Friday, April 30, 2010

Reality....Signs That a Two Year Old Little Boy Will Soon Be Here!

You'll have to excuse me here....even car underwear....hee hee! :) (I know I don't need to count on him being ready for these right away; but they were so cute, I couldn't help myself).

And look what what a thoughtful gift....Luke is going to love this! It's from Linda of Behind My Red Door! The package arrived a few days ago and Joy beat me to opening it! Of course, she and Colt have "tried it out" many times. It's just so fun! The little screwdriver winds up the car in the back; then you push down on Handy Manny's head and off the car zooms! This little toy just may go to China with us as an icebreaker for Luke! Thank you so much, Linda! You're so sweet!

And Luke's bedroom is done! I'm just doing a little accessorizing (not much..I figure his toys added over time will do most of that). Hopefully pics of that will come later this weekend!

Thanks for stopping by today! And thanks for all the encouraging comments! I appreciate each and every one! Have a great weekend! :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Letter Came Today!

From my last post on the baby steps in the adoption process, you know we were waiting on the letter from the National Visa Center because this has to be faxed or scanned to our agency before they can proceed with the visa for Luke. came today! Praise the Lord! (Thank you for the prayers)!

Now on to the next step....the Article 5. This is an approximate two week wait from the time our letter is taken to the US Embassy for Luke's visa, which probably won't be until this Thursday (China time, and they're 14 hours ahead of us).

So now we wait............again. :)

~ Tammy ~

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ballet Observation Day

This past Wednesday, Joy's Ballet II Class held Parents' Observation Night. I think Jason and I were the only ones in the class with our cameras. Imagine that! When the kids were younger, all parents had their cameras.....I can't figure out why they quit when the kids get a little older! Or maybe it's just that I'm just crazy with my camera! Anyway, I'm taking mine!

The teacher, Ms. Tracy, was naming all the moves, and the girls would do whatever she said. So, I lean over to Jason and say, "It's amazing how they know all that terminology and what to do, isn't it?" He says, "Yeah, it sounds like a whole other language to me", and I say, "It's French, honey". He didn't have a clue! :) He got to laughing at himself right then and there so much that I was having to shush him before the girls thought he was laughing at them!

Here's Joy with her friend, Kayla, before class started.

Doing some stretches:

Grand Plie'


Was performing Entre Chicat: (Okay, I'm not sure at all about that spelling, but it sounds something like that).

Most girls remain in the various levels of ballet for two years. That's considered average. It is very rare to go through a level in one year and being in one level for three years is common. This is Joy's first year in Ballet II. She was in Ballet I for two years. But I can tell you, all of those moves, positions, and leaps aren't as easy as one might think! The girls did a great job!

So once again, we were proud of our dancer!

**Oh yeah, Joy is back in blogging world again (after a brief absence). She's been brainstorming on ideas for posts and she has one on now that takes me on a trip down memory lane and makes me realize how much she's grown up from my baby girl. Click here if you would like to check it out!**

Friday, April 23, 2010

Loving the Colors Outside My Window!

The simplest things can make me the happiest! One of those is all the color I'm beginning to see from my kitchen bay window these days. I can sit at my table and enjoy the view! (No curtains or blinds on those windows)!!

Just in the past few weeks, my azaela bushes have bloomed.

Then shortly after, my knockout rose bushes (love those bushes) started getting buds on them and some have already bloomed!

Not only do I get to see these sitting from my table, but we walk past them every time we walk to or from the car to go anywhere (which is alot, believe me)!

They are just covered with buds about to explode with colorful blooms!

I'm still waiting on my huge crape mrytle that frames the pool deck entrance to bloom. It doesn't bloom until a little later, but it really makes a colorful statement out there as a focal point when it does! Click here for a picture of it in bloom last year!

God really was creative with all the colors he designed for the flowers and bushes. I'm just so thankful for these little things....the beauty in the colors outside my window! :)

Have you taken a minute to enjoy the simple things and thank God for them?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cabled!!....Another Baby Step Behind Us!

We have another baby step behind us!

