Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's a Wonderful Life

    One of our favorite movies is "It's a Wonderful Life", a classic, iconic Christmas movie that is enjoyed by many year after year. The 1946 Frank Capra classic starring Jimmy Stewart has a timeless message of the importance and worth of every life, and the connections that we have to the people we touch in our lives. In 66 years, that message is not old or worn-out, it is not outdated or irrelevant. It is a message that we 'get' year after year when we watch the Christmas favorite.

    In the past few weeks, the message of "It's a Wonderful Life" has come home to me again and again. As we prepare for the fourth international adoption in less than five years, we have often felt as though we were walking uphill on rough terrain. Like George Bailey, just as we would 'get ahead' and be ready to move on, something would happen, and God would point us toward another child, our child, who was waiting for us. After adopting Shane in October 2009, Matt and I were sure we would never adopt again. We were weary, we were sad. Shane had needs that we had not anticipated, and we were coming to grips with his significant delays. We 'mourned' the child we thought we were adopting, as many families mourn the loss of a child. We grieved that he had been so neglected in China, that he had been abandoned, that we had not gotten him sooner to help to prevent some of the loss he suffered. We were sad and heart-broken, and sure God had asked enough of us. We had our work cut out for us. We were finished adopting. Our family was complete.

   In October of 2010, I called Diana at Madison as I had a question for her about Shane's upcoming 12 month post-placement. Before we hung up the phone, I asked about a little girl who had been on Madison's list, and had been one of the children in Madison's fist camp. While we were adjusting to life with Shane, I had been keeping up with all the families who were bringing their children home, and I rejoiced with each child who came home to his or her family. And so I was surprised when I saw the picture of 'Carrie' reappear on the list. When I asked Diana about her, she explained that she was unexpectedly available again, and that time was running out for her to be adopted. I was so sorry to hear that as it always made my heart heavy at the thought of the children who would live out their lives in institutional type places, especially when she came so close to being adopted. I remember Diana saying "MaryAnne, do you think you might want to adopt her?" I laughed out loud and assured her that that was completely impossible. There was no way, no way, absolutely no way. She told me we might be able to re-use Shane's dossier...I told her no way.

  For the next few weeks I would wake up with 'Carrie's' face on my mind. Throughout the day I would argue with myself, and with God, about how ridiculous, insane, and certainly financially impossible it would be to adopt again. Every night I was sure we could not do it, every morning, her face would be on my mind. If we were her last hope for a family and we said no, how could I live with myself?

    It is now December of 2012, and 'Carrie' just celebrated her first Christmas in her own home. Maeleigh WuShuang, formerly 'Carrie' is walking with crutches, is a star at her school, and is learning English faster than you can imagine.She rolls her eyes, breaks the rules, and is learning to find her way in a busy, hectic home. She loves nail polish and new clothes, and is becoming independent in everything she does. Her future  life in a nursing home is a distant memory: instead she asks where she can go to college. So for all my doubts, for all my plans to the contrary, we were meant to bring 'Carrie' into our hearts and into our home. God made it possible, by opening the hearts of so many friends and strangers who saw the need, and gave of themselves and blessed us to be able to afford the expenses of an adoption.
Christmas 2012 

   As we began the process for Maeleigh, we saw a video of our Vincent. My heart broke, and I knew, without even a doubt, that we would be his parents, but we had absolutely no way to do two adoptions. So, with the encouragement of everyone at Madison, we proceeded with two adoptions, knowing we would have to wait to get Vincent. Born with vision, Vincent was abandoned when he was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eyes which almost always causes the loss of the eyes. Within a year or two of arriving at the orphanage Vincent  was totally blind. Smart and feisty, Vincent has not missed a beat, and talked non-stop when I met him in February when I went to get Maeleigh. Had I not been so worried about Maeleigh and her adjustment to us, my heart would have broken when Vincent hugged me and said good-bye. "Hurry back to get me Mama," he urged. When we flew home from China, a piece of my heart was left there with Vincent Xian.
Vincent Xian as he said good-bye to me.

   For those of us in the adoption world, there is no such thing as 'hurrying'. Paperwork, homestudy updates, fingerprints, travel fees, all make it very hard to hurry. We are more than financially challenged these days with 7 children, 2 in college, one in high school and 3 with special needs. Life is busy and full. But while we are challenged, we are also so greatly blessed.

