Friday, May 30, 2008

The kids gang up on Daddy while Mommy is away!

Hey Rylie!

Your brother and sister decided to tackle me and I took a picture to prove it. As you can see Reagan is holding down my head while Jonah piles on! Looking forward to having you here to join in on the party!!!

Love,
Daddy

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Kings Dominion!

Today, we celebrated mailing out the first big portion of our official paperwork to our adoption agency by going to Kings Dominion. We got season passes for the summer and this was our first time going. The weather was great and the kids were too! Here are some pics...

Jonah at the entrance

Meeting Uniqua from the Backyardigans

Doesn't he look terrified?

Out for a drive....

Climbing

Flying

Here's Reagan's action shot....

The van from Scooby Doo

Now....here's the highlight. It's a video of Jonah in the bumper cars....as you can see, he is very confused and a very poor driver. He likes to scowl at the other drivers and attempt to honk a horn that isn't there. It's provided us a lot of laughs!! He said it was his favorite thing....I'm not sure why considering most of the time he was spinning in a circle or stuck! Seriously...the face he makes when someone hits him is ridiculous. Kids are hilarious!




Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More Progress....

Today we had our final interview for our homestudy. Our social worker, Clair, came to our house at about 10:30 and stayed for about 2 hours. The kiddos had to be there and we could not have asked them to be better behaved. Reagan went down for a nap shortly after she arrived, and Jonah chatted with us and then really entertained himself for most of the time before being the official tour guide. He even got a special surprise for his good behavior (a new matchbox car). :)

Mostly, this visit consisted of a tour of our house, us explaining our reasons for wanting to adopt, our families' feelings towards it, plans once she's here, travel plans, etc. It was really a stress-free pleasant visit. We love talking about adoption anyway, so this was great! Now, all that's left on the homestudy end is sending them the rest of our required paperwork (some medical forms, employment letters, etc) and sending their final copy to Immigration along with our application for approval to adopt internationally and have the child become a citizen. After that....more dossier (our compilation of things sent to China) stuff and waiting for immigration approval. Then comes, the dreaded wait. It's upwards of 28 months now so we're hoping the patience starts setting in! I'm so glad a lot of this paperwork is almost done!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Unveiling....

So...we're making the official announcement...kind of. We have chosen a name for our not-soon-enough-to-be daughter! Our plan has always been to give her an American first and middle name and then use a portion of her Chinese name as well. So, I'll fill you all in on what we've chosen but understand that the middle portion anyway might change depending on how it sounds with the Chinese part we keep.

And...drum roll please.....

Rylie Kailyn it is! She'll have the same initials as Rush. :) I hope you all like it! For some reason, Rylie just stayed in my head and I couldn't shake it no matter how many other names I checked out. We chose that spelling because we thought it seemed a little more girly than Riley, which a lot of boys also use. Plus, I think "Reagan and Rylie" sounds really cute!

Lucky for us, Jonah has approved. :) Let the "R" and "J" theme continue!

And just because.....here's a Memorial Day pic of Reagan. Yes, I am obsessed with the pigtails now. Can you blame me? Look at her!!! :)


Monday, May 26, 2008

My inspiration....


In an effort to make this blog "fair and balanced" I thought it was important for me to not let Jen have all the fun.....so here is my first post. Busy times are normal around our house with the constant repairs, two kids, busy work schedules. The fact that Jen is about a month "pregnant" with our next one also adds to the excitement around here...just another 36 months or so til delivery!

I wanted to give everyone a look into my mind (scary I know) and why this adoption thing is the such a big deal to me. So here goes.

I always envisioned having two little ones running around my house. Jen did a fabulous job providing me with a perfect little boy and girl. What else could we possibly need? One wasn't enough and anything more than two would be sure chaos, right? Shortly after my baby doll Reagan arrived I started to feel a tug that maybe, just maybe, we weren't done expanding the Middleton Clan. And despite all my fears, stresses, and increased blood pressure of having a little girl, I really thought I would like to have another little lady. For some reason whenever I dreamed of what another Middleton girl would look like I would get a bit troubled. You see, in my mind, she looked absolutely nothing like me or Jen! Jet black hair, olive skin and eyes that were gorgeous but in a totally different way. Finally I came to terms with the fact that she was Chinese! When I told Jen that I wanted to discuss adopting a girl from China I know she was floored. The coolest thing is that the same seed had already been planted in her heart. I really have to give Reagan a lot of the credit for inspiring me to want to adopt. I absolutely adore her and have had so much fun having a little girl......way more than I ever thought I would. She is perfect and I can't wait to meet her sister. So here we are, starting the initial phase of the expansion project that is our family. One awesome little boy and my two little princesses...one from the west and one from the east.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Boogie Shoes

Jonah wanted to share some dance moves with you all today.....enjoy
(and please ignore the disaster of the playroom)!
Sorry for the poor quality of the video!


video

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs.....