In a previous post, I explained the rest of the process leading us to Luke. The next immediate step after the I-800 approval was waiting to be cabled by the NVC (National Visa Center). Well I called yesterday to check on our status. The line was busy for the longest, but I finally got through! And again, I got a very nice lady on the line. (That means alot!) After checking our status, she reported that we had just been cabled that day (cable sent to the US Embassy in Guangzhou, China) and that our NVC letter was being sent out to us at the same time (4/21/10). So now we wait on that letter. When we receive that letter, we scan or fax it to our agency. It is then scanned and emailed to the lady in Guangzhou who takes it along with our visa application for Luke to the Consulate. She only does this on Mondays and Thursdays, so I'm really praying our letter comes Saturday so it can be taken Monday, and we don't have to wait on Thursday for that!

Then we wait for the next baby step....for them to prepare our Article 5. That takes about 2 weeks.

After we receive that Article 5, then it's running about 2-3 weeks for TA (travel approval).

So all that said, I'm hoping that about 5 weeks from now, we have our TA! Those will be two sweet letters to hear, believe me! That means travel in June is very likely and most probable.....and hopefully the earlier in June, the better! Joy has it all figured out. Her dance recital is May 29th, so she says we can leave on either Monday, May 31st (Memorial Day), or the next day, Tuesday, June 1st. I wish it was that easy!

I know the day's coming and God knows the meantime we're keeping busy (and trying to hurry and finish everything for Luke's room now)!

Thanks for hanging with me and for the prayers, support, and encouragement through each step as we wait!

Have a great day! :)

~ Tammy ~

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


His black hair is back.....his beautiful, shiny, gorgeous, black hair! (Thank you, Colt)!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Carpenter's Been Busy....

This weekend we had a fairly productive weekend as we spent most of it at home trying to accomplish some things around here. Joy hasn't been feeling well, so we just didn't get out much at all.

The plus side to carpenter's been busy out in the workshop working on Luke's bed.......and I've been working on closet organization and cleaning out old toys and all the stuff we've somehow managed to accumulate. How can 4 people have that much stuff stashed away? I figure adding a 2 year old little boy and all his stuff to what we have would be overload! Besides that, we were looking at all the dolls and girl toys upstairs and thinking it might be a good idea to box up some of the stuff that Joy's outgrown and donate some of it and put some of it away for safe keeping for her one day.....and make room for a few boy toys.

Anyway, back to the title of this post, I slipped out to the workshop yesterday afternoon and snapped a picture of Luke's bed. Jason's really been working hard and doing a great job...I love it! I found a picture of a bed that I liked and we made some adjustments to fit Luke's room better...and he went at it! I don't want to ever take for granted that my husband can do these things and that he's willing to do so! (I sent him a little note in his lunch today telling him how blessed Luke is to have a daddy that is making him his own special bed).

Since this picture, he and I stained it. Maybe by this weekend, I'll have more pics to share.

The walls and trim are painted in Luke's room and I HAD to hang the valance to see how it was going to look against the green. Now I can't stop walking by and gazing at his room! :)

And the weekend of Easter, we laid the laminate flooring in Luke's room.

We've also been painting some accents for his room (red). And you know adding the little finishing details is really my favorite part in completing a room!

Maybe with another productive weekend, we can pull it all together. I hope so! I'm ready for these redos to be over for awhile. We need to focus on gathering everything we'll need for travel to China! (That will be fun too)!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great Monday! :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

One More Baby Step Behind Us....

Okay, from what you tell me, you're not getting tired of hearing about our little baby steps in the adoption. So, I'm back again with more news! :)

This past Wednesday, I called the Immigration office to see how we were coming along on our I-800 approval. I actually spoke with our officer, who told me that according to our timeline, she should receive our paperwork in the mail anyday for review. She told me to call back on Friday to see if we had our approval yet.

So, I called back yesterday and am happy to tell you that we received our I-800 approval on the very day I had called in....Wednesday, April 14th! Our officer was so sweet and said she got it approved and out and on its way to me (the I-800 receipt) and sent to NVC (National Visa Center) that very same day that we talked. She was even nice enough to give me a contact phone number for the NVC office (so I can bug them now)! :) God bless that girl...she did her part quickly and with enthusiasm for making us happy too! I made sure to tell her how thankful I was for that!

