to add "Adye"
to the front "Adye Faith".  What do you think? 
2.    She loves T.V. and can sing all the songs.
4.    She loves to sing, and knows all the songs.  We were at the "culture market" and we heard a song
playing at all the booths.  I wanted to buy it until I found out what it was about, Budha.  Nope, I don't
think so.  She knew that song too!
5.    She's not shy!!!  No way.
6.    She doesn't know what privacy means.  But we're working on that.  Good thing there's locks on the door.
7.    She loves to work puzzles!
8.   She loves stickers!
 9.   She loves orange juice
10. She tires easily from lack of exercise (we've walked a ton too)
11. She's a teacher! She loves to teach us Chinese and she loves to learn English.

I have more pictures but need to download first!

                                                      Getting ready to board the train!

Faith loves to put Emmi's hair up in a bun!

                                                             Too tickled to play!!!

Playing ping pong!!

Our room in Tianjin, "Golden Ocean Hotel"

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

We have Faith!!

After breakfast on Monday, Alice met us to go to the Tianjin orphanage.    The drive was very short.
The courtyard up to the entrance was very pretty.  There were stone statues of the zodiac animals
with kid size benches inbetween.  And of course there were lots of paintings on the walls too.  We
entered the orphanage and went up some steps and met Mr. Foo in a reception area.  After exchanging
gifts and signing paperwork, we went to the office to settle fees.  As we were there, Emmi saw Faith
pass by with several kids.  We finished the paperwork process and then went back to the reception area
where Faith and her friends were waiting.  I was so excited to enter the room and see all of them.  I
knew Faith immediately.  She stood up and gave me a hug.  All of the boys in the room were the same
boys that I've seen in all of the photos with Faith.  They are also Camp Ox kids and still available for
adoption.  I went around the room and said hello to each of them and shook their hand.  There was also
a little girl there too about the same age as Faith.  I didn't recognize her, but she too could have been a
Camp Ox kid.  We sat and talked for a few minutes.  I passed out candy to the kids and then they left.
I was sad that Faith's foster mom wasn't able to come as she was taking care of the other kids.  However,  it was probably better for Faith.  As we were all talking Faith started crying.  One of the ladies in the office (I believe it was a teacher) comforted her and talked to her.  I later found out from
Alice that her foster mom and the ladies at the orphanage had been preparing her to meet us.  They told her to be a good daughter and that she could learn and grow in America and have a mom and dad.  They prepared her very well.  A sidenote, she loves to talk.  On the way to Beijing tonight,
she started talking to the taxi driver.  He asked Alice if the two young girls were Japanese, Hello!!
Then he asked Faith where she was from.  She wasn't shy at all and told him that she was being adopted and that I was her mom.  She has called me mom, mamma, from the beginning.  And she's held my hand while we're out walking. 

Before we left the orphanage we were able to take several pictures of all the kids.  It was great to
get a group shot.   Walking to the front entrance, Faith did great.  No tears as of yet, however, she did
tell Alice that she was sad last night while sleeping.   I never heard her cry, but she did toss and turn a
lot.  That afternoon, we went to the dept. store and purchased a gown and some personal items.  And
we ventured to eat Korean.  The girls decided to play ping pong when we got back to the hotel and
I was ready to turn in early, 8:30p.m.   I had thought about a couple of things before we traveled and
thought it might be awkward to hug Faith when I saw her.  No worry, she hugged me first.  God
had it all under control from the beginning.  I had thought about how I would greet her a lot too.  Then I
also thought how neat it would be to meet her friends, but that would never happen.  They would be
in school.  I just couldn't believe my eyes when I saw all of them.  All God!!!  He has never left us
and never will!!  This journey so far has been amazing!!  Praying it all continues to go well. 

                                                 Artwork, benches, and zodiac statues!

                                                      Entering the orphanage courtyard!

Faith and her friends and teachers with
me and Emmi!

