Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Good News!

We have been getting some great Christmas gifts (Thanks to all of you that sent packages!) Two big things that have happened recently is that Bangkok informed us that we have our approval! Although we don't yet have it in hand, we rejoice that this is the last piece of paperwork required. (We also want to note that did NOT require us to pay the 770 US dollar late fee--maybe they felt bad for losing our homestudy!) In other news I had refiled a claim with our insurance for a significant chunk of change. After a couple of months waiting they informed us that they will pay it. Yeah! These two things have really lifted my spirits and I'm GLAD to be able to share this good news!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Adoption-Update and Video



Many question the wisdom in adopting older children. Beyond the selfish reasons of not going through the diaper stage and terrible 3s again, I think waiting children are just as deserving of a good home as babies. Living internationally, we see many families that have biological children also adopt kids from other countries. What a perfect picture of God grafting us into His family!

We have all our paperwork in and will be signing our agreements for TWO children. We have decided to also adopt a 6-7 year old girl named Mitike. We can't post her picture her until after we pass court, but we are super excited to have her join us! On her report it says she wants to grow up to be a social worker and that she loves playing with younger children!

I challenge all of us to consider the older waiting children in the US and other places that desperately want/NEED a home this Christmas!

The Cost

"My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him."

Derek Loux

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sesame Street

Ana loved the dancing and exercising!


Singaporeans have about 6 weeks off at the end of the year. To occupy the little ones there are often little programs at all the malls. Last week we went to see the Sesame Street Program. It was great because it let them be a little active. Even though we were squished into the area, it was a lot of fun! This week I think we'll try to see Winnie the Pooh!

Graduated!



These three are done! They now have a masters in education. Boy are we all glad that it's over!

Friday, December 3, 2010

What We've Been Up To...

This is Ana's friend (youngest of the other Valerie). She weighs 20 pounds more and is several inches taller, but only 9 months older than Ana!


We've been to the embassy to get things notarized, the Botanic Gardens to pet the dogs, school to throw a shower for the Fleischmanns, Komala Villas to eat good Indian food, the American club for our staff Christmas party, the baking store for butter and peppermint flavoring, and to the Wongs for good food and fellowship!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

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Hope you had a great day! Happy shopping!

Friday, November 19, 2010

11th Anniversary


Hard to believe it's been 11 years! Although we've been through some challenges lately (all adoption related), I couldn't ask for a better husband! Happy Anniversary!

If You Can't Find An Ana...

It must have been all those times playing hide and seek with daddy, but Ana is quite good at hiding. She squeezes into small spaces, is very quiet, and often very creative where she hides.



Of course it helps the seeker when the laundry basket is in HER room and all the dirty clothes are strewn across the floor .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Much Can One Person Take???


We were informed today that there were 9 or 10 missing, outdated, or just plain wrong documents in our dossier. So, back to the embassy we go AND we've had to beg for help from the American side as well.

Then, I received an e-mail from the Bangkok embassy saying that they never received our home study (that is needed for our American adoption approval). I hastily called our agency and they quickly provided me with the FedEx number showing that it was indeed delivered THREE WEEKS AGO. The Bangkok embassy is currently looking for it!

To top it off, we found out that the previous agency is not planning on refunding much of our money. Therefore, we are following grievance procedures with them and will see how they respond.
So, that was my day--hope yours was better!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Rug

We've had our rug for about two years. It's needed a good cleaning and so today I gave it a shot. First of all it's big--probably 6x9 feet. Even dry it weighs a ton! Ana had to help me pull it out from under the book shelf (which was very interesting to get her to pull the right way). Once I got it in the bathroom I had to roll it up and do a section at a time. I sprayed, washed, and then sprayed it off two more times. What really saved me was a regular squeegee. It helped to get most of the water out. Then when I was finally done I had to get the monstrosity outside. I ended up rolling/dragging it out on Ana's little car. It was a real struggle to get it up on the rail, but eventually I managed. Of course, this is not the end. The bathroom then had to be scrubbed and the floor where the rug was had to be swept and mopped. Wow! Sure hope I don't have to do this again anytime soon!

