Friday, June 29, 2012


Wow! I like how fast that was. I'm sure the wait from here feels like an eternity again, but that wasn't so bad. According to the blog China Adoption this is the time line.

So according to this, we are at best 6 weeks away. But basically all I do now is wait. Hey, I have gotten really good at that ... phew, I can do this.  That means the soonest we would leave to get our cutie patootie is the middle of August. 

I know this is a big pipe dream, but I really want to be here when the kids start school. They don't start until the 29th of August, so in a best case scenario ... there is a chance right? I know there are more important things than the first day of school, but Lydia will only have one first day in first grade, Brig has a teacher who apparently only likes girls for 4th grade - wonderful! I'd kind of like to be around to kiss the hurt away. Lincoln is starting a new school again.  He gave me a hand written note each day after school that said, NO SCHOOL since moving to Utah, so I would like to be around to give him a pep talk. And Cora is starting 8th grade. It all feels like a big deal. Anyway for what it is worth, that would be the ideal.

On a side note, our cute Lyds started dancing with Ballet West Academy yesterday. Stop it! She looked so cute and she loved it! She said the only sad thing is that she wanted to dance every day, not just one day a week. If any of you have watched the t.v. series Breaking Pointe, she dances in the same studios as the Ballet West professionals - pretty fun!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hearts and Prayers

Our hearts and prayers are with our dear friends in Colorado Springs right now.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I-800 and Tabiona

Good news! We received our I-800 pre-approval. We are getting so close now that I actually bought John some clothes. I like the pace things are moving right now - although I am craving more updates and pictures of him. 

We went camping in Tabiona, Utah this past weekend. A couple of years ago, we bought some property up there, and thought we should start getting the kids excited about our land. We had such a good time. It is so beautiful up there and we LOVE being in the mountains. Here are some highlights

The river is so low and wide. 
The cold water felt like heaven on our feet!

How sweet is this. I was following behind these two and they spontaneously held hands. These two really love each other, and this is one of the ways they express it. Love it!

 We had the kids gather stones to make a fire pit on our land.
It might not look like much, but they had to trudge 
through the brush to get the rocks to the right spot. 
We were proud parents!

We drove the ATV all around and made some more great memories. Cora, Brig and Lydia all drove the ATV by themselves. We were with them the whole time, but they were driving.

This is such a cute shot. Kate is wearing a t-shirt from 147 Million Orphans. On the front of the t-shirt it says 147 Million Orphans, and on the back it says Feed 1. I love this company. Their proceeds go to help orphans. I am addicted to their shirts and honestly they are all I wear now. It does my heart good to see Kate wearing one for her "twin" who is on the way.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Many of you know about our sweet Lincoln, but for those of you who do not, he is our 11-year old cutie who also has severe autism. There is no sweeter child on this planet! He has been such a treasure for our family. As a whole, we have all grown in so many ways. I love watching our other children with him, holding his hand, gently encouraging him to stay calm, and including him in some of their activities.

Autism comes with it's own set of trials, the biggest of which lately has been Lincoln's need to escape or as Winnie the Pooh would say "go on an explore." We recently moved into our new home, new state, and new schools.

Immediately we put up a wooden fence to encourage Lincoln to stay in the back yard. After all we have almost an acre of land, many trees, tons of secret places to let your imagination run wild, a canal, a trampoline, swing sets, play house, fort and a huge shed that the kids call the barn. You would think that would be enough .... right? Nope! Apparently the world outside of our house is much more fun and exciting. He has found any and every way to escape. After two hours of looking for him the other day I decided to head over to the police station. Thankfully my mom found him a mile or so from our home. Thank you mom!!!! He figured out how to get out of a window.

I share this because I am so anxious and ready to be in China to get John, and equally anxious to leave Lincoln with someone when he is too smart for his own good. I am sure it will all work out, but I am a little nervous. I was having a conversation with my dad tonight in his backyard, and he pointed out the fact that I stopped the conversation to look for Lincoln about every 30 seconds. Yeah! A disjointed conversation is MUCH better than a search party for two hours :).

Rick and I really want Lincoln to have the freedom of an 11-year old boy, and we want to keep him safe. I don't think the two really work hand in hand right now.

There have been many things in our adoption process that have been road blocks or that have made the process really slow. I like to pride myself in thinking that no one has gotten their paperwork done faster than I did. Our home study interview was done very quickly, only to lose our beloved social worker and her family in a tragic accident. Not only were we saddened and devastated by their loss, but this obviously delayed us a great deal as the home study interview had to be repeated. No matter how quickly I finished the paperwork on my end, China took their own sweet time in getting our approvals - like 110 day wait on the LOA!

I am pointing this all out because I think these delays although some obviously tragic and others just annoying, we are going to China on God's schedule and not our own. I'm so grateful that we are getting the opportunity to really secure our backyard and home, so that Lincoln will be safe and whoever helps us out won't go completely mental while we are gone for two weeks in China. Let's all just pray that we can stay one step ahead of Linky boy and keep that inquisitive cutie safe and happy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jackson Hole Wyoming

We are having such a great time being close to so many beautiful places to visit. This weekend we went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I love that town. We took the camper and stayed in Star Valley Wyoming.

(On a side note, we got the camper so that we could have cheap family trips while Rick is doing his fellowship. We had to fill the car up 5 times!!!! That is NOT cheap, and it cost $40 a night at the RV park - again, that doesn't seem all that cheap - fun but not cheap.)

