Monday, April 30, 2007

The Info Hound is Loose Again

Everyone has their way of processing things. Mine is to do research on every possible scenario and detail. I like information. Which is why I'm starting to get edgy. I'm seeing other people post their lid (log in dates) and PA (pre-approval) dates who were dtc either the same time or after us. We don't have any of that info yet. If I had to guess, I'd say we already have a lid and probably are very close to PA. But I don't have the info. Did I mention I don't have the date? I want to know when our count down began and to be able to update our timeline! I think this is a continuation of yesterday's panic attack. I want confirmation that I should truly be in panic mode :) Just give me the information and noone gets hurt!!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

My knight in shining armor

I don't get to brag very often but I just want to brag on my husband. Every year for my birthday we head out for an evening away. This weekend we enjoyed a seafood dinner and spent the night in Annapolis and then went shopping the next day at the outlets. Yes ladies, my husband took me shopping. Since we started homeschooling, one of the things I've had to give up is shopping time. It is just not fun to shop for clothes, shoes (not to mention all the other necessities) with 4 kids in tow, 2 of whom are preteen boys. While it has probably been a good thing for the family budget, I miss the thrill of a good bargain hunt. So, for the past two years, we've gone shopping. I know it bores Ken to no end, but I appreciate it beyond words and it is just another way that he shows me how much he loves me. He's my knight in shining armor, armed with plastic and able to wisk packages away to the car so that I can find more bargains. My hero!

The clock is ticking....

Do you hear it? Minutes, hours, days, just ticking away? I know it sounds dramatic but I had a moment of panic this morning. I've been following the current wait times for people with waiting children and the pace has started to pick up. Of course that is a wonderful thing - so many of these kids need surgeries and treatments that they just won't get until they are home. If given the chance, we'd hop on a plane tomorrow to get Caleb if we could. The reality is that I have a very long list of things to do before we head to China - not "things I'd like to do" but "things I really need to do". When I looked at the time line and realized that we could be traveling to China a month or so earlier than I anticipated, my pulse raced and I went into a panic. I announced to my so patient husband that I was officially in panic mode and that the projects would ensue. Poor man. While he loves a good project, we don't exactly go at them the same way I do and I think he fears that I will start all of them this week and not finish any of them until the day before we board the plane. Oh, the things that an adoption does to a marriage :)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Free Wheelin!

The weather has finally gotten nice enough for the girls to get out and have fun - they love their sets of wheels!

Our Little Princess in Growing Up!

Anna has been begging us to let her pierce her ears. Our mantra has been that she had to be old enough and mature enough to take care of them herself. On Saturday at her 6th birthday party, she found out that we thought she met the mark. She had them done on Monday and has been thrilled to show off her newly jeweled ear lobes (and to let everyone know that she did NOT cry...). She is so excited and has done a great job keeping them clean.

She also decided that she was no longer needing her training wheels. Daddy took them off and she has been peddling like crazy since. She is so proud of herself and it so fun to watch her excited about her new accomplishments. It is like in a blink (or a week) our little princess has been transformed into a growing young lady. Who would have thought that her 6th Birthday would be such a big one!

Retail Therapy

Wanted: Crazed mother to be of a little boy who was in need of some clothes

Accomplices: Jacob "you can't dress my brother like a dork" Weikel, Anna "I love to shop and little boy clothes are fun" Weikel and Sarah "I won't be left out of the fun" Weikel.

Crime: Raiding every sale rack in a 10 mile radius looking for cute boy clothes in sizes 9months-18 months.

Are armed with plastic and are considered dangerous.....

Friday, April 20, 2007

We just got some photos of Caleb's orphanage from someone who visited recently and were thrilled beyond words to see our little boy!!!! He is the one in the back row in the orange. From everything we see, it appears that he and the other kids are well taken care of and the place looks bright and clean. It is hard to tell if he is walking yet - there is a picture of him in a walker but that doesn't necessarily mean he isn't walking. It was like a crumb for a starving mama - I can't even tell you how excited we were to get these photos and confirmation of the sizes we got in his last medical update. Isn't he just adorable?!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Esther Fast

We just received this email from our agency. I would ask you to consider joining us as we fast and pray for adoption here in the U.S. and abroad. If you have other adoption related prayer concerns, please let us know so we can add them to the list.
Dear America World Families,

In recent years, our agency has asked our community to fast and pray on certain occasions-in hope and expectation that God would change the hearts of adoption officials for the best interest of orphans. We are writing to ask you to join us again as we fast and pray from April 23-25, 2007; if you cannot join us on these dates, please see if another time works with your schedule.

In the past we have seen God work mightily as we have fasted, prayed and sought His direction and guidance. We greatly appreciate your prayers for our staff, prospective adoptive parents, adoption officials in the U.S. and abroad, and, most importantly, for the many waiting children in need of a family.

Just as Esther and the Jewish people prayed and fasted and had a ruling overturned, our prayer is that the policies preventing orphans from entering families will be changes (Esther 8:5-8).

