Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thank You Dee Kelley!!!

I was truly SURPRISED to learn my Secret Pal #3 was Dee Kelley! We returned last evening from spending Christmas with our son in Guatemala and I was exhausted... but not too exhausted to open my final SP#3 package! ;) Dee sent thoughtful and lovely presents for my whole family:

  • Delicious chocolates for me and Dan
  • Delicious bones for the pooches - Brody, Alfie and Katie
  • Rattles and books for our angel daughter from China and our angel son Dominic from Guatemala
  • Adorable Dora the Explorer doll dressed for an adventure in China
  • Fun scrapbook stuff for the pooches photo album
  • As always, a gorgeous custom card

Thank you Dee for being such an amazing and supportive Secret Pal! I seriously had no idea who you were and am THRILLED I learned more about you. I look forward to continuing our blossoming friendship! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas Lite

Wow, I am so far behind in spending time with friends and family. I was only home 7 days in November! I can't believe how fast time is going by... it helps with the wait but also makes keeping in touch very difficult.

This year since we will be in Guatemala, we have not decorated our house at all. My parents are hosting an early Christmas party next Saturday for us, so that's nice and we look forward to spending time with family and partaking in some family traditions. Then one short week later we are OFF to Guatemala. To say I am excited, well, that's a HUGE understatement.

For all our friends and families, we sincerely wish you a peaceful and blessed holiday season, and promise to keep in better touch next year! For all of you who are also waiting families like we are, let's celebrate our decision to wait it out, and become parents to the angels we were meant to have in our families.

Secret Pal Goodies!!! :)

My darling SP#3 sent the loveliest package to me! She makes these very nice and thoughtful custom cards, they are so wonderful. Our daughter received her first mealtime gifts - Hello Kitty bowl and cup, and matching bib - so precious! For our home, beautiful Linen scented potpourri and candle - so refreshing! For me, many spa products including foot scrub, body scrub and manicure kit - ahhhhh, perfect for this time of year! Last but not least, dark chocolate covered lemon treats - I am anxious to try this decadent treat! :)


Thank you SP#3, for you kindness, support and thoughtfulness during this exchange. I appreciate your presence in my life and interest in our Guatemala adoption.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CCAI to the Rescue!

OK, I have been reassured by CCAI that we will probably have no problem in the Review Room because of our interim adoption, and if we are questioned, a simple home study update should take of their questions. Woo Hoo - I am happy!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Somebody Smack Me!

I am a wreck because I know we will be in the Review Room soon, and we recently submitted a change to our Adoption Petition. We originally requested a boy or girl, but changed to a girl because we are doing an interim adoption for our son from Guatemala. Well, this means our revised Adoption Petition and Home Study don't match!!! Our home study says we have NO CHILDREN, which technically we still don't... UGH! I wrote our agency tonight and will wait on pins and needles to see what they say. I cannot wait to be out of the Review Room - in my mind that is the final frontier and then we truly just wait...

Friday, November 09, 2007

One Year LID Anniversary

Well, yesterday marked one year since we received our official log in date (LID) from China. Dan and I are enjoying a long weekend in Charlotte, NC to celebrate his birthday, and last night we went to Dean and Deluca wine bar for tasting and tapas. We toasted our little Chinese angel and celebrated our journey to bring her home. We know one day she will be with us! :) For those of you still waiting like we are, never give up until we bring our babies home!!!


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Still Participating in Secret Pal Exchanges!

We are coming up on our 1 year LID anniversary and still have not made it through the review room, nor has the wait sped up. BUT... the one constant ray of sunshine is the Tea Monkey Secret Pal exchange I have been a part of since its inception. I ADORE shopping for baby girls. :) The spoiling I receive in return doesn't hurt either. ;)

I was THRILLED to return home from a business trip to find a package from my Secret Pal in Round #3. Dan told me I had received a package and I was so-o-o-o excited and looked forward to opening it all week. :) My pal did a GREAT job spoiling me with a capital S!!!My package had bath products for me, an adorable red pantsuit for my baby girl, lots and lots of scrap booking supplies, Chinese dress wine cozy, a gorgeous pewter picture frame, soft book of Lilo & Stitch, fun CD for car rides and a beautiful custom card! WOW!!! Thank you so much SP, you made my week! :)