I was able to give this little one a hug and
kiss and let her know that her mamma is
coming soon!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


We made it to Tianjin yesterday afternoon around 4 p m.   It took us several subway stops (4 or 5)
while transferring stations too.  That in itself was an experience (pretty neat).  Emmi was a little
uncomfortable I think, but we made it to the train station just fine.  The bullett train, to my understanding, is relatively new (built for the olympics?).  Needless to say, it's very clean.  There's a train that run's every fifteen minutes and when it stops, there are people waiting to clean them.  What would have taken 1 hour and a half only took thirty minutes, NICE!!!  Once we got off the train, we stood in a line the length of a football field waiting for a taxi.  I felt like I was at a theme park waiting to
get on a ride.  CRAZY!!  It did move rather fast though!  There is a nice system in place!!!  Tianjin
has so many pretty buildings, lots of European style designs.  Our guide, Alice, said that many Chinese
visit Tianjin just ot see the buildings as they will never be able to travel to Europe, lots of European
influence!!!  Very pretty!!! 
Onc thing I totally forgot about China, is to step UP when entering a room.  I've tripped so many times
and yes there is a story beind why you need to step up.  I learned that at the Forbidden City in 2000.

Once we checked into our hotel, nice!!!  Emmi loves it!!!  We met Alice for Dinner.  She took us
to a noodle restaurant.  It was awesome!!!  We used chopsticks, no forks available, slurping and all
with NO napkins.  I can say that that was a true Chinese experience, loved it!!!!  After we ate we shopped for candy to take to their children waiting to be adopted with a few other supplies.  Then
back to the hotel.  After we returned to our room, around 6:00 p.m., I felt it - TIRED!!!  I've only
had around 8 hours sleep since Thursday night.  Woke up this morning feeling great!!!  And now
we're ready to venture downstairs to breakfast.  We meet our guide at 8:45 a.m. and then we are off to the orphanage.  It's so surreal!!  I can't believe it's time!!  Please pray for us!!  I'll post later
today with pictures.  Blessings to you all!!!

                                                            Emmi at the noodle shop!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

We are here!!!!

 After a smooth plane ride, we landed last night around 11:02 p.m.   Let me say it was a hectic
start as we did't leave our house until almost 2:00 pm to drive to Nashville (it takes an hour) and
our flight was at 4:01.   As we were rushing out the door, I realized I hadn't packed my tennis shoes.
A quick search and they were nowhere to be found.  I'm sure they were right in front of me.  So here
we are in Chna with my flip flops that I wore on the plane and sandals.  At least the temp. is warm. 
Emmi and I just finished breakfast and tried to try something of everything.  We meet our guide,
Alice at 2:00 to take the bullet train to Tianjin.  We're headed out to look around until then.  There's
a mall across the street.  Maybe I can find an inexpensive pair of tennis to walk around in. 

 I wanted to post before I left the house, but there was so much left to do.  I want to thank everyone for supporting our journey.  You all mean so much!!! I really appreciate each and everyone of you and all you've done for us.  We are truly blessed!!

 I dropped Maggie and Jacob off a school yesterday morning and said our prayer on the way as usual.  I almost cried durng the prayer.  We drove
around to the door.  I really thought Jacob would cry. They got out as usual, then I cried.   At least I held it in until they got out.  Then at work yesterday a sweet co-worker brought in a gift bag for me and Emmi to take on the plane.  There
was a card inside too.  I'll post what it said in another post.  It was the sweetest message from this young
lady.   Then before I got off work at noon, another co-worker called to say that they were waiting outside for me.  As I walked to my van there was a huge box with 2 gift bags in it.  The big box had all kinds of cereal (the good kind too), breakfast bars, treats, you name it and it was in there.  She brought it for Maggie and Jacob to have and also added some things for me and Emmi to bring with us.  Well bring on the kleenex cause the tears flowed.  I gave her a big hug - thank you Missy!!!!!!  That was so sweet and thoughtful of you!!! 

The next post will be from Tianjin!!! 

Many Blessings,

btw, Emmi's been working on her Chinese (taking it in middle school).  There's much work to be done but she's having fun trying to figure out what everyone is saying.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

T minus 32 hours and counting . .

