Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I Suddenly realized this evening that I have been so engrossed in worrying about the future. Worrying that our bills are too plentiful and our income is too minuscule. Working endlessly to reduce what I can. Worrying that I may not find a job and what that may mean for our family.

I find myself at times snapping at the little things that my princess has done that I may not like. I realized today that I am missing out on a lot of tiny memories that I will need to cling to when my angel is all grown up. I have been looking only in one direction, face forward. When I should be looking all around.

Sitting at home this morning my mind drifted. Drifted to the days of my childhood when life just seemed so simple. Wondering if my parents had the same fears as I do about the future. Wondering...and Wondering. Only left to wonder because it was never apparent to me. You see, if my parents were overwhelmed with the unknowns of the future, I was oblivious. And that is my hope for my daughter, to be oblivious of my fears. And to do that, I need to savor every morsel of her childhood and live in the moment with her.

So since this is Halainah's lifebook for her to read when she gets older, I want to document as much of her childhood as I possibly can. And I want to remind myself to cast my worries aside, look all around, and enjoy the present with our precious gift from God. I need to rest my worries in the Lord's hands, for I know that he will provide. He always has.

So this is my list of cherished memories that I need to savor:

Every 5 minutes Halainah walks up to me and says "boo boo" pointing to someplace on her body so that I would kiss it and make her feel better. By days end, every part of her body has been kissed a million times.

Constantly rummaging through the pantry looking for a snack, pulling something out and running to me yelling, "nack, nack," "open, pease."

Running up to me with her lips puckered asking for a delicate kiss and than saying, "cheek" because she wants to kiss my cheek and vice versa.

Getting right up in my face looking to rub noses because daddy taught her this form of affection.

Taking her out of her crib in the morning and getting the biggest, warmest, most scrumptious hug.

Getting all the way down the stairs and her crying out for her most cherished "3 amigos". Her stuffed animals that she so sweetly named Bear, Marty, and Elmo. And having to climb the stairs again to retrieve them so that my angel is happy.

Pointing to Papa in pictures and getting so excited yelling, "papa, papa". He has been so tragically ripped from our lives yet her little memory holds onto the good times like we all should.

Dumping ALL of her toys out every day only for me to pick them up every night before I get to relax.

Constantly hearing her say the word, "happy" with the most glorious smile on her beautiful little face. She is the happiest little girl I know.

When a stranger approaches, she quickly runs to me, grabs my leg with the strongest grip and yells, "Mama." It's almost as if she is making it known that I am her possession.

Yelling "Opa" as soon as we drive down his street because she is such a smart cookie and knows where he lives!

Grabbing my hand ever so tightly while walking into a store.

Always jumping, never walking. Always laughing, never crying. Always right next to me, never far away.

Jumping into my favorite corner of the couch as soon as I get up because it must be so nice and cozy for her.

Yelling "home" when we arrive after a long day out.

Grabbing her little vacuum and cleaning caddy when I start to clean.

Ripping her socks off any chance she gets because she likes to be barefoot. And finding tiny little socks all over the house.

Finding real chicken nuggets and apple slices in her pretend microwave and toaster, sometimes days later.

Always sharing whatever I am eating because she doesn't want to miss out on anything yummy.

Having to watch Elmo all day long because she is addicted to it.

Seeing the excitement on her face when it is time to play with play doh, flashcards or a puzzle.

Finding the babies from her dollhouse in the daddy or mommy's arms.

Grabbing her diaper and lotion at night and bringing it to us saying, "night night," because she wants to go to bed.

Calling for "Daddy" throughout the day because he is at work and she misses him.

Yelling "Daddy" on top of her lungs and jumping up and down in pure utter excitement that he came home from work.

Hearing, "Mama" a bazillion times a day.

This is my list for this week. I want to add a post every week of my most cherished memories so that I don't forget one little morsel of Halainah's childhood. Sometimes you need to stop and look all around, not just face forward.

Ahhh...the joys of childhood. No worries at all...enjoying the love of cousins. And being naughty jumping on the bed. I was a bad Mama for not yelling at them...sorry Aunt Deb!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Ok....so life has slowed down slightly...only slightly. I still have a gazillion things on my plate. But I am just going to keep breathing.

We just recently sold our very expensive truck and moved into a very affordable, very reliable car that we hope will last for many years. I am hoping for 15 years. But that would make Halainah 17 and that is just way too scary for me to even think about.