Birthday Picnic


I share my birthday with the adorable Kunde twins, Jadyn and Jenna, and we celebrated together this year with a very fun picnic at a gorgeous park near my home. Michele and Baby Ava joined us for the very fun day - the weather was beautiful too! :)


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fear, Uncertainty, Fear

Just as we are suffering through the uncertainty of our adoption in Guatemala, a new "rumor" has emerged with the China program. I have not paid any attention to the China program in awhile, but happened to look around tonight, including a peek at the notorious Rumor Queen's web site.

She actually posted a rumor that some families are being kicked out of the program because they did an interim adoption! Can this possibly be true? I can't describe the feelings I have about both of our adoptions - fear, anger, indescribable pain, uncertainty and yes, I even feel stupid!

I ask myself how much more due diligence could we have done to make sure we selected countries with good programs, and agencies with reputable programs? Whose fault is this that we are being tortured by unbelievable changes in both adoption programs?

I don't understand this part of my life, and I don't know if I ever will. I have never felt so helpless. I am a "make things happen" kind of woman and have created a life that is so good, a life that in many ways has surpassed my dreams. The dream of having children is a new dream, not even a two year old dream, yet it has become THE dream of my life. This pain is just so raw, constant and shocking, I don't know how to move on.

Friday, September 28, 2007

URGENT HELP NEEDED!!!

Dear Family and Friends, as you know we are in the middle of adopting a baby boy, Dominic Xavier, from Guatemala and are beside ourselves with fear and worry over the posting earlier this week on the US Government web site specific to Guatemala.

The posting indicates that Guatemala intends to stop international adoptions with any country that is not compliant with the Hague Convention by January 1, 2008. This implies that we, and many other families, will have our adoptions interrupted and the process will be delayed indefinitely.

We implore you to PLEASE HELP us find a way to prevent this from happening. Our son is six months old, and we have already visited him twice in Guatemala City. He is our child and our sincere and simple desire is to provide a loving, happy and healthy home for him. Our son needs to have a permanent routine as soon as possible to ensure he does not suffer from any development delays or emotional issues.

Please, please, please help us to complete our adoption and bring our son home safely. You can help by going on-line to sign this credible on-line petition to our government asking them to support in process cases to completion, and to work with the Guatemalan government to pass legislation that will keep international adoption as an option for the children of Guatemala.

This on-line petition was written by Hannah Wallace, president of Focus on Adoption--a US based group. She has been a wonderful advocate for adoption from Guatemala and is a credible person. Thank you for your help, we hope thousands of people sign so please forward to other caring people you may know. Here is the link:

http://www.petitiononline.com/foafoa1/petition.html

We are blessed to have the love and support from all of you. We will keep you posted on our status.

Love,
Laura and Dan

Friday, September 14, 2007

Long Time No Poochie Post!

Just a quick post to let everyone know the pooches are doing great! They just spent 9 days and 8 nights at the PetsHotel and apparently had a ball without us. They better have, the bill was not pretty! Oh well, they were very well cared for and we had peace of mind. Here is our little ring leader Brody taking a nap under the craft table in my newly configure office. He's a cherub!

I bought them all their Halloween costumes yesterday and they are going to be so ADORABLE! This is their 3rd Halloween and they have received new costumes each year. :) What are you thinking (you may ask)?!?!?! Welllllllll, they deserve it for bringing such JOY to our lives! :)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Big, Hot Teardrops

Ughhhhh... I spent most of the day cleaning my office to make room for Dan. He is going to share my office because we are going to use his former office (full size bedroom) for our son's nursery. I had to purge a lot of old stuff and came across a huge box with many files and documents... all the paperwork for our China adoption. I started crying because I realized it has been over a year since we started the journey to our baby from China, and after all this time she likely hasn't even been conceived yet! I had no choice but to store the paperwork in a file cabinet, but it somehow felt like I was putting our dream aside. A really profound sadness enveloped me and I am just crushed that so many families like us are faced with an endlessly growing wait and so much uncertainty. Let's just say if I make it through our Guatemala and China adoptions I believe that I will be able to live through ANYTHING!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Family Fun

Yesterday my nephew Joey swam in the 25 meter free style race for the Maricopa County Special Olympics. Joey is autistic and has come a long way, when he first started swimming lessons he hated the water, now he is a little fish! He qualified to swim at the state meet in October - we are so proud of him and I know he will be a GREAT cousin to our daughter some day. :) Here is our little champ!!



