Thursday, May 29, 2008


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Make Fortune Cookies at

I recently had a friend tell me that before we sent in the LOI to adopt William, that our lives seemed to be in "neutral" and now they are in "drive." That's a great and really appropriate analogy. And we're driving pretty fast now too. What a week. Thursday night our SW called and told me our LOA or letter of acceptance will be arriving here on Friday for us to sign and return. This has been a week of paperwork and nesting and starting to get ready for this trip to China. It still doesn't feel real to me, sometimes I think this is someone else's life that I'm in for now. Thurday night we got takeout Chinese food for dinner and Dan's fortune said, "A pleasant surprise is in store for you soon." Mine said, "Your hard work is about to pay off. Congratulations!" I didn't make those up either. I was also told by our SW that we could be traveling by...mid JULY. Yikes. Don't know what to say other than that. What a ride and what an adventure. Happy Friday, may yours be a great one and a great start to the weekend dear friends.
love, Gail :)

Edited to say: LOA or letter of acceptance, is kind of the former term for this piece of paper from China. The new word for it is Letter Seeking Confirmation. The next step is TA, or travel approval. I believe we wait another 3-4 weeks or so for that? I think part of the reason this is moving so fast is because they want to get some of us families into China before the Olympics.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our little boy

Will is in Fujian province, which is right across the East China Sea from Taiwan.

A little about our William Michael. I want to be honest and forthcoming about him. William has a cleft lip (that was repaired in China) and a cleft palate. The lip will most likely have some more repair work done at a later date here in the U.S. The palate will be repaired after he is home too. William will also very likely need a bone graft done when he's older. Children with cleft palates have a very nasal quality to their speech and definitely have articulation issues. He will need speech therapy for a long time. He may need tubes in his ears. We will deal with all of this as it arises. The surgeries don't worry me. When we started the process to adopt about 2 years ago, a big reason as to why we didn't ask for a child with medical special needs was one little 4 letter word...Fear. My husband was afraid, and so was I in a way. Maybe with my medical background I know too much. Once I got past the fear I felt like we could commit to this little boy. My attitude now is that my medical background is an asset for William, I know the questions to ask and what not... and what to... worry about. I will be an advocate for him always. Having a child biologically or adopting is a leap of faith and I feel quite strongly that this child is meant for us. It is funny and wonderful that the path we think we were meant to go on changes a bit. I couldn't be happier that this little girl we were waiting for is really a little boy.

Will has been in foster care with the same family for about 2 years. He's been loved and doted on by 2 parents. Knowing what I do about attachment, it means that he can transfer that bond eventually to me and Dan. I have great empathy for the family that first loved him and cared for him and I can't imagine what they will go through when he leaves them. There will be lots of transitions for William and I don't expect it to be easy for him for quite a while. I think Grace will help tremendously. He will most likely follow her everywhere and want to do what she does. If any of you out there have adopted toddlers have suggestions, I'd welcome them. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

I think I might be nesting...

What a nice long weekend. Grace spent 2 nights away from home with friends. This was the first time she's spent the night at someone other than a relative's house and she did outstandingly well! We are so proud of our girl. It gave Dan and I some alone time and we got many projects done over these 3 days. Dan stained the deck, I planted pots and in flower beds. We watched a movie completely uninterrupted by a 5 yr. old. Also went out to dinner by ourselves. We have more paperwork to complete to get back to our agency and I've started on that. We did some furniture re-arranging, namely switched beds in Grace's and William's rooms. Grace got the white iron feminine bed that was in Lily's (now William's) room and he got Grace's full size bed. I completely cleaned out the extremely messy closet in Will's room and have started decorating his room a bit. Bought his first PJ's, swimsuit and a 2 pairs of shorts and tops for him. I'm guessing on his size for now at a 2T. Hoping to get more updated info about the little guy as far as his weight and height for a more correct size. This whole thing is still quite surreal to me. Friday we went in to sign more papers and pick up papers and our SW told us we could possibly be traveling in 6-8 weeks! Yikes, gotta get busy here. With the Olympics coming up I'm not sure of that, maybe our China travel will be post Olympics but we'll see. We'll be ready. If we had to leave next week, I'd be ready somehow. :)

