Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

We had a blessed celebration of Christ's birth again this year! Our first party began on Friday the 23rd at our house with the Kruse's. We ordered a boston butt and then all made side dishes to go with it. Everyone had a great time eating, talking and opening gifts, especially Granny's traditional junk boxes! The only tragedy was when Korbin was trying to trapeze between the couch and recliner and ended up with a black eye!

On the 24th, we spent a lazy morning and then visited with Dad in the afternoon until Brandon got off work at Bill's. While we were at Dad's, Santa came and left a gift for each child as well as a full stocking with candy, bath stuff and ping pong equipment. They didnt understand that one since we dont have a table. They each opened all their gifts and then found one more gift in the garage that was to all three of them.... A Ping Pong Table!! :) Since Christmas we have had some exciting and competitive games in this house, with Brandon making up new rules as he goes along. Jillian's gifts were UDraw for Wii, Farkle, Jungle Racer, Brain Break, movies, clothes. Korbin got Mario Cart game and Mario K'nex, Joker House with figures, Angry Birds, and clothes/boots. Brandon got Beats by Dre headphones, which he shopped and paid for with money we gave him for Christmas along with some money he had saved. Laikyn had a magical teapot set under the tree and she will get to open it when she comes home.

Christmas Day began with a Christmas service at church. We were able to meet our new cousin Noah who has just come home from Ethiopia and is sooo adorable! We declared the rest of the day as pajama day and just played with toys and games all day.

On Monday the 26th we had our final celebration at Gay's house in Tennessee. We had our traditional meal and then had the kids exchange gifts with whoever they had drawn. The adults played a Secret Santa game with at least 5 of the gifts being Cracker Barrel cards. We discussed banning gift cards next year. Next, we played Newlywed game with Brandon and Savannah being this year's winners. Dana and Kassidy came in 2nd!! Seems like the real couples need to talk a little more! :) Rob and I had discussed answers before the game and unfortunately Gay changed all the questions. We decided we do worse when he takes it seriously anyway!
All of the kids had a great time with their cousins and look forward to the next family get together!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Name

and the winner is...... Laikyn Hope Mingzhu

Okay, I know that she will have to spell and pronounce her name for her entire life, but it had to be unique and still have the same ending as the other 3. I really had a hard time with this one. We decided very early on a boy's name as the agency told us we could get a boy or a girl. If it was a boy, his name was to be Holden Tanner with the Chinese name. Thought she might want to know this since my other kids have enjoyed knowing what their other gender name was to be.

Last summer, I was looking at pictures of Owensboro Dance Team and saw a little girl with the name Laikyn. I thought it was pretty so I wrote it down. Later, I looked it up in a name book and found the meaning was "from the still waters." I loved that since I had been quoting Psalm 23 to myself many times through the process. When we got our referral, I found that Mingzhu means bright pearl. I think that when you put it together, it should be bright pearl from the still waters! I love it! Hope she does. I put off the decision for a long time and a couple of weeks ago, I was Christmas shopping. As I was in the children's clothing at Macy's a mom and a grandmom were right next to me. The grandmother held up to dresses and said, "This one is for Rayghan and this one is for Laikyn." Those were the two names I had been considering! I laughed and thought to myself that God was telling me to just pick one and get on with it!

We announced her name on our Christmas cards and the day that we sent them out, we got an update from the orphanage. They have moved her to foster care since summer with parents and 2 foster brothers. She has gotten so big! She has gained 7 pounds since being with them. Her feeding schedule shows that they now are feeding her 7 times per day, so that may explain it! Haha! They also had her wrapped in many layers of clothing as is traditional for the Chinese. She can now run and climb up and down stairs. She is still on her seizure meds and has not had any more. It also said that she is quiet, introverted and likes to play by herself. I am praying that she was able to get our care package that we sent. It should have arrived this week.

The Dossier

The dossier is the collection of documents that goes to China and has taken us many months to complete. It includes background, financial, and health checks, immigration clearance, petitions, vial records, employment records, home study, passport copies, and pictures. When everything is complete, each document is notarized, county and state certified, and then sealed by the US State Dept and Chinese Embassy. Each time we thought we were finally finished, we found some problem that seemed to delay us even more. What I thought would be ready by October, dragged into December. The day we received our last documents in the mail, I fell in the floor and had a good stress relieving cry. It's kind of like labor, you forget the pain, until you're right back in the midst of it. I remember starting this process thinking that I was an old pro and would whiz right through! Kicked myself for that thought so many times. Ours was finally sent to our agency on Saturday, December 17th. They logged it in on Tuesday. Now it is in the critical review process which takes about 9 days. If everything is perfect, it will be expressed to China and logged in there. If it's not... well I dont even want to think about that! That log in date is known as LID day. It's typically about 4-5 months from LID to travel. The Christmas season is keeping me slightly distracted from my nervousness at this point. Shopping has been hard though. I cannot stay out of the toddler aisle and being there makes me emotional, wishing she could be here for Christmas.