Recently it seems like I've been inundated with signs, namely scripture references, that have been confirming even more that this adoption path we're going down is the right thing for us. Just today in church, the week's scripture was....

Psalm 72:12- For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.

On Mother's day, we sang the song "There are no Orphans in God." Very cool...

Anyway, I feel like they're just hitting me in the face without me even looking for them, so I'll share a few more.

*From my friend, Julie: Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your child from the east and gather you from the west. Isaiah 43:5

*Matthew 18:5 -And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

*Ephesians 1:5 -He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.

*Jeremiah 29:11- 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 a hope and a future. (one of my favorites)


*and one more from Psalm 139 - My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

I love that! Even before we knew it, even before her birth, there's a little girl on the other side of the earth that has been meant to be our daughter. It's a pretty humbling thought. It reminded me of something I read recently. There's a passage from a book I've been reading called The Lost Daughters of China by Karin Evans. It's a great book...the author is an adoptive mother herself, with I believe 2 daughters from China. She shares some letters she wrote to her daughter as she was starting the adoption process the first time. In one of them she says:

When we get together, you and I, I won't really know what you've been through-who carried you and gave birth to you, what she first whispered to you, how long she held onto you before having to make a deep, sad decision. I am certain the loss of you will linger with her all of her days.... We humans tend to place much importance upon our own particular threads of genetic inheritance. The urge for family continuity and inherited ties is a fine desire, of course, but I know that just as much love and devotion is possible among strangers who choose each other.

I know it too......because I am already hooked. It's going to be a long wait. :)




Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pigtails!


Here's our first attempt at pigtails.....it's rather pathetic, but we don't have much to work with! :) I still think it's adorable though!

Friday, May 23, 2008

One year down.....

Here are some shots of Jonah's last day of preschool and his end of the year ceremony.

Snack Time

Reagan joined in too

Goofball

With his teacher, Mrs Gordon

Jonah and his best friend in the class, Xander

What a group!

Ready to celebrate!

Like a deer in the headlights....

One last run down the slide until September...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What's in a name?

Oh....the baby name choices....again! We had a pretty easy time choosing Jonah and Reagan's names. We didn't intend to keep the R and J theme going at the time. Reagan was actually my favorite baby girl name since college or so and Jonah just came easily to us. Anyway, we feel compelled to go ahead and give our next daughter a name. Maybe it will help make her more real, considering she won't even be born for a couple of years probably. :)

We are having a tough time with this one though!! We already know that we want to keep part of her Chinese name, probably somewhere in the middle. But, wow....we are really having problems! I'm wondering if the R/J thing really matters....will it make her feel like it's just one more thing that makes her different in our family if we choose something else? It might seem like I'm reading way into it...but I think when you choose to adopt a child that will blatantly look different than the rest of the family, it's something you think about.

Anyway, any thoughts or suggestions are welcome! We'll make our decision known whenever we decide!

Prayers please!

I LOVE Steven Curtis Chapman and his awesome family. They have adopted 3 little girls from China and have an amazing story. Yesterday, they experienced a horrible tragedy and are probably in desperate need of prayers for peace and comfort. See below....


Daughter of Christian music star killed by car

"The 5-year-old daughter of Grammy-winning Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman was struck and killed Wednesday by a sport utility vehicle driven by her brother, authorities said.
The girl, Maria Sue, was hit in the driveway of the family's home Wednesday afternoon by a Toyota Land Cruiser driven by her teenage brother, said Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The brother, whose name and exact age weren't available, apparently did not see the girl, McPherson said. No charges are expected.

"It looks like a tragic accident," she said.

Several family members witnessed the accident, which happened in Williamson County just south of Nashville. The girl died later at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, hospital spokeswoman Laurie Holloway said.