I'll post more about Will next time...just some things that I want to share.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Crazy busy days

The past 2 days have been crazy busy, but in a good way. Yesterday at 8:45am I got home from taking Grace to school and saw there was a phone message, checked the caller ID and saw it was our SW. I remember thinking that she has never called at 8:30 in the morning before and then got nervous that maybe she had some news. Her message was, "You've been approved by CCAA to adopt your little guy. Call me later and we can talk about what happens next." I start crying immediately, got Dan on the phone at work. I said, " Dan, we have a son!" More crying on my part. I've cried happy tears on and off now for 2 days. Yesterday was a busy day of calling my parents and siblings with the news and Dan calling his Mother. Our families are delighted and surprised in a way with the boy news. We hadn't told them that we had applied for little Will, we wanted to wait until we had something real to tell them all. We've had heartfelt, wonderful emails and comments on the blog. They mean so much to us. We have slowly told Grace over the last week that she might be getting a brother instead of a sister. Yesterday when we got the news about Will, I waited until the afternoon and had her sit on my lap and showed her his pictures. I said, "Grace, this is your little brother. His name is Will." Grace responds in a very proud and happy way, "He looks just like me Mom." I said, "Well, yes he does. What did you think he'd look like?" Grace said, "I thought he'd look like you Mom." I have to say I was a bit surprised by that one. It was such a cute response. I told her that, "No he was born in China like you were." She then went on to tell me all the toys he could and couldn't play with of hers. She was also concerned about "his germs touching her stuff." I know there will be many changes for Grace in the upcoming months. She will become a big sister. I think she'll be a great one too. Grace will travel to China with us and that may help her to understand a bit better this place called China where she was born and we speak of so much. I'm looking forward to the positive changes our son will bring to our family. What a joyful and emotional week. We thank God for the blessing of William Michael and can't wait to bring him home. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

PA...a boy!

"All children come from God, for some the journey just takes a little longer."

We joyfully announce...

William Michael Yousheng
2.5 years
Fujian Province, China

God has truly blessed us and now we welcome little Will into our hearts.

Dan, Gail, Nick and Gracie

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A little of my front yard

White lilac

Flowering cherry, a weeping variety

Japanese Maple
When we bought our house almost 3 years ago, it was a brand new house and had absolutely no landscaping. Just many weeds. I designed what I wanted for both the front and back and we did the front the first year, and the backyard the second year. We couldn't be happier with the outcome and really love our house and yard. This morning I'm off to a nearby plant nursery to buy annuals and a few perennials. I'll be outside planting tomorrow and and on into the weekend. With all that's going on with our adoption, it helps me to relax. I love Spring. :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

The real story...

Grace and little Miss Emily.

This adoption journey has been an interesting one. We started out thinking one thing...we asked to adopt a little girl off the NSN list and now our journey has gone in another direction. I was very drawn to go the SN tract, but my husband wasn't quite ready to make that commitment and I felt like I had to honor his wishes. Last November we met with our SW and asked about switching to possibly another country like Vietnam, but decided to wait. In Jan. of this year I began looking at several different shared lists of waiting children. I also saw Verna's adorable little boy Noah come home and Karen's beautiful little girl Maggie come home. What finally changed my husband's heart has been seeing our dear friends' (Mark and Michelle) daughter, little Emily. Emily came home from China at age 3 and her special need was cleft lip/palate. Emily is one of God's angels...she has touched our hearts in ways I cannot even adequately explain and it was Emily that helped to change Dan's heart. I think some prayers on my part may have helped too. To make a long story short...4 days before we left for Disney about 2 weeks ago, our SW emailed me another shared list and added at the bottom of the email that our agency had 4 additional children that only the agency had received. I called her the next day to inquire and one child captured our hearts. And then all these doors opened immediately, within 3 hours I was able to take the medical file into our pediatrician for review and contact another specialty physician for questions and they were most happy to help. The day before we left for Disney, we sent off a letter asking to adopt. So now we wait for a response from CCAA. I hope we are approved, but even if somehow we aren't, I believe this child will be adopted by another loving family and I'm okay with that. So that's the real story of what's been going on here. We are hoping and praying for the best. I look at the little photos many times a day. :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Finally Friday!