Lydia felt pretty sick the first morning, but was back to herself in the afternoon. So we spent most of the day in Jackson Hole.

We came across this store with all of the animals. It was really amazing to be that close to a standing grizzly and elk - slightly intimidating. 

We spent a huge chunk of the day at a park with a little stream.(Lincoln was in heaven.)

Then we hiked around the mountain at Grand Teton Village. Most of these pictures were taken by Lydia - not too bad. I forgot how much I LOVE the mountains. There were so many streams, wildflowers and amazing smells.

I think my favorite part of the trip was sharing something that Rick and I love so much with our kids. They really enjoyed it, and even our 13-year old Cora kept saying how much she like Jackson. (That is even with me asking her to shut off her ipod for the drive .... impressive!) Brig LOVED the gun shoot out (Kate hated it), Lincoln loved the streams and the little girls loved the animals. Overall - really successful!

Friday, June 15, 2012


Every once in a while I can really see God's hand in my life. I'm sure I could see it more if I weren't so distracted by everyday life. However, sometimes He makes the blessings so clear that I would be remiss if I didn't stop, acknowledge and be grateful.

As many of you know, we recently moved from Colorado Springs to Salt Lake City. I was a little worried about moving because Lincoln had such an amazing group of people surrounding him at his school called Foothills Elementary. I was worried about moving the kids in the middle of the school year, and worried that Utah would not be culturally diverse enough for our sweet John. Let's just say that there are a lot of Caucasians around here.

The kids have done remarkably well - including our now 8th grader (I'm sure we all remember 7th grade - making new friends in the middle of the school year is nothing short of amazing). Lincoln just got accepted into a charter school K-12 just for kids on the autism spectrum, where he will be surrounded by people who won't be shocked by him and may even totally get him.

And one of the biggest blessings of all is that I have now met three families in our new neighborhood that have adopted from China, 3 other families who have adopted from other places, and last night I heard about a family that lives almost in our back yard that have adopted two girls from China (one who is John's age). How are these things anything short of a miracle? We have at least 7 families all within a block of us who have adopted - 4 families from China! I feel so humbled and watched over.

One of my favorite things about meeting families who have adopted is that instant bonding that occurs. I feel it when I read blogs from other families who have gone or who are going through the process, and I feel it when I meet other families who understand adoption and are instantaneously cheering us on and invested in our little family. The feelings are mutual.  I don't love the waiting and the lack of control, but I'll say it again, I really love this opportunity to adopt and see the hand of my Heavenly Father in my life and the life of my children (even my children who are not with me yet). He knows each and every one of us and He cares about us. How blessed are we? 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Be Careful What You Pray For ...

With the adoption so close to Gotcha Day now, I am trying to prepare myself mentally and physically. One of the things that I have been praying for is that I will be prepared for John and be a really good mom for him. So when I pray, I am praying (pleading) that I will be the mom that John and my other kids need (and want). The funny thing about praying is that Heavenly Father answers my prayers - it just isn't always the way that I might want. For some funny reason I thought that praying for this would bring an added peace and love into our home - a spiritual pat on the back saying, "You are a good mom, and you will be great with John." 

The opposite has occurred as you can imagine. Since I have been praying for this specifically, I have been met with A LOT of tantrums. Go figure. I guess that to be prepared for another toddler to come into our family, a few toddler tantrums are exactly what I need to help get me more prepared. Their has been some contention with the older kids. (Something tells me this won't be the last time we have a little contention in our home.) And our sweet Lincoln still does his cute Lincoln things. He loves figuring out how to escape from our backyard, and he still has a hard time in public. I guess I am sharing all of this because it has been an answer to prayer but a little different than I had expected. 

The answer to my prayer has arrived in this fashion - I LOVE being a mom. I don't necessarily love the tantrums or losing my 11--year old autistic son, or having some contention, but I do LOVE being a mom. I have such amazing kids, and we are really a happy family. We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we have it pretty good. I know I can handle what I have right now, and I'll be able to handle John to boot. Bring it on, I am so excited!

Here are some snap shots of our fun summer so far. The kids got to go to Grandma Bentley's and pick cherries (even Kate thought she should be able to climb the ladder and "help", they love swinging in the neighbor's yard all together, and swimming at Grandma Kathy's and Pop's house (check out Kate's shoes).

Picking Cherries

We also went on a fun hike by Heber. It was so pretty and the kids had a great time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Little Slice of Heaven

So far this is my favorite part of the adoption process. I like having "jobs" to do with paperwork, and there is plenty of homework to keep me feeling active in the process. And I LOVE that they randomly send me pictures of our sweet John. This is the first picture we have where there is a smile, and we are seeing a glimpse of his personality. It almost looks like he knows we have our LOA too. Only a few short months before I will be the one taking those pictures!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

HOORAY!!!! We have our LOA!

I can hardly believe it, but we have our LOA. It felt slightly like the final days of pregnancy where I am always sure that the baby will never leave the comfort of the womb. We are so happy to finally start on our 10 - 14 week wait until we bring our sweet John home. For all of you in the same waiting process, we received our acceptance on the 110 day mark. Hopefully it will be faster for the rest of you.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Lydia

Yesterday Lydia turned 6 years old. She is such a sweet girl and it is fun and easy to celebrate her being in our family. Since we only have friend birthday parties every other year, we try to make them special. Lydia insisted on a Barbie Birthday party theme. My first thought was "yikes", my second thought was let's make this work. Thanks to Pinterest, I think we came up with some great ideas and it ended up being a lot of fun. Here are some highlights.