Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We don't pass through storms, they pass through us...*

It is official: the storm has passed through us. We have our Travel Approval to fly to China. Our agency is in the process of scheduling our Consulate Appointment. The CA will be the last bit of official business in China before hopping on the jet plane to come back home.

There is a tentative plan of arriving in Kunming, China around February 20, getting into the Consulate around March 1-3 and coming home March 3-5. God willing and the creek don't rise, details will be ironed out before the end of this week and flights will be booked. The finish line is always moving, it seems. So we proceed with guarded excitement.

The last week has been filled with the highs of travel anticipation and the lows surrounding the loss of a dear friend. This photo is pretty spectacular, isn't it? We are honored that this art graces our walls. It was a birthday gift from the artist and our friend, Glenn Osborn. Glenn left this world on Sunday. We miss him. We miss his touching emails about Ella and the way his eyes glistened when he spoke of her. Glenn was colorful, just as his artwork shows us.

*Prairie Lullaby, JT & The Clouds (Delilah 2003)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hold On, I'm Coming...*

. . . just not as quick as I thought.

Yesterday, our hope for January travel was dashed. According to our agency, the most likely scenario is now after the Chinese New Year celebration, with us arriving in Kunming February 20, give or take. And, of course, even this is still tentative for the time being. The good news is that we have picked up some tidbits of information about Man Li, specifically about her last name, Guan. Each orphanage has a different practice. The Kunming CWI names the child depending upon which of the four city sectors where the infant was found. Guandu district (Guan for short) is in the western part of the city, and other babies found in that part of town share the same last name.

We also have a copy of the finding ad that was placed in the local Yunnan Fazibao paper, and even more precious, an actual newsprint edition of the paper. Man Li was one of 16 babies listed that day, all found between January 7 and June 4, 2009, although the greatest cluster was May and early June. We don't know what explains the lone January baby, or how often these ads are run. Her ad shows Man Li at the approximate age of one month.

Yesterday was tough, but today we've chosen to be happy for what we have, and what we will have in the near future. Yesterday was also notable as we attended the re-adoption ceremony for our little friend Roz, which certainly started the day off right. Things like that keep us moving towards Kunming.

*Hold On, I'm Coming recorded by Sam & Dave

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Radio Silence.

Yesterday, I was sorting out things at the office in preparation for my extended leave and came across a fortune I pulled out of a cookie at some point in the last four years. I rolled my eyes when I read "bide your time, for success is near". Because right now, success in the form of Ella is feeling pretty darn far away.

There is still no word on Travel Approval. There were hints out there that we would receive it late last week or early this week. We had a lot riding on getting that call yesterday. We did not.

Stay tuned. H&L

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Our First Family Portrait!

Having an artist in the family has its benefits. We are fortunate to have quite a few. My nephew, Brandon, is a great caricature artist and presented us this on Sunday at our church celebration. Our church peeps signed their good wishes along side of the drawing. We think it is pretty spectacular. Not only do we look young and hip (much more than we really are!) but he is dead-on with his take on Ella, don't you think?!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Beautiful Chaos and Expectation.

Happy Twenty Ten, everyone! As of late this afternoon, still no word on Travel Approval. Tomorrow marks five weeks since we received the referral on Ella Man Li. The customary window from referral to travel is two to eight weeks. So, even though it seems like an eternity, we are still between those bookends.
Since our last post, it has been nothing short of pandemonium. And it has been a fabulous flurry, for sure! We have enjoyed two Ella-Brations with family and friends. Both times, I found myself looking at the sea of faces and being overcome with joy and love and tears. And I'm not exaggerating when I write sea. Ella's army is bigger and stronger than ever. And there was food and more food for her army...

... there were pretty party planners...

...and some of my favorite little ladies were in attendance.

And then a week later, our church family threw a fantastic celebration for us after the worship service. We were humbled and loved and euphoric all over again.

The laundry duties and house prep have not subsided. We have enough clothes to support costume changes every hour for the next two years of her life. Closets and cupboards are re-arranged for the onslaught of toys and diapers; bottles and sippy cups; baby food and formula. We are practicing our Mandarin words to help us in our travels, yet still stumped by the complexities of this language!
We expect travel news very soon - check back in.
~The Happy Parents