I was the lucky winner of the "thing" I posted about below. And that "thing" was a job that I desperately wanted that I had interviewed for. It seemed as though it was a great fit for me and I was very excited about it. They called on Monday to offer me the job. Unfortunately, I needed more time than they were willing to give me. I needed at least a week to find adequate daycare. I suppose they were not willing to give me that time and I was unable to find help so...there goes that!

Tony and I have been mapping our lives out for the past 6 months. Reducing bills and monthly payments was one part of it. Now comes the larger part of mapping out our lives. Let's just say we have a vision and that vision means a complete life change. But it would better our lives. It's a work in progress.

Yesterday Halainah saw a commercial for "Elmo Live...When Elmo Grows Up." She went nuts screaming Elmo and clapping and dancing. It was just so adorable. So what is a Mother to do? I called Tony and told him Halainah wanted to go see Elmo Live, so we ordered the tickets. But the show is in April. So that stinks but I am very excited for Halainah.

On Tuesday, Halainah's cousin Tyler slept over. Halainah and Tyler played until midnight. The next day my cousin and I took the little cousins, Tyler and Halainah into Brooklyn. They had a blast at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. They are so cute together and love each other very much. The next day when Halainah woke up, she walked into the spare bedroom calling for him..."Tye Tye." She was very sad that he went home.

Well, our family is off for another jammed packed weekend where we will not have 1 minute to ourselves. But it should be fun.

Hope your weekend is just as spectacular.

Many Blessings to All!

Halainah loved the slide the most at the children's museum.

Drawing at one of the exhibits.

Check out the size of that snake...not too sure if Halainah liked him or not.

Looking through a magnifying glass!

Tyler and Halainah going grocery shopping!

Playing with water...another one of her favorites.

Tyler and Halainah standing in front of a cool work of art.

Enjoying lollipops on the streets of Brooklyn.

Last weekend, my grandma made a turkey dinner....delicious! And the cousins had a blast playing together.

Halainah looking cute.

Cousins Cassandra and Halainah being silly!

Aghhhh....the love of cousins.

Monday, January 11, 2010


It's here again. That feeling of being so overwhelmed you just want to sleep through it all.

There is so much going on in our household right now. Between trying to Re-finalize Halainah's adoption, trying to keep the train moving with Halainah's mei mei's adoption and trying to minimize monthly payments (why is it when one bill goes down another goes up?), and of course trying to find a job in this economy, I just want to cry.

Tony and I have been out everyday this past week trying to take care of business and Halainah has been carted right along with us. I think she is feeling the stress as well.

And did you ever want something so bad that your want to jump out of your skin with anticipation waiting to hear if you are the lucky winner? Oy Vey....
I'll post all about that when I can...well depending on the outcome.

Also, One year ago today our plane landed after 14 1/2 hours and our little miracle became a US citizen the minute her tiny little feet touched U.S. soil. If you want to read a great recap which was written so beautifully by Lainey's daddy right after our amazing journey to our miracle, click here.

Oh boy have I rambled in this post!

Sorry but my brain is going 5 million miles per hour.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

Halainah is so exhausted from this past week! She was playing on the floor one minute and the next...sound asleep!

Friday, January 8, 2010

The crowded room

It was crowded. Why were all these people here? Who were they. It's hard to think over all the noise. Is this someones birthday? It's obviously a celebration. These people are happy. But I am not. I am dying inside. This grief is overwhelming me. Crushing my heart. But still, these people are happy. I do not recognize anyone. What am I doing here? I look from face to face. I see nothing but great joy.

Suddenly a face....

Amidst a sea of faces, one becomes clear. This face is moving towards me. It is smiling. I know this face. It is much younger than I remember. There is no trace of pain, no trace of illness. Only happiness.

He is dressed well and wearing a beautiful sweater with a scarf tied around his neck that hangs loosely upon his chest. He beckons me to sit and I do. And we talk. And I laugh, and he laughs. He tells me how well he is and how the sickness is gone. He tells me how happy he is. He did not need to share this with me as the look upon his face spoke volumes. The feeling in the room seemed to magnify this. It flowed from every person and permeated my being.

Someone crying?

It's 6:41 in the morning.

My baby is crying.

Life returns to normal.

As does the pain.