Now for those of you that are wondering why in the world it's taking so long (just so you know...I wonder that too....all.the.time.!!!), I'll fill you in on the next baby steps to getting Luke:

We now wait until we receive a letter from NVC, and then that has to be faxed in to our coordinator at the agency. This is cabled to Guangzhou, China to the US Embassy there. There's a lady in China who has our money in hand for Luke's visa. That lady will then take the money and Luke's visa application to the US Consulate. Then we wait to be issued an Article 5. And then after the Article 5 comes, we receive our TA (travel approval), which I'm hoping and praying can possibly come within 2 weeks after our Article 5, (but it could be 3 weeks or so).

Now you see how it's truly important and such a blessing when each step takes place, and especially when it's done in a timely manner? One step depends upon the next!

Then...that's the last of the baby steps. The next step and post you will see from me is "We're going to China"!!!!!

Thanks for the continued support and prayers! I appreciate it more than you'll ever know! I can't wait until the day I can share the pics of us finally holding him!

Have a great weekend! :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Love Dance Competition

Last weekend, Joy participated in her last dance competition for this year, "I Love Dance". Our dance school came out great at this one and there was really some stiff competition all the way around!

Joy placed 2nd in her jazz solo division, for her solo, "Tell Me Something I Don't Know". Her company juniorette class placed 1st in their jazz dance, "Hot" (in their race car cute). They also placed 1st in their tap division for their tap dance, "Good Morning" (in their pj costume to the song from Singing in the Rain). And the big award (and I do mean was a HUGE trophy) went to our dance school for our production performance, "Havana Heat", (a spanish inspired production).

There were numerous other awards from individual dancers as well as the other dance groups in our school. We were proud of each and every one!

Joy loves the socializing about as much as the dancing, I think! :)

We were also worn out by the end of the day! Joy fell asleep on the way home and I think she's been catching up on rest all week here and there!

Now we're on the home stretch toward recital day....the end of May.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Luke Update (with Pics)

We received an update on Luke with four new pictures! I really can't count how many times I've looked at those pictures! Every new picture we get of him and any new information is like pure gold to us! (It appears that he's getting lots of wear out of that one particular pair of beige overalls....I'd love to have those to keep for him one day)! He wears alot of red, and I think he looks great in that color. They've stated that red is his favorite's mine too! :)

We had the letter translated and here's what we found out! This update is based upon the orphanage director's visit to the foster home.

The orphanage director tells how much Luke loves cars and waits for the big sister to come home in her car, and how excited he gets upon her return to the home as she loves him very much. She also tells of how the foster family loves him very much and he returns that love to each family member.

She also tells about a recent visit to the foster family's home to visit with Luke. Seeing that she was standing there, Luke immediately brought a stool and patted the stool with his hand, calling her "Ah Yi", indicating that she sit down on it. She then complimented him and said "Our Dang Dang (pronounced Dong Dong) has grown up!". He smiled happily. She states he is a very considerate child.

The director also tells about bringing the cake in for him on his birthday. When they put the cake on the table, he just stared at the cake with disbelief, saying "ah ah". They tried putting the hat on him. He was busy eating the cake and had no time for them! He took the hat off. He noticed the red fruit on the cake, and used his fingers to pick out every one of them and put them into his mouth. He loved the cake and ate all the things he liked from it. He kept calling the director "Ah Yi". His foster mother praised him and told him that he was very sweet. (I am overwhelmed by this foster mother's love and prase for Luke...I'm about in tears).

Then she goes on to say that Luke likes to go out and visit the neighbors. All the neighbors in the small courtyard know him well. The Ah Yi next door likes to offer him good food, which he brings home to share with his little (foster) sister, whom he loves very much.

She also states that the foster family often shows Luke the picture album of the adoptive family. Luke therefore knows his father and mother. He sweetly calls them "foreign mother and foreign father". (How cute is that??? I've been going around all weekend calling Jason "foreign father"....) lol!

