I can hardly believe that I actually typed the title above. 2 Days, only 2 days until we leave for China. I feel like I have been waiting years for this moment. That being said, you would think that I would be completely prepared and ready for Thursday. WRONGO! Nope, I have tons of stuff to do to prepare. We compiled our paperwork this evening so that is prepared which is good. I paid bills tonight but some of them haven't arrived yet so that stinks. Now I have to have family look out for them so they can pay them on time for me. I still have to pack. I have packed nothing. I have some stuff sitting out on the table ready to go into a suitcase but I still have to pack all of our clothes and the baby's clothes and so on and so on. I finished writing lists for family who will be taking care of our house and our fur baby's. I did about 6 loads of laundry today and ran errands. But still tons to do. But I couldn't be more excited about being completely out of my mind right now. I need to be up very early in the morning so that I can finish everything. Tomorrow is the last day to prepare. I am simply amazed that on the 1st of the new year we will be embarking on a journey of a lifetime to our miracle. God answered our prayers indeed. We are going to be united with our daughter during the Christmas season. We are going to be parents in 5 very short days. I wonder what she looks like. I wonder how big she got. I wonder how scared she will be. I wonder if she will cry when we pick her up on Gotcha day. I wonder.....but soon I will know. And soon she will be loved forever.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Halainah, our most precious baby girl, we are finally coming to get you:
January 1st - 12:15 pm flight from Newark NJ to Beijing
January 2nd - 3:00 pm arrive in Beijing
January 3rd - 9:00 am orientation and tour Tiananmen Square and Temple of Heaven
January 4th - 10:55 am leave Beijing to Nanchang for Gotcha Day, 4:30 united with our daughter forever, 7:30 - 8:30 Paperwork and more paperwork
January 5th - Halainah officially becomes our daughter
January 6th - 8th - undetermined, sightseeing and tours will be arranged later, will receive Halainah's passport
January 9th - 3:20 leave Nanchang to Guangzhou
January 10th - Paperwork
January 11th - Free Day
January 12th - Halainah's Medical Exam
January 13th - Visa Appointment
January 14th - Oath-Taking Ceremony, 8:15 pm take train to Hong Kong
January 15th - 11:25 am flight from Hong Kong to Newark NJ, We are coming home finally as a family of 3.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:35 PM
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
We want to wish all of our family and friends a very blessed Christmas. Christmas Eve was beautiful and crazy at the same time. My mother-in law, father-in law, both sister-in laws, their husbands and all of our beautiful nieces and nephew came to spend the day with us. My mother-in-law did all of the cooking, thank you mom. I was supposed to help but we received the awesome news around 1:00 about China giving our clearance. After that it was complete mayhem. We only had 2 hours to book our flight which was astronomical in price since everything is so last minute. I was completely stressed out and it was hard trying to coordinate the trip and juggle Christmas Eve at the same time. But thank goodness family understood and Tony and I joined dinner when things finally settled down. It was supposed to be a no gift Christmas this year but my family spoiled us rotten and broke the rules. Tony and I were the only ones that stuck to the rules due to the financial hardships we are enduring right now. We want to thank the family for their generosity. We are truly blessed by God for having an amazing family.
We attended midnight mass this year at Saint Lucy's in Newark, NJ. Wow, the service was amazing, truly amazing. We are so thankful for all of God's blessings and our miracle Halainah Grace. She is most certainly our miracle from God.
Christmas day was quiet. It was difficult to not have Halainah with us celebrating the birth of Christ but we are also ecstatic that we will leave to go get her in 7 short days. I have the chills still thinking about it. Of course, my mind was elsewhere today. I even forgot the presents for the kids. Who forgets the presents on Christmas day? Oh I am losing it that's for sure. All of my family was thrilled for us and wished us a safe trip. Most likely we won't see most of them until we return with Halainah. It was so surreal. I can't believe we will be with our daughter in 10 days. Gotcha day is January 4th.
When we got home, we watched a couple of Christmas movies and put together Halainah's highchair, stroller, jumperoo and exersaucer. Now our house really looks like a baby lives here. Tomorrow we are going to start packing a little for Halainah and putting away all of the wonderful presents that we received for my shower. My mother-in-law is staying with us for a few days to help us....thank god. I need her more than ever.
