Tuesday, July 29, 2008

And the Lucky Number Will Win....(updated posts listed below)

This beautiful LadyBug Afghan that was hand-crafted by my mother, Elissa. (afghan measures 47" x 45")

This LadyBug Afghan is being raffled off right here from July 24th to August 25th!

We need your help....

As you all know, the referral we received back on June 27th came as a total surprise (we have so many close friends who were in the same "waiting boat" as us and still have not heard anything)! We were and still are so very unprepared for the whole thing! So Very Unprepared that I haven't been saving like I should have been (I have been putting some away here and there, but it doesn't even come close to what we'll need for our travel.) My mom, having the amazing heart that she does, hand crafted this beautiful LadyBug afghan...and given it to us...to help raise some funds to bring our daughter, Annabelle Faith, home!

Details on how you can help...

All you need to do is purchase a raffle ticket for...

the LadyBug Afghan: one ticket $2 or six tickets for $10.

You can send the money directly to my Paypal account email address shelly22005@yahoo.com and once I receive your funds, I will than issue you a number(s) via email that will place you in the drawing. I will be posting the live drawing here on August 25th. And please, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. This is our first time trying something like this....and we are so looking forward to all of your support. (if you loose track of your number, don't worry, we will be keeping a log of everyone that has purchased tickets and what numbers were issued to them).

***My mom also wanted me to mention that she will take custom orders on the LadyBug afghans for a fee of $90.00 (this price includes shipping fees for within the continental US) to help us out. You pick out any color combination of your choosing. If you have any questions, or if you would like to see other afghans that my mom can make, please email me at shelly22005@yahoo.com. ***

I can't begin to express how thankful we are for your all your support and taking a chance and lending a helping hand out to me and my family. This can only become possible with your help! If you can please pass this post along to one other Internet buddy, we would so much appreciated it. Again, thank you so very much and Good Luck!!!

Some Summer Fun and a-all-around-update!!!

(photos taken by Dad this past weekend)

It has been so hot here that if we are not at our neighbor's pool aka Grandma Nancy and Joe Papa house...we are just splashing around in our backyard kiddie pool (which she just loves...).

I do have some updated info on Annabelle that we received from a volunteer that just recently returned from a stay at New Hope. It was all positive information and the photos are to die for. Here is one that was sent to me by another family that also just return home from China with their daughter, Ruby. Can you pick out our Annabelle...it was only taken about 2 weeks ago. I can't believe all the updates and photos we have received so far. It is truly a blessing and we will forever treasure each piece of information for the rest of our lives....

(yep...that is her in standing in the background with those famous piggies in her hair!)

We are also getting ready to send a little care package off to New Hope for Annabelle that will include a pink blanket, two outfits...one summer and another for fall, a few hair twists (as we know she must love them from all the photos we have seen), and a cuddle soft pink pig stuffed animal...for she was born the "Year of the Golden Pink"! Just waiting on word back from our agency on when we can send it.

As for our home study...UGH!...is all I can say. We are still working on it with our social worker who is on vacation AGAIN this week...so it is looking (praying) that it will be completed and sent in by the end of next week! As for our LOA...we are still waiting on that piece as well. From charting out when others have received theirs in the past I am thinking we should "hear" something by September 15th and travel around the 21st of October!

And on one finally note...I want to give shout out to our friends in Colorado (you know who you are)....Congratulations and we all love you so much!!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Our Annabelle Faith Le Leonard!

First off, sending a huge THANK YOU to the other members of the Yahoo support group for "Hope families"!!! For these updated photos would not be possible without you! This is truly a blessing and we are so grateful for the special & amazing people who took the time to share with us these photos of our Annabelle. I can't begin to tell you how much in love we are with this little girl...and how we are counting down the days until we can travel and unite with her!

(these are only a couple of the photos that we received today...and some are dating back to when she first arrive at New Hope back in June 2007...when she was only 2 months old)

Isn't she just beautiful...