She sums up all up with measurements of Luke which show him to be 35 inches tall, 36 lbs, and foot length of 5.3 inches (which I have no idea what shoe size that would be....I've got to find out)! She ends it all stating that Luke is a lively, lovely, and bright child. (Wow...I can't tell you how overwhelmingly blessed I feel)!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Faithful Fridays - "Timing"

It's been awhile since I've done a Faithful Friday post! Time gets away from me every time lately! For those of you that don't know, Faithful Friday was Joy's idea as a way to share her faith. If you would like to jump in, feel free to do so. You can share prayer requests, answered prayers, your faith stories, whatever you would like concerning your faith in God. Be sure and leave Joy a comment letting her know you did, so we can come visit your blog!

Since I've had this on my mind now (especially this week for some reason), I wanted to share it with you for Faithful Friday. (I'm barely squeezing this in on a Friday)!

I've learned a thing or two about differences between MY timing and GOD'S timing! Those two don't always line up!

Although through this adoption, I have to admit that God has really moved things along, there have many other times in my life that God's timing was slower than what I wanted or expected at the time!

Let me tell you about some of those times.

One major time in my life was as we waited for children. We were married 7 years before Colt came along. This definitely wasn't in MY plans! Being the planner I am, I had it all worked out.....I would be married a couple of years, then we'd have baby #1. I wanted 3 children....Jason said 2..and we'll see. But here we were well past 2 years. And looking back, even though I didn't understand it then, had we not waited EXACTLY that long, we wouldn't have Colt! Part of the wait towards the adoption was waiting for me (at the time) to turn 25 (a requirement to adopt from Korea). I remember being so impatient and wondering WHY? Well had we not waited, either he wouldn't have been born yet, or if later, that little baby boy (our Colt) would have been referred to another family! I'm so glad God knew what we needed and WHEN we needed it!

Another time was as we waited for another child (child #2). I tried to stick my nose into God's business and change the timing for us! When Colt was 2, I started looking into adoption again. In MY plans, when baby #1 was about 2 years old, we would see about having another, so I started checking into adopting again. We went as far as meeting with a birth mother and were proceeding with a lawyer to adopt the baby she was expecting. I would even be in the delivery room with her. Well, somewhere along the way, Jason and I both felt that God was tugging at us telling us this wasn't His plan. We didn't get that peace. And one thing I know, I LIKE GOD'S PEACE! Anyway, somewhat reluctantly, we backed out. And boy did God save us alot of heartache.....this birthmother had a little girl, which I would have been overjoyed about since we already had a little boy (and remember I wasn't sure there would ever be a #3...Jason said 2 and then we'll see). But we saw things clearly, when this child was born and we got word that the birth mother had a baby girl and decided to keep her! Whew...I'm so glad we listened to God and waited on Him.

But wait we did.

Remember Colt was only 2! So many years passed before Joy came along. We checked into adopting again, but this never ironed out for us...never flowed and never felt peace about it (at least both of us at the same time). But again, God knew what he was doing because when Colt was 9, we found out we were expecting child #2! And so 9 months later, we had our bundle of "Joy"...the little girl to go along with our little boy! God's timing...again it wasn't the time span I would have picked between my kids, but now I wouldn't want it any other way but God's plan for us!

And now here we are again....9 more years later with child #3 (Jason, I'm getting my #3)! :) And well, you know that story but God has moved things along fairly quickly and smoothly (compared to some adoption tables). Maybe he thinks he needs to before we're way too old! :)

There have been many small things along the way, everyday things, that I've prayed for and God answered them in many ways, in different timings other than my own. But these three I mentioned are huge things in my life!

I'm having to remind myself as I wait for the different baby steps toward getting Luke through this adoption, that God's timing really is best, no matter what!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Homepage Cutie!

Imagine my surprise today, when I clicked over to one of the yahoo support groups where I'm a member (one for children adopted from Inner Mongolia, China) to find that Luke's picture has been featured on the homepage...or what is called the "homepage cutie"! You've all seen this picture before, so just bear with me again. I"m just so excited! It was one from his 2nd birthday party that was given by his foster parents for him.

You can click here to see it!