We are so close, I can't believe it...only 1 week left, somebody pinch me to see if I'm dreaming. We received the most wonderful Christmas present. I prayed so hard to be with Halainah for Christmas. But my prayers were still answered, on Christmas eve, we received another miracle by having our clearance from China. God is great.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:08 PM
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Not much time to write...have a full house of family members and what a crazy day. We are leaving on January 1st. That's right JANUARY 1st. We received word from our agency today that our clearance was in with the Consulate. It is official. We are off to China. What an amazing Christmas present. To be given this awesome news at the time of Christ's birth is the most amazing feeling. We have been blessed throughout this entire adoption. I have so much to do but must get through the holidays first. I will keep everyone posted. We leave in 8 very short days. Halainah our most precious baby girl, you will be in our arms before you know it. We love you very very much and can't wait to hug you and love you forever and ever.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 4:39 PM
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Oh Boy, where do I even begin? So apparently this last mountain that I thought was moved, wasn't, or should I say, not completely. So immigration cleared our fingerprints on their end but needs to send our clearance to the National Visa Center. Than the National Visa Center needs to send it to China. Well we are not sure how long this will take to straighten out. So in the meantime, our agency scheduled our Consulate appointment for January 13th. Which means we are supposed to leave on January 1st. First of all, holy cow how will I be ready in such a short time? Second, there are way too many things up in the air. We need to book our flight now, however we can't with a clear mind unless the fingerprint situation is cleared up. We can leave for China on the 1st but if everything is not squared away we may not be able to return home until it is cleared. That is really risky, we could be stuck in china for weeks. So needless to say, I wish I could be excited. I wish I could start packing. But I really don't know which way to go with this whole mess. I am literally so broken and exhausted from all of this. Please pray that somehow, by God's grace, this will all be cleared up.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:10 AM
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Things are moving along for us this week, praise the Lord. A few mountains popped out of nowhere but God zapped them right away and we are headed straight to Halainah. Our travel approval arrived around 5:00 this evening. YIPPEE we have been waiting 4 1/2 months for this day since the day we were matched. Were going to China, Were going to China to get our beautiful daughter! Our agency needs to set a consulate appointment for us first. Once they do that our trip is based around that day. Our agency seems to think we will be leaving either the 1st or 2nd weekend in January. Only 2 - 3 short weeks. Please pray this time frame works out. If they can't book a consulate appointment for mid January than we will be traveling in February because of Chinese New Year. No thanks, I want to hold and kiss my daughter in January. Wow I can't believe we are so close. I have so much to do and so little time, but that's ok. Hopefully we will know on Monday when our consulate appointment is and we can book the trip of a lifetime. Baby Girl, we are so close. Only a few short weeks and mommy and daddy will be with you forever and ever. We love you so very much and can't wait to kiss and hug you and snuggle forever.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:25 AM
Friday, December 19, 2008
Usually when an obstacle is placed in front of me, my natural reaction is to panic. Last night I will admit, I did panic about our missing fingerprints, but only briefly. I sat down on the couch said a quick prayer and thought. I instantly remembered 2 months ago that I had a hard time setting up the appointment with immigration to update our fingerprints. Tony also reminded me how a few short days ago, our mountains were moved by the Lord, and that we should not panic and simply trust in him. Meanwhile, I remembered I had mailed in a request for an appointment but never heard back. After numerous phone calls, I was given an e-mail address and was told that was the only means of communication. Well, a very nice woman at immigration responded back to me the very next morning and gave us an appointment. I immediately thought of her. She helped me out before, why not now? So I sent her an e-mail and pleaded our desperate case last night. Well this morning I called immigration at exactly 8:00 since that is when they opened even though I sent an e-mail. I felt helpless and needed to do all I could. I spoke to 2 people there and both of them told me that I had to send an e-mail that there was no one I could talk to and it would take 3 business days to get an answer. I pleaded and pleaded my case but no one was hearing it. I hung up the phone and just buried my head and prayed "Lord please help me." A few seconds later the woman whom I e-mailed last night that had helped me 2 months ago sent a reply back to me stating that she has already prepared our new I 171H and would mail it today. She also took an extra step to help us and asked for our agency's fax # so that she could get it to them right away. Long story short, she faxed it to Tony so that we had it in our possession and we took care of delivering it to our agency. This women heard my desperate cries and responded quickly. She came into work this morning at 8:00 and by 8:30 she came to our rescue. I am so grateful to her that I plan to write a letter to her boss letting him know what a valued employee he has. She at least deserves that from me. She also requested a picture of Halainah so that she can hang it on their "Wall Of Happiness." That's so cute. So again, the Lord has moved our mountain and I am simply amazed of his glory. I am expecting a few more mountains before we leave to meet our daughter but the Lord will move them, I am certain of that! Our agency was shocked when I delivered our new I 171H to them stating that they have never had anyone obtain this so quickly, especially from the government.
Thank you Lord!
