Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 52, and Family Pix

Here we are at day 52 of our wait for LSC/LOA. I thought it would be a good idea to post a few pix of Liya's big brothers for your enjoyment;)
First up is Jake, her oldest big brother. He is 14, and a freshman in high school.

Here is Liya's middle big bro, RJ. He is 7, and in 2nd grade. This pic shows his true personality! He rarely sits still for pix, lol.

Last, but never least, is Nathan. He is 4 years old, and in Pre-K. He is the most excited about having a little sister. At least until he realizes he has to share with her, lol!

Put all 3 together and, get this:

Liya is gonna have so much fun!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day 39, and update on Liya. 2 new pics!!

This morning I received an email from Angela with Ladybugs N Love
It was an update on Liya, with 2 new pics and answers from her foster family to 10 questions we asked them.
First(of course...duh!) the pics. Are you ready for some adorable cuteness?
Ok, now for her update:
*If* these measurements are correct, we have a "big" little girl on our hands, lol!
Height-38 inches
Weight-39 pounds
She has 18 teeth:)
We also learned that she loves oranges and vegetables (yay!), is completely potty trained(we will bring a few dipes jic), has ditched the bottle, and loves to play with other children.
She looks very healthy and happy, and we will forever be grateful to her foster family for taking such wonderful care of her:)
Oh, and check out her little shoes. The character on there is from her favorite cartoon, "Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf". We have already bought her a few Pleasant Goat things, but now I want to buy more.....Hubby, hide my credit card!!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 30

Nothing new to report. Day 30 of our wait for LSC/LOA.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Hubby had to work all afternoon, and met up with me and the boys at my inlaw's. We had fun:)


Saturday, November 14, 2009


Today marks 15 days waiting for our Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC or LOA)for Liya Faith. We know we have quite a wait yet ahead of us, but at least there are 15 days behind us now:)


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Today is day 9 of our wait for LOA/LSC. For those of you not adoption lingo savvy, we are waiting for our official letter from China, approving us to adopt Liya Faith! Once we get past that hurdle, we just need to wait for approval to travel and get our girl!

The wait for LOA varies widely. Some families are waiting more than 100 days, while others wait only a few weeks. The average seems to be aroun 80 days.

So, 9 down....and about 71 to go!!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009


We have our LID! It is 10/30/09! Just 9 days after our Dossier was overnighted to China. Can you tell I'm excited?? Yay!!!!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

My New Favorite Liya Dress:)

Scored this one today at JCP. Love, love, love it!!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Yay! Our Dossier is on its way to China tonight:)
And now the big wait begins....


Monday, October 19, 2009

4 Months

Today marks 4 months since we sent out our Letter of Intent to adopt Liya Faith. 4 months since we made a commitment to her. A promise to love her as we love our biological children. A promise to help her adjust to her new life in our family. A promise to always be her soft place to fall, no matter if she is 3 or 30. We won't take these promises lightly.
The closer we get to bringing her home, the more real it feels. She will come home to us with her own personality. Her own temperment. The past 2 and a half years of her life have shaped who she is as a person. She has a very loving foster family, to which she has become very attached. They love her very much. I feel sad to know that they will soon have to say goodbye.

Ok, enough of the mushy stuff! Here is a mini update:
Our I800A is currently at the US Consulate. Once our agency gets it back, we will be DTC. Finally!
We are still slowly working on Liya's room. Hopefully we will get more done this week.
We sent Liya another care package. We had Ann with Red Thread call Liya's orphanage last week, to get updated measurements. Then we sent her squeaky shoes, a nice winter jacket and a musical giraffe. We also sent tea for the foster family, and cookies for Liya. We hope she likes them:)
We miss you, Liya Faith...and will see you soon!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I800A Approval! Yay!