   When we said yes to adopting, God pointed the way for us, time and again. It is a leap of faith to add a child to your family, and it is a bigger leap to take that step with fees attached! (literally!). We could never have brought 3, and soon to be 4 children home in less that 5 years if not for the help and generosity of so many people. It still amazes me at the outpouring of money that we have received. Some people we have never seen, and most likely will never meet in this life. Other people have been touched by our story, still others know us well. In each of our adoptions, we received money that should not have been ours: tuition grants were awarded, airplane costs were mysteriously lowered, fees were waived when they are never waived.

  And so, as we are less than two weeks from traveling to get Vincent, we are in awe, as George Bailey was, standing is his living room, watching the people whose lives he had touched, pour out their own 'gifts' to him. As each life touches the other, we are humbled at the outpouring of generosity from so many people. We are struck by the true meaning of Christmas: that 'unto us this day...a child is born." Unto our family, four children are ours to love, to raise, to bring home.

  Thank you to everyone who has been there for us. We ask your continued prayers and support as we take the last steps to pull together the travel fees. We ask your prayers for Matt and Meghan as they travel to get Vincent, and for Vincent as he makes the transition home. And I ask especially for the children who wait in countries all over the world, including here in our own country, for a family of their own.

 As we look forward to a New Year with a new son, we know that with all of it's challenges and craziness, it's a wonderful life.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kindle Fire Give-Away

We are excited to announce another fundraiser to help with the travel expenses for Vincent. We are going to raffle off a Kindle Fire 7 with LCD display. To enter the drawing, click on the donate button, enter the amount: $10.00 for one chance, and $25.00 for three chances. We will begin the entries today and will close them on December 19th. If you are not local, we will send the Kindle next-day so that you will have it for Christmas.

In addition, we will have two $25.00 Gift Cards for 2nd and 3rd place winners.

Please share this with your friends and family as a fun way to help us to raise money for Vincent's adoption, and take a chance to win!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giving Thanks

I  started writing  this the day before Thanksgiving, pretending for a moment that I have nothing to do but sit here and write my blog. It reminds me of when I was in college, and would grab a fabulous novel to read during mid-terms and finals, and would justify reading when I had to study.I had no business writing when I had so much to do, and I never did finish the post. So here we go for a second try.

I have been cooking for my family since I was in 5th grade. Seriously. My mother got a full-time job that year, and while she was home a few house after my brothers and I returned home from school, she would run in, cook dinner, and get things together for all of us. I had watched her make dinner forever, and started asking if I could cook. Before long, I was changing recipes, experimenting with food, and more than capable of cooking for 8 people every day. I made cakes, desserts, and some pretty good dinners, if I do say so myself. I remember the first time I made pasta after Matt and I got married: I put the whole box of pasta in the boiling water, and Matt said "Who else is eating with us?" I had never cooked less than a pound of pasta! (Luckily we both like left-overs)

I always say I love cooking, but I hate making dinner. Cooking is fun and creative, making dinner is expediency and thinking of a balanced diet. Thanksgiving dinner brings both of these things together. There is expediency, what do we need to have, what traditions do we keep, what traditions can we put aside, and what is fun to eat? When my niece and nephew were little toddlers, I decided that I would teach them to make bread. (did I mention I am the only one who likes to cook of my sisters?) So I would go over to my sister Sally's house and Jeff and Steff and I would make bread. I can remember the fascination on their little faces when the bread dough rose and then cooked into shapes of their initials. Last night on Thanksgiving night we Skyped with Stephanie who is in Australia for work. I showed her on the camera our traditional homemade rolls I make now, some 24 years later, and promised her I would make her a whole batch when she gets home.

With another Thanksgiving behind us, I am thankful for so many things. Thankful for Matt and the kids, thankful to have my parents with us, so healthy and vibrant. Thankful for health and a wonderful career that helps me to provide for the needs of my family and to help towards the adoptions. Thankful for the wonderful friends we have. Last week our Shannon went with friends from school to help some of the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and we are all so thankful for the blessings of our home, electricity and heat. We keep all of those affected by the storm in our thoughts and prayers as they live with so much less than we have and yet are grateful to be alive.

