Monday, December 31, 2012

21 days!

We will meet our daughter in 21 days. As long as it has taken us to get to this point, I feel like we are on a high speed train to China right now. Prior to Christmas, it seemed so far away, but now it seems like the entire process just flew by.

Because she is not a baby and can probably speak  quite well, we are going to try to learn some Mandarin Chinese as well as encourage her to continue to speak Chinese.  The plan is for her to become bilingual and for the rest of the family to continue practicing Chinese for many years to come. One thing I plan on doing to encourage this is to play Mandarin videos for the children to watch often. Obviously with no native Chinese speaker in the house, this is going to be the best option for daily exposure to her native language and as the other children pick up some phrases and practice what they have learned.

Hopefully in China we will find dvds that can be played here in the US but for the time being, I am creating a playlist of Chinese Children's Shows on Youtube. We can just connect the laptop to the tv using the HDMI cord and watch  on a bigger screen. Just in case any of my friends in the adoption community would like to see the playlist, I am linking it here.

Many of the videos are Chow Hu, a really cute children's show. If you'd like to search for these on your own, the Chinese characters are below. Just copy and past it into the youtube search box and you'll find lots of videos.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lily, here we come!

We have TA! Also known as Travel Approval! This means that there is only one thing left to do and that is to go get Lily and bring her home.

Our consulate appointment is scheduled for January 29th, which means we will meet her on January 21. 24 days from now, my sweet girl will be in my arms.

It has been a long journey for us, filled with crazy delays and scary roadblocks. At times, I thought we'd never make it. It almost seems like a miracle that we were able to push through some of the insanity that happened during our process.

While we worked our tails off raising money, chasing papers, begging- yes begging God to move mountains, Lily grew.  Look at how much she has grown in the year we've loved her from afar.

Photo from her original file Sept 2011

Update from Agency January 2012

This was taken in June 2012 by another adoptive mom.

Taken in July by another adoptive mom friend.

Official update from China in October

It saddens me to think of all we missed during her first 4 years and I wonder who, if anyone, celebrated the first time she rolled over as a baby, or the first time she crawled, talked, walked. I wonder about her birth family and wish I knew their story.

I pray that we'll be the parents she needs us to be. We will try very hard to make up for what she has missed these past four years. Please pray for the Lord to give us what we need and for us to find the correct resources to help us along the way.  We know it may be challenging at times, but we also know it will be worth it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

American Girl Doll Winner!

Thank you  all for entering our last giveaway! We are so thankful for all of you and wish we could give everyone a doll! I put everyone's name on a spreadsheet and used to choose the number of the winner.

The winner is......

Karen Johnson!!

Thank you Karen! I will be mailing your Marie Grace doll today and you should have it on Saturday at the latest!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Road Trips, Visas, and Wishes for Snow

On the adoption front- we are now waiting on the very last step, Travel Approval (aka TA). After this arrives at our agency in WA, we will finally be able to begin making travel arrangements! I'm really hoping to be in China or on our way to China for my birthday on January 10th.

 Meanwhile, Christmas is keeping is nice and distracted. A few days ago I drove the kids from our home in Birmingham, AL to my mother's house in Monroe ville, PA. There are many reasons for this trip. The most important is that we get to spend some time with our oldest daughter Kayla before we bring Lily home and before she starts school in January. I am SO proud of her right now. She's working hard at her new job and is looking forward to starting school. Despite a challenging few years, she is all grown up and working towards independence. Of course she still needs her Mama. Mike will be joining us here tomorrow in Kayla's car, which will be left here for her to use to get to school and work.

The kids and I stayed in a hotel on the way to PA, which of course was an adventure. We stayed in Louisville, KY and had the best Chinese food ever. Normally I would not order in, but because of the time of day and location we really had no choice. I'm thankful for that because those dumplings were amazing. I swear I want to drive back through Louisville on my way home just for those. Thankfully, I think we'll find even better Chinese dumplings in China.  Check out my fortune cookie. I admit I'm a little challenged when it comes to housekeeping, so this was kind of funny.

We got to PA, settled in, went to bed and spent the next day enjoying each other.

We visited Kayla's workplace, which is a really cool store that sells things for $5 or less.

After that, we took her to her favorite yarn store here in Pittsburgh, Natural Stitches.

Then we went back to my mom's house to open presents. The kids were thrilled!

This was Kayla's gift to me. She's knows me quite well!

And after presents, we hopped in the car and went to Overly's Country Christmas.

Last night, Kayla and I went out on a little date to the mall, and today we just hung around the house, but then our Chinese visas came!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

American Girl Doll Giveaway

One last giveaway before we travel! 

