Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I have to write one more final post before I have this printed and bound for Phoebe just to document the awesome gifts I have received over the course of the past few months. 
Here are my most treasured things, but I can't photograph the love, support, advice, friends I have made, people I have met. 

From Micki:
Traveling with me because it was the most extreme gift of all.  She gave up Mother's Day with her children, 2 weeks of her life at home with her family and a few field trips that she would never have missed for anything else. 

From Beth. 
The BEST book about a little Chinese girl waiting to be adopted and a little ladybug she meets along the way.  She sent this book and frame to me before I traveled to China and I could not read all the way through it even one time without crying. 

From my mom: 
My welcome home gift of a moon charm with two little loose hearts for me and Phoebe. 
 "I love you to the moon and back"
How my mom feels about me and I her.  Now how I feel about my 3 children.

From Kelly: 
My red thread panels that she designed and made. 
Castle Park to Nanchang connected by a red thread.
This gift took my breath away when I received it.

Also from Kelly: 
A silver ring wrapped with a red thread.  How awesome is this? 
She gave this to me at my grandmother's memorial service.  Perfect gift, perfect time.

From Valerie, Jack, Cella and Taya:
Our first Christmas ornament for Phoebe.

From my mother-in-law, Nancy and her sister, Aunt Kathy:
Two books that will be forever treasured and read over and over.

From Toni and his wife and little boy, Jordi, who is in China as I type this, waiting for them to come adopt him in a few short days.  We will use this album as Phoebe's baby book, photo album from all of her photos of her in her orphanage, her nanny, her crib, and as a scrapbook for all of the things I saved for her from China.

From Stasy and Sydney:
Her first doll, an American Girl Bitty Baby

From Alyssa: 
Phoebe's 3 year old friend from Seattle who painted this watercolor for her which we laminated and hung on her window.  It looks like stained glass when the sun shines through.

Thank you all.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


We have been home a week.  Phoebe fits our family perfectly and she is loved by everyone. 

She was scared and overwhelmed at first and we took things slowly.  She bonded with Matt quickly, likes to play with Cassidy and is trying to figure out Maclean.  She looks around often to make sure I am still there.

She caught a cold a day after coming home and that, combined with the all the newness of people, smells, sounds, etc. she withdrew a bit.  Still some smiles and giggles, but not as many as in China.

She got to spend the afternoon with Micki yesterday.  She showed how comfortable she was with Micki by crashing out the entire time.  I am happy they got to see each other and spend time together, even if she only slept.   Micki said she seemed so different than she was in China, quieter, more unsure.

We said goodbye to my grandmother yesterday.  I got to the funeral home before the rest of the family and spent some time with her alone.  I thanked her for so much, said sorry for not being home, and talked with her for a long time.  I told her how much we will miss her, how much my children will miss her.  I told her how I promised she would stay alive in them and me and that Phoebe will know her well and how significant she already is in Phoebe's life.

We buried her next to my grandfather in Graafschap Cemetery.  I picked up Phoebe and Maclean from Micki's house and brought them with us so that we could all be together for a final goodbye.  It was a beautiful ceremony.  During a quiet prayer and many tears, Phoebe chose to come out of the little shell she had built since coming home.  She began to clap and bounce and smile and laugh.  I tried saying "Shhhhh" in her ear and occupying her.  But she did not want to be quieter, just happier.  I thought to myself that this was the first time that Mother and Phoebe were together and Phoebe was the happiest she had been since arriving in America.  I could not continue to cry, no one could. 

Today we honored Mother with a gathering at Freedom Village.  It was a celebration of her life as there is so much to celebrate.  She gave me, her only grandchild, the best memories and love that I could ask for.  She was very loved in return and forever will be. 

Goodbye, Mother.  You were my best friend.  Welcome home, Phoebe.  You are a gift, a treasure to our family.

Our family is complete.  Cassidy.  Maclean.  Phoebe.  All prayed for in different ways.   All prayers answered.  All together forever.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


We are a family of FIVE!!!!

We made it!  Barely...immigration was long, customs and security were longer and our departure from Chicago was soon after our arrival.  We were those people running through the airport, glaring down the security searchers, who picked such and inopportune time after 7 flights through America and China, to decide to randomly search the sketchy, suspicious looking blond women carrying an obviously adopted baby.   We made it to our gate and walked right on to the plane.

We were both greeted by our smiling, laughing, crying, picture taking, video recording families at the airport. It was wonderful and overwhelming. Matt got to look at his littlest girl for the first time in person.  My little boy, Maclean, so sweetly patted Phoebe's head and announced, "This is my baby sister, Phoebe". Cassidy cried with joy the whole way home. My mom and dad cried and hugged me, both with joy and pain, as we were together finally after losing my grandmother and have a difficult week ahead as we prepare to put her to rest.

Phoebe won't let anyone look at her without crying.  She did this with me and Micki for a couple hours after we met her and were alone with her.  She will get used to the crazy life of a silly dad, a teenaged sister who is over the moon with her, a loud and energetic 2 year old brother who is beyond excited, a huge cat rubbing against her and a tiny chihuahua hopping around.

I cried on the way home, as Mother had asked me over and over again to promise her that I would come straight to her home after getting off the plane so that she could meet Phoebe no matter how late.  It hurt so much to not be headed in that direction.

Micki went off to see her mom for a late dinner at Fricano's and then on to do what we were doing at our house.  OPENING GIFTS!!  My parents came over to spend time with all of us.  My whole life for the past 2 weeks is scattered all over my living room as we tore through my suitcases finding all the treasures I returned with.

Phoebe went to bed like a champ and Macky shortly after with me.  Nothing has ever been as settling as sleeping with my oldest child in the room next door, my new baby in the crib next to the bed my 2 year old and myself were snuggled together in.  My 3 are all finally with me.

Jet lag hit a few hours later, regardless of the fact that I had barely slept in over 48 hours.  Phoebe woke with me around 3 and we went to play in the living room.  She was all smiles again without all the chaos. 

I miss Micki!  But I had to call her late at night because, what we had been frantically asking each other for the past 2 weeks, countless times per day, needed to be asked one more time. 
"Do you have my passport???!!!???"

Today begins the first day of our life all together.....finally!!!!!