Next year at Thanksgiving, I will be adding stories of our 'little guy.' At that time I will be thankful for completing another, and our last, adoption. Each day I am grateful and thankful to God, 'from whom all blessing flow'. Through his Providence, we receive 'every spiritual blessing in the heavens', and He has chosen to give us so many.

One of the many Thanksgivings at our house on Chesworth Road

One full table!


Celebrating 4 birthdays

Sarah with my Mom

A glimpse of the whole family in Williamsburg.

With the Christmas season officially upon us, I am looking forward to another holiday. We are almost finished our room additions downstairs, which will be awesome when they are done. All three of the older girls are moving downstairs and they are loving it. We have one room completed, and they are sleeping in there at the moment. Before Christmas break when Sarah and Meghan will be home for an extended period, the second room will be done. There is nothing like spreading out, cleaning out old things, and finding new places for important things. The older I get, the less I keep, and the less interest I have in spending time organizing and cleaning!

Just a reminder about Goat Milk Soaps! They are selling well and all the profits go towards helping us to pay for our travel fees.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Goat Milk Soap Fundraiser

This is the first of our fundraisers for Vincent. We were so blessed to have so many people help us with Maeleigh's adoption, and to be honest it is difficult to begin the fundraising process again. People do not always understand that you need to fund raise to afford an adoption. Many people think that you should have the money before you begin the process.It's just not that way. What I know is that we have been asked to do these adoptions, and with them come the fees that are needed to pay for the services.

We are still selling bracelets, and I will post a new link to the bracelets.We are also doing a goat milk soap fundraiser. I bought some of these soaps to help another family bring their daughter home, and I loved the soap so much that I decided to do a fundraiser for Vincent. These are awesome stocking stuffers and they make great teacher gifts as well.

Thank you in advance for helping us to bring Vincent home!

Click on the Soap button to order your Goat Milk Soap.If you are local, we can save shipping and I can arrange to bring you your order.


Thursday, November 8, 2012


The last few weeks have been full of preparing for us. We have been preparing for Hurricane Sandy, and were out of power for about 4 days. We were fortunate that while we had a very large branch fall on our house from a tree in the back, everyone is safe an unharmed. The storm hit many people in neighboring New Jersey, so our hearts and prayers go out to all the people who lost so much in the storm.
This is a picture of all the kids (plus Meg's college roommate who rode out the storm with us)eating a pizza dinner after our neighbors loaned us a generator for a few hours. Don't be fooled by the brightness of the was pitch-dark in the room except for a few candles on the table. The only one who didn't mind the power outage was Shane!
The tree limb shook the whole house and made us very grateful that more of the tree did not fall!

We muddled through until Thursday of that week with no power. When the power finally came on, Maeleigh yelled "Thank God!" not bad for being here 7 months!


We are also getting closer to preparing for Vincent. we have our NVC cable and we are moving along to getting ready to travel. The next post will be for a fundraiser for goat milk Soap. Stay tuned!

This was hanging off the roof....we were so lucky it was not larger, and did not cause damage!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Eight is Great