After just having our fingerprints done on Saturday, we received our I800A approval this afternoon! Yippee!! Now the approval has to be authenticated by 2 different audiences. Then everything is off to China!
We are getting closer to bringing you home, Liya Faith:)
And, just because her sweet face needs to be on the home page:


Thursday, October 1, 2009


I just received my I800A application back in the mail. Seems I forgot to put Roger's SSN on the app. I can never remember his SSN, and so I left it blank. Forgot to ask him and write it in....ARGH! Hopefully it won't hold things up. Our fingerprint appointment is in 2 days. Man....things were going so smoothly up until now. Should'a known it wouldn't stay that way forever. Ugh....just.....ugh!


Liya's Room..."Before" Pics. And OHGW album.

Here are pics of Liya's room, at its barest:) Her room is our old carport, which we enclosed at the same time that we added 1,000 sf to the back of the house. Her room was originally going to be a game room for the boys, but...surprise! You're getting a sister instead of a game room, guys!
I am still trying to decide on a theme for her room. My 3 faves:
*ballerina room, with pinks/purples
*ladybug room, with reds/blacks/whites
*princess room, with pinks/purples

I'm kinda leaning toward the ladybug room. With white walls, it will make it easy to change themes as she grows up.

Also, I found the perfect album to showcase the wishes that Liya is receiving along with her quilt squares for her One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt! Here it is:

**We have our fingerprint appointment on Saturday! Hopefully we will have a speedy approval, so we can get our Dossier to China**


Friday, September 18, 2009

Fingerprint Appointment!

Figured I'd start a new post for this one. We received a letter from USCIS(immigration) this week, letting us know that they received our application. They have scheduled our fingerprinting appointment for October 3rd! So once we get that done, we should get our immigration approval within a few weeks. Barring any complications, that is.
So far, our paperwork journey has run very smoothly. I hope that pattern continues....

Liya's Loot:)

Thought I'd put together some of the girly things we've bought for Liya so far. We are hoping to start on her room this weekend. The drywall still needs to be finished, that's how far we have to!
We went to pick up a new(to him) bigger bed for RJ. We found a nice full size captain's bed and matching dresser on craigslist. The couple selling the bed are moving and need to sell most of their furniture. Dolly, the wife (who is a sweetheart!), showed me an antique doll cradle and dolls that she was selling. Well...I just had to have them! There were 2 Madame Alexander dolls made in 1975, a Mattel life-like baby from 1984, and one Berenguer baby. I put 3 of the dolls in storage, to be restored later. Nathan has been having fun playing with the Berenguer doll. He now wants a boy Cabbage Patch doll for himself, lol!
So I snapped the above pic of some of the dolls we've bought in the cradle.
Oh, and the blanket behind the dolls is one we received as part of a blanket swap....thanks again to Theresa and Family:)
As some of you know, we are making a 100 good wishes quilt for Liya. Well, when we were bringing the cradle home, Roger had the great idea to make a matching miniature 100 good wishes quilt that Liya can use for her dolls! Now, why didn't I think of that??


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Another Care Package On It's Way, And Other Ramblings...

We have ordered a care package through Red Thread China for Liya. This one is nothing fancy: a camera, letter with questions, candy for orphanage and foster family, and 2 toys for Liya. We got her a Minnie Mouse phone, b/c we noticed in her birthday pics that she is playing with either a real cell phone or a toy one. We also got her a panda nesting toy. You know, like the Russian doll toys that fit inside each other? Only it's! I have been lady bug and panda obsessed lately, it seems. I wonder why?!

We are starting a 100 good wishes quilt for Liya. I have joined in my first quilting square swap, and I am excited to give/receive such wonderful keepsakes. I will post the quilt's progress from time to time, so stay tuned.

Also, our I800a made it to it's first destination, a Chicago lock box facility, on September 2nd. We are waiting to hear when our appointments for fingerprints will be.
That's it for now---hurry up and wait seems to be the theme now {sigh}


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Immigration, Here We Come!