Another passage that has been an encouragement to our agency is from the prophet Isaiah-showing us the hope that God can do new things-and providing a way through terrain that seems impossible:

"This is what the LORD says-He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters...See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." -Isaiah 43:16&19

Specific Issues in Need of Prayer:
*To decrease the wait time for referrals from China and El Salvador;
*To allow more orphans in China to be listed and available for adoption;
*For paper chasing China adoptive families who need to reach their May 1 deadline;
*For adoption agencies to be accredited in Russia;
*For the hearts of leaders in the field of adoption to make decisions in the best interest of children-and not to be motivated by personal greed, ambition,or national pride.

We are praying boldly and in faith -as Jesus taught us in Mark Chapter 11:

"Have faith in God,"Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."-Mark 11:22-24

This would be a great time to ask your church community, fellowship groups and Bible studies to pray together for orphans waiting to be adopted. For those who can join us in prayer and fasting from April 23-25, we appreciate your support, prayers and faithfulness.

America World Staff

More on the name...

I found a website this morning that will translate Chinese characters into English. Caleb's first names mean "has handsome" which I guess means he is a handsome little guy. We think he is aptly named :)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Auntie Em, Auntie Em....

Whew is it ever windy!! We lost power last night for over an hour and while it is back up, I'm not convinced that we won't loose it again. I haven't seen winds like this since the last tropical storm came through. It even blew over our little tykes playground and has downed a tree on a local road that we usually drive. Get to go the long way around today...

They made it!!!

As of sometime in the middle of the night, our documents, along with those of 24 other families, were delivered to the front desk of the CCAA (Chinese Adoption Association). Our dossier is there!!!! We will now have to wait for them to be logged in which could take anywhere from 2-6 weeks. We're hoping for an expidited lid since we already have Caleb's LOI (letter of intent) attached to his dossier.
Let the waiting begin......

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What's in a Name

Tonight Ken and I were looking through the Old Testament and digging around for more on the man named Caleb. I decided to google it and was casually reading some of the different summaries of this great man of faith. Casually, that is until I hit one that I almost skipped because of its scholarly nature. Hidden in one of the paragraphs was a sentenced that I had to fight back the tears to read. It is thought by some Bible scholars that Caleb was not a Hebrew by birth but ADOPTED! Yep, that is what it said. I've got goose bumps....

Neon Signs

When faced with a huge decision, we often pray that God will give us a sign(s) to let us know which direction to go. When we were called last week with Caleb's referral, a similar prayer came up from us. He was older than we had requested (only by a month), his weight was soooo low, his medical information was over a year old.... Lots of questions and wanting to make the right decision. When we had been called with a referral in February, it only took about 10 minutes for us to know that this wasn't our child. We didn't have that immediate response this time so we started praying and digging. Here is what God answered:
*Tuesday morning, before we ever even got the call, a neighbor who knew we were adopting again, brought us a baby boy gift. Yep, a baby gift out of the blue from someone I'd call an acquaintance (very sweet).
*Our hs was lost for almost 3 weeks and was received a second time on Monday. We got our 171 on Saturday.
*For the first time in 15 years, we over paid our taxes (not easy to do when you're self employed). Found that out on Wednesday.
*Caleb is from the same province as our friends the Bentons' little guy who they are waiting for as well. They are only 1 month apart in age and their clefts are even on the same side :)
*I received an email on Wednesday from a friend about cleft - she had no idea that we had received the call the night before.
* Peace. I can't explain it and those of you who have experienced it know what I'm talking about. We knew that despite our misgivings, this little guy was ours.
So there it is . God always answers our prayers (sometimes not the way we like but He does always answer them) and sometimes He uses neon signs to help us.
Now I must admit that I"m a bit nervous. I've told everyone that we are done after Caleb and that they only way we'd add to our family is if God dropped the kiddo on our front porch with a note signed by Him saying that the child was ours. I guess I better be careful what I say.....

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Laundry 101 - Lipstick

Here's the scene: I'm behind in laundry (when you do 1-2 loads a day, that isn't hard to do) because of all this last minute adoption stuff. I go to pull out the load from the dryer and gaze at the white sweater that I has taken 2 days and lots of bleach to get "chocolate milk free". Instead of the gleaming white sweater that went into the dryer, I see one with rose colored smudges all over. Of course my stomach drops and I start the chant, "please don't let anything else be covered, please don't let anything else be covered..." My chanting does not work as I pull out piece after piece of laundry covered in pretty rose colored spots. Then I see it. The bottom half of a tube of lipstick, empty, its contents now melted all over our favorite clothes. I take a deep breath,trying not to think of how much it will cost to replace the things ruined in the load (you know, Mom and Dad's favorite jeans, hoodies for the boys, jeans for the girls...). In desperation I put the washer on the hottest setting possible, dump in half a bucket of OxyClean and pray over the load as I dump it back in. I consider bringing the entire family in to lay hands on the washer but resist. 45 minutes later I cautiously open the lide of the washer to find that IT WORKED and nothing shrunk! Of course during those 45 minutes I had to calmly (a supernatural calm only present because of lots of prayer) let my 3 year old know that you cannot "borrow" Mommy's makeup and hide it in your jean pocket. Another laundry crisis averted and another gray hair added to my head...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Introducing Caleb Franklin ? Weikel!!!

