Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First Post Adoption Visit

Well, we are making strides in many areas.  We were told that AG was very afraid of dogs.  I expected that.  However , when we brought her home I really thought she would be terrified.  She was a little nervous at first especially with our bigger dog.  The little dog she made friends with within a couple of days.  She would ask to play with the smaller dog "Layah".  The big dog "Belle" she had absolutely no interest in and she became extremely fearful if she was near "Belle".  One day, we let Belle out by accident while AG was outside playing. Anyway it scared the crap out of Miss AG when Belle came running up to kiss her.  Well, this made the fear worse as we scooped AG up and rushed her inside.  Oh my, dog traning therapy for AG needed to start.  Each day the boys would play with Belle and show her  (AG) that the dog was friendly and fun.  Daddy would show her the big doggy was friendly and fun and within two days Miss AG was begging to feed the big doggy cookie treats and no longer crying or fearful.  I still have to hold her near the dog- but she is ok to be close and throw treats at Belle.  Huge progress.

Learning English

On another note AG is exploding in the language department.  At night, before we go to sleep she is the most talkative saying every family members name and all the Disney characters.  She is beginning to use some multi word sentences on her own without prompting (she repeats most anything).  

She still uses a few Chinese words and we are ok with that for now.  

This once used to be daddies girl has turned into momma's girl.  She still loves to run and see daddy when he comes home from work but quickly worries and wonders where her momma is.  In China she would not let me sleep near her.  Now she falls asleep rubbing my hand and I rubbing hers snuggled up close to me.  When she finally is asleep her arm is wrapped around me.  So precious!

I still have to pinch myself--- last week we were at the boys dance lessons.  There is a cabinet full of second hand dance and tap shoes.  AG saw some that thought would fit her and ask that we look at them.  We tried on TAP shoes.  My heart melted.  She wanted them so bad and they were only $5 - I could not resist.  SOLD.  She tapped around all night long.  I could instruct her a bit for short periods of time (heel steps and brush steps). But she really just loved the noise!  

Today, she put on the tap shoes and asked that I put on mine (mine are in the laundry room so she sees them and plays with them). I said ok and off we went with our tap shoes and a few shuffles here and there.

When we first got home from China we tried to get AG to pedal a tricycle or small bike and it was a challenge.  How quickly she has learned though.  Now she pedals the big wheel, tricycle and small bicycle with training wheels very well. Even beginning to steer some!:))

Swimming lessons started this week as well. More details Ina later post.  

We are still enjoying mommy and me story time and activites.  Miss AG is getting more comfortable.  Today she interacted with other children and other adults happily tossing a ball.  Yeah!!

Now we are preparing for our first post adoption meeting.  I went a little crazy organizing.  When it strikes my mood - I go with it.  Since before China I have been wanting to change the playroom into more of a study.  So that we did.  We moved the boys desks into the old playroom.  This way I can keep my eyes on them during homework/study time.  I even set up a little table for AG to do her preschool work.  She loves counting and learning nursery rhymes.  She is very interested in the ABC's as well.  It was a big job moving furniture around but fun.  We got so much done and I think we will make good use of the space.  I also have the worlds best big boy helpers!

First - post adoption meeting went great. Just lots of questions about how AG and the family are adapting and adjusting.  We passed with flying colors!  Yeah! The social worker said AG seemed to be adapting very well.  

We can not thank her caregivers in China enough for preparing her so well.  We know God has his hand on this process.  We also are grateful to her birth parents for allowing us the opportunity to raise up this amazing child.  Thankful and Blessed!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

One Month Home

First, I would like to thank everyone for the continued prayers, thoughts, gifts, kind words and words of encouragement throughout this process.  We are so very grateful.

Well, one month has passed since Family Day meeting our girl.  All I can say is pinch me.  I am over the moon ......  I can say honestly - I believe we all are.  When I see Brennan and Carson holding her, playing with her and kissing the booboi's away it just melts my heart.  

Brian and I still look at each other in amazement.  Amazement that this girl is ours that she is hysterically funny (she cracks jokes and knows she is doing it lol). She knows she's funny too.  She picks up on what we are doing and saying.  She wants to do and participate in everything the boys do ( soccer, tennis, hip hop etc..). She enjoys the mommy and me classes- especially our Friday classes where she loves the gymnastics apparatus type equipment. 