We are now awaiting Travel Approval and our Consulate Appointment. I should hear from them on Friday. I will keep you posted. Please please pray for travel in January. My arms literally cannot wait until February to hold my daughter for the first time.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:00 AM
Thursday, December 18, 2008
So let me start off on a positive note. Our agency called today and said that our Travel Approval is on its way. We should have it by Friday. I should be jumping up and down for joy. I should be running out to Walmart to pick up all the travel necessities that I have been meaning to buy. But nope, it cannot be that easy because there is always a huge mountain that keeps getting in our way. So we potentially have Travel Approval BUT we cannot schedule a consulate appointment because Tony and I don't have fingerprint clearance. So our fingerprints expire on 12/26/2008. In August when we were matched with our daughter we knew there was a chance that we would not be in China for December. So I started the process to get our fingerprints done again. We finally received an appointment which was on 10/22/2008. We received a receipt and we were on our way. Well as it turns out we never received a letter or an updated I 171H to prove our fingerprints are clear. I tried so hard to be on top of everything. I did not know that the clearance was missing. Well now I need to get in touch with immigration to try and get proof. We are also up against Chinese New Year too. With this setback and Chinese New Year we just may not travel until February. I am just tired...so tired from all of this. Part of me just knows how hard it may be to obtain this clearance. But the other part of me is trusting fully in the Lord that he will move this mountain like he has moved every single other one that has been in our way. Please keep us in your prayers so that we can resolve this massive issue.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:10 AM
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
"And Jesus said unto them ... , "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to younder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you."
Can God move mountains? Absolutely, and my heart is so full of his glory that I know that there is nothing too small or too big for God. As long as we live in a loving relationship with God, no problem is too small or too big for us. No matter how trivial a problem may seem, you need to see it as a significant chance to correct ourselves. No matter how huge a problem may seem, we need to face it confidently and solve it by changing ourselves in God's way. What we should move first with prayer is not mountains, it is we ourselves.
Last week a huge mountain appeared out of nowhere right in the path of Halainah's adoption. Tony and I were completely thrown off our path. Our reaction was to panic and lose control due to stress both emotionally and financially from this journey. You see, we should have believed in God that he would take care of this mountain in our path. I need to pray for Tony and I to trust fully in our Lord, for he will provide. God has not brought us this far along our journey for anything to get in our way. I pray for the peace in knowing this is true for I have full faith and confidence in our Lord.
God has moved our mountains through family this past week. I have not posted this week as I needed the time to fully absorb the massive support and love that our family has given us. I have seen the work of God so much this past week. It amazes me, simply amazes me how lucky I am to have the family that I have been blessed with. I am forever grateful to them all. I pray that I can somehow repay them for their generosity. Not so much repay them monetarily but by giving myself to them in their time of need and knowing when they are at their most desperate hour and coming to their rescue through Jesus.
Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Mario, how can I possibly thank you? How can I thank you for all that you have done? How can I ever repay you? You see, magically they erased our worries and magically they produced the missing link. May the lord lead me to them in their darkest hours so that I can save them in all the ways they have saved me, this I pray. I love you more than you will ever know. We thank God for you every day. For God has moved our mountain through you.
My daddy, thank you for your support and praise and for knowing only like a father would know how to make me feel like I would be safe no matter what. Thank you for making me feel like a kid again and giving me such an awesome Christmas present. You see, he sent me a Christmas card telling me that I have been good all year long (I really have...that wasn't a lie :) He gave me a choice of 3 presents but I could only open 1 envelope. I chose envelope 2 for many reasons, but mainly because of my mom. And I won a round trip ticket to China. Yup that's right....I never win anything. It was a Christmas present I will never forget. P.S. I still believe!! Thank you daddy for giving me a magical moment that will last a life time. We thank God for you everyday. For God has moved our mountain through you.
And thank you to Tony's dad, for knowing in his heart that we have had our share of obstacles. For knowing that we just could not take another road block emotionally or physically. For knowing that this last mountain was blocking our vision to see God's power. He knew that we were on our knees praying. He came forward showing how powerful God really is. We thank God for you everyday. For God has moved our mountain through you.
You see, without the help and support of family this adoption would not be possible. It is not about the money. It is not the money that has helped us. It is the security. You all have given us our security back. The same security that was taken away from us is now back. You can't wrap that up and tie it with a bow. Yet you all knew how to give our security back. I don't know if you all know how much that means to us. We feel stronger than ever. We feel we can keep going forward. You have shown us that Family is the foundation of our lives. Without you, we simply would not be standing with our chins raised high, anxiously awaiting our little girl.
We love you, and we thank God for you everyday.
God Bless you!
Thank you Lord for moving our mountains and for blessing us with the most wonderful amazing family. We are so very blessed. We shall never doubt your power.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:28 AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I wanted to quick write a post to let you all know that we have been very busy preparing for our new daughter and working through the obstacles that have been thrown our way. I ask that you bear with us until we can discuss all that has happened. In the mean time, please shift your prayers to another family as they need your prayers way more than we need them right now.
