Friday, March 31, 2006

We Made It to China

Hello everyone,
After a long, long, long day we finally made it to
Beijing. We've been here a day and found a computer
in our hotel. The hotel is very nice. They were full
at our reservation level so they upgraded us to a
suite. Very Sweet. Today, we went sightseeing with 2
other families in our group. We went to the Panda
House at the Beijing Zoo, the Summer Palace, and the
Hutong. The pandas were a little dirty sitting in the
dirt and mud. The Summer Palace is where the emperor
spent the summers a few hundred years ago during the
hot Beijing summers. The Hutong is the old-style
housing for a large number of people. It consists of
narrow alleys with quadrangle houses all viewed via a
rickshaw. We finished the day off with a Chinese
acrobat show. Breakfast was great, lunch was so-so,
and dinner was nice. Lisa had fun with the
squatty-potties today (unfortunately no pictures).
We're not yet able to add pictures to this blog or
view it so hopefully the text will be adequate for
now. We're doing fine and look forward to emails and
comments. Tomorrow, it's off to the Great Wall and
the Ming tombs.

Here's one of us on the Great Wall. It's steeper than it looks (that is if you think it looks flat).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The time has finally come...

Tomorrow marks another milestone. It is the day we leave for China. To some it may seem like our journey is nearing the end; however, it is really just beginning. I found a short poem that captures some of what we are feeling...

The Wait is Over

One last road to travel,
One last way to go.
One more day to forever,
Just to let you know.
The wait is finally over,
The journey is just beginning.
Now this comes to let you know,
Dreams really do come true.

-Author unknown

The bags are packed. We have checked our lists over and over--and it appears we are as ready as we'll ever be; however, who is really ever fully ready for parenthood?

It's quiet; yet, I know it won't be this quiet again for a long time. I am tired; yet, I know I'm about to undergo a tiredness like I've never ever experienced. For the most part, life is pretty easy; yet, I know it is about to become more complex. Why take a lovely even number of two, and turn it to an odd number of three? The answer is found in a four letter word--LOVE. Love is what has brought us to this place. Our love for each other, and our love for our chosen child who has grown in our hearts for years. Ready? Yes, I believe we are...

We will be thinking of you and missing you while we are away. Please keep us in your prayers.

Don & Lisa

Monday, March 27, 2006

Lasts and firsts

I have always been a person who observed "lasts." Call me sappy, but I always have. "Lasts" are often accompanied with some tears here and there. Whether it was the last time I walked down the halls at high school, or the last time I signed my maiden name, lasts have always been something I have been accutely aware of. Sometimes I would share my "lasts", other times I kept them to myself.

Well, I am at it again!

Yesterday was potentially my "last" uninterrupted peaceful church service (for a while). Today was my "last" day at work for 12 weeks. Tomorrow is my "last" day off by myself. Last week was our "last" outing with Jeff and Jennifer Hassmann without kids. The list goes on and on...

Well, I've been trying to think of things differently. Now I realize there are so many more "firsts" to look forward to: The "first" time I see Lindy (either on Sunday or Monday). The "first" time I hold her. The "first" time I hear her laugh a deep belly laugh. The "first" time she calls me mommy. The list goes on and on...

The lasts and the firsts make life special. I look forward to telling you about many of our "firsts" over the next few days.


Lindy's 100 Good Wishes quilt is complete

Today my friend, Jean, made a very special delivery--Lindy's 100 Good Wishes quilt. Jean put so much effort into this very special keepsake, and we just can't thank her enough. In China, the birth of a baby is welcomed with a Bai Jia Bei, or 100 Good Wishes quilt. The quilt is traditionally made from scraps of clothing contributed by family and friends. This special project for Lindy began many months ago, and is now ready. Thank you for all who contributed, and Jean thank you for all you did.
It is quilted in red thread which has a special significance. There is an old Chinese legend which goes as follows:

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break."

It is God's plan that Lindy join our family. Our red thread is getting shorter, and shorter and when Lindy comes home, she will have this beautiful quilt, filled with many stories, ready for her.

I look forward to the day when we tell her about each special contributor and the stories associated with several of the squares. Whether it is about the fuzzy pink square from cousin Brooke, or the piece of a yellow striped sheet that was evacuated from a New York City penthouse after 9/11, this quilt will "speak" for years. Right now, it says, "Welcome home, Lindy Li-Xiao Osborn."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Lao Lao's labor of love

Well, Lindy's room is almost complete, with the exception of adding some finishing touches to the walls that didn't quite get done, and of course Lindy in the crib. :o) Her nursery is nothing like I would have dreamt it would be. We started out thinking pale green and pink toile with white furniture. As you can see, it is not even close.

When we first started the adoption process, we referred to our daughter as our "China doll." One day I typed China doll in a search engine and found an adorable fabric named China Dolls. I fell in love with it, and had to have it. In HGTV talk, it became my inspiration piece. I continued to buy other coordinating fabrics and handed them over to my mom who had agreed to design and sew
the bedding and window treatments for Lindy's room. She spent many sleepless hours creating her designs, rather than counting sheep and labored for months making several pieces.

Today we received her crib quilt. It beautifully incorporates all the fabrics used in the room, and is even signed, "Made with love for Lindy by Grandma Caples. February 2006." It is wonderful.

I call this post "Lao Lao's labor of love," because Lao Lao is the name for maternal grandmother in Chinese. It truly has been a labor of love. Not just a grandmother's love for her granddaughter, but a mother's love for her daughter.