Today (Wednesday)was very cute.  This morning Miss AG asked to put on the Backpack that her daddy/baba Carried her in all over China.  I put it on her and then she asked for her baby to go in the back.  She walked around the house for awhile until the backpack carrier fell off as it was hue on her.  

Since it was daddy's day off we celebrated family day with daddy's Delious fish tacos.  Next, we went on a family bike ride.  Then finally off to the new Carvel ice cream shop. AG had been asking for ice cream and popcorn all day lol.  I think because she experienced these items in China with such joy.  Anyway - we came home and made popcorn.  She and I bagged it up for snack time.  

At bedtime - I go around and kiss the boys and tell them I love you.  Well,  when I kissed AG she asked to kiss her baby dolls too - so I did.  After awhile I hear her ---  "I love you.  I love you. I love you." I look over and she was kissing her babies over and over saying "I love you I love you". Oh my, this just warms this momma's heart.  Brian and I looked at each other once again and said "we have been blessed". 

Thank you for the doll!

Love - Traci xoxo

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Now that we are home!

Well, now that we have been home a little over a week and the boys have been back at school and daddy back at work- Miss AG and I have been bonding!  

She is pure joy!  Her laughter is infectious. A dream come true.

We are having lots of fun with outings - play dates and mommy and me classes. This bonding time has been what I have been longing for.  :)) this momma's heart could explode!:))

We now play with the little dog Layah but still not the big dog yet!

We say Mickey Mouse, Elmo, Carson, brennan, momma, baba (dad), grandma, grandpa, Diane, Bob, up, please, thank you and many more English words. I still use the translator to tell her things I think she may not be understanding.  This helps to eliminate frustration if there is any.  She really goes along very well.

Picking up the boys from school!
She sleeps amazingly well!  And so peaceful!  We have been blessed!
This girl is so active!  We love Mommy and Me classes!
She loves books, dolls and all toys!  She repeats numbers and the alphabet. 

We pinch ourselves everyday that she is really living with us.  She is so precious!

Thank you God for this sweet blessing of a child.  We are grateful and thankful!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Guangzhou to Hong Kong

I don't think I have mentioned how attached Miss AG is to her daddy.  Oh my heavens this girl screams at the top of her lungs if she is away from daddy.  Our guide had let us know that the child might tAke to one parent over the other.  She wants me to help dress her and take her to the bathroom but that is it!!  Otherwise she swats at me if I come near her and her daddy lol.

Well - today was a travel day.  Exhausting for Brian as this was our girls first travel experience- first time on a plane.  She was not sure what to think.  The plane ride went well all accept for daddy getting up to goto the bathroom and she screamed the whole time he was gone.

Today brought progress though.  After we got to the hotel and met our new guide - I mentioned that AG was super attached to daddy and he would be going back to work when we got home- how would I be able to bond with this child?  Well,  the guide rattled something to AG (spoke to her in Chinese) and whatever she told her worked because from that moment on Miss AG was happy and Joyful to play with all of us.  Even the boys too which was not sure of.

The minute we got in the new hotel room she was beaming and playful with the boys and I playing horsy on Carson...

Brian was not feeling well so I decided to take the kids down to the hotel playground so daddy could rest.  She was happy to go along with the boys and I.  Such progress.

City Tour - in Guangzhou, we toured a Buddist Temple, where we had Miss AG blessed for a great future.  We also toured the Olde Chen House.

Boat Cruise- One evening - all the adoptive families gathered to take a Riverboat Cruise.  We all ordered Papa Johns as the guides mentioned the Americans did not care for the traditional food on the cruise.

Mexican night-  After many days and nights - yes - a Mexican Restaurant was much welcomed!

Mcdonalds - and McDonalds was welcomed as well.  Miss AG enjoyed French Fries and ketchup lol.

US Consulate - it's official - we visited the US Consulate to finalize all paperwork so that when we arrive in the US she will be a US citizen. 

Last stop Hong Kong as our flight back to the US was via Hong Kong.  A trip to Hong Kong Disneyland was a delight!

AG and Daddy
Fun in the Hotel room with Brothers
Olde Chen House
The Blessing
Riverboat cruise.  Two pieces of pizza for this girl!
On the cruise

Hong Kong Disney

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Zhengzhou Fun

Zhengzhou fun

We had a great time visiting a park down the street from the hotel.  It had a nice walking path around a small pond where residents were fishing.  Many like to exercise here or practice Chinese Opera.