Please pray for Josi's family.
Josi's adoption was final, the only thing her family was waiting for was an embassy appointment and she was supposed to come home before Christmas. Instead, Josi and her foster family were killed in Guatemala.
I am so deeply saddened and my heart is so heavy thinking about Josi's family. It honestly makes my obstacles and worries seem so tiny. I pray that they receive the peace of Christ.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:54 PM
Monday, December 8, 2008
We are not giving up on our daughter. The meaning of her name Halainah Grace is "shining light of God." Even though it may feel like we are in complete darkness right now we can still see the light of God at the end of the darkness. We have been in contact with our agency and we are trying to figure out a way to work through this $2000.00 road block that is in front of us right now. As I don't want to post the options right now as they are still being discussed, I wanted to let everyone know that we are not giving up. Halainah is our daughter. She happened to be born to her birth mother in a land far far away but she was born into our hearts a long time ago and will remain there forever. I want to personally thank everyone who has left comments, e-mails, phone calls, donations (from strangers no less which is deeply touching) and prayers. We will overcome this obstacle. I am not really sure how at this moment but we will travel to China to bring home our daughter, that I am certain.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:46 PM
Friday, December 5, 2008
Honestly, I cannot deal with anymore set backs with this adoption. One step forward and 10 steps back. One smile for happiness and than a million tears of frustration and despair. We were matched with our daughter on August 13th. 4 months later we still don't have Travel Approval from China. We just heard from our agency a few minutes ago. Guess what? China just increased their orphanage fee. They now want an additional $2000.00. Yup that's right, $2000.00. So the adoption of Halainah Grace, our daughter is now on hold. If we cannot come up with this money we cannot travel to China. On top of this $2000.00 we still need to have enough money to travel to China, stay there for 2 weeks, and eat while we are there. At this point I'm completely numb. While I want to believe that this was God's plan for us way before we even knew it, I feel like some evil force is doing all they can to stop this adoption. As all stands now, we cannot move forward unless a miracle happens and money starts to grow from trees.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:08 PM
Swept away is a such a beautiful song which Geoff Moore wrote for his daughter, Anna Grace, whom he and his wife adopted in 2000 from China. He has since adopted Ashley Rose in 2004. I cried the first time I heard this song because it reminds me so much of Halainah and our long journey to find her. You can listen to it in my playlist at the bottom of my blog. This song is also a reminder of God's love for all of us and how he swept away all of our fears when he died on the cross so that we can spend eternity with him.
Written and performed by Geoff Moore
We would say your name
A hundred times a day
Like speaking words in faith
And with a mixture of
Hope and fear and trust
We prayed for the strength to wait
And dreamed of how we'd feel the day
You'd be in our arms and…
Caught up in our love
Home to stay
You'll never be alone
You'll be amazed
At how much you are loved
Your life will never be the same
Once you're swept away
What once was just a dream?
Is reaching up for me
And I hold her in my arms
Lord thank you for the way
You held her all those days
That we had to be apart
And now I see the impossible dream
Is holding me and I'm…
Caught up in your love
Home to stay
I'll never be alone
And I'm amazed
At how much I am loved
My life will never be the same
I've been swept away
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 1:55 AM
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I am asking everyone that is following our journey to please say extra prayers for us especially at Church this Sunday. We are still awaiting our Travel Approval from China. If we don't receive it very shortly than we may have to wait until February to bring our daughter home. The 2009 Lunar Year which is the year of the Ox, begins on January 26, 2009. Chinese government offices will have a one week holiday and the U.S. Consulate will be closed for several days in observance of China's most important holiday. Our agency is stating that most of January will be unavailable for family arrivals in China. We found out last night and I couldn't even bring myself to type a blog I was that upset. How could this be? I have prayed so hard to be able to hold my daughter on Christmas day. That is not going to become a reality. But now we may have to wait 2 more months. Nope, that is unacceptable. So please lift us up in prayer so that we can be united with our daughter in a few weeks. The power of prayer is tremendous!
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 10:20 PM
Sunday, November 30, 2008
We celebrated Thanksgiving this year at my sister-in-laws house. We had a great time. Dinner was excellent and it was so nice to talk and laugh with family. The only thing missing was Halainah. But we took comfort knowing that this was the last Thanksgiving that we will be a family of 2. There is so much that Tony and I have to be thankful for and we made sure that we thanked God for every blessing he has bestowed upon our lives.
