Saturday, September 29, 2007


We are finally on the last leg of our vacation to Disney! We had a blast and we are already planning our next trip to see Mickey and all his friends! We did meet up with Rina, John, and Annalisa while at Disney. They are a family that we meet while traveling to China back in November 2005. Our daughters are from the same orphanage. It was so great to see them and Annalisa is so beautiful! The girls had a blast! As for us, we are tired (I need a vacation from the vacation) and we have a 5 hour drive home tomorrow. I have more photos to share, but this is all I am doing for now. As you can see from the slide shows below, we had a magical time! (next time we need to go for 2 weeks instead of one...)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Five Months down....

Happy 5 Months (to us) for being LID with Sofia!

Almost there...

Only ONE DAY until we head off to Washington DC to spend the night over & catch our plane (on Saturday) to Disney! YIKES! I really need to get my butt in gear & start packing..UGH!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Getting ready for Disney!

Less than a week to go until....DISNEY!

As of this time next week, we will be in Disney! We have already began the chore of packing & getting everything in order for our leave on Friday, the 21st. Our good neighbor & great friend, Mary, will be taking care of Honey for us while we are gone. I still have a ton of things to do this week...seeing how this past weekend we spent most of the time wearing our PJ's and relaxing. So, this coming week is going to be crazy for me! I am planning on taking my laptop with me to Disney so I can download the photos that are taken during the day from our digital camera. Hopefully, I get the hotels Internet service hooked up as well to post to the blog. Francesca is so we are too!

Here are some photos taken from this past week! Enjoy!

On Thursday, I had my nephew Scotty over while my sister had to go to work! The kids had such a good time. I can only imagine how Disney is going to be with the two of them!

"I love you!"
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Playing "Ring Around The Rosie"...
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("we all fall down!")

My beautiful Scotty...isn't he too stink'n cute!
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Until Forever...

For my daughters, Francesca and Sofia.

Until Forever...

This morning in China a mother cries
She’ll never forget her daughter’s eyes
Her heart is broken and filled with pain
The tears run down like the falling rain.

She has no choice but to leave her there
The cost of keeping is too much to bear
She hopes her daughter will one day know
True love can be found in letting her go.

This morning in China a baby cries
Hungry and scared as tears fill her eyes
Her mother has left her in this public place
Another lost daughter of the Chinese race.

Someone passing by has heard her soft moan
She’s soon quickly taken to a foster home
It’s here she’ll reside in the care of another
Until she’s adopted by a brand new mother.

That very same moment, in the U.S.A.
A woman cries as she starts to pray
Her heart is heavy but filled with much love
She prays for a daughter she thinks the world of.
“Dear Jesus I ask that your arms would be
Wrapped tightly around the one picked for me
Guard her in China ‘till I make my way
And then in my arms forever she’ll stay.”

by Tom Fisher

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thoughts of Sofia...

As I am sitting here thoughts are with my "I am 100% sure 'not-born-yet' daughter" Sofia and it is really starting to hit me that we will have another little girl as a part of our family! We have been talking about Sofia for some time now and Francesca has picked up on calling her soon-to-be little sister by her chosen name as well (she even includes Sofia in her prayers at night...actually she calls her Fia). The thoughts that are going through my head are really not thoughts at all, but questions...will I be able to handle two at one time...will Francesca have issues with Sofia once we bring her home...will Sofia have those same walls built up as Francesca did...will I be able to provide the love & support that the both of them will need...what is Sofia going to look like...what is Sofia's personality going to be like...and will I be same mother that I have become being Francesca's mom? So many questions and with the way things are now, rumors have that referral wait times for April 2007's LID can take over 2 years, it may be some time before I get the answers to those questions. I know I will be battling with these questions for a long time to come....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Finally...the photos I promised!

Here are the photos from over Labor Day weekend and the celebration party of our two year anniversary since receiving our referral for Francesca!

Our beautiful daughter!
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Enjoying her celebration M&M's ice cream cake!
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(and blowing out the candles!)

Playing basketball...
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I hope you all had a great weekend! We are in the Leonard household are counting down the days until we leave for Disney...less than two weeks to go! More on that subject below in the next post.....

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Two weeks away...

YES! It is two weeks until we leave for Disney! (we are leaving on the 21st for our plane ride out of DC) Francesca is so excited! We go through this "thing" every day where...

She excitedly screams, "Disney!"

And I reply, "Yes, Disney!"

She again excitedly screams, "Mickey Mouse.!"

and I of course reply, "Yes, honey...Mickey Mouse."

Than she goes into this this long dramatized display of flying on the airplane...along with taking her shoes off for security (we had a hard time with that issue last time we flew), and than riding on the "Tea-Cups"!

I am so excited for her to be able to experience Disney again! I know we are all going to have a great time!

Our little girl is growing up!

As hard as it is for me to admit, our little Francesca is growing up!