Here we go, yet again! Home now 4 months and for the most part, settled in, we are ready to share our news with everyone. About a year ago, when I was looking at the website of the organization that helped Maeleigh with surgery, braces and crutches, I saw a little boy who was featured on their site. My heart stopped when I saw his face and watched the video of an adorable little boy, laughing and giggling, splashing water on his nannies as he played outside.He walked confidently down the steps, the same steps we walked down when Maeleigh left the orphanage. He played in the same courtyard we walked through when we left, the same one Maeleigh turned to look at, one more time, as she left the only home she had known for all of her life. Here was a little boy who has no future in a country that does not educate children with challenges, but who leave them to sit and wait for the off-chance someone will find their file, look at their picture, and decide to take the leap, again, to add another child to their family. When I saw the video of our 'little guy' as we have been calling him, I knew he was our child. We talked to our social worker and discussed adopting 2 at once, but we knew we could not afford the fees for two children, and we were very worried about adversely affecting Maeleigh's adoption. We spent hours thinking and praying about it, and in the end decided to wait. We did not even know if Maeleigh knew him, and what we found out is that not only did they know each other, but they have lived in the same small group of children for the past 4 and half years, since he came to the orphanage. Maeleigh has loved and nurtured our 'little guy' since he came in as an infant, and then within a year lost one eye and quickly the other to retinoblastoma, or cancerous tumors in his eyes. When we met Maeleigh in China, I had asked if we could meet our little guy. We had put in the paperwork for two children when we applied to adopt Maeleigh, so China knew we were getting him. Much to my surprise, he suddenly appeared. He came in the room and he began to talk, and talk, and talk! They translated for him and he was so awesome. He walked into the room and said "Hello, Mama, where is Baba? He told us he wanted to go 'to the States' with WuShuang. I gave him some Braille books, and manipulative toys, he was interested in everything I brought for him, and loved the Braille alphabet book. He was most impressed with the large bag of candy we brought with us for the other children. We talked with him and I was able to get a good idea of what he is doing and what his level of skills is. What a far cry from Shane and his lack of skills when we met him almost 3 years ago. So, we are going down the road yet again. It is crazy, it is exhausting, it is wonderful. Giving a child a home and a family is awesome.Welcoming that child into your heart is a blessing.We are finishing the paperwork, applying for grants, and will be doing more fundraisers as we pray for the money, yet again, to come. We were so blessed with the generosity of the people who helped us to adopt Maeleigh, and we are looking forward to someday helping others as well. Here are more pictures we have been able to get of our Vincent!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Home Three Months

I decided to change the color of my background today to reflect Maeleigh's love of pink, and the fact that now that we have 5...yes, 5 girls, there is a lot of pink in our lives. We are home today three months with Maeleigh. Life has been busy and crazy, but all in all, pretty darn good. Our dinner table is full, our dishes are overflowing, the chores are numerous, the laughter resounding, the tears and aggravation and attitude are present (I did say we have 5 girls, didn't I?). Life is full, life is busy, and we are richly blessed. I think back to the day that I found Maeleigh's file on Madison Adoption Agency's website. She had re-appeared on their waiting child list as she had gone through a 'disruption' a few months before. Her chances of being adopted were slim, our chances to adopt her were even slimmer. We had not recovered from our other two adoptions financially, and we were just becoming used to our life with Shane and his many needs. I remember telling God in my prayers, that He was asking the impossible from me, to even begin to put the thought in my heart that we should adopt this child. He was asking us to once again stretch our finances, our hearts, our physical home, to add another child into our lives. He was asking me for more anxiety to get the money we needed, more times I had to explain to people "why" we would even think of adopting again. He was asking so much...but as Saint Paul says, and I have learned daily "God cannot be outdone in His generosity." “Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: ‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Cor 9: 8-10). Looking back, I have to laugh at my foolishness. When do we, as humans, learn that we need to trust God in ALL things? If God knows when a sparrow falls, surely He knows the status of our bank accounts and credit cards. If God works everything for the good for our salvation, who am I to question? Trust me, in the middle of the night when I wake up in a panic to figure things out, I have to remind myself of these things, but perhaps that is why He places these obstacles in our way as we journey towards adoption. And as we go, we are so richly blessed. This adoption brought us so many wonderful people who generously donated to us, and truly provided the funds we needed to go to get Maeleigh, and to allow Sophie to travel with me. Matt and I are so thankful to everyone who generously gave us money to help with Maeleigh's adoption expenses. Thank you is so inadequate...perhaps seeing Maeleigh's smiling face will be a thank you to you. Speaking of Maeleigh's smile, it is constant.She has been happy and cheerful since she came home. If she is ever sad or frustrated, she doesn't show it. She is doing so well in school, and is learning so much English, even if she is hesitant to express the words. She loves getting dressed up, fixing her hair, wearing new (or hand-me-down)clothes. She gets more independent every day, makes her own lunch for school, can go up and down steps holing both crutches in one hand, the railing in another. We encourage her to be as independent as possible. She has discovered the joys of gardening (she takes after me!) and she has already planted seeds, put in petunias, and will soon help to pick blueberries and raspberries. She helps with cooking dinner, peeling potatoes, making pizza.there are so many new discoveries at the age of 1, but things she never experienced in her whole life. Ho blessed we are, blessed with abundance, that God asked us to be her family. To think I had any foolish. “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Lk 12: 48) More to come... Enjoy these pictures!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Catching up

Wow, It seems like ages since I updated, and that's because it has been ages! There is a huge difference between being in a hotel room with time to kill and being home, with no time to kill at all! Once I have a minute to myself, I have so much to do that there seems to be no time to sit and write.