Thursday, August 09, 2007

Nine Months

Yesterday marked nine months since we received our LID, and fifteen months since we started the adoption process. We certainly believed we would be much closer to having our daughter home by now. When I reflect on how it feels to be getting somewhat closer, I honestly feel less and less certain this will turn out the way we planned.

Not to sound too pessimistic, but with each tiny batch of matches each month, more and more uncertainty about the whole process emerges. Until we really understand what is driving this seemingly meaningless slow down, I believe we are at high risk for facing a complete shut down of China's program.

I will not give up hope, and remain committed to adopting an orphan from China, that's just who I am. I have just come to learn first hand that when it comes to international adoption, expect the unexpected and don't for one second believe any of this is in your power to control.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Message of Peace to the World Through Blogs

A woman named Rosie shares our LID, she found our blog and has shared her story with us. Rosie lives in another country and has started this effort to send a message of peace around the world through blogs. Take a look at her blog through this link http://wwwsendadoveofpeace.blogspot.com/ and help spread this message of peace. I believe that as long as there are war torn countries, starving people, animal cruelty and other heinous events going on, we all could use an inspirational reminder about the dream of peace.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sister Time

My sister Monica is in town visiting from Colorado Springs, CO. She, my sister Diana and I went to Farrelli's Cinema Supper Club for dinner and a movie last evening. We saw Ocean's 13. I did not like the movie, but enjoyed dinner and of course the company of my sisters. Here we are living the good, happy life! :)


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Secret Pal Treasures

This was the last month for Round #2 of the Tea Monkey Secret Pal exchange. My pal was Daniella and she has been AWESOME! This month's theme was "Red, White and Blue". She sent a navy blue sundress, white onesie that says "Mom thinks she's in charge" and one pair each of red, white and blue socks. I love ALL the gifts she has sent, and more importantly I have loved getting to know her over the last three months. A new friendship is budding. :)


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Glimpse of Things to Come...

Our dear friends Scott and Kim adopted two gorgeous girls (twins) from China and it has been so much fun watching them grow and thrive in their new home. :) Kim sent me the sweetest picture of the girls' hand prints - they are almost 22 months old and so adorable! Thank you Jadyn and Jenna for this very special piece of art!


Monday, July 30, 2007

Today the Dream Seems Far Away...

Some days I can vividly imagine my future with Dan and our children, but today the dream seems very far away. Not in a sad, "never gonna happen" way, but in a "there are so many challenges" way. Things are crazy at work and there's a lot of uncertainty there, but I know everything will work out the way it is supposed to happen. It's just not easy dealing with so many different stressful situations at a time, but I am old enough now to know I always get through the difficult parts of life and emerge with some new joy to celebrate.

Dillard's had a 30% off clearance sale this weekend and I had to pick up 9 month outfits for DOmi and some gifts for family birthdays. So, I couldn't resist these adorable deals for my little girl... some day she will wear these and smile. :)


Monday, July 23, 2007

Pooches and Outfits

Yeah, I realize this blog has morphed into a doggie and wardrobe diary of sorts, but it is fun to share pictures of our furry babycakes and certainly of cute clothes too!

Here is Brody lounging out back,


Alfie getting a snuggle from Mommy
and Katie doing her thing!


I went shopping to get Dominic more clothes for our next trip. He is growing so he needs bigger sizes! ;) As always, our daughter is never far from my thoughts and I picked up these two sleepers for her. The polka dot is cute with little bows on the pocket and the fuchsia one says Angel in Chinese, it is also made from organic cotton (aka cha-ching!). :)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Terri Tagged Me!