And just because it really bothers me to NOT have a picture to show with this actual post, I'm going to show you another picture we just received along with a letter (that we are waiting on to be translated). It came with four new pictures of him. I was waiting to share all four pictures when I had the letter translated, along with any updated information. However, because I just can't stand it, I'll save three of them, and share one of them with you today!

It's hard to tell if this is actually a new recent photo or just one they decided to send me! I know that the birthday pictures are recent because they were taken on his actual birthday. Other than that, these could have been before or after. However, it doesn't matter....I'm just so glad to have them! Every picture of the time before we get him is precious to have!

Here he is! Look at those cheeks! The part I could read on the letter, I'm sure was his measurements in cms and kgs. I converted them and he's 35 inches tall and 36 lbs! He's a big boy!

I'll share the other pictures as soon as I have the letter translated with the updated info!

Thanks for stopping by! It's really nice of you because I know it's not nearly as interesting and exciting to other folks as it is to me as Luke's mama! I really do appreciate you! Thanks for the comments. I appreciate each and every one!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Family Easter

We had a really wonderful Easter weekend. My brother and his family came Friday night, so we spent all day Saturday together too! On Saturday, it was beautiful outside for the kids to play, and Sunday was almost as beautiful. At least it was fairly warm, but a little overcast.

I'm starting with the beginning of the day....on Easter. Warning...there are lots of pictures. I hope I don't bore you! And I'll just tell you up front that Jason had control of the camera all day. I can't believe I really had very little to do with taking photos. That is so unlike me! It felt strange. I think Jason enjoyed himself though. And I can't remember a time that I've been in SO MANY pictures...(which I'm not that crazy about either)....Hope you enjoy our family pics!

The dining room table with Easter gifts....

Joy was the first to get to the goodies...Here she is with her Easter bucket...

Right before we were walking out the door to go to church. That's my nephew, Trey, and his wife, Shauna.

Trey and Shauna in the backseat of the car on the way to church...

Jason and me...He took this picture holding the camera outside the sunroof! lol!

Colt's! He plays the drums at church. We call his little drum booth his cage!

There he is playing the drums during the Easter service. We get tickled at some of the faces he makes when he is so into playing! My brother, Richie, was sitting beside me and he really was getting tickled with him! I guess Colt just gets in his own little world in his cage!

Colt works midnight to 8 shift, so he comes straight to church for practice and then service. Sometimes he has trouble staying awake after he gets still. Easter morning, he started snoring! Uh-oh! We had to give him the elbow-in-the-side-treatment! :)

The church service...We have an awesome praise team!

One of the few pics of Colt on Easter this time because he came home and went straight to sleep after working all night. He missed all the family pics (which was probably just fine with him because every Easter since he was a baby I've fought for those Easter pics...the little booger!)...But I was bound and determined to get a picture with him! This was outside church. (I'll be glad when the black hair comes back.....hint hint Colt)....

Back at home...well next door at my mom and dad's house...for the looooooong photo shoot! :) At this point, Colt was fast asleep on our couch at home worn out from working all night and being at church and then out to dinner, so he's MIA!

My mama and me...

My brother, Richie, sister-in-law, Missy, and niece, Laci.

Laci...(I miss the days already of those princess dresses)...

Daddy and me...

My nephew, Kemper...

Grandmama and Pop with the grandkids (minus Colt),(and Luke)... :(

Grandmama and Pop with kids and grandkids (minus Colt and Luke again) :(

Richie and Missy and their crew.. (I really like this picture)! :)


But we missed Colt and Luke, so we thought of a way to add them in... :)


Laci (my niece) and Joy..

My sweet daughter and me...

Kemper, Joy and Laci (the "little" grandkids)...(Trey and Colt are the "big" ones).

Grandmama and her granddaughter-in-law (Shauna)...

Kemper (my nephew) and Joy..

Oh, and Richie's ride from Alabama to here (following Missy and the rest of the family in their SUV). And boy did he get in trouble (with Mama)!!!! He should know better by now! That's two words that don't go together....mama and motorcycle....
My brother never learns! lol!

So there's a little glimpse of our Easter weekend! I hope you all had a good one too! Thanks for making a visit here part of your day! I appreciate it! Have a great week! :)

~ Tammy ~