 I can't believe it's time to finally bring Faith home.  We leave tomorrow
afternoon at 1:00 to drive to the airport.  Yippeeee!!  We thank you
all so much for your support, prayers, and encouragement.  We are truly
blessed to have met each one of you!! 
 We've run into a couple of obstacles and are asking for prayers please.  I
I'm off to the doctor this morning as I think I may have a bronchial infection.
At least maybe I can get on an antibiotic  before we leave.  Then as I was
trying to figure out our money this week (what goes with what and where), we
may be short.  I had set aside our tax money (which was about enough for
food and guide and driver fees) and had to pay unexpected bills.  That's just
the way it goes.  I'm really hoping our fees are less than what we've been
told.  We are pinching the pennines!!!
  I do still have the bracelets in the next post available and a few cookbooks
left, so if you'd like to purchase either one, I will mail them when we get
back home.  Just e-mail me here if you'd like either one.   I know it's all in God's hands and I haven't stressed until now.  Praying I can let that stress go and give it all to him!!!  

Many blessings,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bracelets to help with adoption expenses!!!

Update - Sunday April 15th -   I just posted five more bracelets and 
would have posted more but I ran out of our charms.  I'll pick more 
up tomorrow.  This has been a family project as the kids have loved
stringing the beads.  And they've helped with the colors too.   Five
days and counting until we leave!!  I just can't believe it!!!! 

update - Saturday April 14th -    We've sold 8 bracelets with this
fundraiser!!  Yippeee!  We are so excited.  The kids get so excited
too!  I'll be adding more bracelets later today or tonight.  So please
check back.    We're down to six days and counting!!  I can't
believe it.    We found out earlier in the week that we may need to
take more money for unexpected provincial fees.  Please pray our
agency can work this out!!  I really hope to hear good news on
Monday.   Trying not to think about it and giving it over to God.

 Emmi and I have made several new bracelets to help with the remaining
adoption expenses that we need.   We used glass beads & some have the
metal  spacers.  These are so cute and each one has either a "Faith" or
"Believe" charm. These pictures don't reflect the charm too well, however,
the charm looks great and the words are very clear.  The bracelets measure
either 7 3/4" or 8" in length before I tie them off.   They are $20 each and I'm only  adding $1.00
for shipping.  So the total for each bracelet will be $21.  If you order
more than one bracelet, the shipping is still just $1. 

If you'd like to purchase one of our bracelets, please e-mail me here with
the # of the bracelet/bracelets you'd like with a brief description.   If
for some reason you can't open the link, please leave a comment.  I'll e-mail
you back with your total.  You can either pay through our "donate" button
on the right or you can pay by check.  Thank you so much!!!

A).  "Believe"  8" glass beaded multi-colored bracelet
B).  "Faith" black/white/red glass beaded bracelet  7 3/4"
C).  "Believe" multi-colored glass beaded bracelet 7 3/4"

D).  "Believe" 8" glass bead bracelet
The yellow bead is for *one less orphan!!!

E)  "Faith" 7 3/4" glass bead bracelet
This one also has a yellow bead too for *one less orphan

"Faith" light blue glass bead bracelet  7 3/4"

2.  "Believe" mushroom bracelet 8"

4. "Faith" pale pink/yellow with pink heart 7 3/4"

6.  "Hope" black/white beaded bracelet 7 3/4"

Monday, April 9, 2012

10 days and counting!!!

 I can not believe we leave in 10 days to bring Faith home!!  I honestly feel
like crawling under a rock, just because of what's left to do.  I'm super duper excited
to finally meet Faith.   She's been a part of me for 2 years.  I know I'll fall apart when
I finally see her.  She'll probably want to run.  I'll just have to try to hold it in.

There's still so much to do and we still have a wee little bit to go with our
financial need, $2000 more and that's it.   I'm going to try yet once again to add
a chip-in to my blog.  Hopefully I can get that up sometime tomorrow.  We've met our
Lifesong match of $2500, thank you my sweet friends who helped us get there.  You are my
angels here on earth.   Thank you again!!!!   

