Monday, July 30, 2007

VISA's are on their way!

I received a cryptic message from our courier, Carol, today regarding our visa's.  She said that she had something "unusual" she wanted to talk with me about and asked if I would call her.  Well, that certainly got my attention!
When I called, Carol asked if it was OK if she HAND DELIVERED our VISA's as she was going to be not only in Georgia this coming weekend, but actually in Dallas, Georgia!!! 
What a small world that she would not only know someone here but would actually be visiting!
So, we will get to meet wonderful Carol this weekend AND get our VISA's---you can't get any better service than this!
On another note, we still have NOT received Analiese's passport.  I'm sure it is taking longer to process because she has never had a passport before but I am getting anxious to have everything taken care of so that when we get our TA we are READY!
I am back to work as of today.  Summer is over, it sure did fly by.  Geez, I remember as a kid that the end of July was just the middle of the summer---where oh where did those days go?  OUCH!  I must be getting old, I'm talking about the "good old days"!  

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Where is Matthew going to sleep??

Oh yes, it's that time; nesting time of course!  As it gets closer and closer to our LOA and actual travel, I find myself organizing, purging and rearranging.  
This weekend Dave and I fretted and debated over where our sweet boy was going to sleep when he came home.  
It's not that we don't have enough bedrooms; we have the Tinkerbell room for Analiese, the "Tween" room for Sarah and the "Sweet, feminine" room for Grace.  Oh and let's not forget the LARGEST of them all--THE PLAYROOM.
We discussed moving Analiese into Grace's room, but I was reluctant to put up the bunk beds as the ceiling fan would be oh-so-close to whomever slept on top!
We discussed bringing up the queen bed from the basement bedroom but then realized that opening the drawers on the dresser would be very difficult with such a large bed in the room.
I even called my friend, Beth, to inquire whether she still had the 
toddler bed she purchased from us (we originally bought it for Grace who refused to use it for anything more than a doll bed).  We thought we could put the baby bed in with Grace--but quickly nixed that idea!
We also discussed re-doing the Tinkerbell room for Matthew, putting up the bunk beds, and having Analiese share with him. I really didn't like that idea as I felt poor Analiese would not have anything of her own!
Such a dilemma we faced.  Until 
Dave had a FABULOUS idea!  His suggestion?  Why not put two of the girls into the LARGE playroom and move the playroom into Grace's room.  Oh, yes!!!  The only drawback is that we never intended for that room to be a bedroom and did not have a closet put in.  Well, we did some research and we can get some wardrobes at IKEA (for flexibility) and the girls can have a great room!  
When we presented the girls with the idea, Sarah and Grace immediately said they wanted to share and began planning their room!  
I set out to move around Analiese's room, put on her new comforter and now that room is DONE!
Poor Dave, he just re-did Sarah's room for her birthday LAST year!  He doesn't seem to mind....I chose the paint for Matthew's room.  We actually are going to paint it a medium shade of gray with 2 deep blue stripes going around the walls to break it up.  We can then bring in anything that Matthew wants---red accents will look great!
Today Dave just finished painting the living room while we wait for the hardwood floors to be put in (we pulled up the carpet--very LONG story).  We are making that room an office as we never used the living room!  So, one room just about done...then we'll have Matthew's room, the bathroom, the girl's room, finish the...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Since the price of the visa's for China are set to increase on Aug 1, we made the decision to apply for ours prior to that date.  The only problem?  Sarah and Analiese's passports had not arrived as of this past Monday.  
Dave and I made the decision to send off our passports, as well as Grace's, for the visa's and pay the extra fee for the other two.  So, I filled out the visa applications, got the money order, wrote out a check to the courier and FedEx'd everything to Washington, DC on Monday morning.  What arrived in the mail on Tuesday afternoon???  Yup, Sarah's passport (even though we applied for Analiese's one week earlier than Sarah's).
In a panic I telephoned the courier, who just happened to be running late that date, (thank you my guardian angel!) and asked if she could hold her package for Sarah's passport---she agreed that she would (thank you Carol!!!!!).  
In a rush I printed off another application, filled it out, grabbed the courier's address, a passport photo and drove like a crazy person to the mailing office.   The gentleman there was so AWESOME.  Some how, on the way to the store, I misplaced the mailing address (and had a major senior moment when I couldn't remember the name of the courier's business) but the gentleman was able to search his computer records (as I mailed the other package just the day before).  I also left the house with NO cash and handed him my credit card for the money order at which time he asked for cash-- I offered to run across the street to the bank and use the ATM but he told me "no" he would shift some money around and accept my credit card.
Miracles of miracles, our visa applications have been safely delivered to the Chinese Consulate and we should have them in our hands by Friday---all of us except for Analiese.  We'll have to pay the higher fee (double what it is now) for hers.
The good news is that Sarah's passport took less than 8 weeks to be processed.  Maybe things are looking up in that area.  Let's see how long it takes for Analiese's.  We also have not received Sarah's original birth certificate back.  For Analiese we had to give them her birth certificate, original certificate of citzenship AND her chinese passport.  I'm sure that is what has delayed hers.
In a nutshell, WE ARE READY TO GO TO CHINA!!!!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