We are still at least $2500 short right now and we expect to leave within the next 4-5 weeks. We have not gotten our final travel bill yet, so that is just an estimate. 

If you are the winner, rest assured this WILL be shipped on December 19th via Priority Mail, so you will have this no later than 12/22 if you are within the continental US. 

Now, here are the details of the giveaway-

One winner will receive your choice of either the Mary Grace or Cecile American Girl Doll, along with the book and accessory package. The total retail value of this package is $124.  These dolls are brand new, never opened and ready to be shipped to the winner.  

From the American Girl Website-

Marie Grace and Cecile, 1853

Follow the unforgettable journey of Marie-Grace Gardner and Cécile Rey as they form an unlikely bond in their hometown of New Orleans. When sickness spreads through the city, these newfound friends learn to count on each other as they use courage and compassion to help those in need.


Marie Grace

To enter-

$10 for 1 entry

$15 for 3 entries
$20 for 5 entries

Donations should be sent to kathywiehl@

Share on Facebook for an additional entry, but please comment here so I know that you shared. 

When you make your donation, please tell me your choice of doll as well as your shipping address. I want to mail this to the winner right away after the name is drawn. I will be happy to ship this internationally, but if you are outside the US, you will not have this in time for Christmas.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Sale

I have had a lot of books donated to me to sell for our adoption. I'm posting the link here in case anyone is interested. We are asking 80% off the original prices. You may pay us directly or deposit the funds into our FSP.

The Math Tutor's Handbook by Frank Schaffer Publications, original price 9.95, asking 1.99
Wipe Away Subtraction by Bob Schaffer Pub. original 3.95, asking   .79
Basic First Math by Bob Schaffer Pub, original price 4.95, asking .99
Wipe Away Addition by Bob Schaffer pub. orig. 3.95, asking .79
Homework Helper Addition grade 1 by Bob Schaffer orginal price 2.49, asking .50

Beyond The Science Fair by Teacher Created Materials (TCM), original 11.95, asking 2.39
Bridge To Home science grade k-1, bob schaffer , original price 6.95, asking 1.39

Social Studies-
Bridge to Home Social Studies K-1 by Bob Schaffer pub- original price 6.95  asking 1.39

Multi Subject-
Theme for a Day, grades 1-2 by TCM- original 14.95, asking 2.99
Thanksgiving Thematic Unit by Teacher Created Materials, original price 9.95 asking 1.99
Opening The Classroom Window, a calendar of multicultural activities PreK-K, original price 21.99, asking 4.40

The Tutors Handbook for Reading, grade 2 by Bob Schaffer pub, original price 9.95 asking 1.99

BAsic First Grammar by Bob Schaffer Publications, original 4.95, asking  .99
Basic First Grammar by Bob Schaffer, original  4.95, asking .99
Grammar Made Simple, grade 1, bob schaffer pub, original price 10.95 asking  2.19

A Guide for Using The Cricket in Times Square, TCM, original price 7.95, asking 1.59
A Guide for Using Miss Nelson Is Missing, TCM, original price 7.95, asking 1.59
A Guide for Using The Secret Garden, TCM, asking 1.59
A Guide for Using The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor, asking 1.59
A Guide for Using The Egypt Game , TCM, asking 1.59
Bridge To Home  Story Time, k-1, Bob Schaffer, original price 6.95, asking 1.39
A Guide for Using My Side of the mountain, TCM, original price 7.95, asking 1.39

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thank you

I have tried to think of a way to express our gratitude for all the help we have received through this process and I just can't come up with the words. A blog post is nowhere near enough, but it is all I can do for today.

Recently someone anonymously gave us some things to sell to help with our adoption funding. If that person is reading this- I want you to know that we are honored and will do our very best to use this gift wisely. If I knew who you are, I'd be harassing you to try to find a way to repay you. Since I can't do that, we'll just do our best to pay it forward and live by your example. Thank you so much. I really just don't know how to handle this kind of generosity without getting all weird. You probably know that and wanted to avoid my weirdness and that is why you chose to give the way you did, lol.

Of course, we have not forgotten the other very generous donations we have received during this process. You all have had to put up with my weirdness. Thank God you still love me.

So many people have stepped up to help in large and small ways. I cannot come up with the words to thank you all. It is just overwhelming. I wish I could do something big for each person who has helped us and it is so humbling to know that we really cannot repay any of you adequately. 

It is honestly too much. This is something I have struggled with during this entire process. I want to repay favors and gifts and I want to repay more than what we have been given and this time I just cannot do that.

I just hope that each person who has given to us or bought from us knows that we love you so much and will be thankful forever.

I hope that we are able to honor each of your gifts for the rest of our lives. We plan to always give to others in need of a family, shelter, food, clean water and education.

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