After a long day downtown, we are DONE with our paperwork and we will be dtc (dossier to China) on Friday!!! When our dossier goes out on Friday, it will be complete with a special sticker :) and will be attached to our electronic LOI (Letter of Intent) for our little boy, Caleb! After lots of prayers and several signs from God that this little guy is ours, we are happy to share our little guy with you.

He was born 9/8/05 (he's right now 19 months old) and is at the Datong SWI, Shanxi Province. He has an unrepaired cleft lip and palate and we will be meeting with a medical team at Children's Hospital before we go to get him to set up with a series of treatments. He's a little guy (small for even the Chinese charts) but I'm sure some time home will get him growing!
Right now we expect to travel sometime in the fall to go get him. We will have a busy summer getting things ready on top of our family's schedule so I anticipate the time moving along pretty quickly (you can remind me in a couple of months that I said that!).
We appreciate all the prayers for wisdom that have gone up from many of you. We feel like this is our son and we are blessed to have so many of you having you lift us up.
If you've never seen an unrepaired cleft before, the photo might be kind of tough to see the first time. But when you look at those big, brown eyes, he'll just melt your heart :)

Monday, April 9, 2007

One Step Closer...

Today I did the run to the County Courthouse and then the Secretary of State. I love Annapolis, the old alley ways and cobblestone streets. Of course what I love about Annapolis also makes it hard to get around. I got lost (well maybe just redirected) when I left the parking garage onto a one way street and ended up at the Naval Academy. After some instinctive navigation (no detail person here - it is always about generalities...) I found my way back onto Rt 50 and home.
The people at the Secretary of State are always so nice and efficient - I was in and out in less than 10 minutes.
Tomorrow is the long day. We'll do the State Dept, then the Chinese Embassy, lunch, back to the Chinese Embassy and then to our agency. Ken is taking the day off to do this with me. It will be nice to not have to fight the parking restrictions around the State Dept (he can just drop me off and then make a couple block circle back to me) and to have company during the long waits at the Chinese Visa Office. I've always said that the experience at the Chinese Visa Office is a good tutorial for your China trip. You're one of the few non Asians in the room, everything is in both Chinese and English and you have to do things their way. It's too bad everyone paperchasing doesn't get this experience! We'll have to go back there to get our Visas once we have our TA (Travel Approval) but that doesn't usually take as long.
I can't wait to be done - it is always such a good feeling to leave the agency knowing that all you have to do now is wait (did I just say that?).

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, um I mean Easter!

Our annual "We hate to sit on the sofa and take this picture in the clothes that we don't like (the boys) and aren't we so sweet in our matching dresses (the girls)" picture. I've given up on getting a good picture of all the kids simultaneously so this is the best we can do....

It was sooo cold (in the low 40's) most of the day. It felt like Christmas, not Easter. We had to bundle everyone up in coats to head to church and for Easter Egg hunting. At least it didn't snow today!

We were joined by my family and the Stacks' family as has become a tradition. We did manage to get in an egg hunt but had to find the coats for it! The grown ups all huddled on the porch and as soon as everyone had their eggs we all dashed inside. I love cold weather but not for Easter!

This is the crew ready to go... Notice the absence of the adults!

Too cool for a basket but not too cool for the candy....At least Nathan found another use for his coat!

Does Anna look cold? She was so proud of her Little Pony basket!

Well, most of my kids wore coats - Jacob always seems impervious to the weather... At least he wasn't wearing a tank top and shorts!

Sarah really got into the egg thing this year - she is a junk food junkie so plastic eggs full of chocolate is a dream to this 3 year old!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Papers and Flakes

Ok, the flakes do not refer to us (at least I don't think so ) but beleive it or not, we have SNOW on the ground! The last time there was snow in April was 1924 - gotta love being a record breaker. Everyone is scrambling around trying to reinvent sweet spring outfits into something that will endure the 30 degree weather. We've been on the great white sweater hunt and have successfully (with the help of my mom) found something for the girls. This is nuts!!!!

On to bigger and better things..... WE HAVE OUR 171!!!! It came today and that means I'll do the 2 day authentication run and we should be dtc on Friday. YEAH!!!

Which brings us to our next big news.....We are currently reviewing the file of a little guy who is 19 months old with an unrepaired cleft lip and palate. We've requested more medical information and have been praying over this since Tuesday but all signs right now point to us accepting his referral! He is such a sweet little peanut - his big brown eyes are to die for. We'll post pictures once we've officially accepted his referral. Until then, please pray for us as we make this decision. We want what is best for this little guy and for our family.

So, lots happening at the Weikel house. Not to mention that tomorrow is the day that we get to celebrate our Savior conquering death - HE IS RISEN, HE IS RISEN INDEED!!!

Easter blessings to your family,
Melissa for all the Weikels