Why didn't I just have it cleaned? It cost as much as we paid for the rug!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Game

We had the chance to watch the Singapore Slingers on Sunday. The game wasn't too late and we thought Ana would enjoy it. I rushed her home from church so that she could get in a nap. When we woke her up she was a wreck. Crying, not wanting to go--so we pushed, and prodded, and finally got her out of the door. It was worth it! We
watched some basketball! (and I got to use my BIG lens that I hardly ever use!) The game went into double overtime. What's interesting is that there were more fans for the opposing team (the Philippines) than there were for the Slingers. Of course teams weren't made up of nationals. You can clearly see here the big guys are American!


hung out with friends (of all ages).

hugged the mascot. This is the merlion. Yes! He was a little bit scary, but she hugged him anyway!

fell down the stairs (while trying to jump) and landed on our face!

A lot of fun--we'll do it again!

What?


Sometimes I wonder what goes through her little head. Is she a ghost, planning to get married, or just plain strange? (Of course this is all occurring when she is supposed to be in bed!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Bag Lady



I have a very quirky daughter. She does things her way and she has her own idea of what "fun" is. Every single day (from the moment she gets up), she gets busy and stuffs her many bags. Many times when we can't find something we have to go through three or four bags before it is found. She has borrowed quite a few of my bags. And I have to confess I've made her one (but no more!) She has bags from the US, Spain, Australia, Mexico, and Hong Kong. So, even though I strongly and repeatedly remind her, "You're going to have to put that all away!" She says, "Never Mind" and stuffs as many bags as she can find. Then what? She finds a new bag--the laundry bag (worn as a "packpack"). Well, this mama is off to unpack some bags!

Preservative Free

I was thinking the other day of all the things I have to make here that I wouldn't in the States. Here's my list:
applesauce, tortillas, salsa, some types of breads, cupcakes, cakes, seasonings from scratch, icings, sausage, crescent rolls, etc.

This adds up to being a lot of work, BUT there is always a silver lining. We eat mostly unprocessed food and avoid colorings, MSG, and preservatives. A blessing in disguise.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Favorite!


After taking almost 200 pictures at the gardens--this one stood out. The background wasn't the best. The lighting wasn't great, but I think it is totally Ana!

Botanic Gardens






I'm so behind in my posts! We had a nice trip to the Botanic Gardens. We fed the swans, looked at all sorts of flowers, and walked. It's a nice way to wear her out for rest time!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh For the Beauty of the Earth


Ana and I got to go to the Botanical gardens after another grueling trip to the embassy. This is one of the first things we saw! What a contrast to the embassy. You go through bomb proof doors, sit in a cramped waiting room, sell your soul to get somethings notarized (50 US dollars!), and try to get your toddler to sit quietly. Then you walk into the gardens (for free) and feel revived by something as simple as a flower.

Adoption Saga

We've still heard nothing about the background check although the home study agency has continued to call daily.

We'd appreciate if you keep praying. This is completely out of our control--we've done everything we can.

On a funny note we have to watch these DVDs on attachment challenged children. Trauma is defined as any event that is prolonged, overwhelming, and unpredictable. I laughed--and thought this is what I've been through for the past 5 years!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Please pray!

We're still waiting for a Singaporean background check (after a month). No one will respond to calls and there is seemingly nothing we can do! Please pray that it is completed ASAP--nothing can proceed without this background check.

Thanks!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Adoption

We have some good news and bad news. Our home study will not be completed in time--so as far as we know we will have to pay the fee. It's frusterating, but life goes on!

China will be moved to the new house where he will go to school-a big blessing! He will also go with a couple of children from the current home which will provide some stability.

The new agency accepted our dossier--we just had to provide two new things, one of which is already done. We will go to the embassy tomorrow to do the other.

Our home study is another matter, they want new wording etc. Since we won't make the renewal date we hope to get that all fixed so that we don't have to pay to have it reworked later.

Finally, I watched this video today: http://vimeo.com/12307403 and cried. I was in a definite low spot last week--almost ready to quit (after 5 years who would blame me!) But this video reminded me that we are China's hope. You can't change the whole world, but for one child the world will change.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

After Hours Dress Up

One evening long after Ana was supposed to be asleep. She entered our room dressed like this:


and said, "Isn't this pretty?" No comment!

New Prayer Request!