UPDATES and Ramblings

We saw Dr. Williams yesterday and yes Analiese will have to have another surgery and no it will not have to be the tongue-flap surgery.  Yippee for that!  Dr. Williams believes and is confident that Analiese has enough healthy tissue now to close the very small hole (about the size of a pencil eraser).  
The doctor did echo my feelings of little successes; we started with no healthy tissue and 2 large holes, we now have healthy tissue and one small hole.  It is something to celebrate!  However, it is difficult to hear that your baby has to undergo ONE more procedure.  We will have 6 months of healing before another surgery is scheduled; more than likely around Thanksgiving again.  
Oh, we did get GOOD news;  Analiese can chew BUBBLEGUM!!!!!  I forgot to ask the doctor during the exam about the gum so Analiese ran down the hall to Dr. Williams and said, "can I have bubble-gum?"  It was so touching to see the surgeon bend all the way down to Analiese's level and ask, "what is it that you want sweetheart?"  When Analiese asked again, "can I have bubblegum?" Dr. Williams looked at me for help.  I repeated her question and he announced, "Absolutely!".
Analiese just said, "Wahoo" and skipped all the way back to the sounds of AWWWW from every nurse there!  It was a sight to behold.

On another topic.....Matthew has confirmed that he  received his packages from us and has seen pics of his family.  With that he ran off to play---what a boy!
We've been told that he is not nearly as big as he looks in our photos; the small chair and the little children just make it look that way.  On the other hand, he does have a "belly" and certainly has not missed a meal!
Dave and I were talking about the exercise he'll get in our family.  While the girls are dancing Matthew will have his choice of sports, Tae Kwon Do, tumbling or whatever he wants.  

We've just become aware of the increase of the cost of the Chinese Visa's---increased from $50 to $100 as of Aug 1.  We have not received Sarah nor Analiese's passports so we will be forced to pay the higher price but for the other three we are rushing to get everything in the mail to the courier.  The visas are good for six months so we'll be fine if we get them now.  I'm wondering if I can send the bill for the additional $100 to our legislators and tell them to pay it!

Grace and Analiese had camp this past week; tumbling and princess.  Today was the performance for the parents. Grace was fantastic!  Unfortunately she is so hard on herself; if she didn't do things perfectly today she was so close to tears!  Analiese on the other hand was just so overjoyed to perform and that we were there to see her.  Everytime she had an opportunity she ran to me and hugged me.  I just couldn't help but laugh and smile.  She is so infectious!   I think Analiese is just happy to be a part of things that she doesn't pay much attention to how well she performs--what an inspiration!  We all could take a lesson from her and start enjoying things more and quit worrying about how we all look!

I have one more week left of vacation and then it is back to work!  This summer has flown by, we've been so busy.  The girls have kept me running as has surgery and trips out of town; one to Michigan and the other to Florida.  This past week we've had so much rain. The grass looks great but we are missing the pool.  Hopefully this coming week will be lots nicer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


What a wonderful surprise to open my mail and see CURRENT photos of Matthew!  Thanks so much to Lynn who just returned home with Malone (Matthew's best friend!!) for sharing these with us.  

