Mar 28, 2008

Baby Clothes Washing Day

I spent the day today washing baby clothes and sheets and blankets and onesies. I must say, if you have to do laundry, that's the best kind. We also got the crib, pack-n-play, and changing table all set. Greg just keeps saying, "Do you know we're actually going to have a baby soon?" He got the car seat ready and the high chair all cleaned up last night. It's really starting to look like a baby is coming aroung here. We received our final travel pack of information with hotels, flights, and details of each day of our trip on Wednesday and need to make that final payment to our agency today. We'll post our itinerary soon.

Mar 24, 2008

Care Package #2

Since we have almost 3 weeks 'til we travel, we decided to sent another care package to Chloe's orphanage. Standard postal shipping is 6-10 days, so it should get there without any trouble. This time, we sent a blanket, socks and toy for Chloe and some sleepers and toys to stay at the orphanage along with some gifts for the nannies.

Greg & the girls had a good time going to the local Chinese Buffet to get our letter translated. In short order, they had nearly a full page of Chinese. As much fun as it is to send care packages to Qian Jiang SWI, we just can't wait 'til we get our own little "Chloe package" back from them on Gotcha Day.

Mar 23, 2008

Qianjiang District

Thought I'd take some time while we wait to give some details about Chloe's home for the last seven months. She's currently living in the Qianjiang District Social Welfare Institute (Qianjiang District Orphanage). The orphanage resides in the Qianjiang District of Chongqing, China. Scroll down to the pink map of China on the right bar of this blog for the location of Chongqing. The map below shows the location of the district. Chongqing municipality is roughly the size of Austria and has a population over 33 million. Qianjiang is a semi urban area located on its eastern border with a population of about 500,000. The climate is semi-tropical with an average annual temperature of 64 degrees. Summers can be very hot, as high as 109 degrees. Yes, folks, that's HOT! Chongqing has one of the lowest sunshine totals annually in China. That means our rain coat will be our friend. It is said that spring and fall are the best times to visit... Yeah!

The entire area resides on a plateau that is rather hilly. It's one of the only places in china where bicycles are not used. We will be staying in Chongqing proper, a major westernized metropolitan area, several hours away from Chloe's orphanage. The orphanage staff will need to take this long trip through the mountains with our group's children to deliver them to us.

Qianjiang is called "The Throat of Sichuan and Hubei" because it sits on the intersection of Sichuan and Hubei provinces. (Chongqing is actually a municipality within the Sichuan province.) If you're a fan of the Food Network, you may have heard a lot of Sichuan cuisine. Of the eight major schools of China's culinary art, Sichuan cuisine is perhaps the most popular. Sichuan has a reputation for being spicy and flavorful, using many hot peppers. I've been told that if you're an authentic Chinese food fan, this is the best place to visit.

Mar 22, 2008

Easter Dresses

I was sitting this morning thinking about the 3 Spring dresses my girls will be wearing tomorrow for Easter services and wishing I could have chosen 4. I would love to be dressing my little Chloe up too. Praise the Lord, this is the last Easter without her. Tomorrow is 3 weeks 'til Gotcha day!

Mar 20, 2008

New Pictures and Much More!

Wow, how do I sum up this very exciting day? Elaine called me at work this morning and said there was an opening at the Oak Adoptive Health Center at Akron Children's Hospital this afternoon if we could make it. I rearranged my schedule and we were on our way. The physician took a lot of time pouring over Chloe's medical records and answering a variety of questions. Chloe appears to be right on target developmentally. So much information and well worth the visit!

On the way home we called the office to have them check our email. Our consulate appointment and itinerary had come while we were out. So we were ready to begin the ticket search. Elaine made a call and got the most wonderful ticket agent employed by United Airlines. If you need great international service, ask for Holly. She found us a great deal on flights that fit right into our schedule.

We also received updated information and two more pictures of Chloe. And get this... they were taken last Thursday! We've posted them here. I forgot how much children change over just 2 1/2 months time when they're infants. We're so excited to have these recent photos! She's changed enough that I would have had a hard time picking her out of a lineup. But on Gotcha Day, I'll know my little girl because I'm gonna study her face for the next 3 weeks.

Mar 18, 2008

Another Piece to the Puzzle

Today's been another active adoption day. We've heard from the travel agency that our visas are on their way to us. We've also spoken several times to a family who will be traveling with us and receiving a baby from the same orphanage. Another family has posted their information on our agency web site, so we now know that our group is at least 3 families. Yesterday we received a letter detailing Chloe's finding information as well as her initial medical check and physical development from months 1-5. We were very excited to get another piece of the puzzle. Every bit of news is like finding gems in a mine.

Mar 17, 2008

Travel Approval

We just got word that our travel approval for China came through today. Woohoo! What exactly does that mean for us? Our agency can now request a consulate appointment in Guangzhou (the last thing we do on our adoption trip). Once that appointment has been confirmed, they can then make all the other in-China flight and other appointments accordingly. So far, it looks like travel for us will be on April 10-26. We'll let you know as soon as we hear more.

Mar 14, 2008

Introducing Chloe

Grandpa & Grandma Beach (Greg's parents)

Pop & Granny (Chloe's great grandparents)
Greg had a great time celebrating with his family last night. They live about an hour away and with all the snow and illness around here, we haven't been able to be with them in person until last night.

Mar 12, 2008

Travel Orientation Conference Call Today!

This afternoon, we'll be participating in a conference call with other families traveling in our group. Our agency will be discussing details of our trip including the in-China staff members, phases of our travel, a typical itinerary, expenses, and paperwork that needs to be completed and double checked before the big day. I can't believe it's us! It's our turn. It's beginning to set in that we're only days away from seeing our Chloe. "Hang in there little Min Min, we're coming!"