We have switched agencies. Because of some delay in switching, some of the paperwork for a homestudy update is cutting it close. Please pray that we get it by the latest on Friday so that it can arrive in Bangkok by Monday. If not there is a hefty fee involved that we would like to avoid!

At the same time you can pray for our stress level. There are many things going on and we NEED some peace (and maybe a vacation)!

Thanks!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Please Pray!

We need a lot of wisdom right now. We will probably be transferring to another agency soon. It looks like it will be rather easy to get one boy out, but not the other. Please pray for us as we talk through many things with both agencies (including how much money will be switched over, etc.). Pray that we guard our words and are able discern the best thing to do for all involved.

Thanks!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Racer



Ana got to try out the soap box derby car in the front office. There were at least three ladies taking pictures (which is good because I didn't have my camera!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday



This is the new Marina Bay Sands Casino. There is an observation deck at the top and an endless pool (but you have to be a hotel guest for that!)

The tracks in the air are the lights for the F1 race as it is run at night!

We started out with a birthday party at church. This went really well considering how excited Ana was. She was pretty well behaved. We went straight home, ate, and napped.

Then we headed out to watch our ICS middle school students race in a soap box derby. This was held on the actual F1 track. Everything is so safe here. The hill was probably about 1/5 of the size of the hills in the States. The kids still had fun--even if they were going pretty slowly!

From there we headed over to the kite festival. A large group of the single teachers were going over so we had a lot of help carrying/entertaining Ana. (To be fair it was quite a long walk!) The kites were very interesting--esp. the traditional ones from Japan. If you were willing to stand in line you could even make one to fly! The view was breathtaking, but as with all things in Singapore it was CROWDED! We stood in one line for a balloon animal and then decided to head home to eat.

This was a fun day. I'm really thankful that there are so many interesting things to do here. It really gives Ana a depth of experience that few kids have!

Sunday, September 19, 2010



You are:

-an EXTREME extrovert. You'll talk to anyone and LOVE going out to see people.

-a helper. I was proud to see you picking up the trays and trash in Sunday School (even though you should have been in your seat.) Thanks for helping hang up the socks, etc when I do the laundry. And I'll never forget when you mopped half of the floor with SOAP, but it was a good try!

-FAST. You run fast, talk quickly without breathing, and do your work speedily. The only thing you don't do quickly is eat--which is usually not of much interest to you.

-strong willed. We try to give you a choice in many things which helps. But sometimes you just have to obey! -happy. We love all your smiles and laughter. This is not to say that you're never whiny or angry! But generally you are a cheerful girl!

-a lover of anything horses. All your horses are named after grandpa Fred's horses. What you really like to do is go fast. You take my exercise strap, use the handles for stirrups, place this over a bench or daddy's leg and gallop away--too funny!

-imaginative. Long after you've been put to bed we'll hear you in there talking to baby and friends. So many interesting things happen to you in your imaginary world. We hear all the time about your purple house, car, and horse. And I've never heard of another three year old that loves to travel like you do. The other day you told me you were going to Malaysia (although you've never actually been there).

-YOU. I'm glad you don't want to do what everybody else is doing and are a leader in many circumstances. We hope to help you grow these capabilities and allow you to be who God made you (not how we want you to be).

So, Happy Birthday--can't wait to see what the next year will reveal about you!

Mid-Autumn (Mooncake) Festival





We've been enjoying lots of mooncakes. The traditional ones (pictured) are usually filled with white lotus and egg yolk. But we also like the non traditional ones called snowskin (it isn't baked).

After eating birthday cake the kids went downstairs and walked around with their lanterns (after the adults finally got them lit.) They soon lost interest and we hung them up on the playground. (Most Singaporeans I've talked to tell me they usually just burnt up the lanterns or played with candles!)

Once the sparklers came out they were very attentive. I think we went through 4 or 5 boxes!



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ana's Birthday!

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Many thanks to our American and Singaporean families. Ana had a lot of fun. This was a very special weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Steven Curtis Chapman--Meant To Be

I strongly believe in adoption--obviously. Even though the wait has been draining and beyond what I thought I could handle, I do believe that these boys were meant to be part of our little family. As I have watched others around us have biological children, I have often asked myself why do I have to take this more difficult road? Perhaps this road is filled with more blessings, more insight into the heart of God, or perhaps He knew I was determined enough to stick with it. Even now in the midst of a LONG wait, I'm glad I'm on this road less travled! (And I can't wait to see this Veggie Tale!)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference...Robert Frost

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Adoption Update


We haven't been keeping you updated-sorry. Our agency now has a very important letter stamped by two Ethiopian government offices. This is great! We figured it would be held up by the second office, but it wasn't.

