A night in the neighborhood . . . . This was our first year to not have all of them with us. Conner had to be at a birthday party at 7, he was a "Zombie Lawyer." So, by the time we got back to our neighborhood it was really dark and we hadn't hit a single house yet! We got busy!
Ethan wanted to be a shark first - couldn't find one. So, I took him to the Disney store and told him that he could have whatever costume he wanted (safe costumes there, not too gorey, or evil, and they were %50 off!) we came out with a Mickey Mouse costume for Ethan, and a Minnie Mouse costume for Carlie. Won't that be so cute mom thinks!? I just had to get a long sleeved black shirt and some black tights (I'm thinking as I'm buying the tights that he will definitely not be happy about the tights, but I want the costume to be PERFECT) to go under the Mickey costume and we were set. So, Halloween night rolls around and we are getting dressed. He had on a blue and green soccer type shorts outfit that he wore to preschool and he was stressing that he couldn't put the Mickey costume on OVER the soccer shorts ensemble - we hadn't even attempted the tights and long sleeved black shirt yet. Somehow I talked him into the long-sleeved shirt, tights, and Mickey costume. He had it on for about 10 minutes and just couldn't stand it, and I tried everything to distract him, but it was not happening. He finally stripped and put the blue and green outfit back on stating, "I am NOT going trick-or-treating! I am NOT going to get candy!" Jeesh. In the meantime the other kids are all getting their costumes on, I'm doing Carlie's bow for her mouse ears, and then Nicci's hair, Conner's in the bathroom putting on his face paint (don't call it make-up because he's not a girl) and Ethan is watching. He gets the tights back on (the LAST thing I EVER expected him to wear!), then the Mickey Mouse costume went on over the black tights and the blue and green soccer shirt. He put on the ears and the black shoes and he was set. Hey, I can live with this! He went willingly and it was his idea! He'll outgrow this phase. I'm not worried. We do our best to handle it with as much patience, guidance, and humor as we can, all the while making him think that he's in control. When we got home he IMMEDIATELY stripped and put on the blue and green soccer clothes.
Our third child, Ethan (also known as Diggy), has "issues" with clothing. Ever since we told him we were going to the beach this past June he has worn a bathing suit - I didn't tell him we were going until about mid-May because he would obsess about it. Now, I don't totally let him have control over what he wears. There are two rules/guidelines/boundaries that he has: no bathings suits at preschool, and no bathings suits at church. He knows these rules very well, not that he doesn't try to get away with wearing a "ba soup" to the forbidden places. Everywhere else is fair game - the zoo, the grocery store, outside with/without water, the mall. Bathings suits make good pajamas it turns out! Some days he does try to make the rules work for him, he'll even try changing to a different bathing suit thinking that "maybe it's this particular bathing suit my mom doesn't like?" And when he comes home from a long day at preschool or church he strips as fast as he can into a bathing suit. I'm not sure what the winter will hold for us as far as clothing choices. I've been trying to transfer this obsession to those slicky basketball pants, but so far it's a no go. He's such a cutie, the little stinker!
We took a little trip to the Pumpkin Patch in Bixby today. It was a little chilly, but that didn't stop us. We climbed on some really big pumpkins, fed some animals, the big kids went through this hay bale maze thing, and then we each picked out a pumpkin. It took some longer than others . . . .
Me and some of my best chicas at the concert! It just so happens that these three wonderful ladies (and their families) wrote letters of recommendation for us for our adoption! Thanks girlies!
The concert was truly amazing, one of those "gotta see'em before you die" concerts. The whole place would just fill with praise and everyone would be on their feet just "feelin' it." I am so glad I got to experience it. They write such beautiful songs that are so relatable and personal and spirit-filled. I went to church last night!
If you go to Google and type in "Lori (your name) needs" it will come up with a list of things you need (thanks Diane!). Here is what I need according to Google:
1. Lori needs to vent (not sure what this is about, don't think I really do). 2. Lori needs loads of laughter (always, can't get enough, good for you). 3. Lori needs help (hear that hubbie?). 4. Lori needs friends (I'm doing pretty good in that department, I can barely keep up with the ones I have!) 5. Lori needs a gelato machine. (Gelato is good, but not sure I actually need the machine to make the stuff) 6. Lori's needs won't go away. (duh.) 7. Lori needs some heroes! (might I add in the adoption world at the CCAA!) 8. Lori needs a blogger. (think I'm doing fine on my own thank you very much) 9. Lori needs sex. (WHAT!? I am not making this up! But I think I'm doing . . . never mind, none of your business!) 10. My favorite: Lori needs to be held accountable for her behavior. (whatever!)
Try it, it's funny, not a fortune teller, get a brain!
We were about halfway between the back half and the front half (isn't that what halfway means?) - look at all those people Buddy Walkin!
Some Chiefs players were there to take pictures and greet the walkers. Rudy Niswanger is #64 and Brian Waters is #54, they were really nice guys (and HUGE!). It's funny to see pro-football players and realize how huge they are, but I guess I would be the same way if I saw some jockeys.
This little girl was so cute! She WAS a Disney Radio dancer! She whipped that coat off and started getting busy - I'm gonna take her home, too!