I love this picture of my little lovebug Grace. I took it last week while in Florida. Grace is my heart. She has such a pure, gentle little soul.

This has been an incredibly busy week for us all. There are some new events happening with us personally concerning our adoption. It's all good though, and I'm not ready to talk about it quite yet. I think I still have to process some of it. When I'm ready, I'll do a post about it. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers. I know I'm being vague but that's all I can say right now. Like I's good stuff.

I'm so ready for the weekend after this week. Hoping to get outside, do some weeding, get more pots ready for planting and possibly move a few perennials around if I think they can tolerate it. Sunday we will travel to the Chicago area for a brunch with our much loved travel group. Happy Friday, and have a great weekend. You are all in my thoughts dear friends!

love, Gail

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


What has happened as a result of the massive Sichuan earthquake in China is heartbreaking and tragic. Please keep the people affected by it, the families waiting for news of their loved ones, and the rescue and medical personnel in your prayers.
You can donate to help through some adoption agencies, also through Love without Boundaries,
and the Half the Sky Foundation,

Monday, May 12, 2008

More Disney

Well, I'm still coming down from the Disney vacation 'high' that lasted a week long. It's always hard for me to adjust to real life after a vacation. I made this slide show today from the many pictures I took. We really had a great time even though it was hot with temps in the 90's every day and humid. Heat and humidity almost like China in the summertime. :) I was thinking that if you went to each park for a week straight, you still couldn't see or do everything. It's impossible. Some of our favorites were: The Carousel in the Magic Kingdom, Mickey and Minnie's houses, Splash Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Epcot's world showcase, and Soarin' at Epcot, Beauty and the Beast at the Hollywood Studios, the Festival of the Lion King at the Animal Kingdom Park, and meeting the different characters in the parks. Some new one's we loved were: The Seas with Nemo & Friends (awesome aquarium there!), and Finding Nemo-the musical in the Animal Kingdom. Grace's height didn't quite make it for some of the roller coasters. Someday though. ;)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I've been a mother for a long time, 23 years. I'm not a perfect mom and I don't know everything there is about raising children. It has been the most joyful, humbling, frustrating at times, tiring, loving, rewarding, fun, and the absolute best part of my life. I can't imagine not being a mother and I am so honored to be Nick and Grace's. As a child I remember wanting to be a teacher (just like my mom was) and a mom. As a mom I'm a teacher, nurse, doctor, house cleaner, problem solver, chauffeur, cook, gardener, pet caretaker, accountant, travel planner, and counselor. It can definitely get interesting with a grown son and his issues at times and a 5 year old daughter at a completely different developmental stage. I will be spending Mother's Day with my husband, son and daughter, they are my favorite people in the whole world. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there and mommas to be. Enjoy the day and weekend! :)

Friday, May 9, 2008

We are home!

Miss Grace with Minnie and Mickey, the first day at the Magic Kingdom.

Miss Grace in Epcot-Canada. I was thinking of you Lea while we were there. ;)

Beautiful building in Epcot-China. Looks just like(the real) China BTW.

Mulan, Grace, Dan and Mushu in Epcot (China). Grace was kind of afraid of Mushu.

Well after a long day traveling to get back home, we are finally here. I am pretty tired and will write more later with additional pics of our trip. I had to buy another memory card for my camera because I took so many pics and ran out of room on the first card. We had an awesome time, Disney World truly is a magical place. I'm not sure who had more fun, Grace or both Dan and I. I can't really say which was our favorite place, the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Hollywood, or the Animal Kingdom. I think Dan's and my favorites were a tie between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot....Grace's was the Animal Kingdom. We stayed at the Grand Floridian (highly recommend it) and spent time there too just to relax, swim and did of course lots of park hopping all week. And some shopping in there too. It's always nice to come home though...:)
© Aging with Grace and strong Will
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