Tony and I spent the following 3 days preparing our house for our special addition. So we moved Tony's work room out of the 3rd bedroom and downstairs to the basement. Special, special thanks to Uncle Mario for building Tony's room in the basement for him. I honestly dont know what I would do without Uncle Mario. So now that the 3rd bedroom is empty we were able to paint the ceiling in that room as well as the hallway. Now once we finish painting the 3rd bedroom we will be able to move the T.V. room out of Halainah's future room and into the 3rd bedroom. We have so much left to do but its finally getting done. We were so busy this weekend but amongst all of the hustle and bustle we talked and dreamt about Halainah the entire time. We want our baby girl home. We are still holding onto the miracle that maybe we will be in China for Christmas.
KISSES IN THE WIND
I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's what it seems.
I know you wonder where we are...what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.
Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God hold you in his hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.
Very soon, You will have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God wrap you in his arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 9:24 PM
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So if you have been following my posts you will know that I have been extremely depressed about the burdens this adoption has been financially on my family. And something had happened last week that basically snatched our security blanket right from underneath our feet. I have been feeling despair and questioning how on earth I will be able to continue. I have been praying to God, not for money because that is not something you pray for. I have been praying for security, to feel God's presence telling me that everything will be fine.
Well, I went to Boston, MA today with my Uncle Mario to pick up my cousins Alyssa and Billy from Suffolk University as they were coming home for Thanksgiving. While we were there, we met up with a realtor that took us to see an apartment that my cousins are interested in renting. I took a good look around so that I could give them my honest opinion. While looking all around, I noticed for some odd reason the apartment number on the door, which was the number 3. I didn't think anything of it...it was just a number and after a while we left the apartment.
Next we stopped off at a little Italian restaurant for lunch. While sitting at the table waiting for our meals, I noticed the front door. On the front door, I noticed the number of the restaurant which was 333. That is when it hit me...hmmmm what is the significance of the number 3 that I keep seeing and running into. Not only did I see it again on the front door but this time it was three 3's right in a row.
As the day continued, I ran into the number 3 so many times and I kept pointing them out to everyone. I think at that point I started to annoy them. But to me, there was something more there. There was something more than just the number 3.
The number 3 is the number of personal completeness. It is the number of the Godhead, it stands for the triune God. A complete man is formed with spirit, soul and body. 3 is also a number of resurrection. The Lord Jesus is resurrected on the 3rd day. The earth came of the water of the 3rd day. It is said that the number 3 is used 523 times in Scripture!
Three is the number associated with the Godhead, for there are "three persons in one God." Three times the Seraphim cry, "Holy, Holy, Holy" - one for each of the three persons in the Trinity. "And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isaiah 6:3).
The number 3 signifies life, vitality, inner strength, completion, imagination, creativity, energy, and self-exploration. Three stands for trilogy as in the past, present, and future or father, mother, and child.
The family triangle of Father and Mother is complete only when they have a child. Thus Father = 1, and Mother = 1, and Baby = 1, which equals a family of 3.
I wrote this blog tonight to let everyone know that God is so powerful, beyond our imagination. I have asked in prayer for reassurance once again that our journey is the right path. God has answered my prayers in the form of the number 3 because 3 completes our family triangle, Tony, Deanna and Halainah.
I prayed to God and asked for security that all will be alright. God answered my prayers in the form of the number 3 as the number 3 represents the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Of course everything will be alright, if you put all your faith in God. God has answered my prayers in many ways. You may not always know for certain when your prayers are answered, you have to look around. It may not be written in black and white or letters for that matter. If you look hard enough you will find the answers to your prayers and today mine were answered with The Number 3.
Praise Be To God
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:02 AM
Sunday, November 23, 2008
So sorry for not posting in the last few days, depression is terrible. But with the support of family and friends and a loving husband I am slowly trying to look through the rose colored glasses.
When I am feeling really down, I usually go shopping. OK not usually, I do go. That cheers me up BIG time. Well I can't go shopping anymore unless I win the lottery. So the next best thing is to look through all of the cutest things that either I have collected while we waited or family has given to Halainah. So here you go, a few of my favorite things.
The first outfit is from Aunt Deb, a traditional Chinese outfit in a beautiful light blue color. Halainah is going to look beautiful in it. And her cousin Cassandra who is six months older than Halainah has a matching set. I think we may just have to have a professional picture taken with the 2 beautiful cousins who united from halfway across the world. Aunt Deb has also given Halainah all of Cassandra's clothes that she outgrows and it's perfect timing. As soon as Cassandra outgrows them, Halainah should fit into them. And again, unless I win the lottery soon, I need to stay out of the stores. So thank you a million times Aunt Deb for the clothes and tons of baby stuff.