I re-discovered my love of writing while I was in China, and have promised myself that I will begin to do some writing every day...starting today! Life at home with 5 kids under the roof, and two away, is certainly a hindrance to sitting and putting thoughts together, but it sure gives me plenty to write about.

First of all, update on Maeleigh. I can hardly even remember a minute in the last month that she has not been smiling or happy.She seems to be sucking up all the business and hustle and bustle around here. She is slowly picking up English, but we communicate very well with a mixture of sign language, Chinese and English.The main thing is that she is relaxed and laid back about it, so she does not get frustrated or upset. She started school a few weeks ago at our local middle school. We were concerned about dropping her into the middle school, but our concerns were not warranted. Everyone there has been more than awesome, and she is like a celebrity there. the kids all want to help with her book bag, and they set her up with a great group of kids, and she does ESL every day with the sweetest teacher. We could not have asked for a more perfect place for her, and we know that God has, once again, answered our prayers as we prayed for her to have a great place for school.

Matt and I traveled up to Vermont to go to Mick's Fire and Rescue Banquet. As many of you know, Mick has been an EMT for a few years and he works at the college-run Fire and Rescue, and drives the ambulance there. We are so proud of this kid, and Mick gave a refelction at the Prayer service that had the whole crowd (even the dads) in tears as he spoke of the reasons they do rescue. These college kids man the resuce 24-7, give up holidays and breaks, and are literally saving lives and helping not only the college community, but surrounding towns in the Burlington area. Just about a week ago Mick's team saved the life of a man, 56, who had a heart attack. Mick hit the paddle that brought the man back, and two days later the doctors placed a pacemaker in his heart, and he walked out of the hospital. Mick and his team received a Code-Save medal for saving his life.How cool is that?

In a few weeks, Mick will turn 22. Twenty two years ago, on April 18, Michael Sean Roberto was born, after a total of 40 hours of labor. Back then there was no protocol for Beta strep infection, and I got it. They did not detect it until my water broke, and within a few hours, I had a fever of 102 degrees. At some point, I began to lose my hearing as my body was beginning to shut down. Matt was told that they would lose both the baby and myself if they did a C-section, and that I had to deliver vaginally if there was to be any chance of saving us. Matt, who was a coach for many years, knew that he had to keep me awake and alert, and had to make me deliver the baby. So, the more I moaned and groaned, and faded into unconsciousness, the more Matt 'yelled' at me, teeth gritted, in my ear...saying words that aggravated m enough to be mad at him, but he knew I they would get me aware. "I don't want to hear you moaning," I remember him saying. "Breathe, dammit, breathe!" Somehow, truly through the grace of God, and Matt's instincts, I could hear only 2 voices: Matt's and my nurse Kelly. I can still see my OB and the neonatologist standing near my bed talking, but I could not hear them. Finally, Mick was born, and once the placenta was delivered, I became fully conscious and aware. The infection went through the core of the placenta, so once it was out of me, I was fine. Mick, though born with the infection in his spinal fluid, left the hospital 7 days later, completely unscathed. Now, almost 22 years after he was born, he is saving lives and making a difference in the world. We could not be more grateful for this amazing young man, and we thank God for him.

Another event this past week (can you see why I do not post too much) is that Sophie made her 1st Penance. She was so nervous! She did an amazing job with examining her conscience and is beginning to see that her actions and behaviors have meanings. We had the Penance service with other deaf children, and the kids were able to do their penance with deaf priests. Sophie will be making her 1st Communion on Easter Sunday, and my dad, who is a Catholic Deacon, will give Sophie Communion for the first time. What an awesome blessing that is.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


If you weren't able to follow my blog while I was in china, please go to

There will be a box for first and last name, type in Maeleigh Roberto.

I will add some of the pictures from our trip here and there on this blog, and the add new ones as we go.

We have been home almost 2 weeks now, and things could not be any better.Maeleigh is so happy to be here, and if she misses her life, she is missing it quietly. I am sure she misses the many people who loved her, but she is so happy and busy, she doesn't have much time to think about things.