(crying tears of joy today and we can't wait until we get our hands on her)

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Mother, Father...this is fun!"

(Francesca getting pushed up the hill by Sidney...yes that is the hill she was going down full force and loving it...all the while I was crapping in my pants! Poor Keith was taking the photos because my hands were shaking so badly.)

(Francesca and Sidney)

(That's Sidney...pushing Francesca back up the hill for her to have another ride...)

(my little girl truly having the time of her life!)

While we were visiting our family in Virginia during the weekend of the 12th, Francesca spent a lot of time with her cousin Sidney playing and just having fun. Above are photos of Francesca driving care-free down the hill that is shown (and every time her ride ended, Sidney would push her back up again for another ride...it scared the crap out of me!). She sure had a great time and is so looking forward to spending some time with Sidney again....

(and yes, Francesca does call us..."Mother" and "Father" along with Mommy and Daddy...not sure where the "Mother" and "Father" came from but it is so cute when she calls us that...)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Need Your Advise from those BTDT Moms!

As you guys know, we will be bringing home our second daughter from China...who will be around 19 months...sometime in the next few months (looking like Oct/Nov we will travel). Anyway, we are looking into getting one of those double strollers, but which kind (there are so many out there and they are not cheap!)!?!?!?! And, we were also looking into a Sit & Stand but again we need some feedback. (we looked into some of those Sit & Stand ones, but the front seat area looks to have no room and the ones that do look a little wider, have no foot rest).

Maybe I should let you know that what I am looking for in a stroller - so here it goes..

I would want one...

that would fit both girls comfortably (Francesca is 3.5 40" tall and 35 lbs)...

that has a basket underneath for storage...

that can recline because Francesca does still take naps...

that has a foot rest for the both them (it is a pet-peeve of mine when I see their little feet just dangling off the stroller)...

and a stroller that moves easily.

Do you ave any suggestions?

I am currently looking on craigslist in our area and there are so many listed that when I think I got one picked out, I start to really "analyze" it and than I don't know. (I even heard from some moms not to even waste our money on a double stroller or a sit and stand, but we do travel a lot and we always seem to be on the go....so we need something.) I am at a loss here... And need your advise...suggestions...comments on what we should do!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thank You...

....Everyone for your wonderful support, encouraging emails, and beautiful comments left on the blog regarding our Referral and PA...We still can't believe how fast it all happened...and is still happening!!!

We are still praying that our home study update will be completed before our "free-ride with USCIS" deadline in August (yes...our social worker, who I think has no clue on how important this update is to us, is still working on ....I am going crazy with worry!)

Thursday, July 10, 2008


WE GOT OUR REFERRAL on June 27th and today we received our PA!!! And she is currently in care for at New Hope Foundation in Shun Yi Beijing!

Can you believe it! We were so not expecting this at all, but on June 27th (while hanging out in our back yard with some moms and neighborhood kids) at 6:42PM Deniece called from CCAI and told me that they had our daughter! I was shocked but once Deniece started giving me all the details, tears flowed out of my eyes and I started shacking. You see back in May of this year, Keith and I went ahead and updated our medical conditions checklist and on it we written in constipation and mega colon (seeing how we are already dealing with this condition with Francesca) and we updated the age range from 6-12 months to 6-18 months. Deniece said she remembered that 'someone' wrote in mega colon on their MCC and when our revised list was pulled there it was along with the age updated...which made us the perfect match for this little girl. After giving me the details about our newest addition, Deniece told me that she was going to email me all the information she currently had. I ran into the house and jumped on my computer and the first thing I saw was...

...this face! Isn't she just beautiful!

Let me introduce to you Fu Qing Le from Jiaozuo City Welfare Institute. Her date of birth is 4/28/2007 (same as my grandmother's), had surgery (for her mega colon) at Beijing Number One Hospital in June 2007 and since than has been being cared for at New Hope Foundation in Shun Yi Beijing. According to her records, she is doing just wonderfully well and we have received an update already from our agency that is so positive.