I was Terri's Secret Pal for the last 3 months and am so blessed to have met such an amazing woman. She is kind, caring and very creative. She has inspired me to learn to sew "one of these days". She just tagged me to share eight interesting things about myself... hmmm.. these are interesting to me anyway. ;)

1) I have four sisters and my husband has four brothers.
2) We got married when we were both 36 in 2004, first marriage all the way around.
3) We honeymooned in Australia and New Zealand and vowed to take an "international vacation every other year". Little did we know at that time that our travels would take us to our children in China and Guatemala. :)
4) This sounds scary but it's true...my favorite TV show is "Snapped". It is a documentary series about women who "snap" and kill their husbands or boyfriends. I don't know why I like it, I think it's the disbelief that small town America has truly evil big time criminals that are usually petite women!
5) I am very crafty, although I acknowledge my vision is ALWAYS crisper and more together than the end product.
6) I LOVE real estate and we recently purchased our first investment home outside of our permanent residence. Is number two investment home far behind????
7) My lovely, one of a kind and super hubby will stay at home part of full-time while our children are small.
8) I love to read fiction and can't fall asleep at night without polishing off at least one chapter of whatever book I am reading at the time.

Now I tag Ashley and Kim! Have fun!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Poochies Story

I went to dinner last evening with my dear friend Maria and we talked about our pets. She and her husband and daughter are going to San Diego for the weekend and are boarding their schnauzer Sammy. Maria told me whenever they open their front door Sammy runs away and she jokingly said "I don't know if he's looking for a better life or what". We both laughed but it got me thinking about my poochies (although they are already ALWAYS on my mind - I know, I know, borderline obsessive) and if they wonder about "a better life".

So I did a little experiment today and opened the front door wide and held up my hand to "Stay" - I am THRILLED to report not one of them moved towards the door an inch, leading me to believe they are happy in their home and will give us the honor of continuing to be their puppets, Oh I mean owners. ;)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In Loving Memory of Gracie...

This may seem like an odd post but I have to acknowledge that Oprah Winfrey lost one of her dogs recently. Gracie was a 2 year old Golden retriever that died tragically when she choked on a ball belonging to Oprah's cocker spaniels.

She chose Gracie from the litter because the breeder said "You don't want that one, she has an overbite and is small". Of course Oprah wanted her for that very reason, even though that meant she would have 3 puppies at one time!

I remember when I heard that Oprah had 3 puppies at the same time because Dan and I also had 3 puppies at the exact same time she did, and all of our pooches are now 2 years old. My heart goes to Oprah and her family, including Gracie's surviving brother and sister. I actually cried about this news and could not imagine my life without one of my furbabies. They absolutely have taught Dan and me how to be loving parents and inspired us to adopt children. I hope Gracie is in a lovely place now and is happy as ever. Here she is with Oprah and her siblings, Luke and Leila. God bless you Gracie.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Daydreaming...

We have been home from Guatemala for just about 1 week and as I unwind on this Friday afternoon I find myself wondering what my life will be like in the future when I have 2 little people running around... It has been a long week at work and I traveled to Austin and Dallas, TX - lots of planes and NO, sitting in first class on every leg doesn't make that much difference!

Anyway, I am trying to cherish this down time I have for now because I doubt I will have many blogging opportunities when my babies come home...

I managed to have one shopping afternoon while we were in Guatemala, I met a wonderful woman named Jane and she left her baby with her husband, and I left my baby with Dan and we headed to the Mercado de Artisans for some shopping. We had our own personal guide to help us, Luis was such a blessing!

I bought this GORGEOUS dress for our baby girl - orange is my favorite color so I couldn't resist!

I also bought these colorful place mats, napkins and matching rings for our kitchen table, and these hand carved masks to decorate the hallway near the children's rooms. The masks feature a warrior hero, quetzal birds and Mayan pyramid. I love all my treasures!!!


Almost forgot - I admired this adorable cloth in the store and the shopkeeper gave it to me for free! It is a cloth to keep tortillas warm, I love the colors and will use as a dish cloth in my kitchen!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Treasures from Guatemala

We are in Guatemala City visiting our precious son and of course our daughter is always in our thoughts. A local woman comes to the hotel each day to sell her handmade goods. I picked up these gorgeous outfits and doll portraying a traditional Guatemala woman. Very fun!