Off To See the Surgeon

Tomorrow we go to see Dr. Williams, the surgeon who has performed both procedures to close Analiese's palate.  Unfortunately it doesn't look as though the small hole that has developed is going to repair itself. So tomorrow we will have to discuss our options.
Dave and I discussed what we want to see and of course we want full closure on the palate.  The orthodontic appliance that Analiese wore for a year helped with the nasal air flow but she really disliked wearing it.  
We just think it so important that we have a resolution prior to Analiese going into kindergarten (in 2008).  Right now, even though her speech is not clear, her peer relationships have not suffered.  However, as she gets older and her peers become more articulate there is a very real possibility that her peers will either become impatient with trying to understand her or even start to make fun of her.  I cannot bear the thought of our sweet Analiese having to go through that.
I must say, with each surgery we have had our successes.  The first surgery was able to implant some heathy tissue; this last one closed up one hole completely and the majority of the other.  We are taking baby steps but we are getting closer to complete closure!
On the other hand, this surgery saw Analiese regress emotionally.  She has not wanted me to be out of her sight.  She has yet to sleep a full week in her bed alone; she comes into our bed several times.  At the beach, one night last week, Dave took the kids to look for shells.  Not 20 minutes later he brought Analiese back, crying and sobbing that she wanted to be with me; she missed me. This past Monday when I went to drop her off at Princess camp, at the dance studio where she danced all last year AND was a regular visitor in her sisters' classes she cried hysterically.  She would not allow me to leave, nor would she allow me out of her sight.  The past two days she has allowed me to leave but runs to me immediately upon my return.
So I ask that you keep Analiese in your prayers.  We so want her to get through all of this with little or no lasting effects.  She deserves to be happy; we love her so much!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Three Sisters Just WAITING for their brother!

Sarah, Grace and Analiese had a great time at the beach this past week.  They certainly cannot wait for Matthew to come home and be a part of the activities!

Grace is beside herself with the thought that she will be a TWIN sister.  See, Matthew is only 8 weeks older than Grace so they will be "virtual twins".  They are from the same geographical area; southern coastal china.  I'll have to post a map and note the provinces the kids are from. Sweet Sarah is our Georgia peach; born here but Yankee at heart!

I hope to put Grace and Matthew in the same first grade classroom.  I think it will help with not only Matthew's language acquisition but just the transition in general.  Grace is so sweet, not overbearing, she would be such a great help to him without trying to "do it all" for him!  We keep praying for September travel so Matthew doesn't miss out on too much school.  C'mon LOA!!!!!!!!  Day 32 of our wait....

Monday, July 16, 2007

See how Matthew has changed!

  These photos were taken in 2005 by a visitor to the SWI.  Matthew was only 5 years old; he looks like a baby!            


Now that we have our log-in-date for our dossier, I decided to create a blog for the remainder of our journey.

We know that Matthew has been told he has a family; we just haven't heard his reaction!  We sent a package with a photo-album of us; again we haven't heard if it was received.  Hopefully it was and Matthew is now dreaming and planning about coming to the USA!

Right now we are waiting, waiting and waiting.  Our dossier is in China; our log-in-date (LID) is June 15th (Happy Birthday Sarah!).  Our next step is the Letter of Acceptance (LOA); basically a commitment to adopt Matthew.  That can come anywhere from 70-100 days from your LID.  Right now we are on day 31 of our wait.  Once we get the LOA we wait (AGAIN!) for our Travel Approval (TA) which is the final paper needed for us to GET ON THAT PLANE!

For now we are keeping busy with vacation, dance camps and daily life.  In the next few weeks we hope to move Analiese into Grace's bedroom and redecorate the "Tinkerbell" room for Matthew.  Right now I'm looking for ideas; I know that Matthew's favorite color is red so that color will certainly be incorporated into the design.  We also have to redo the bathroom.  Somehow I don't think our son will be thrilled with a hot pink bathroom decorated with flowers, bees and butterflys! 

Having a boy around is going to be very different for the Evans family.  We are so used to dance classes, princess dress-up, painting our nails and running around naked (the kids, not mom!) that we have some readjusting in our future.  Dave has always said that he feels like he lives in a sorority house....Matthew will change all of that!

I promise to go back and give some history of how we realized that we were Matthew's forever family; what a great story!  Thanks for stopping by and y'all come back now!