This past weekend, my mom got so really bad news...after 30 years as a medical technologist for a local medical laboratory, she was let go (the company she worked for was bought out 5 years ago and the new company has been down sizing ever since). My mom was so upset Friday once finding out the news that Francesca & I went up to her house once she arrived home from work and as hard as my mom tried to hide the fact how upset she still showed on her face. Our night at my mom's went as from The Library (our favorite pizza joint) and ice cream for dessert. When it came time to go home, Francesca didn't want to leave. Now this has happen before...where she has given me a hard time about leaving...but once I said that I wasn't staying at Grandma's, she would run for her shoes and insist on going home with me. But this Friday was different...she wanted to stay at Grandma's. I had her ask Grandma if it was OK for her to stay and of course, Grandma said it was fine. So I left...saying my good-byes and leaving Francesca there! When I got home, it hit me, that my daughter WANTED to stay at Grandma's knowing that I wasn't going to be there. This is the same little girl who I had to sneak my way out of the house so she wouldn't go into full rage crying jag when I would leave her there. I was so upset but so happy at the same time. I called my mom about an hour after I got home & she informed me that Francesca was having the time of her life (all the while, I was balling my eyes out on the phone to my mother...who reassured me that it was just a part of Francesca growing up & I would have to let go...). I waited all night for that phone call the 'you need to come pick her up' one but it never came. When morning arrived, I called my mom & she said Francesca was a dream! She didn't give her any problems what-so-ever. Within the next hour or so, Keith left to pick Francesca up & take her home. Once Francesca arrived home, she couldn't stop talking about the night her & Grandma had...watching videos...reading books...eating some cookies...and dancing around! When I asked her why she wanted to stay at Grandma's instead of coming home she said..."Grandma sad!". Keith & I were shocked! How did she know! She than went on to tell us that she kissed Grandma & made it was all better. All I can say is what an amazing, caring, loving child we have been blessed with! I can't begin to tell you how proud we are of her! She awes me every-day!

It just amazes me that this is the same child who was referred to us back on September 2, 2005 (our 2nd anniversary post for that one is below) and in her referral it stated that she was..."impatient, strong-willed, and stubborn" not one word mention throughout her whole referral as being loving, kind and/or caring! Is my daughter impatient, strong-willed and stubborn, the answer is yes, but she is also so much more! She has grown so much in the past 22 months since arriving home...even in the past 6 months! She has changed so much that there are days I can't believe this is the same child that was placed in my arms (screaming her head off like her life was over) on that never-going-to-forget day of November 8, 2005! She is truly one beautiful child...inside and out!

OK...I am done bragging.

(I'll have photos posted later of our Labor Day celebration at my sister's)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Two years ago today since we first saw your face!

Today is the day that marks our two year anniversary of seeing Francesca's beautiful face for the first time! Two years ago, we got our referral for Francesca!

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(one of our referral photos!)

That day was like no other! We heard the rumors about referrals coming and finally received the email from our agency that "the stork was flying" on Wednesday! Keith came home on Thursday so we could both experience getting that phone call from our agency, Great Wall. To pass the time...he started remodeling our bathroom, while I pounded through reading many novels. That Friday morning (Sept. 2nd), I went to the grocery store to pick up a few thing...along with something for lunch. Since I was so nervous, I knew I wasn't going to be able to make anything for us to eat (we heard a rumor that referral phone calls were coming today), so I stopped by the gourmet take out department at our grocery store and picked up a full roasted chicken...along with some fried chicken pieces and potato salad. Once I arrived home...we waited & waited! We did get an email from Great Wall early Friday morning stating "the stork has landed", but from what we were could take several hours before we heard anything! I was a nervous wreck! Anyway, Keith & I had a nice lunch and talked about what life was going to be like once Francesca was finally home with us! Once lunch was over...that's when I first saw the posting of referrals on the GW yahoo group site! My heart was in my throat and my nerves all jumpy...wondering, "where is our referral", but at the same time was I so happy for all my friends that received theirs! Finally, at 4:30pm, our phone call came! After waiting all day, you think we would have been prepared. I had my list of questions ready and my computer up & running, but none of that matter...I was so not prepared! Amanda from GW called and told us we have a little girl! She gave us all the details...I didn't even need that crazy list...and after I was through writing all the information down...she than asked if we were ready to see her beautiful face! We both screamed, "Of Course!" Amanda than notified us that the pictures were sent. I logged into my email account & saw the the email! I clicked on the attachment part...and nothing! Keith stated freaking out as I frantically worked at getting my attachment to open. Finally it did & their was Francesca face! She was so beautiful! Once Amanda knew we got the email opened and saw the photos...she said her good-byes & congratulations to us....and also informed us that our acceptance agreement would be arriving sometime on Tuesday for our baby. Once we got off the phone, I couldn't stop looking at her photos (we got three of them!). We quickly called all of our family and friends with our exciting news, started the process of printing out the photos to show everyone, and also email them to family and friends who lived out of town. After about an hour of that, we headed to my mom's house to introduce to her...her first granddaughter! We spent most of the night surrounded by family & friends (once the word got out that we finally had our referral) celebrating and planning our trip to China in bringing our baby home! It will always be a day we will never forget...and will always and forever be a day etched in our hearts!

We love you so much, Francesca!

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Chinese Name: Lin Gui Mei
Province: Jiangxi
currently living at Yihuang SWI
Date of Birth: 1/20/05
A Healthy Baby Girl!
Phone call of referral came in at 4:30pm on September 2nd from Amanda at Great Wall!