Thursday, June 28, 2007

For Our Darling Daughter

As our departure date rapidly approaches to visit our precious son, I find myself longing for our daughter more than ever. I miss her without ever having met her, or seeing her beautiful face, or touching her delicate skin, or hearing her magical laugh. I pray our darling, darling daughter somehow knows we will wait for her however long it takes. She belongs to our family and will make us complete.

I bought this outfit for her tonight while I was getting some last minute items for our trip to Guatemala. I think I will tell her this one is from Big Brother, and that she inspired us to grow our family while we wait for her. I didn't expect things to work out this way, but I don't want to lose sight of the joyous blessing we have received unexpectedly. I just miss her so.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Can I Hear Some Kudos???

Well, well, well, I was struck by a dose of EXTREME AMBITION and decided I was going to walk about 2 miles to my 6 p.m. Jazzercise class. I left my house at 5:20 not knowing how long it would take. About 1/2 mile from my house I realized it is extremely hot right now! Indeed, it was over 100 degrees outside, but I persevered. When I walked into class my instructor saw my flushed face and asked "Is it that hot in here?". I told her I walked and she said "It's a little hot to walk". Mmmm, hmmmm. Anyway, I made it through class and walked home in much more mild 90 degree weather at dusk.

Then, I grabbed the pooches and relaxed in the pool to watch the sunset - they are the BEST in Arizona because we are so close to the West coast, we are surrounded by mountains and the air is especially clear where we live (there is an air quality ordinance that limits air pollution). I was in HEAVEN! After I was totally relaxed from the pool, I moved to a rocker on the patio that was so warm and toasty. :) The finale of my luxurious relaxation time was an intense bubble bath in my garden tub. Let me give a shout out to 100% Pure bath products (http://www.100percentpure.com/) - they are PHENOMENAL and treat you to a relaxing, fragrant, mild and luxurious bathing experience. Clearly, I am still in major rrrreeeellllaaaxxxx mode. :) Life is beyond good, I am so grateful for my many blessings.

Monday, June 18, 2007

First Taste of Europe

My oldest sister Diana and her husband Joe recently went on a European cruise and I casually mentioned how my jet setter little daughter DEFINITELY needed some international flavored clothing! Not that my sister needed any encouraging, she has the Vela shopping blood from my Mother and I know she found great joy in picking out this GORGEOUS, hand embroidered blouse from Italy for our baby girl. The little skirts on the girls are three dimensional and poof out ever so delicately. Thank you Diana and Joe for such a beautiful gift, I can't wait to have her picture taken in this!


Secret Pal Package!!

My Secret Pal sent me my Fun in the Sun June package and it arrived today. WOW! Look at all this amazing stuff, my pal is so thoughtful and generous, not to mention she has an amazing taste level! :)

Where to start??? For moi, a gorgeous lavender tote with beach ball tag and amazing smelling Lemon Martini candle. I will soak in my tub tonight after Jazzercise and light that right up! For moi and hubster - mojito mix! We will enjoy those in the pool this weekend. For our baby girl - not one, not two, but three adorable outfits:

  • Watermelon onesie that says "Sweet" with matching socks

  • Duckie hooded bath robe and towel - I love ducks!

  • Pink butterfly pool robe with matching sun hat

She also sent a Baby Einstein CD with lullabies that I can't wait to play for our baby, and our pooches all got their own carton of Milk and Cookie dog treats! THANK YOU Secret Pal, you are so generous and thoughtful to my whole family! :)


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Who Knew???

I went to Target to pick up some personal items and just thought I would browse the baby clothes area. I have honestly never done that before, I only buy workout clothes at Target and had no idea what to expect. Well, well, well, I found some SMOKING deals on cute every day outfits. So much fun! :)












Then I went to Babies-R-Us to find some Grandpa frames for my Dad and father-in-law for their special day this Sunday, and look at these adorable PJs I found for both babies, cupcakes for her and dinosaurs for him. :) Wouldn't it be something if they were close enough in age to wear these at the same time? You never know...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Summer Haircuts

The pooches went in early this morning for some much needed grooming. They all missed their last grooming appointment because of Brody's injured paw (he is back to 100% good health now), so they were really looking rough. Here they are with their short, clean haircuts ready for some fun during the hot Arizona summer. So adorable, aren't they? :) Top left- Brody, top right - Alfie and bottom center - Katie.