Ok, well not "here we come", but "here comes our paperwork"!
Our home study made it to Faith International today, and a copy has been sent along with our I800A application, to the USCIS office in Chicago. And so begins the 50-60 day wait for immigration clearance. We are one step closer to you, Liya Faith!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Homestudy In Transit

Our completed homestudy is now on it's way to our adoption agency in Washington state! We now have one big hurdle behind us. Now begins the wait for immigration clearance. Average wait time right now is 60 days, according to our agency. Hurry up and wait seems to be the theme right now.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We (Finally!) Have A Name!

After 2 months of agonizing over name choices for our beautiful girl, we have finally chosen a name. Drumroll, please.....................................
Our daughter's name will be ~*~Liya Faith~*~
Li Ya means beautiful and graceful in Chinese. We think that fits her to a T:)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Making Progress...And New Website...Oh, And New Pics!

We had our home visits this weekend. Our social worker, Hannah, was awesome:)
We now have that hurdle behind us...yay!
I have also started a website through Baby Jelly Beans. I am going to try to keep both this blog and the website going, but ultimately it will be this blog that I will be using during our stay in China. I have heard it is easier to use blogger in China than other websites. We shall see...
If you would like the password to our new website, please email me @
And, as are pics from the belated birthday cake/party for our girl:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Boring Post #1

Haven't posted in a week, but since nothing exciting is happening right now, I give you Boring Post #1!
Home visit *hopefully* will happen by the end of the month. Our hs agency doesn't do a lot of international studies, so they are contracting with a SW in St. Petersburg to do our home visits. Just wish she'd call so we can schedule them....ugh!
Roger is stressing that the house "isn't done" enough for the home visit. Meaning that 2 rooms still need to be textured and painted, and one room needs a few more sheets of drywall and then texture/painting. I told him that it won't be an issue, but his "Type A" personality is taking over, as usual!
We went to Sea World for a few hours yesterday. The boys had fun, we watched the Shamu show. Nathan was!
Hoping to get new pics of Jia Ming with her belated b-day

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Busy Week Already!

What a busy week already!
Well, really our busy week started last Wednesday.
Roger went into the hospital with a partially collapsed lung on Wednesday night! Poor guy was in so much pain, he thought he was having a heart attack:(
We still don't know what caused it, but he's ok now. He was discharged on the 4th.
He went back to work tonight, and managed without problems. What a trooper!

Since I had to take off 3 days of work, I'm now working the next 8 days in a row. Which is ok, since work is my! Can you say "overtime pay"??

We still have not chosen a name for our sweet Jia Ming! Poor girl has just inherited two indecisive parents;)

I found out tonight that we are getting a copy of the newpaper page our daughter's finding ad was on. For those who don't know, a finding ad is an ad placed in Chinese newspapers by police, in an attempt to find an abandoned child's family. This will be the only early information we will have of our daughter's it's kinda a big deal! We should get it in the mail by Monday:)

Last week we ordered a cake to be delivered to Jia Ming's orphanage, to celebrate her belated Second Birthday. We hope to get pictures of the festivities soon!

And here's where I gratuitously plug Lady Bugs and Love From Above
for their outstanding customer service and support! Angela Shen is their China contact, and she is awesome. I highly recommend them to anyone adopting from China:)

I am putting together a care package for Jia Ming. I have waaay too many clothes for her already, and she will outgrow them before we meet her. So I have enough for 2 packages! Here are pics of the clothes:


And for good excited big brother:

Until next time.......................................

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's In A Name?

We are slowly but surely moving along with our homestudy and dossier paperwork. Roger applies for his passport tomorrow, and then hopefully will get his physical on Thursday. After those things are done, it is a waiting game for our 2 home visits, and then our immigration clearance.

