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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December is Update Month

And An's update arrived this morning. She is doing well physically but misses her foster sister who is now home in the US. Some pictures:

Photobucket

Photobucket

Wendi

Saturday, December 6, 2008

18 Months

Eighteen months ago today I was setting up for an education fair at one of our largest employers. As I finished getting everything arranged, my cell phone rang with a 541 prefix. At that time I didn't have our agency's phone number programmed in because we weren't anywhere close to receiving a referral. I almost didn't answer the call. But at the last ring before voice mail, it crossed my mind that 541 was Oregon.

The voice on the other end of the line said this is Robin and I have a referral for you. I was shocked.

We spoke for 10-15 minutes as she told me about An and then she asked if I'd like her to send her file. I said of course! At that time, it was minutes before the education fair was supposed to begin so I tried to get myself together. I quickly called Brian but knew that he was in a meeting so I left a message that he needed to call me as soon as possible (I think I remembered to say something like nobody was hurt, but he had to call me NOW).

The rest of the day is a blur.

The next day, I came home during lunch to find the FedEx package waiting on the front porch. I really did give some thought about waiting until Brian came home to open it, but that didn't last long and I tore into it. As I looked through An's pictures, I was amazed by her beauty. I do remember asking Robin at the end of the call which province An was in. I recall thinking that the extra time waiting for approvals was a fair trade-off for how quickly we received her referral.

But who could have imagined that we would be still here, 18 months later, without our daughter. I like to think that in the video below An is pretending to call us. Hopefully we won't need videos and pictures to get to know one another for much longer...

video

Missing An so bad it hurts,

Wendi

Monday, December 1, 2008

I-600 Approval

We have it. Good to know that it's out of the way.
Wendi

Friday, November 28, 2008

If you can't say anything nice...

...then don't say anything at all. That cliche pretty much sums up why I haven't posted for a while.

We were quite hopeful that we'd hear some good news mid-November but its taken me this long to calm down enough about what we did hear to post. It's not that we heard anything particulary bad, but once again there needs to be more "consideration" before the province can do anything (they've been "considering" this since April as far as we know). On a good note, they've promised to decide whether they were going to need even more "consideration" by December. When in December, we have no idea. And it's hard to be hopeful about someone considering whether there needs to be more consideration...but the flipside is that they could just decide to approve her file. We pray that whomever these officials view as their higher power gives them the grace to make a decision in the best interest of this beautiful little girl.

So, I took small satisfaction today in making a small change to the blog description which you can see to the right, just below the clock.

Wendi

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another Milestone

Today marks one year since we received MOJ approval. There really isn't much to say about it. So I won't.

Missing An,
Wendi

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When does a boy become a man? (in the eyes of his mother...)

As I was picking things up and starting the laundry this morning, I came across a handwritten list of candidates for our state senate, house, county commissioner, and highway commission races on Brian's nightstand. There was only one candidate's name written for each seat. It was undeniably my mother-in-law's handwriting.

Last I checked, Brian was 31.

She and I don't necessarily agree on things political. As a matter of fact, Brian prohibits us from talking politics after the great Hawaii incident.

I'm not saying where the list is now.
Wendi

Monday, September 22, 2008

Comfort Food

Sometimes you just need it.

Tonight was one of those nights. Brian went for the Tin Roof Sundae ice cream and I went way back to my childhood and had a bowl of graham crackers sprinkled with sugar and covered with milk. The challenge is that you have to eat it very quickly or the graham crackers disintegrate into mush.

Wendi

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Update Day!!!

On Friday as I was waiting for a call from our agency to find out why our I-600 has not been submitted, I saw an email come through with An's quarterly update. Even though I had to open the pictures and report on my Blackberry (can you say microscopic in size?), it made my day!

An is doing very well, healthy and gaining weight. Sounds like she is becoming more of a typical toddler as she defends her possessions and becomes jealous when her foster mom pays attention to others.

No words can describe how much we want her home with us - we've been receiving these updates for one year and three months now...we're ready to give you reports from our own observation!

Now for the pictures:
An - July 08


In this one, she's reading a book we sent ("Where's the Puppy?" in Vietnamese)


An - July 08

Wendi

Friday, August 29, 2008

Extremes

This has been the worst week of my life...with a happy ending.

On Sunday, I arrived back in Boise at midnight from a wonderful weekend in New Orleans. I met another mom (and friend) that is adopting from the same province. Our files arrived in Vietnam on the same day and have been held hostage by the same officials for ten months - a process that the head of international adoptions for the country said should be completed in 4-6 weeks in a recent interview. Needless to say we needed a stress releasing adventure and the French Quarter was more than suitable. We even received a call from the agency on Friday saying the the head of the People's Committee (top level of government) in the province was going to meet with the officials to encourage them to complete our files. That provided a glimmer of hope.

On Monday we both learned that if the officials didn't approve our files by September 1 we would lose our referrals. Brian and I have been looking at pictures of An and dreaming about our life with her since June 7, 2007. To lose her now was more than I could bear to think about. Our agency was fairly confident that the approval would come, but they weren't going to guarantee anything until it was done. Tuesday afternoon they told us that some of the approvals were complete but they didn't yet know which ones. Nothing on Wednesday. Nothing on Thursday.