In the back of the park they have a few small carnival rides.  AG was happy to ride.

We also enjoyed ping pong with friends from our group and then a bit of swimming later.  We are trying to fill the time as we wait for paperwork to complete.

The food and service at restaurants has been very good and cheap!:))

Thank you so very much for the continued prayers.


Daddy feeding AG
Sleeping on Daddy
Swimming withDaddy
Fun in Zhengzhou park

Family Day

Family Day-

At 9:30a today we went to the civil affairs to pick up our children.  There were a total of 6 families waiting to meet their children.  4 from the same agency and 2 from a different agency.

When we arrived 2 of the children were already there.  Shortly after more children started to come in.  Brian peaked out the window and thought he saw our girl.  He did! Brennan went running out to meet her but she ignored him.  They brought her over to me.  She was not happy.  Her foster care officer told her in Chinese that this was mama and daddy.  They had been preparing her because she carried with her our family pictures.and she pointed to the pictures and knew who we were.

Of course it was hard and lots of crying - fussing.  It is hard because she understands and knows what is going on.

Our Guide told us the ones that cry the hardest intially turn out to be the happiest.

But within a few minutes she settled down and showed us her memory book that the orphanage had made. What a great thing for her to keep.

As the day went on, she went through spurts of crying but at the same time became more and more interactive and playful with us.

Boy does she like to eat.  She has a snack of some sort in her hands.

We ate at the Holiday Inn express with all the other families for dinner after a long day.  We all enjoyed sitting down to chat.  Our girl ate well.  It will be interesting to see how her tastes change.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Misc and preparing for Family Day

I forgot to mention we have a celebrity in the family.  The Chinese people love carson in particular.  Both boys get lots of attention and are ask for a photo shoot - however Carson they want to touch him - smile at him- want a picture.  The blonde hair is the attraction we think.

Today we left Beijing and arrived in Zhengzhou.  All the families were given an update on their child or children that they would be adopting.

We checked into our rooms.  The fathers went to go exchange money at the bank while the moms started to settle in the room.

Next, we all took a trip to Walmart with the guide.  This was an experience.  The Chinese Walmart is different from that of the US because the are in High Rise buildings.  First floor is electronics, second floor produces and food, third floor has clothing and baby items.

We find the snack type items that they offer different.  Chips and goodies come in different or unusual flavors compared to the US.  Oreos come in variety of flavors - chips may come in tomato, cucumber or seaweed flavor.

After our trip to Walmart we headed back to the hotel to have some dinner.  We are at a little Italian restaurant as many of the families were getting tired of the Chinese food already.  It was a very nice change of pace and the food was good.

We then headed back to the room to prepare items for Family Day with our girl.  We were to prepare a diaper bag with some toys and snacks  to have ready and available for when we meet our child.

I am feeling pretty good about everything.  One really never knows until they are in the situation how they might act.  Right now we are feeling prepared as one could be.  Mentally we prepare ourselves for her to like one parent more than the other or more medical conditions than maybe we thought or for her to cry a lot and grieve for her foster family ........

Well - I need to sign off now as Family Day is in just a few short hours!:)

Keep those prayers coming for all of our adjustment -


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Beijing Day 2

Again I want to apologize for the lack of pictures.  Some will be coming soon.  I will figure out how to update and add pictures.

Today we took about a 1.5 hour ride to see the Great Wall.  It was great!  It was so great that the steps were so steep and tall that it was frightening.  We took the optional root/path and headed up another way.  It was much easier as the steps were very doable (at least for us shorter legged folk).

Next, we had lunch at an enamel factory.  We enjoyed lunch then shopping.  Everything was hand painted/hand made such as Christmas ornaments, vases, bowls, tea sets etc.....

Next we saw the Olympics stadiums, the Cube, and the Birds nest.

We had a quick break then headed out to an Acrobatic Show.

This show was amazing!

Hat juggling. Umbrella twirling (with feet), motorcycles in the ball, a girl who climbed up on about 10 chairs stacked and did various balancing acts etc.  So much fun!  Very exciting!  Kept me on the edge of my seat.

After the show we were all tuckered out and decided to call it a night to back up to the next city.