Friday, June 08, 2007

I Contained Myself... Sort Of

Well, I went shopping for some Secret Pal surprises and couldn't resist checking out the kiddie clothing. Our daughter and our son each got a new outfit (check out other blog too). I don't know if you can tell in the picture that these jeans have a sparkly finish and Dan said "Those are bling-bling". Of course, I said, she will be a sparkly little princess! :) The hot pink cotton eyelet layered top is too-o-o-o cute. I am thinking I will have to find some matching espadrilles and a scarf to complete her look!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Update on Referrals

Well, for the third month in a row, the number of LIDs matched with referrals has only covered a few calendar days. However, I am actually excited that families logged in through November 7, 2005 have now been matched. This means we just have to wait for one calendar year of LIDs to be matched before it is our turn (LID 11-8-06).

This news probably makes no sense to those outside the adoption community, and probably sounds strange to those who know what I am talking about. While I acknowledge we still have a long wait, we are now what seems to me a big step closer! :)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Busy Weekend

Yesterday I woke up early to go to Jazzercise and then ran errands until around noon. Then I started cleaning and staging the house for photos that we have to submit for our Guatemala dossier and by 2:30 p.m. I was POOPED! I got some great photos of our house though and Dan did the same for the front and back of the house.
















Then, we went to a VERY FUN dinner party at our friend Michele's house. There were seven families there, four who have recently returned with their daughters from China. Here is an adorable picture where we tried to recreate the famous "Red Couch" photos. From left to right are: Maya, Lily, Ava, Jenna and Jadyn. We ate very delicious food and had really nice conversation with all of our dear friends. We are blessed to have found such amazing people in this Families with Children from China community. :)



Today I am cranking out more dossier documents, resting and heading back to Jazzercise this afternoon. I am "scared straight" about being shape to be a Mom. These babies are not light and we will soon have two! AYAYYAYA! :)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Super Fun Vacation!

I went to Colorado Springs, CO to visit my sister Monica and her family. My niece and God daughter Amber graduated from 8th grade, her older sister Brianna made her Confirmation and her younger sister Jessica celebrated her 12th birthday! It was a very full and fun visit! Pictures to follow whenever my sister sends them to me...

Other fun things I did on vacation:
  • Amber and I had Glamour Shots done (we did this when she was 3 so it will be fun to compare photos 11 years later!)

  • Monica and I hiked at Garden of the Gods - very beautiful and breathtaking scenery!

  • Amber, Brianna and I rode bikes to the local Starbucks (difficult hilly ride on a Jan Brady bike = I walked the bike part of the way!)

  • I took my nieces shopping for quilt squares for our babies quilts and helped them make wish cards. Even my 16 year old nephew Patrick took great pride in making sweet wish cards (see 100 GWQ blogs)

  • I met my first Secret Pal (I was her Pal) Ashley! We met for shopping and lunch and had an absolute ball! She is a gem and will definitely be a lifelong friend! She spoiled me by giving me these gifts: a GORGEOUS Chinese doll that plays music, very girly ladybug bow (I love it!) and the first pair of socks for my baby. THANK YOU ASHLEY!



Here are the treasures from our shopping excursion:



Thursday, May 24, 2007

Quick Brody Update

The little monster is healing very nicely - THANK YOU to everyone who sent good wishes our way! His bandage was changed on Monday by our vet, so now he is sporting a purple sock as he heals. He will go back tomorrow for another bandage change. He is starting to use all 4 paws and continues to terrorize his brother Alfie, sister Katie, me and Dan - but we love it! He likes to bark at the top of his lungs to command everyone's attention (as if he didn't have it already!). Here he is showing little bro Alfie who is boss - notice Alfie's expression "Please get over yourself!". Hee, hee!