Tomorrow she will start at our local middle school. We looked into many options for her but in the end decided that she should at least start at the middle school to get the help and support she needs. They have been wonderful and will be ready to greet her tomorrow morning. She will ride the bus, and then I will put Shane on the bus and will drive over to the school. Once she gets acclimated, she will do fine.They will work with her on ESL, and get her adjusted to her new life.

At home, she is loving having so many sisters around, is getting used to Shane and his shenanigans, and is having fun with Sophie. She has discovered Hannah Montana on Netflix, so Shane is going around humming "You get the best of both worlds..."(sorry if that tune sticks in your head all day. Welcome to my world!

I am taking advantage of another day home, making stew, baking bread and pound cakes, and cleaning my house! Life is good.

Thanks again to everyone for following along with me on my trip, and for everyone who supported us to give Maeleigh a forever family!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Going to China!

We leave on Friday to head to China. I cannot believe that the day is almost here, after waiting for so long. Ready or not ( and I am almost ready, I am happy to say) we leave at 12 noon on Friday. While I am in China, I am going to be posting from a different site as it is easier to post from there and Maeleigh can follow along and see the posts. Blogger is blocked in China.Imagine that!

So, here is the site: At the bottom right you will see a box that has a place for first and last name. Type in Maeleigh Roberto and you will find my site. Don't forget to sign the guestbook so we will know you were there.

Here we go! Thanks to everyone who has helped us to make this journey possible. We could not have done it without the generosity of so many friends and strangers, and from your heartfelt prayers. I am grateful to God for asking us to adopt this little girl and open the hearts of so many people to the joys of adoption, and the needs of so many orphans.

God Bless...Our Lady of China, pray for us.

Friday, February 17, 2012

When God is your travel agent.

We are officially one week away from leaving for China for our trip to get Maeleigh. It has been a long, long process. There have been many nights of tossing and turning, but never about the decision to adopt Maeleigh, always about the paperwork and finances. Over the Christmas holidays, I had a particular night of tossing and turning as I crunched the numbers to make the travel expenses come together. Our agency had been using a travel service that was charging per person, and the costs were higher than we could handle. Exhausted from worry and lack of sleep, praying the rosary in between numbers churning in my head, I took a deep breath and said "Lord, Maeleigh is your child. You have brought her to us, we need your help. Help us to figure this out."

The very next day (no exaggeration) we got notice that the agency was changing their travel provider, and costs would be much more manageable. We also received our Travel Approval that day.

We have been so blessed by the generosity of so many friends and many people we have never met. I have been truly humbled by donations that came at the exact time that I owed a payment.  I was planning on leaving Sophie home because of the high cost of airfare...within a half hour of telling the agency I could not bring her, I received a phone call that someone was giving us $600, and walked to the mailbox to find a card from a dear friend with a check for $500.  I emailed the agency...Sophie was going.

I contacted a wonderful travel agency and told the woman I needed to book the flights to China. Mary Jane from Vantresca travel was so excited about our story, and she gave me a quote for the flights that ranged right around $1100...exactly the donation we had been given. We didn't book that day because I wanted to have the passports in front of me, so I told her that I would stop in to the office. One thing led to another for the next few days, and I never made it in. Almost 5 days later, I called her back to book over the phone. I was a little sick in my stomach at the time lost, and the knowledge that the closer you get to travel, the higher the cost. But there was nothing I could do about it. when Mary Jane pulled up the information, she hesitated, gasped. "Oh, my" she said, incredulous.

  "Mary Jane, what's wrong?" I asked her. There was a another pause.
 "MaryAnne, the price has gone $200 a person. Flights never go down, they always go up. I don't know who you have working for you!"

I laughed out loud. "I do, Mary Jane, I absolutely know who is working for me!"

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Our Lady of China, pray for us!

Well, we are officially booked for our flights, and were so thrilled to have a LOWER price for the flights than we were originally quoted.The travel agent said "You must have someone upstairs working for you!" I answered, "As I matter of fact, we do!"

Here is a synopsis of what our trip will look like:

Friday, Feb 24th: Newark fight to Beijing, fly 13 +hours and arrive in Beijing on  the 25th, a whole day later!

