Sunday, September 18, 2011

To Jillian with love...

Dear Jillian,

According to the little waiting ladybug I installed on this blog, we have been waiting for you for 3 years, 11 months, 1 week and 1 day. But it's actually been longer than that! We began our paperwork for you in April of 2007. OVER 4 years.

When we submitted our initial paperwork for you, Lia was only 2 1/2. Here she is holding our application!

You were not even born...and you already occupied a big place in my heart, Daddy's heart...and as you can see here...your big sister's heart. Doesn't she look so proud and happy??

It's been a very long road for us, waiting here for you. We were sad a lot of the time, wondering if you would ever find us. We talked about you a lot at first...and then not as much. We missed you and our family did not feel quite complete without you. Lia never lost her hope and faith that you would come one day, though. She talked about you with such certainty and made plans for her big sisterhood. Big plans, I might add. Your big sister is a thinker and planner...and she will forever do her level best to care for you, watch out for you, love you the most. You are so lucky to have each other...and that makes Mama's heart so happy.

We realized last year, at Christmas time, that we needed to look a little harder for you. Although you have been in our prayers for such a long time, we began to pray that we would find you SOON, wherever you were.

...and then, one night after Mommy tucked Lia into bed, the phone rang. Daddy listened to the news about you first. Because I didn't know quite what to do while I waited for him to get off the phone, I changed my Facebook status to, "It just got good...". Looking back, perhaps I should have written, "It just got better...", for our lives WERE, indeed, very sweet and we were certainly blessed beyond reason...but with that one phone call, just as the one we received almost 6 years ago for Lia, we watched our deepest dreams come the blink of His perfect timing. YOU were the little girl we were waiting for...and we knew it the instant we saw your little face. We would wait it all again for you if we had to.

The last few months have been very busy for Mommy, Daddy and Lia. Besides getting your room and all your little things ready, we finally allowed ourselves to talk about you with nothing but joy once again. We have shown your pictures to just about anyone who will look at them...sometimes multiple times. We cannot wait to get on that plane to come and meet you...and bring you home.

Your big sister has just started First Grade. This week, she had her first "Share Time" with her classmates. She just about burst with excitement the day she got into the car, telling me that she could bring anything from home, "As long as it fits into a grocery bag". Of course, I asked her what she wanted to take the first week. She did not hesitate one second before she told me (in a tone that implied I was not quite with it...I HOPE she doesn't teach you that TOO soon!) that she wanted to take a picture of YOU! We practiced all the facts we thought her friends would like to know...and off you went(at least your photo!) with Lia on Friday. :-)

...and Lia must be thinking of you at other times as well...even at Math time! This is a paper she completed this week. Oh how I love those four little dots representing you, Lia Mommy and Daddy!

Jillian...we are so happy to be your family...and we can't wait until you are here with us.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Nesting Continues...

I have to say...I have enjoyed one aspect of this very long wait for Jillian. When we first submitted our paperwork in 2007, I was so excited. We chose her name and I went about gathering little dresses and things for her room.

In January of 2008, we moved into our current home. I packed away all those little baby things...and never really unpacked them. it's been a little like Christmas rolled all up with my birthday around here lately! Really really good times.

Today, Jim assembled a bookcase for Jillian's room and Lia helped me arrange the books and other little toys we hope Jillian will love.

It's starting to look like a room for a real life girl in there, I tell you. :-)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Baby needs a new pair of shoes...or four...

We fully expect to take advantage of that fabulous shoeza-palooza in Guangzhou...but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to score a few starter pairs on sale today.

I know Lia is only 6...but I can barely remember how very tiny she must have been. She sure had fun laughing at how little Jillian's shoes seemed...and picking out those pink sparkly numbers.

Already looking out for her sister. :-)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Just add one girl...

I adore little boys. Really, I do. The whole dirty-face, rough and tumble, bodily function humor, mama's boy thing...good times. And if I had a boy, I KNOW I would enjoy every single second. :-) But I LOVE being the mother of girls. Ruffles, painted toes, ballet recitals = pure bliss in my world.

Decorating Jillian's room, shopping for clothes, dreaming of HER the whole has been a labor of love and promise. While not quite ready for the big reveal (soon, though...very, very soon...), I thought I would share a little sneak peek of the room we have worked so hard on for her. I love how it's all coming together. I find myself just standing in that space, daydreaming about our daughter half a world away.