Thursday night at 8:12pm a message came through on my BlackBerry:

Hi Wendi,
Just wanted to let you know that all is well - the DOJ provided the needed letter. Will update you more next week, but wanted you to relax.

I am able to breathe again.

This means we have DOJ approval. While we have three more approvals to go, we anticipate that we will travel by the end of the year. Christmas in Vietnam is likely.

An - we are almost there!

Wendi

Friday, June 20, 2008

What a difference a year makes...

When we received An's referral just over a year ago, we saw a beautiful, yet cautious little girl. The most current pictures at the time were taken about a month after she was moved from the orphanage into her foster home. Here is one of our favorite pictures from that time:An 24 months

Today, we received our quarterly update. Take a look at the confidence shining through in this picture:Photobucket

And the sheer joy in this one:Photobucket

An continues to be healthy and happy. She is speaking in short conversations, walking, running, throwing and kicking a ball and is turning the pages of a book one at a time. She is described as observant and helpful. And she loves her foster mother and sister very much.

To An - we can't wait to get to know you in person...we are confident that the outer beauty we see in your pictures and reports are complimented by an inner beauty matched by none.

To An's foster mother - we are forever indebted to you for the amazing gift you've given this little girl.

Wendi

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Milestones

Yesterday marked An's 3rd birthday and today is our 3rd Anniversary. While we didn't really expect that we'd have An home for this birthday, we had held out a little bit of hope that maybe we'd all be in Vietnam together.

The bright light in all this waiting is that An is happy and well taken care of right now. It is so obvious that her foster family loves her and is taking great care of her. I didn't realize that I hadn't posted pictures of her most recent update, but the proof is in this smile:



The report said that she loves to be photographed - who knows, maybe we have a future model on our hands...

Anyway, Happy Birthday An!
Wendi

Monday, May 5, 2008

touch-up painting or touch of the adult flu???




You pick...I would add a poll here, but I know which way my friends and loved ones would vote. And some times you just don't need to see things in black and white.

The remodel of An's bathroom is nearly complete. Just waiting for the new countertop after spending this evening touching up the paint. Yes, I am so obsessive that I have to use an artist's brush to make things look perfect along the trim and the ceiling.

Oh yeah, I also found out that I was selected as one of the 40 Accomplished Under 40 in the Boise Valley today. So perhaps I was celebrating a little too hard...my nickname is Wild Wendi for a reason!

Wendi

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Another Experiment...

Don't you just love the Internet? You can publish your husband's funny moments at no cost. We bought a new digital camera for Christmas and this is his first attempt to record a video...

I love you Brian!
Wendi

video

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Experimenting

When we travel, we want to be able to post pictures and movies to the blog. Here is an attempt at a slideshow...

Wendi

Monday, January 14, 2008

Distracted

I have been feeling quite distracted for the last couple of days. Distracted, tense, unable to sleep, etc. I should be feeling relieved. Two families that are adopting from the province that An lives in received approvals last week which is the first action we are aware of since September. Their waits were much longer than the average time we were quoted for our next approval and we have been preparing ourselves for a similar delay.

I can't possibly express how happy I am to hear about their approval.

But I wonder if the reality of knowing how long it took for them is causing me a little stress. Before they received approvals, I knew that they were still waiting and knew approximately how long they had been waiting. Perhaps that uncertainty, lack of closure, made it seem less real. But now that I KNOW that it took over ten months to receive provincial approval for one family and that it took over four months to receive travel approval for another, it just makes me sad. And when I'm sad, I get distracted. Does any of this make sense?

One of the things that has been running through my mind is the song Anticipation by Carly Simon. I really do love the song - and many others by her! But it's time to make that music go away. I'm not sure that all the lyrics are appropriate for adoption but here are a few that express what I'm feeling pretty well:

"We can never know about the days to come.
But we think about them anyway."

"Anticipation, anticipation.
Is making me late.
Is keeping me waiting."

So now that I've put them down on paper, can I stop being distracted?
Wendi

PS - If you are singing along, just know that I don't think I'll ever look back at this wait and think "these are the good old days".

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Update!

Just before Christmas, we received our quarterly update on An. While it is wonderful to read about how she is doing and see new pictures, perhaps the most exciting sentence in the report was "assigned to the Secrist family on July 10th, 2007"!

First...one of our favorite pictures:



She has been healthy over the past few months and seems to be enjoying her foster family. The report says that she can walk up and down stairs by herself, run without falling, throw a ball, imitate scribbling, and turn on a faucet. It also says that she knows to say sorry when she does something wrong!

The only thing in the report that gave us a start is "An can go to the next house by herself." Hmm, a two year old goes to the neighbors by herself??? Well, I suppose they are trying to show us independent behaviors...

A few more photos:





Did you notice the dog in the background of the last photo? We're hoping that's a good sign that she won't have any problems adjusting to Chester and Murphy!

Wendi