We will head to The Henan Province to pick up our girl on Sunday and actually pick her up on Monday morning.  So excited!  I have to keep pinching myself that this is real.

Next Post Zhengzhou!

Prayers needed for safe travels to the next city and for all of our health and adjustment as we grow our family.

Traci Xoxo

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Made it

We made it through our flights, customs and baggage no problem. Our guide was waiting for us once we left baggage claim.

I did not sleep much on the flights but feel pretty good at this point.

We were the first family to arrive of 3 others meeting at this point, so we had to wait a bit until the other families arrived.

I have to say, we have the best traveling boys ever!:)). They both slept a bit on the plane and ate well.

Our guide gave our plans and list of tours while we are in Beijing.  More details later.

Anyway,  we are all checked into our hotel.  It is very interesting.  The rooms are very small and what would be 2 double beds in US is two twin beds in China.  It will be interesting but we will work it out.  We have vowed to roll with it.

Next, we decided to settle in a bit. Let's get out the international electric converter so we can charge phones etc...  Well, Boom!  Power outage.  We had to call the front desk.  We were very surprised.  They understood English well.  And up to the room came a crew checking over everything speaking Manderian.  The front desk staff speak English but not those who service the rooms so we had to point and show them what went wrong in a big charades type act.  I found it quit comical.

Anyway, we are taking all in stride.
Until tomorrow-
Love -
Traci XOXO

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

And we are off......

Uneventful early morning, packing up the van for our ride to the airport.  Very excited, nervous .........
A bundle of emotions.

My sister Diane was the best to come pick us up and deliever us to the airport at 4am.  What a sis!

Boys are super excited.  Yesterday they kept telling me that they wanted to go to bed at 5:30 or 6p.  I thought no way.  They did shower early - however actually falling asleep took time 8:30-9p.  They were wound up and excited.  :)))

Please continue to pray through this journey.

Love and thank you-

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Shower for Our Girl

Today I was blown away by the wonderful shower friends and family had orchestrated.  I knew I was getting together with a couple of friends today to catch up.  Well, let's just say my hubby mentioned something about a possible party as he was in on inviting some ladies apparently.  I really thought it might be a very small get together with a few ladies from Bible Study.  Much to my surprise a dear friend that I had not seen arrived and I was in shock.  Then  in comes my Mom and My Sister.  I had no clue that they were in on this too.  My !   I had no clue that my mom was driving down ................  I think my mouth was on the ground in shock!

Anyway we had a lovely lunch and chatting time at Panera with some Fab. ladies that I love and admire very much! :)

Alivia Grace received some lovely gifts - Clothes, Purse, Bathtub toy (this is no ordinary bathtub toy I must say.  It is a doll that's head blows bubbles out.  Um do you think I am ever going to get the child out of the tub with an amazing toy like that, Yah Right!), Nightlight Stuffed animal, gift cards, books, activity books, light up back pack ......  All I have to say is this chic is going to be one fashioneista fashionable gal ;). 

We are so grateful and appreciative of the Wonderful people God has placed in our lives and forever thankful for their generosity and love. 

Now off to keep packing.  Sweet Girl will be in our Arms in 9 days. 

Traci xoxo

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

We are coming soon....

Tonight as I lay the boys down for bedtime, I went through the usual routine of tucking in, kisses, singing and prayer.  As I was praying over family, friends etc. Carson interrupts with "Do not forget to tell God to keep watching over Our Girl until we get there.  We are coming real soon to get her."

I have to tell you, this process has been most difficult for Carson to adjust.  We ask "Are you ready for your sister?" and he would reply "No or Not Yet".  Boy, have we come a long way.  This is the first sign that I have seen from him outwardly that he is excited, concerned etc. for his sister.

Brennan always asks questions "What will it be like when we bring home our sister?" or "I know you will be a good mom to her because you take good care of us."   I am so glad he approves!:) 

You just never know what your kids are thinking and then they surprise you with words that let you know they understand..................

We are all very excited and a bit nervous for this journey. 

We are coming to get you sweet girl!  We Love You!


Thursday, February 20, 2014


Today our Consulate Appointment was confirmed.  It would not have taken so long, however we had to change travel dates due to hubby's work.  The change delayed our Confirmation. 

Anyhow - we are moving right along.  Time to book some flights!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Woohoo - TA Baby!