Please pray with us that we can get a court date SOON!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lion Dance

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It was really hard to get good photos because it was dark ( you couldn't use flash) and the lion was always moving, but this will give you a taste of what it was like! We really enjoyed it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Circles


One important skill is being observant. We see thousands of objects everyday, but often don't really look at them! So today, Ana and I looked for circles around our house. I'd like to do the next shape outside. I was amazed at the beauty of some of the little circular objects around our house. This was a great activity for me too!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Batik Tuesday


The men of ICS have been wearing their Batik shirts every week. Matt has been joining in, but we just gave a couple away along with a batik tie! For Matt this is dressing down!

Out of Country Visitors

Uncle Simson
Uncle Dinakhar

It's not often that we have out of country visitors. But last week we were blessed to have a short visit from two of our Indian friends. They were in Singapore attending a Navigator's conference and managed to squeeze in a visit to our home. Ana was delighted and talked their ears off!

Education

As I am a teacher it would stand to reason that I would have some strong views on education. Therefore, I've been really angry/annoyed when someone says to me, "Why she not in school?" (this usually happens 3 to 5 times a week!!!)

First of all I am a rebel. I don't believe children really need kindergarten AS LONG AS the parents are willing to teach at home. I also am not eager to turn my child's education over to another person (even if it would give me some much needed free time.) God gave us the child--it's our responsibility to see that he/she achieves--not some teacher (esp. non-Christian). Also I believe children should have a childhood full of play and free time. There will be plenty of time for work later--at least 50 years of school/work! I think I can let her play for 4 or 5 years! Though she is definitely behind her Asian peers in the fact area, Ana's imagination has blossomed. I often find her riding a horse, cooking lunch, packing for a trip, fixing her car, or teaching her baby. She has imaginary friends and pets. Imagination can not be taught. It has to be awakened through varied experiences and free time to think!

Secondly, my philosophy of education is VERY different from the Asian philosophy. (I do have to say I appreciate how involved the parents are in their child's education AND the emphasis on excellence. American education would do well to adopt this!) It seems to include a lot of rote memorization and PRESSURE from parents and teachers. I believe children should enjoy learning (though not all subjects will be "fun")and have some freedom in choosing what they like. Therefore, as long as Analia does her best at what God calls her to do, I don't care what her job may be. Education will not make you successful, discovering what God has called you to be will!

I love this quote by Martin Luther King Jr.:
"If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music.... Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well."

Sorry if I've offended anyone--just had to get that off my chest!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

At 3


You are:

-an EXTREME extrovert. You'll talk to anyone and LOVE going out to see people.
-a helper. I was proud to see you picking up the trays and trash in Sunday School (even though you should have been in your seat.) Thanks for helping hang up the socks, etc when I do the laundry. And I'll never forget when you mopped half of the floor with SOAP, but it was a good try!
-FAST. You run fast, talk quickly without breathing, and do your work speedily. The only thing you don't do quickly is eat--which is usually not of much interest to you.
-strong willed. We try to give you a choice in many things which helps. But sometimes you just have to obey!
-happy. We love all your smiles and laughter. This is not to say that you're never whiny or angry! But generally you are a cheerful girl!
-a lover of anything horses. All your horses are named after grandpa Fred's horses. What you really like to do is go fast. You take my exercise strap, use the handles for stirrups, place this over a bench or daddy's leg and gallop away--too funny!
-imaginative. Long after you've been put to bed we'll hear you in there talking to baby and friends. So many interesting things happen to you in your imaginary world. We hear all the time about your purple house, car, and horse. And I've never heard of another three year old that loves to travel like you do. The other day you told me you were going to Malaysia (although you've never actually been there).
-YOU. I'm glad you don't want to do what everybody else is doing and are a leader in many circumstances. We hope to help you grow these capabilities and allow you to be who God made you (not how we want you to be).

So, Happy Birthday--can't wait to see what the next year will reveal about you!

Saturday, August 28, 2010