When I awoke, I was so happy to have visited with my father. And then so sad that the visit ended. I showered, dressed and left but not before checking on my Halainah as I do each morning. I entered my fathers car and proceeded to drive to work. His cologne still lingers, and I find myself bursting with excitement to catch his scent in the air. I pondered on my journey to work over the crowded room. I asked God for some clarity. And as I prayed, I began to see the crowded room as heaven. I felt so strange and out of place because I came to understand that I was not yet invited. I was not yet supposed to join these happy people. Everyone was a stranger to me because I was a stranger to the room. It was not my time. But in this sea of faces, my father came to me. HE belonged. He was home. And he was so happy. And he wanted me to understand this.

And I do. Our God is not the God of the dead but of the living. I know and trust this. My relationship with my father has altered in the sense that he is physically not here. But very much alive. However, it is my human weakness that still searches for him and longs to see him with my naked eyes. To visit with him in the flesh, and not only in spirit.

It was with human eyes that I was allowed to see this room. And it was with human understanding that this room appeared to me as it did. What great marvels await us when we are called home. What joy awaits us when we are called home.

Until that time, I will miss you dearly Dad.

I love you.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I have been meaning to put up this post for quite some time now. But given the terrible circumstances of Halainah's papa's passing, I just didn't have the energy to do it.

The day before papa passed, I finally took Halainah to meet her Oma. Halainah has been home for a year now and I have never taken her to the cemetery to meet my mom. It is just something that I wasn't emotionally prepared to do.

My mother and I had countless conversations of her becoming a Grandma. My dad is German and my mother was not but she wanted so desperately to be called Oma. I think it's because growing up my brother and I had a very strong bond with my Oma (my dad's mom). In fact, there were times my Oma would call my mom up and say, "pack up the kids, I am picking them up for the weekend." I asked my mom if that bothered her and she said, "well yes sometimes because I wanted to spend the weekend with you. But it was also very important to have your Oma spend special quality time with you as well. So I sacrificed, but I am glad I did because Oma is no longer with us. And now you and your brother have such special memories of your Oma that you will treasure forever. Just like I want to have, no I need to have such special treasured memories with my Grandchildren as well."

Little did I know while having that conversation with my mom on one of our 3 mile walks on a crisp fall day, that she would never be able to create those special memories with my daughter. While my mother was sick, after her diagnosis of a brain tumor, Tony and I desperately tried to conceive a child. I needed to give my mom a grandchild. I needed to make my mom an Oma. We tried so hard. We went through 3 rounds of invitro, one right after the other, only to be devastated after each failed cycle. "Please God", I begged. "Please God, let me conceive a child. Let my mom have her wish of becoming an Oma before you take her home."

But it never came to be. And after my mother took her last breath, my heart was shattered. Shattered into a million pieces that quite frankly has never been whole again. I let my Mom down. I did not make her dream come true. And I have carried that burden on my heart for 6 long years since she passed.

I guess I should have ran to the cemetery with Halainah the moment we got home from China. But physically and emotionally I just could not. I know Halainah would have loved her Oma. I know that Halainah would have begged me to let her stay at Oma's house for the weekend just like I did as a child. I know they would have had a special relationship. I know my mom would melt every time she see's my father holding, laughing and playing with Halainah. I know she would have been in total awe with her Granddaughter.

I suppose I take comfort in knowing that my mom had a very special hand in delivering Halainah to us. I know she knocked on God's door a bunch of times during our adoption process and asked for his Grace. I know that my mom is Halainah's special angel in heaven. And there are nights where Halainah is sitting up in her crib in a dimly lite room, where she is having conversations with someone. In the monitor I can see her looking up with her hands moving and talking up a storm. And I think, maybe just maybe she is talking to her Oma.

Halainah dressed so special to meet Oma.

She sort of just took everything in at the cemetery.

Almost as if she was in deep thought.

Maybe she was whispering soft thoughts to her Oma.

When Halainah was done whispering to her Oma, she ran...

straight to her Opa...
to shed some sweet love and let him know that Oma is happy in heaven.

Monday, January 4, 2010


On January 4, 2009, in a small room in the Gloria Hotel located in Nanchang China, Jiangxi Province, a beautiful little girl was pulled from the life she knew and placed into our loving arms where her new life began.

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and we just flew from 20 degree weather from Beijing to 50 degree weather in Nanchang. There were 3 other families with us, and all three families were on a natural high as we knew that our lives were about to become complete.