The Documents are Back in the Mail

Yesterday was the big day we sent in our Chinese Visa applications and a pile of paperwork back to our agency. It felt good to have it completed. Today, the kids are all in school and I've spent the morning consolidating a packing list for the trip. I've collected so many from others over the past years and now I've finally created our own! I can't hardly believe that we'll be holding Chloe in just a few short weeks. Can't wait!

Mar 9, 2008

Care Package Day

Being snowed in by a blizzard in Ohio has it's advantages. We spent the weekend filling out visa applications and a myriad of other paperwork. But the most fun was getting a care package ready to send to Chloe tomorrow. We sent her an outfit of clothes, 2 disposable cameras for her nannies to hopefully take pictures of her in the orphanage, a rattle (her favorite toy), teether, bunny blanket, baby photo album with pictures of her home and forever family, and some candy and lipstick for her caregivers. It feels so wonderful to actually touch something that she is going to touch too (goose bumps). We have lots of documents to have notorized tomorrow and we're looking forward to our first travel group conference call on Wed. afternoon. Thank you for your continued care and support.

Mar 8, 2008

Prayers for Chloe Today

Over the last 24 hours I've had an opportunity through internet research to get a good look at the reality of Chloe's life in the orphanage. I've seen pictures of where she's staying, heard about general health in the orphanage and the care they're given. I even learned that a lot of the babies from that region are considered 'spicey.' As I was praying for her this morning my heart was just breaking over the reality of her life. This is not what God intends for His children. My devotions today lead me to Ps. 23 and it says "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no eveil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." Even though Chloe's life has begun in this difficult way, God has been there to protect her. The rod and the staff of the Good Shepherd are her protection when we can't be there. The Psalm then ends with "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Will you join me today in praying that God will not only preserve Chloe's physical health, but also her emotional health until she can be with her forever family?

Mar 7, 2008

Acceptance Letter

Yesterday we mailed back our acceptance agreement stating that we intend to adopt Chloe. We had 24hrs. to get her medical information checked out by our pediatrician and have the paperwork back in the mail. The doctor gave us a thumbs up report (not that it really mattered to us :). So after we double checked our I-171H immigration papers and our passports, etc. according to the list given to us by our agency, we called for a FedEx pickup and sent everything off overnight. As soon as CCAI gets our agreement, they can request travel approval (TA) from China for us to travel. We should get a new set of paperwork to start working on next week sometime.

In the mean time, I made arrangements for Chloe to go to the Oak Adoption Center at Akron Children's Hospital when we get home. It seems like a great place and they will monitor any health and development issue she may have.

Thank you so much for all the kind words and notes of congratulations. We're keeping them all and can't wait to show them to Chloe as she gets older. I'm sure it will be really encouraging to her to know how many people were thinking of her and praying for her, even before we knew her face.

Mar 5, 2008

Package Arrived - More Pictures

Josh the FedEx driver arrived about 1:30 today. We were so excited to see more pictures of Chloe.

These pictures were taken December 26, 2007, the day after Christmas. We can't wait to see what she looks like now, more than 2 months later.

The paperwork trail begins again as we sign documents and begin to prepare for travel.

FedEx Where Are You?

It was slippery this morning, so the FedEx guy is running behind. All we know is that he'll come before 4:30pm today. So today I will put our dog on FedEx patrol and enjoy sitting and reading all the notes of congratulations. Then when he comes, we'll attack him with the camera. Can't wait to see more pictures of Chloe.

Mar 4, 2008

Baby Announcement

Our family is over-joyed to introduce you to Chloe Gabrielle Min Beach. She was born July 27, 2007 in Chongqing Province, so she's only 7 months old. We got the call today at 12:15 pm.

Her full Chinese name is Qian Jiang Min (pronounced Chien Jzion Min). Qian is her family name and Min is her given name that everyone calls her. The Chinese meaning of Min is "quick/sharp."

The picture was taken at 5 months. We'll get two more tomorrow with our FedEx package. It sounds like travel will be within 4-6 weeks, most likely the first week of April. Wow! That's soon!

At the time of the picture (12/20/07) she weighed 13.2 lbs and measured 25.2". She had very little hair and no teeth. She was very healthy with no known medical problems. Her favorite things were bath time and playing with a rattle. She could roll over and hold her head up while on her stomach, smiled a lot and laughed out loud. She could pick up small things with both hands and hold a block in both at the same time. She's usually quiet. We were also told of her eating and sleeping habits.

Since July 29, 2007 (2 days old), she's been in the Qian Jiang District Social Welfare Center. Notice that the name of the orphanage is the same as her name. She's had no foster care up to Dec 20th, but that sometimes changes. We may know more tomorrow after getting the package. Thanks for joining us on this journey!

Greg & Elaine

Here She Is!

We are over-joyed to introduce:
Chloe Gabrielle Min Beach
Born: 7/27/07 (7 months old)
Chongqing Province
We'll post more soon! We're off to pickup the girls at school.

Waiting for the Phone to Ring

We're very anxious for the phone to ring... RING PHONE RING!

Mar 3, 2008

Tomorrow's the Big Day

It's official - Our agency received our referral today and we'll be getting that long awaited phone call tomorrow! We can't wait to see our precious Chloe's face.

Mar 1, 2008

The Stork is in the Air

We've heard that packages were mailed from China. That means Chloe's info. will probably arrive at our agency on Monday and we'd get "The Call" from them on Tuesday after they've translated and checked everything out! Can this really be happening? We'll keep you posted as soon as we hear more.

Delivery Orders Received But Not in Flight

We're convinced that our Chloe is among the matches this month, but there's no word yet that they've been mailed. We'll keep you posted as we find out, but for now it's just a waiting game. Since it's the weekend, we probably won't hear much until Monday.