Notice the baby jade bracelet. Oh it is so so so cute. Another gift especially from Aunt Deb. It is teeny tiny and it is a beautiful shade of green. This little bracelet has a lot of meaning to me and my little gem. For thousands of years, Jade has been the most sought-after jewel in the orient. In China, people treasure it more than any other gem. There is a Chinese saying that everything has a price, but jade is priceless. Jade has been fashioned into tools and ornaments since the earliest periods of Chinese history. The Chinese believed that jade was the Stone of Heaven and anything that was made of it was imbued with special powers to protect against evil. There are legends and mysterious stories about how jade lead the mortal to become immortal, the poor to become rich and how is saved a person from disaster.
Gradually, jade became a symbol of peace, kindness, elegance, and eternity. In China, people believe that jade is more than just and ornament, that it can bring safety, wealth, health, longevity and peace of mind. I think I need to get a jade bracelet myself.
The next outfit is from her mommy. It is called a pillowcase dress and it is hand made. Her name is also embroidered on it which is one of the reasons why I love this dress. I love anything and everything with her name or initials on it. I can't wait to see her in this dress. And of course notice the cute black patent leather shoes. Every little girl needs at least 5 pairs of patent leather shoes in their wardrobe.
So there you have it, a few of my favorite things to cheer me up in a dark time that I am trying to get out of.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:26 PM
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Up until now, my posts have all been very positive talking about the day that we finally are united with our miracle daughter. And although we will always be excited thinking about that day, I can't help but feel extremely knocked down today. This adoption has not been easy by any means. It has been rough physically, mentally and financially. And it has been the support of my family and friends and even strangers that has gotten me through. And most certainly it has been God that has shown us miracle after miracle and through that my faith has grown strong. I have a connection with God, a home, a sense of security that I can't say I always had and it's a miraculous feeling. Today was a rough day, a very rough day at that. And I truly believe it is the work of the devil that threw a wrench in God's plan. I have been knocked down, but on my knees, I am left to pray, pray to our Lord above that he will show me the way. While on my knees I feel his power, his presence, his support, his love, his reassurance that it will all work out in the end. It's easy to turn away and fall deeper in a depression and dwell upon the evil that has occurred. I have fell victim to that many times before. But something is different this time. Something is much clearer to me. With all the evil in the world, God exists. In fact, your faith and God's will is so much stronger than we can even fathom. So today, I will not fall victim to evil. No, I will fall to my knees and handle this evil with prayer.
I ask that you please continue to keep Tony and I in your prayers. We will get through this most difficult time. God has a plan for us, this we know. And in God's plan, everything works out and happens for a reason. We did not come this far in our journey for God's plan to crumble. We will be prevailed against the enemy through Jesus Christ. Amen
Thank you Aunt Ann and Jenine for helping me through this most difficult time this evening, I love you both.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:18 PM
Monday, November 17, 2008
Thank you GuGu Annmarie, GuFu Tommy, and cousins Celeste, Antoinette, TJ, Serena and Leanna
Thank you Michelle
Thank you Larry, Ali, Briana and Ashley
Thank you Lila
Thank you Susan
In January 2008 I sent the below message to all of my friends and family asking if they would help create a most special quilt for Halainah so that she would know just how much she is loved way before she physically entered our family. As you can see from the picture, Halainah has only received 5 good wishes. Halainah received 1 good wish from her immediate family so thank you tremendously to her GuGu Annmarie, GuFu Tommy and cousins. The other 4 are from friends some of whom never met me but are so excited for our family and for Halainah and heard about our story from Aunt Deb. All 5 good wishes brought tears to my eyes as it is truly touching how loved Halainah is. So below is the original message I sent out. Please help me gather "100 Good Wishes" for Halainah. It is so very important to me as I want to be able to give this to Halainah when she is older.
To welcome and celebrate a new life, there is a tradition in the northern part of China to make a "Bai Jai Bei", or 100 Good Wishes Quilt. It is a custom to contribute a patch of cloth with a wish for the new baby. Part of the cloth goes into the quilt, and the other part will go into a creative memory book with the wish for the baby. The quilt contains the luck, energy, prayers and good wishes from all of the families and friends who contributed a piece of fabric. The quilt is then passed from generation to generation.
We invite you to join in our "100 Good Wishes" project by contributing two 10" X 10" 100% cotton fabric squares (the same fabric for both squares) and a prayer or "good wish" for our precious daughter. I'm working to keep her culture and background very alive in her life and in her home. We feel that she would enjoy this special keepsake when she is older and can see how many people joined in the prayers to bring her home.
Along with the fabric, please send Halainah a prayer, or "good wish", or anything you would like to share with her on a note. This note will be placed in a special memory book. We know that our daughter will love to see all the people that prayed and loved her before she was home with us.
Thank you for participating and contributing to Halainah's "100 Good Wishes Quilt". We know in the years to come she will treasure each and every one of you for being a special part of her journey home.