We really need to give this girl a name! I go back and forth between calling her Alexis(her "American" nickname that the CCAA gave her) and Jia Ming(the name on her birth certificate--the orphanage gave her). Roger doesn't really like Alexis as a first name. We both agree that we want Faith to be one of her middle names. It has always been a favorite of ours, plus it is the name of our adoption agency. And she will definitely have my late grandmother's middle name, Lee, somewhere in her name.
The rest is up in the air!
Nathan, our 4 year old, wants to name her Hannah! He is so excited, and he wants her home NOW! He loves looking at her pictures:)
Here are some names we are throwing around today(it changes daily):

Mylee Jia Faith Howard~~My fave, RJ's fave
Leeanne Jia Faith Howard~~Roger's fave
Layla Faith Lee Howard~~Jake's fave
Hannah Montana Howard~~Nathan's fave

As you can see....we've got a way to go yet;)


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Here She Is!!

We received word yesterday that China has pre-approved our adoption of Jia Ming! As long as we get all of our paperwork to them by the end of September (we can file an extension if needed) she is ours!!! We are overjoyed:)
Here are 2 pics of her at 16 months old...the first pics we ever saw of her:
Alexis/16 months
Alexis at 16 months

And here are pics of her on June 6th....25 months old:
Isn't she beautiful?? Of course, I am a bit biased;)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Houston: We Have A Daughter {kinda}

Well, that was fast! What I didn't share in my last post was that we were viewing the file of a 2 year old little girl in Tianjin, China. Didn't wanna post anything until we heard back from the International Adoption Doctor (Dr. Jerri Jenista...who is *awesome*, btw) about her special needs. Well, she gave us a favorable report on what her future will be like. So we felt comfortable to commit to adopting her!! As of yesterday, 6/19/09, we are waiting to get pre adoption approval from China:) We should hear back from them in a week or two. Our agency says they have never had China *not* approve a family yet!! That is very encouraging!

Due to China's confidentiality laws, I can not post her pics yet....but as soon as we are able to, you know I will:)

The name her orphanage gave her is Jia Ming. Her name means good/fine(Jia) and bright/shining(Ming). She has been in foster care for nearly a year. She is just the most beautiful thing we have ever seen!

She was found in a marketplace, very ill. She had a serious blood infection, and unfortunately her feet became gangrenous. They were completely purple, and covered in blisters:(
At some point, although not listed in her medical report, they amputated all of her little toes and part of her feet. Poor baby!

Despite being found near-death and losing her toes, she has completely recovered and is now standing on her own, and walking with help:) Dr. Jenista seems to think she will need minimal help with walking in the future. She has enough of her feet left to walk normally. That is wonderful news!

Just wait until you see her beautiful face:) Our princess is coming home soon!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

China, Baby!

Our journey to our daughter has taken yet another turn. Being the true ADD'er that I am, I have changed my mind (and Roger's of course) and my country of choice. We are officially pursuing a China adoption!! Woo Hoo!
The only thing that kept me from considering China before was the fact that I would have to get *on* a plane and stay *on* said plane for many hours, without losing my cool or my dignity (I'm sure hiding under my seat with a barf bag in one hand and my inhaler in the other would be embarrassing). But I am willing to face my biggest fear in order to bring home my daughter.
We have also locked in an agency, Faith International Adoptions, out of WA.
Myriam and Amy are very nice, and we are excited to start the process.
More soon~~~

Saturday, April 18, 2009


It's been a few weeks since my last post. A lot has happened. We decided on S. Korea!! It really wasn't a hard decision for Roger. He didn't want to! He may change his mind, though, you never know:)
We settled on an agency, and called to schedule a meeting. But then my ADD impatience set in, and I asked if we could submit our application before the meeting. You see, the approved application was all we needed to be added to their waiting list. So, long story shorter....we were officially accepted into the program on April 6th...yay!! We are now on the waiting list for a baby girl...I can't believe it! I have to keep reminding myself that the hard work is yet to come. Our agency rep suggested that we wait for 6-8 months before we start our home study and paperwork. She said the wait for a baby girl right now is 15-18 months, and she didn't want our paperwork to expire (most of it only lasts one year) before we are matched with our daughter.
But....I have heard from other families who are using this agency that we should go ahead with the home study, and just take it s-l-o-w-l-y, so that it isn't complete til the end of the year.