More pictures of the Buddy Walk! Ethan actually got on a horse. When we go to the barn every week he usually won't even touch the horses, but he got right on this time. Nicci is a race car driver! Team Ashtin!
We have some good friends who live in Kansas City. They have three BEEutiful children! Caden is 5, Finley is 3, and Ashtin is 1 and they are some of the QUTist children you will ever see. Ashtin is a child with Down's Syndrome - she's a child first, the Down's Syndrome comes last! She is absolutely adorable and squishy and sweet and smart. Did I just say smart? Yes. This little girl is so smart, she loves books, she knows several signs, she waves, she relates to people, she can melt your heart, and I am going to steal her one day (like I don't have enough on my plate already!). This weekend was the "Buddy Walk" in Kansas City. Families from all over the Kansas and Missouri area gather to walk and play with their "Buddy" - ours was Ashtin. I was amazed at how many people were there! The purpose of the whole event is to raise awareness and $$ for Down's Syndrome. We got there early, set up our little tent, then went exploring . . . .
We continued to work on our paperwork for what is called "Application Part II." It is a VERY lengthy process involving bank statements, background checks, home studies, pictures of us, pictures of rooms in our house, biographies of Lyndal and I, health checks, letters of recommendation from friends, etc. Gathering and writing all of that information took a couple of months and we finally hand delivered it to our adoption agency, Dillon International, right here in Tulsa. We had to wait for approval from them before we could proceed with our dossier paperwork. After a little while they approved us! The dossier paper work began, which was similar to the App. II paperwork - a dossier is basically a picture of your family on paper. With the dossier finished we were DTC (dossier to China) with a group of families from our agency, then we waited to hear our LID (log in date - the date your count up begins) which is 12-11-06. Now we wait. Our lives were going along as normal growing three children, school, work, church. We had decided that our adopted daughter would be named Avery, her middle name would have to wait. We needed to see what her orphanage gave her as a name (they usually use the name of the orphanage director or the name of their orphanage as their last name, and their first name is something to describe their looks, hopes for that child, or personality) and whether or not we wanted that as part of her American name. So, she had a name, we called her that when we referred to her in conversation, when we thought of her. She was an actual person with a name who lived in our hearts, she existed, we were already attached . . . Then a wonderful little blessing named Carlie Grace happened to us! We were fearful of what might happen with our paperchase to bring Avery home with the addition of Carlie, but God had a plan, as He always does. Our adoption agency had us pull our dossier out of line until Carlie was a few months old, she was born Oct. 1, 2007. Dillon waited to see how everything was with this new addition then they came and did a home study update. We were now sending another letter to the China Center of Adoption Affairs to request our dossier be put back in line! It took several months to hear back. They could've done so many different things with our paperwork: not let us back in line, put us in line some time in 2008 (we would have been WAY at the bottom of the pack), put us in sometime between 12-11-06 and the current date, or leave us right where we were. THEY LEFT US RIGHT WHERE WE WERE! GOD is so good, He's in charge even in this communist country. We did not lose any ground at all, we are still LID 12-11-06! It is an amazing ride. I know it's not finished, there's still more to tell, but it will have to wait as it unfolds. The CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs) is moving extremely slow, they have matched families with a child up to LID 2-15-06. They send out referrals about every 30 days. Everyone watches to see what the next cut-off date is just holds their breath praying that they will have sent out 3 months worth of referrals rather than 10 days worth. No one knows why it is so slow now. When we first started there was a 6 month wait, now it's about 3+ years. We KNOW God has a daughter IN CHINA for us. The pieces of this puzzle are just fitting together so perfectly so far. When I think of the possibility of switching countries there is no stirring in my heart for Vietnam or Korea or India, Russia, or Africa. She's in China and when we see her face it will all be so perfect, just like the last piece in this giant puzzle. When you hear people use the phrase "the miracle of adoption" they aren't kidding. So, here's my plug: If you have a "something" in you that says you have another child our there somewhere, take a step in faith and see where God leads you in adoption.
I am a wife to a wonderful man, and a mother of five beautiful, healthy children. If I had time, I would get organized, read, research stuff, exercise (pressing on!), and take more naps. We live in the great state of Oklahoma. Life is good. God is great!
A List of Common Adoption World Abbreviations and Terms
SWI - Social Welfare Institution, the orphanage, but also sometimes an orphanage and a home for the elderly
SN - Special Need, some of the families request a child with a special need, we have chosen not to
LID - Log In Date, the date your dossier is officially logged in in China
Travel Group - All the other families who have the same DTC/LID date as we do and we will all travel together unless one of them chooses a child with a special need. Usually all the referrals in a group come from the same orphanage, which will be another thing we will have in common with our travel group.
I-171h - a PPP that we waited 6 weeks on so we could finish our dossier
USCIS - United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
Bethany - Our adoption case worker at Dillon who is very patient and has a great sense of humor
Dillon - Our adoption agency, which we love, is based in Tulsa, but serves many parts of the country, and it's Christian based
PPP - Pretty Peace of Paper, once you have received the pesky one it becomes the pretty one ;)
PPP - Pesky Piece of Paper, which is any piece of important paper you are waiting on
Referral - The first picture you see of the child you have been matched with and a brief medical history