Here Is What We Would Like You To Do - 1) Choose any 100% cotton fabric that you like. It just needs to have a design and color that you like. 2)We ask that the fabric is pre-washed to avoid shrinkage. 3) Cut two 10" x 10" squares from the fabric. 4) On an acid free piece of paper (so it will last a long time), attach the second piece of the fabric on the note (so she will know what piece of fabric goes to each wish) and include your good wish note (this can be any type of wish for Halainah) your name and address. The fabric will be used to make a goodquilt, and the notes will be placed in a a special book that we will give to Halainah when she is older.
Ideas For Selecting Quilt Squares - Select a fabric that is meaningful to you. 100% cotton fabric is best, as it washes and wears better. If there are several members in your family, please feel free to send more than one good wish note and pieces of fabric. In China, these quilts were originally made from the garments of family and friends surrounding the child with luck and good wishes.
Ideas For A Good Wishes Note - Well, what would you wish for an infant to have in her life? Some ideas are good health, perseverance, compassion, love, and a sense of humor. Use that as a guide for your good wish note. Keep in mind that our daughter will not see your note until she is older. Please take a few minutes to help us create this very special keepsake. The miracle of this adoption has been helped and nurtured by so many of you and this will be so incredibly meaningful for us as well as our new arrival!
My Idea: One of the hardest obstacles that I have to try and deal with every day is the loss of my mom...my very best friend. She would have been so excited to help with our journey to Halainah. I know that she is watching from above and is guiding me through good times and bad. Halainah will know and love her Oma (grandmother in German...that's what my mom wanted to be called....she told me more than once) because I will share all of the warm, fun, and amazing memories of my mom with my daughter...she will have her Oma's picture in her room and know that even though her Oma cannot be with her physically....she's in her heart always. I am putting a patch of material from one of my mom's favorite article of clothing into Halainah's quilt....it will be special just from her angel Oma in heaven.
If you would like to contribute and don't know my address, please e-mail me at: email@example.com
Thank you so very much
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 9:02 PM
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Exactly one year ago on November 16, 2007 a beautiful baby girl was born. On November 17, 2007 she was found at the gate of the Social Welfare Institute of Xinzhou District of Shangrao City in China. The director of the orphanage named her Rao Qinyang but she was destined through the grace of God to be named Halainah Grace Napolitano, our daughter, and we were destined to be her Mommy and Daddy.
Today is an extremely difficult day for us as we long to celebrate our daughters miraculous life together with her. Although we are not physically with our daughter may she sense by the grace of God that her Mommy and Daddy will love her unconditionally forever and ever.
Please say an extra prayer for Halainah Grace that she is being celebrated today in her home by her nannies. Please pray for her health and safety and that she can somehow sense all the love that is being sent her way from her Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, Opa, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.
Halainah Grace, Happy Birthday baby girl. We love you more and more everyday. We celebrate this day, your very first birthday. Although we are not with you on this most special day, we celebrate spiritually with you and promise to love you forever and ever. Big big hugs and thousands of kisses are sent to you by your Mommy and Daddy. We can't wait to see you...real soon...we promise.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 1:42 AM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
We have finally received our LOA after 92 days of waiting. I can honestly say that it has been agonizing. I love my daughter so much and to not be able to bring her home yet has truly been tough.
I received the call from my agency at 5:10 this evening and let me tell you, I screamed with excitement. We are officially 1 step closer to our baby girl. Here's what happens next. I have to wait to receive our official LOA in the mail which will probably be Saturday or Monday. Of course my agency missed FEDEX for the evening. Once we receive it we need to sign it and overnight it back to them. Once that occurs, we need to once again wait on China to issue us our TA (Travel Approval). That will take anywhere between 2-4 weeks. In the meantime, we need to obtain our VISA which I will begin tomorrow.
Once TA comes in we can make all of the travel arrangements. So here's the deal. My agency is saying this can all take 8 weeks or longer. I am requesting all my friends and family to pray harder than they have ever prayed before. Hey miracles do happen, just look at my beautiful daughter. Maybe if we pray hard enough we can be united with her on Christmas Day. Please pray for our family to be united with our miracle daughter on Christmas Day. Thank you so much for everyone's prayers and support, your prayers are truly the reason that we are so close to becoming parents.
Halainah Grace, Mommy and Daddy are coming for you....we are so close baby girl! We love you all the way to Heaven and back and can't wait to hug and kiss you for the very first time!!
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 6:22 PM
Our agency responded back to me today as I have been asking for status on our LOA. Aghhhh those 3 darn letters! Here is their response:
"We did ask and the CCAA said "very soon we will get the LOA." Now, I would interpret that as "very soon!" I do hope we get another batch of LOA's before the end of this week. As soon as we get the LOA we will call you immediately. Others who were matched about the same time as you and whose dossiers were in line about the same amount of time when matched are waiting too."