Here are more photos for you to view of our beautiful daughter!

photo from March 2008

photo from July 2008 (can you believe how much she has changed!)

(I know we chose the name Sofia for our little angel, but we recently found out that they might be calling her Annabelle Faith at the care home...if they are, I think we are going to change her name...we are currently waiting on word from our agency on this matter...)

We had her medical records reviewed by both our pediatrician and gastric specialist and all think she is thriving. We made the official phone call back to CCAI to let them know that she is indeed our daughter on July 1st and also told Francesca that she is an older sister. Francesca was very excited. She took the news so well and was truly captivated by Qing Le photo. (through hearing us talk about the name situation, Francesca has told us that she likes Annabelle more than Sofia).

Anyway, I so wanted to tell you guys sooner, but our agency would not let us until we received PA...which came in today (our LOI was sent in 7-2-08). As I stated before this was so very unexpected & we are are so not prepared....in more ways than you can imagine....but as my mom always is saying, "God doesn't close a door unless he opens a window..."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Guess who came for supper the other night?

Grandma came for supper the other night!

And guess who help make the supper?

That would be Francesca!

We decided to invite Grandma down for a quick supper and some fun time before she headed off to see G.G. at the rehab center. When I told Francesca we were making pizza, she insisted on helping and boy what a great helper she was!

Francesca making the pizza (with very little help from Mommy).





"I did it all by myself!"



(my silly little girl!)

Just before we got the pizza into the oven, Grandma showed up and while it was cooking, Francesca and Grandma had some play time out on the swings...Look at Grandma go!

(you can just see it on my mom's face how much she loves her granddaughter and how much Francesca loves her...to me that is priceless...We Love you so much, Mom! I can't begin to tell you how much you mean to Keith, Francesca, and me!)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What an AMAZING week we had! (lots of photos to see)

A Day At Knoebels with Aunt Amy, Katie, and Uncle Owen!
(here they are on the log ride...)

That's Mom and Francesca on that ride! And Francesca loved it!

Aunt Amy, Mom, And Uncle Owen

Mothers and Daughters enjoying a Ferris wheel ride!
(Francesca is hiding behind me)

Francesca and Katie flying a plane!

Francesca and Katie playing the "Go Fish" game...

(again...the two girls are flying but this time it is a rocket!)

Riding the "Whip It"! We have some brave girls there!

(again...the flying thing...but this time it is a helicopter)

OK...now here we are in the backyard having some fun!

Francesca on the Monkey Bars...

The BFFs!

This is what happens when both Moms go to the store...The girls made a mess and were covered in chalked. The Dads did have some sense...they got the girls all cleaned up before we arrived home. (only the photos remained)

Katie loved driving the #20 car while Francesca was just happy to ride along...
(check it out, Katie has on the matching #20 ear wear protection)

"I think he needs a drink!"

Dr.Winkler and Dr. Leonard giving Honey an exam (check out Dr. Winkler examining Honey's eye)

Again...having fun in the #20 car!

And...(warning...this photo is so sad...)

The Girls having one final ride on the swings before Katie headed home...

(look at those faces. You can just tell both girls didn't want the vacation to end, but the good news is that we are going to MI Labor Day weekend...so that's only 2 months away! And we can't wait!)

I can't begin to tell you what an amazing week we had with Uncle Owen, Aunt Amy, and Katie. It seems like only yesterday they arrived and already (this morning) they had to leave to return home...I cried my eyes out for about 2 hours after they pulled away from our drive way and poor Francesca kept asking me, "Are you sad , Mommy?" I had to explain to her that I was indeed sad, but it was only because we are going to miss Aunt Amy, Uncle Owen, and Katie so much...We love those guys so much and we can't wait to see them in two months...again!