I will post photos once we complete all the little details. Next up?? Unpacking and assembling a bookcase we bought for Jillian in 2008. I can't wait to see it put together! I almost forgot we had it (it's been in storage)!


Friday, September 2, 2011

We wait no more...or...sometimes dreams come is good... last post was August 10, 2008. Three years ago. Almost one year into our second baby wait, reality set in...and I lost my enthusiasm. Honestly, more like the life was sucked out of me...but that's a post for another time...or maybe just better left unsaid.

In the course of these last three years, we moved, we renewed our paperwork one time, we traveled to Disney, we decided not to renew our paperwork a second time, we started to take a look at China's Special Needs program, we became convinced it was the program for us, we second guessed if it was the program for us, we received a referral for a two year old beauty with a need we had not explicitly checked on our application, we fell head over heels in love the instant we saw her face, we accepted our referral, we changed her name for the tenth time since 2007, settling on the very first name we (read I!) chose (Jillian Snow), we re-filed all of our US paperwork. We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and on that day, we watched Lia graduate from kindergarten and completed two separate fingerprint appointments for our adoption. We went to the beach for the last time as a family of three.

Are you still with me??? :-) That was the abridged version of course!

As of today, we are waiting for our Article 5....which is the last document we need before everything goes to Beijing for our final Travel Approval. We are applying for our visas and plan to travel in early November. Our daughter is in Guangzhou our entire trip will be spent there (for Chinese adoptions, you are required to spend one week or so in the child's province and then travel to Guangzhou, where the American Embassy is located, to complete the adoption.)

These were among the first photos we saw of Zhang Yu Ying (Ying Ying in her orphanage, Jillian to us :-)). These were taken just a few days after her 2nd birthday:



(Beautiful, no??) :-) ( can see why there was no turning back once we saw that face, right???)

In June, we received these updated photos of Jillian. She is just over 2 1/2 here. We sent her a care package in May...and she is wearing the little shorts(but not the matching top!) and hair clips from that package.



...and finally, just yesterday we received one more update. There were some surprising things in that brief report! We had believed Jillian to be in the orphanage at Guangzhou City. The report yesterday mentioned another child in her "Foster Family". I almost missed that in my rush to get to the photos at the end! These pictures do seem to be in a home (with a large tv!). I have taken notice of all that little writing on wall behind her and wonder if I have another artist on my hands??? You can also see a little foot of another child in one of the photos which I have to surmise belongs to her foster sister. We plan to send a request for more info on her Foster Family next week after the holiday. We are thrilled to know she is living with a family until we can travel!

Also in this report she was described as "very clever". She likes all food, especially vegetables...and she doesn't like it when other children take her toys. (who can blame her??? I have spent the week unpacking toys that have been in storage just waiting for her...I can't wait to show her!). I love these photos so much...mostly because we finally got a full out smile! It's safe to say she has her new family firmly wrapped around her little finger already. Jim, Lia and I just kept looking at that sweet face last night, sensing just a hint of {fun} mischief in that twinkle.



(See what I mean??? Did you catch that twinkle??)

...and finally...I wanted to share a poem that a dear dear friend graciously shared with me earlier this summer. It brought me to tears the first time I read it...and continues to do so. Every. Time. I. Read. It. While we know that our sweet Jillian will face some extra challenges in life, we know she was created perfectly in His sight. We are so thankful to call Yu Ying daughter...and humbled with this most precious blessing of raising her.

Missing Parts

God looked down, another child complete,
A smile so perfect, a temper so sweet.
But baby looked and some parts were gone,
Did God mess up and make me wrong?
God just looked at this perfect child,
He explained Himself as He just smiled.
"If I'd taken time to make that part,
you wouldn't be such a work of art."
I would not have had time to make that smile,
To list your talents would last a mile.
Your sense of humor, that belly laugh,
Where are these parts, you have to ask?
You are so lucky, these gifts of gold,
Those missing parts are mine to hold.
Forever they'll be, close to my heart,
So as you live, we are never apart.
Each time I move, you'll be on my mind,
You special child, you are quite the find!
So do not miss that part, you see,
It will always be safe and sound with me."