So what does that mean? It means more waiting. All I do is wait and wait and wait.
Please keep praying. We are approaching Halainah's 1st birthday in a few days which is going to be a very hard day for Tony and I.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 1:21 AM
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I'll never forget the day of my baby shower for many reasons that I wrote in my post "All Showered And Ready To Go." But one of the best moments that touched my heart was when my dad came up to me and hugged me with tears in his eyes right after I opened all my gifts and said, "Whatever else that you need that you didn't receive, I will buy for Halainah. I will take you shopping and buy everything else and I don't care how much is left." So today was so exciting for me and sentimental because Halainah's Opa (German for Grandfather) took me out and bought the last two items which happened to be very big items and most important on my list of must haves. Halainah's Opa loves her so much he wants her to have the very best including about 15 pairs of warm PJ's and a snowsuit that he fell in love with and just had to buy for her. He bought her the new 2009 Britax Boulevard Cowmooflage Convertible Car Seat. Halainah will be cruising in style thanks to Opa.He also bought her the Limited Pliko P3 Classico Stroller in Paloma by Peg Perego. This is the BMW of strollers again because Opa wants the best for his grandaughter.
And if this wasn't enough for his grandaughter, he also bought her the Fisher Price Baby Gymnastics Bounce & Spin Zebra because he thought is was cute and Halainah would love it.
Halainah truly has no idea how much her Opa loves her. So thank you daddy for spoiling me and Halainah. You truly have no idea how thankful I am and how much I love you. Daddy, You have spoiled me since I was a little girl and I know how hard you had to work to make sure I had everything I wanted in life. We have gone through some really hard times in the past 5 years, the hardest being mom's death. But we have been there for each other and you made sure that we would both be okay. I love you more than you will ever know and you truly have touched my heart with your excitement and generosity towards Halainah.
"Thank you Opa for spoiling me just like you spoil my mommy. I have the coolest car seat ever and love my top of the line stroller and new bouncy zebra. I love you Opa."
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:53 PM
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Halainah has a crib fit for a princess. Her Grandma and Grandpa love her so much all the way to heaven and back that they wanted Halainah to have the sweetest dreams in a very special crib. This was Halainah's special gift from her Grandparents. Her Grandma sacrificed without so that she could save enough money to help buy Halainah this special crib. Grandma and Grandpa also bought her the top of the line mattress, we are talking memory foam. Grandma and Grandpa want the best for their granddaughter. This is something Grandma wanted to do since we finally were matched with our miracle daughter. Grandma is also our guiding light throughout Halainah's journey. She supported us and cheered us on since the day we decided to find our daughter. And when we thought that we couldn't go on any longer because the wait was so long. She reminded us how powerful God is and encouraged us to keep praying. She prayed countless prayers, lit numerous candles and said many rosaries for Halainah's arrival and health. God answered our prayers indeed. In fact, she prayed this year that the only thing she wanted for her birthday was for Halainah to be joined with our family. And guess what? God answered our prayers 1 day after her birthday. Halainah's lifebook is full of chilling stories that truly reflect God's power of prayer.
"Thank you so much Grandma and Grandpa. I can't wait to finally come home and sleep forever and ever in my new heavenly crib and finally be home with my Mommy and Daddy. I love you Grandma and Grandpa and can't wait to meet you."
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep:
May God guard me through the night
And wake me with the morning light.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 7:32 PM
Friday, November 7, 2008
I have held this poem close to my heart since the day Tony and I decided to find our daughter half way around the world. It still brings tears to my eyes and shivers up my spine as it is a true reflection on the reality of my life and vast love for Halainah Grace.
Dear Sweet Daughter:
As a girl I had a common dream, to be a mom someday. My baby would have eyes of blue and hair the hue of hay.
But now my dreams have been transformed. New visions fill my head. Now the tresses that I long to stroke are raven black instead.
And in my dreams those eyes are not so big or blue or round. Now in my dreams they’re almond shaped and colored cocoa brown.
And in my dreams my arms can stretch across enormous seas. They reach half-way around the world and hold you close to me.
As you grow in your mother’s womb, carefully knit together, you’re also growing in my heart, where you will stay forever.
And in my dreams the moment that your mother says good-bye, I’ll be right there to comfort you and hold you as you cry.
Our features may not look alike: we’re different as can be. But still I know the Father has created you for me.
And though I’ve not yet seen your face, or hold your tiny hands, and though we’re half a world apart in very different lands,
I’ll be right there to get you just as soon as God allows. But ‘til He says the time is right I give to you this vow.
I’ll pray for your protection every day on bended knee. For God to hold you in His arms, until you’re here with me.
Written by: Gayle Leubecker
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 9:15 PM