Upon arriving to the hotel we were told that the babies did not arrive yet. We hurried to our room and started to unpack all of the baby stuff that we packed. I was actually putting diaper and wipes and little baby clothes away in a drawer, for only a short hour or so we would become parents. There was a knock on our door from our guide Sissi. In her gentle little voice she said, "the babies are here, come quick." We all scurried into her room and one by one the babies came in.

Our dear friends Rob and Susan received their miracle first, beautiful little Lily. We snapped pictures and shed a few tears of joy for our new found friends. Than I remember Tony saying, "Dee, Dee...she's here....Halainah's here. And when I looked up, I saw the most beautiful little miracle that God could ever give us...our daughter...Halainah Grace.

I rushed to her nanny and thought for a split second..."should I take Halainah out of her arms." Well a split second passed and I scooped her up and gave her the most cherished warm hug and kiss I could. With tears in my eyes I ran to Tony and at that very moment is when our family finally felt complete.

It was a hectic time afterwards as there were about 20 people in a small hotel room. The nannies gave us some very special gifts and one by one we exited the room. With our miracle in our arms, Tony and I walked to our hotel room amazed by God's grace. My brother who was walking behind us was sobbing tears of joy for he himself had not witnessed a miracle to this magnitude.

Once we got back to our hotel room, we unbundled Halainah as she was wrapped up like a burrito. She never cried once. She just stared at all of us soaking in her new life. We gave her a bath and got her all nice and cozy...and our lives as a family of 3 began.

Looking back at this past year with Halainah...I am amazed at what a beautiful little angel she has become. She smiles all of the time and emanates joy wherever she goes. We are constantly told that she is such a happy baby. And she is. But more so, she is the joy of our lives. She is our everything. She was destined to be our daughter and we thank God for her everyday. Years of trying to conceive somehow disappeared the moment our daughter was placed in our arms. I can't wait to see what the future holds for our treasure. For I know that anything she touches will turn to gold. She is a true angel here on earth.

Happy 1 year Gotcha day baby girl. We love you more than you could possibly fathom. You are our world and we love you all the way to heaven and back. I love your giant hugs, your sweet kisses and your warm snuggles (we call them snoogles). Our life is complete all because of one giant miracle delivered all the way from China...that's you...our most cherished Halainah Grace Qinyang.

Exactly One Year Ago Today...the moment Halainah made us whole.

Today, Halainah has grown into such a beautiful big girl. But she didn't like her gotcha day clothes...she kept saying, "off."

Talking to Daddy on the phone today. He called to say, "Happy Gotcha Day my angel."

Jiu Jiu holding his niece for the first time on Gotcha day 1 year ago.

Today, sitting in the comforts of her very own bedroom.

1 Year Ago, being unbundled from all 5 layers of clothes. Although she never cried, she was unsure of her surroundings and sort of just sat and looked around.

Today I see a happy little girl who is very sure of who she is and is very happy to be with her mommy and daddy.

Sleeping all snug like a bug in a rug on her very own little chair. Our miracle whom we thank God for everyday.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Happy New Year.

May this year be an extraordinarily spectacular year for all.

1 year ago today, Tony and I boarded a very long flight to China. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I remember the fear I had boarding that 15 hour flight. I remember my father kissing me goodbye saying he loves us and to have a safe flight. I remember watching him walk out the door and almost wishing that I was going with him. And I remember thinking to myself that even though I was nervous I was so excited, that finally we would meet our little miracle, Halainah Grace. I remember looking at Tony and giving all my fears to him to carry the load and be brave for me. I remember taking his hand as we boarded the flight together knowing that in a few short days our hands would be carrying the most wonderful gift of all.

All day today I kept saying to Tony, "we just boarded the flight," "at this time we were flying for 5 hours," "we were almost there." I still don't know how we survived that 15 hour flight.

Reflecting back on this year, although it has been so difficult financially with the lose of my job. And the most difficult of all, Halainah's papa's illness and his calling home, we faced these issues as a family of 3. And our miracle has gotten us through the darkest of days. She truly is our shining light of God.

New Years Eve at around 11:30. Cousins, Halainah, Leanna, and Antoinette snuggled together while waiting for the new year to begin.

Today, almost 1 year later after she was placed in our arms. She has grown into such a beautiful little angel.

Halainah's big gift from Santa, her dollhouse. And Grandma helped furnish her favorite toy.

Here she is putting the baby into his crib saying, "shhhhh...night, night."

New Year's day celebrated at Aunt Deb's. Halainah and Cassandra are only 6 months apart.