We are going to China.

Happy Valentines Day to Us!  What a wonderful GIFT!

Much to my surprise -
Today I received an email stating that China approved us to pick up our girl. 

She is ready to go. 

I was not really thinking that it would happen this soon.  Maybe if we were lucky by Valentines Day  but more than likely Feb. 17th or 20th.  Talk about surprise to ME! 

Well, let me tell you - I do not do well with surprises.  So, I started to read the email (the boys and I were at Target getting Valentines gifts for school) and in shock put my phone down because I could not believe what I was reading.  We have been waiting for almost a year now to hear this news.  I did not know if I was going to faint, cry, laugh or throw up (in Target non the less) - lol.  A basket of emotions came over me.   

So, I decided I would wait until I got home to read all of the details where I would be comfortable on the couch.  :)

Keep the prayers coming -

Off to plan a TRIP

Love - Traci XOXO

Friday, February 7, 2014

We can feel it coming...........

Good news - Article 5 was dropped off today despite Chinese New Year, which means they reopened.  Yay!  Now we wait for the Go Ahead. 

Packing is underway. 

We are ready to go get our baby girl!

Bring on the TA!

I will leave you with my fav - Piano Guys on the Great Wall!



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Article 5

In the middle of the night I woke and could not go back to sleep. I checked my email and to my surprise found an email from the Consulate in Guangzhou, China about our Article 5. This is the last step before we receive Travel Approval. TA will be delayed a bit however as Jan. 31st starts Chinese New Year. Everything shuts down until Feb. 6th from my understanding. So we will hold and be patient. It is getting so close! .

We also received a recent update on our baby girl.  It stated that her health is good, she is attending preschool, potty trained but still needs diaper at night, she is active and stubborn (she will fit right in!) She eats congee, noodles, dumplings, rice and juice.

So,  I just received an email confirming the delay of our travel approval.  Our article 5 most likely will not reach the Consulate until Feb. 7th after Chinese New Year.  Boo!  Then it will be 2-4 weeks before we get travel approval.  There is still a very small chance that we could leave before the end of February - but looking slim. 

Prayers for a Fast TA.
Prayers for continued health for all.
Prayers for Travel Preparation.
Prayers for our baby girl and her foster family.

Thank you.
Traci xoxox

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Wow!  A very busy holiday season and winter break is over.  The boys  headed back to school today.  Not easy as we had been living up the winter break with staying up late and sleeping in.  It was rather tough to get them to sleep last night and consequently we were late to get up.  Surprisingly, they were ready to go and ready to cooperate quickly as we dressed quickly, made breakfast and packed lunches in no time at all. 

Winter break was filled with a wonderful Christmas spending time with my sisters and family.  The children enjoyed playing with gifts and spending time with their cousins.  The highlight was my sister finding my 2 year old nephew in the closet choking down a pack of gum.  Let's just say the mama said "no gum because you will swallow it" and sure enough he was in the closet having at it.  Lol.  Next highlight was the band that the Cousins formed.  Let's just say my ears hurt from 2 little kids playing electric guitar, 9 yo on piano (thank God it came with headphones) and a 2 yo on microphone.  Lol.  Good times!  Lastly we had a nice trip to the beach.  The weather was a bit chilly and overcast but non the less a nice a day with Fam followed by dinner at  The Old Keylime House.  This was a fun spot.  We had never been to this Key West style Open Air restaurant.  It took family from Indiana to drag us their.  Lol. 

One day, Brian and I took the boys to see the ICE show in Orlando.  This was amazing and very cold (9 degrees).  I do not think we were really expecting that.  They give you a long winter coat to put on but we needed gloves, hats and/or ski masks.  The ICE sculptures were amazing.  The nativity scene was my favorite. 

That about sums up Winter break.  A few days of activities and mostly home just relaxing or working.

In the meantime, we are still very much working through the adoption process.  Yesterday was another notable day of progress.  We received 800 PA which means the US government will allow our girl to immigrate to the US.  With only  2-3 small steps and then the Big TA or Travel Approval coming, excitement is growing.  Time to start packing and gathering all the items for the trip in one area or room in the house.  Plus more paperwork of course! ;)

Please, we ask for your prayers as we continue to prepare for this journey and for our daughters transition into our family.  We thank you and greatly appreciate it.

Traci xo