In a statement, Velvet Kelm, a publicist for Chapman, said Maria was the Chapmans' youngest daughter.

Chapman, who is originally from Paducah, Ky., and his wife have promoted international adoption and have three daughters from China, including Maria. They also have three biological children.

The singer's Web site says the couple was persuaded by their oldest daughter to adopt a girl from China. The experience led the family to adopt two more children and create Shaohannah's Hope, a foundation and ministry to financially assist thousands of couples in adoption.
The Chapmans did missionary work at Chinese orphanages in 2006 and 2007, according to the Web site.
"After our first trip to China, my wife and I knew our lives were changing — our eyes and hearts were opening to how big God really is, and we have wanted to experience more of that," Chapman says on the Web site.

"We've really wondered whether or not we should just go to China and stay there. But I don't think so. I believe God is saying, 'I want you to go, get your heart broken, your eyes opened, and then take this story back to the church in America and around the world.'"

The 45-year-old singer also has released a book about being a father titled "Cinderella: The Love of Daddy and his Princess." He has won five Grammy awards and 54 Dove awards from the Gospel Music Association, according to Kelm.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Moving Along....

Well, we are officially knee deep in the adoption paperchase. Our homestudy is in progress...this is basically a compilation of information a social worker puts together discussing us as individuals, our family, our home, etc. We had to each write autobiographies, sign a sworn disclosure statement saying we weren't criminals, sign a corporal punishment statement, be cleared by CPS ($10), etc. Today we went up to Warrenton (about an hour and a half away) for a face to face interview. Rush and I each met separately with our social worker, Clair, for about an hour a piece. It was basically a review of the information in our autobiographies, and her chance to ask for clarification or more details. The rest of the homestudy was $1800 ($2100 total with the application fee). Afterwards, we went to the Police Department and got fingerprinted ($100) and "good conduct" letters indicating we did not have a criminal record.

Right now we are waiting on our medical exam and bloodwork results (which we just had done on Saturday...a very interesting experience at Patient First and a story for another time), employment verification letters and a financial statement. Also, the kids need health forms filled out...Reagan has a check up on Wednesday morning so I'll get those done then. We're also working on our 10 hours of education (about $150) which fortunately is on-line so we can work on that whenever.

Whew!!! It's a lot, but we're getting there. I'll be glad when this part is done....it's not doing it that's stressful. It's just the fact that everything is so specific and one little mistake can really delay things. Also, the idea of doing some of these things twice is not pleasant! :)

Anyway, I'm beat.....it's been a busy day. Thanks to my mom for watching the kids while we did all of this stuff today. :) What a lifesaver!

On another note, Jonah's last day of preschool for the year is tomorrow! I can't believe he's about done and that my little man is about to turn 4!! We've got one more year of preschool before kindergarten. Say it ain't so! I am not ready!

Ok...off to bed. My house is a disaster but it will have to stay that way for now.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

New Adoption News!

Today we are submitting a few more things.....our service agreement with Great Wall China Adoption and an agreement for their dossier assistance program to help with all the certification of our paperwork. It's being mailed off today!!

Service agreement: $2500 -$100 early bird discount for applying within 2 weeks of being accepted into program= $2400

Dossier Plan: $2100 - $25 for returning both plans together=$2075

Another check off the list....it's a long list, so I am excited about each and every checkmark I can make!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Our family is growing!

So, the blog thing seemed like a good idea at the time. A long time ago..... What can I say? With 2 small kids, I am kept pretty busy and this whole thing has been put on the back burner. Oh well...

Anyway, we have big news. We have decided to expand our family! No, I'm not pregnant and not looking to be any time soon, if ever again. We have, however, decided to adopt a little girl from China! We've been thinking, praying and discussing for a long time. Over the past few months, we've done a lot of research into it and have really felt like this is the right decision for our family. We've just started the process. Here's how it's looking:

4-28-08 Submit application to Great Wall China Adoption based in Austin, TX - $250
4-29-08 Receive notice that we have been accepted into the program!
5-1-08 3 copies each of Jen and Rush's birth certificates and 2 copies of our marriage certificate ordered - $184.45
5-2-08 Submit application for Home Study with Forever Families Adoption Services in Warrenton, VA and application fee - $300

There's a long road ahead, full of paperwork and notaries...but it feels good to be on our way! WOW!