So, this is where we are now. On the list, waiting to start our home study in a few months. Excited and ready for our daughter:) She can't come soon enough!

**Oh, almost forgot: Roger opened up a savings account yesterday! And he looked into refinancing our home next year to pay the final (big) fee. He said we were approved! Yay!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

We're Down To 2!

After a few weeks of research, discussion, phone calls and emails, we have decided to go the international adoption route. We have narrowed it down to 2 countries: Taiwan and Korea.
Each country has its pros and cons. Here are a few:

Taiwan--my first choice when I started my research.
++Kids are very healthy, and are adorable!
Travel to country is only 3-5 days, which saves $ on travel. Did I mention the kids are adorable?
--The cost is higher than that of Korea. The wait for a healthy girl is a minimum of 2 years. The wait for a girl with mild/moderate special needs or a girl over 5yrs is at least a year.

S. Korea--one of the last countries that I even considered.
++Kids are younger at referral than Taiwan program kids. The escort option means that I (major fear of heights/flying over here!) won't have to get on a {gulp} plane. Cost is one of the lowest of all countries. Wait time is 12-18 months currently.
--Korean families get first pick before US citizens, and most Korean families pick healthy girls, i.e. the girls 'left' for US citizens usually have some sort of mild issue/need. Most US families are open to gender, and since we aren't, our wait time is longer.

So, there you have it. Taiwan or Korea? Korea or Taiwan? That is the question of the day..........

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You Can Bank On It....And Nathan's Tummy:(

Let the adoption savings begin! Tomorrow, we are opening an extra savings account just for our adoption funds. I will be putting in any overtime pay I get each week, along with profits from yard sales, ebay sales, etc. Hopefully, by the end of the year we'll have a pretty impressive amount saved.

Poor Nathan has been battling a stomach virus for several days now:( He's such a trooper, though....never complains. He hasn't been eating much, but last night he was hungry. He wanted pizza. Not just any pizza, though. He wanted Pizza Hut pizza! So, Daddy went and got him a cheese pizza (Nathan calls it a 'regular' pizza), and he ate a little of that. It went right through him, poor guy:(

Monday, March 23, 2009

Well, we are getting somewhere. We have decided to adopt from foster care! We are going to request a girl under age 5, hopefully in the 2-3 range.
Our orientation isn't until May, but I will call them today and find out if there is anything else we can do while we wait:) We don't like waiting. Ok, *I* don't like waiting, lol!
I cut Nathan's hair yesterday with our home clippers. Yikes! He wanted to look like a "jedi", but settled on a mohawk instead. My mohawk didn't turn out too good. I'd better stick to my day job;)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Our Journey Begins.....

We are at the beginning of our journey to find our daughter.

My head is swimming with all of the information on adoption that I have taken in over the past week. I'm excited and terrified at the same time. Finding out that I was expecting our biological children was less nerve-wracking than this! Still, it's something I can't stop thinking about. It's on my mind almost all the time.

All that we have agreed upon so far is that we will adopt. From where, how and when are yet to be determined. Financial issues are the main hurdle for us right now. Especially for poor Roger!

His first question was, "How are we going to afford this?". I have to give him so much credit for even agreeing to go on this journey with me. He is perfectly fine with 3 sons and no daughter. Although he would love to have one, it's not something that consumes him as it does me.

It's an indescribable feeling, the desire for a daughter.

Imagine being so in touch with your body that you can physically *feel* an empty space in your heart. A void.

Please don't get me wrong....I absolutely love my sons! They are irreplaceable and I wouldn't even consider my life without them. I love being a mother to boys:)

But there is a part of me that wants to have the unique bond that a mother and daughter have.

I can only imagine what that even feels like.

So......our journey has begun. Our little girl is out there, somewhere. And we *will* find her.