Our Lifesong account is still open, so if you would like to donate and receive a
tax deductable receipt, you can do that too.  Or you can donate through our
"donate" button on the right.  It takes you straight to paypal.  

For everyone who has donated, prayed, purchased from our fundraisers, and sent
encouraging words, THANK YOU!!!!  You just don't know how much I appreciate
you all.  I cry everytime I think about what you've done to help us get closer to the
ransom we need.   I am so humbled to have met so many caring
people.  My eyes and heart have been opened!!!  And I'll never be the same. 

Now, we just have a little way to go and Faith will be in our forever family.  Hand
picked by our Heavenly Father to be in our family.  We are so blessed!!

For those who have ordered cookbooks, they will be in the mail Wed.  I forgot
that the mail didn't run last Friday.   Thank you so much!!!

I will be adding more bracelets hopefully by Tues. p.m.  I'm trying to work & wrap
things up here at home to get ready for our trip, so my time has become limited.  I
only have 1 more full day off from work until we leave, YIKES!!!  Trying to work
up until we travel.  Literally, I'll be working until noon the Friday we leave, picking
Emmi up at school and then driving us to the Nashville airport.  I'm just a little
overwhelmed.  Still need to make dishes for the freezer to take care of my family
not traveling.  Oh, and then there's the bed challenge.  I still have to figure that out!!!
I almost broke down and cried in the furniture store the other day.  We don't need
a fancy bed, just bunk beds.  Hopefully I can get that worked out Wed.   I'm getting
tired just typing what I still need to do.  

So, if you feel led to help us finish the tiresome fundraising (really, I'm growing
weiry from fundraising) you can purchase one of our cookbooks or a bracelet
*which will be listed tomorrow night - late.   AND, I'm holding one final
fundraiser giveaway!!!  I just have to get pictures taken an uploaded of the
items which should be tomorrow night or early Wed. 

Please pray we get the last little bit of what we need!!!!  Many blessings to
you all!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cookbook Fundraiser!!!

Update 4/6/12 - We still have 35 cookbooks left.  

 I picked up our cookbooks today from the printers.  They are really cute!!
The front cover was drawn by Maggie.  Jacob drew the back cover and Emmi has
a picture in the book - seen in the photo below (Nai Nai's cookies). 

 Nai Nai hadn't seen the book until today.  She was really surprised and liked it especially
the insert that is in each book.  It shares our adoption journey all the way back
to my dad, also an orphan.  She did say that she didn't think there were enough
recipes in it, however, when I took the book to print, I had lots of pages and it looked
like it would be fuller.  It's really hard to get a picture in your head of the outcome of such a project.  So I decided to include shipping in the price of the book.  Nai Nai did say that she
would sign each book.  How cool is that?    There are 21 recipes
included.  Please know this is a fundraiser and going toward our adoption expenses to
get our Faith home.  We just need our inter-country fees and we're finished. 

The cookbooks are $10 each including shipping or 2 for $18, 3 for $25.  If you would
like to get a tax deductable receipt, you can pay through our Lifesong account either
through mail or their paypal account.  Please include "Vantrease adoption #2661"
on the memo of the check or in your paypal invoice.  The paypal link is:

or you can mail your donation to:

Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford St.
Gridley, IL 61744

*don't forget to include #2661 Vantrease in the memo section.

There's a bible verse that I've been looking for, I even googled it.  But I couldn't
find it.  I received a sweet note from an adoption mom that I've met recently since we've been
on our journey to Faith.  In the note she referenced a Bible scripture.  The other night
I tried to find it.  However, the verse was in my e-mail and everyone had already
gone to bed.  I thought the verse was James 29 when in fact it was Jeremiah 29.  I
can't remember anything these days, mommy brain I guess.  So anyway as I was
looking through James, there it was James 1:27

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after
orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted
by the world"  James 1:27

The verse my sweet friend was referring to is in Jeremiah 29, lay down your life and
he will see you through it.