Thank you, Mom, for all your work. We love everything you did, and we love you!

Don & Lisa

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

We received our Travel Notice

Today we received our official approval from the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) to travel to China.

We can't read Chinese, but we think it says, "Come on over." That's the best invite we've had in a long time, and we think we'll take them up on the offer.

Yes, if you're wondering, that little picture on the bottom of the document is Miss Lindy.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

An anniversary of a lifechanging event

I know this blog is supposed to be more about Lindy, and not about us, but I feel compelled to write something about this, because I truly believe it is part of the journey.

Two years ago today, I was suddenly diagnosed with a very large benign brain tumor. I was immediately placed in ICU and had brain surgery less than two days later. Thankfully, the surgery was a success and my recovery was speedy.

During my recovery, I spent a lot of time thinking about what could have been, and how blessed I was to have a second chance. During that time, I knew I needed to make some changes in my life, work on being a better person, and pursue unfulfilled dreams.

The biggest unfulfilled dream in my life, was my desire to be a Mom. Don and I had been on the fence for so long about what to do about having a family. We had been trying for so long, without success. We had talked about adoption, but hadn't really pursued it. A dear friend, Megan Marchese, kept saying, "You could adopt a baby from China." She had told me that multiple times. First, when her older sister brought a baby home from China. Now, her younger sister was just starting the process. This time, when Meg said it, my eyes and ears were truly opened. There was a new clarity. The seed she had been planting for so long, took root. It wasn't long until it started to grow, and before I knew it, Don and I were talking and talking about it more.

Another dear friend, Jaime Bailey, gave us an ultimatum. On a road trip to Oklahoma City over the fourth of July, she told us to make up our minds and get our paperwork going by my birthday, August 6th. Well...with the seed that already had taken root, Jaime's ultimatum, and prayer, we finally hopped off the fence!

I believe God's timing is perfect, even when we don't think so. I believe I had to walk through the "valley of the shadow of death" before this journey to Lindy could begin. So, it is with joy that I celebrate the second anniversary of this lifechanging event!!!


A thank you for a mystery gift

There's a mystery taking place right now that has put us in a bit of a quandary.

Last Tuesday, March 14th, an inter-office envelope appeared in my inbin at work. There was no sender listed. I opened it to find a gift card to Best Buy with my initials labeled on it; however, it wasn't signed. I opened the sleeve of the gift card for more clues, but there was no signature. I did, however, nearly fall out of my chair when I saw the amount of the card.

I am baffled. I have tried to find out who this generous sender is, so that I can give a proper thank you, but have not yet succeeded. It's a bit awkward doing that, and this is my first anonymous gift that I can recall.

There aren't enough words to adequately express our thanks. We just want you to know we are STUNNED & OVERWHELMED by your thoughtfulness and generosity. We are so undeserving. We also want to ASSURE you this gift will be put to good use.

One friend suggested I not worry about it, and "pay it forward." That's the best advice I have gotten about this. :o)

Whoever you are, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

Don & Lisa

Friday, March 17, 2006

China or bust

WOW, what a week!

On Monday, March 13th, we finally received word from our adoption agency that they had received our travel approval. This is notification of when we can travel to China. We had been waiting and waiting for this for so long. This notification was what we needed to get our visas and our appointment with the American Consulate in China.

On Tuesday we received our Consulate Appointment date of April 11th. We were disappointed to learn that it was a week later than we originally thought, and that we won't be traveling to China next week.

After spending all week on the phone with our travel agent, we finally have purchased our tickets to and from China. Talk about some serious sticker shock!

We leave on Wednesday, March 29th and arrive in Beijing on Thursday evening, March 30th. (Keep in mind China is 14 hours of us here in San Antonio.) We'll spend a couple days in Beijing doing some sightseeing. On Sunday, April 2nd, we'll fly down to Changsha, the city where Lindy lives.

Our "Gotcha Day" (Forever Family Day) should be Monday, April 3rd. This is the day we've been waiting for; the day we will finally meet Lindy and have her placed in our arms. Lindy will be with us from this point forward. We will spend the week in Changsha and then fly to Guangzhou on Friday, April 7th. After visiting the doctor and taking care of some other business, we'll go to the American Consulate on Tuesday, April 11th, for our final interview. On Thursday, April 13th we will leave out of Hong Kong and arrive back in San Antonio on United Airlines at 4:25pm.

Stay tuned for more information!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Our Gladney travel meeting was today

We had our travel meeting today. It was every bit of the three hours that were scheduled, and more. The meeting was via conference call and it was our first introduction to the rest of the group we'll be traveling with. Our girls are all from the Changsha #1 Social Welfare Institute, and several of them were born within days of each other. The meeting, although long, was very informative and a good reminder of some things we were already aware of but probably needed to hear again.

During our meeting we were hoping Mr. Wu, the director of the China program at Gladney, would surprise us with our travel authorization (TA), and Consulate Appointments (CA). Unfortunately, that was not the case. He didn't have them. He was told they should be mailed from Beijing today. Let the waiting continue. He discussed a tentative schedule that has us leaving March 22nd and getting our girls on March 27th. This is his goal. This would be in line with the dates other people who also got their referrals in January have. During the entire process Lisa's mom has had the date March 27th in her mind as something significant. Maybe it will be the day we meet Lindy for the first time. Wouldn't that be cool???

Signing off for now!

Don & Lisa