Sat, Feb 25th: Stay in Beijing overnight to get some rest

Sunday, Feb 26th : train to Tianjin, with our guide

Monday, Feb 27th: Meet Maeleigh WuShuang!!! (this is actually Sophie's 4th anniversary of her Family Day!!!)

Tuesday, Feb 28th: Sign paperwork, and take train to Beijing

Wed Feb 29th: Visit Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square (Matt and Mick and I were there, but it will be awesome for the girls to see

Thursday, March 1st : Visit Great Wall (Cable car!!!)

Friday:March 2: Our guide will go back to Tianjin to get Maeleigh's paperwork, when she arrives, we fly to Guangzhou, the next part of out trip!

Saturday, March 3rd: We will be in Guangzhou, where the US Consulate is.Maeleigh will have a medical exam and get a TB test. GZ's weather is more mild, like Florida, so we will be able to lose heavy coats and shed some layers!

Sunday, March 4th: Hoping to go to the local Catholic church, otherwise we have a free day!

Monday, March 5th Check TB test and possibly the Safari

Tuesday March 6th US Consulate appointment

Wednesday March 7: Maeleigh's visa gets picked up and we leave for Hong Kong for 1 night

Thursday March 8th: FLY HOME We leave Hong Kong about 12 am on March 8th and return home around 5 pm on March 8th...Can you say jet-lag?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Picturing the past...Picturing a new life

Maeleigh soon after going to the orphanage.

How tiny she was!   

Reading a recent letter we sent her...perhaps picturing her new life.

I love her hair!        
    I opened my email this morning to find the baby pictures, above, from Elaine, who was the Physical Therapist who had worked with Maeleigh when she first arrived at the orphanage in 2000, when she was around 2 years old.Elaine used to take Maeleigh home with her on the weekends so that she would see what life was like outside the orphanage. Oh, my goodness, she was so adorable. We are so grateful to the many people from Tianjin International Committee for Chinese Orphans who have helped Maeleigh, and so many other children, to this day.

     The other day we were treated to the pictures of Maeleigh reading her letter from us. as we get closer to getting Maleigh, my heart is with her at the thought that she would be worried about us, worried about her new life. I think of my Shannon who is just a year older than her, and wonder how Shannon would feel about being taken away from the only life she ever knew, to be whisked into a world with a different language, culture, food, customs. Oh, my, my heart breaks for her. I hope she can feel our love from across the wold...I hope she can trust that we want the best for her, that we will make it work for her, no matter what.

     Asking for prayers for these weeks ahead as we prepare, and Maeleigh prepares. I know that in the end the prayers will be what gets us through.

I will be booking our flights today, and we are continuing our fundraisers! Check out the bracelets and art prints we have for sale!!!! Check in later this week for a special Valentine's Day bracelet special!!!

Thanks for your support!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Do not fear"

"Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you...bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the ends of the earth."
Isaiah 43: 5-6

Wow.It has been quite a weekend. I have been constantly thinking about and planning on the finances and the logistics of travel expenses. There are many who do not understand adoption expenses, fees, etc. Many people comment to me that adoption should be free for the adoptive family. What they forget is the services that are required in order for a child to be adopted. For example, there must be a homestudy done, and the adoption agency must do that. They need to get paid for the work they do. They arrange paperwork, talk to the orphanage and Chinese officials, and advocate for the child and the family. this is the 3rd agency we have dealt with, Madison, and they did all of our homestudies. They are over-the-top amazing. I just love them. They have helped and advocated and their hearts are all about getting children home to their families. When I pay their fees, I am glad that they are there to help us, and will be there to help other families.

There are airfare fees, hotel fees, travel between provinces, food, and other expenses. Once, a woman (adoptive mom) looked at me with disdain at families who fund raise for adoption. She told me in no uncertain terms that if people did not have money for their adoptions, they should not adopt. If everyone who wanted to adopt had $25000 in cash, there would be more than 147 million orphans, because no one would adopt! Because we are all called to help the orphans, we all do it in different ways.Some of us open up our hearts and homes, and truly change the face of our family, the dynamics of our homes, and we welcome a child into our lives. For those who cannot open their homes, they open their hearts with love and support for the child and the family. And for those who can, they open their wallets and give, even the smallest amount, and by doing so, become a real part of the Family that is chosen for adoption.

The past few weeks, as the holidays are behind us and the fees for travel have piled up, I became more and more concerned about the mounting travel expenses.While I have been saving furiously, many things have transpired to chip away at our savings for the adoption, like two major car repairs, unexpected medical bills, etc. I would find myself awake at night, worrying and counting the pennies in my head.  While I tried to pray the sleepless hours away, worry would creep in and my best intentions left me tired and bleary-eyed in the morning. And then the other night, Thursday, to be exact, I had about had it. I woke up again, about 4 am, and started to worry, to pray, to worry more. I thought of the decision to adopt Maeleigh, and how I knew it was the right decision. Of that I have never wavered. I thought of all the angst that goes into saving the money, figuring things out, and at the same time trying to pay the bills and raise six kids. Suddenly, I felt  a release, a total surrender. I spoke to God directly "She is Your daughter, Lord, please figure this out." 

When I got home Friday night there was an email from a woman who is a Physical Therapist in California, and who had been sent my blog.She was a volunteer at Maeleigh's orphanage when Maeleigh arrived there in 2000, and she used to take Maeleigh home with her on weekends so that she could see what life outside the orphanage was like. She said she used to feel so sad because she knew WuShuang (Maeleigh) would not have a bright future in China. She will be sharing pictures and stories with me about her time with Maeleigh, so stay tuned.  About an hour later, I received another email from another volunteer from Maeleigh's orphanage, and she asked for my address to send us a check to help with our expenses. In addition, the travel person from Madison is working hard to help me make this trip affordable and not overly expensive. It was only within the last week or so that Madison changed travel providers to help families manage the travel costs. Had we traveled any earlier our costs would have been much more.

It is a constant privilege and honor to be the recipient of these kinds of blessings. I know so clearly that God has answered my prayers, and the He is working hard to help us. I know that I need to get out of the way, stop worrying, and trust that He is in charge. It is the most awesome and awe-inspiring experience to know that we are truly not in this alone. I am so buoyed up by the Holy Spirit, and so full of excitement to be a part of the work of bringing home a child into our family, and thankful that we have been asked to do this.

Thank you to all who have been so very generous and thoughtful to us during this process. We are forever grateful and keep you close in our prayers.
God Bless

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Art Sale

20"x16"-Print from original: only 2 available!

$60.00-24"x18 1/2"- Print from original, only 2 available!

$40.00-20" x 16" Print from original, only 3 available!         

     We are proud to show you the pictures painted by our Sarah, who is now a Sophomore in college. Sarah painted these pictures in high school and displayed them at a school art show/fundraiser. Not only did Sarah sell all the originals, but she got so many orders for the pieces that people were willing to buy prints. We had the prints professionally done on high quality paper,and Sarah has given  us the extra prints to help us bring Maeleigh home.
     Use the donate button on the right to order. In the note section, specify which print you would like. We will ship the print to you so put your address in the note section or send it to me by email. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Travel the home stetch!

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

Well, we got word yesterday that we have Travel Approval! That means that the green light is now on to go to China.  However, since the Chinese New Year is at the end of January, the earliest we could travel is The beginning of Feb, and for work, finances, and managing things at home, I am hoping to travel at the end of February.

We are so grateful to the friends who have contributed to our adoption. I am so in awe at the generosity of people, and the thoughtfulness of those who took the time to donate, and who gave from their hearts and from their love. Know that you are all in our prayers, and we remember you every day in our prayers by name. In addition, we are committed to paying this forward and helping other families to adopt...

We are crunching the numbers for travel fees, and it looks pretty much right now that Sophie may not be able to travel with me. I have not told her, because I have not given up. So, I am working on some more fundraising and will be posting new pictures of bracelets for Valentine's Day. Our bracelets have been getting wonderful reviews, and I am going to set a goal of 50 (!!!) doubles to try to add to our travel costs. In addition, we will be prints of artwork done by our daughter Sarah...they are awesome and will be reasonably priced and a great gift for yourself or anyone else! Stay tuned! Sarah is working on taking pictures of the bracelets and the prints. We should post them in the next day or so.

Thanks again for all of your support and prayers. This is a stressful exhausting process, but God is with us all the time, and we know that.We have to give it to Him, take the control away from us and let Him do his awesome work.