The whole darn fam

The whole darn fam

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Travel Blog!!

Just wanted to let you all know that we have started a travel blog that will follow our journey to Shawn! Please sign the guestbook...and include your email if you want to be notified of our updates!!
6 DAYS until we leave...I cannot even stand it I am so excited!!!

Here is the link...


Hope you will join us!!!!

xoxoxo
Amy

Friday, November 4, 2011

WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!!!!!



THAT's RIGHT!!!!! WE GOT OUR TRAVEL APPROVAL!!

We will hear back Monday as to the exact travel dates, but we are hoping to leave on 11/25, and meet our son on 11/28!!!!

WoooHooooo!!!!


Hang on sweet boy...you are in for the ride of your life with this crazy family!!!! Cannot wait for you to join us!!!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Pictures!


We were so fortunate to get new pictures, taken on 10/30/11! An Agency rep was visiting Shawn's orphanage and took these pictures for us......how lucky we are! Here is what she wrote about Shawn...

Hi- Shawn is amazing!!!!! He is so cute, active and smart. His best friend is Olivia, this little girl playing ball with him. They were just running down the halls together for a while… I got lots of video too but you will have to wait til I get back as my connection is so slow.


CONGRATS

NOW...we just wait for our travel approval! We are 13 days into what is supposed to be a 2-3 week wait...and I am officially losing it a bit! I LIKE a plan, I don't like not knowing and guesstimating every day when I think that we will go.....it is really, really hard!


I just want to get there and bring our dear boy home!!! Praying that we will be able to leave the day after Thanksgiving......God willing!


If you could say a prayer for us...We would appreciate it! We are so anxious to go!!!







Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CHRISTMAS CARDS...and A GREAT CAUSE!!!


Ok--BIG NEWS!!!

My favorite photographer....that has done the most incredible images of my kids...(see pic on the sidebar with kids on red truck!) has generously offered to do a Christmas Card event---shooting all day on NOVEMBER 5th...with the most incredible background....an old vintage sleigh, or her beautiful farm....
and she will be donating approximately $200 of the $295 fee to LOVE WITHOUT BOUNDARIES!!
What an amazing opportunity for you to get your BEST Christmas card ever....and help orphans in China that so desperately need you!! It's a WIN-WIN!!!

She is located in Dillsburg, PA...a very close drive from Maryland, PA, DC area...and SO worth it to travel further!!! PLEASE support Love Without Boundaries...and Heidi! She is an incredible woman who besides being an incredible photographer...is also a 5 YEAR Breast Cancer survivor, and awesome mom to her great kids!!

BOOK now...so that you can feel EXTRA good about your holiday cards this year...and save yourself the extra stress!!! AND get a great memory!!!

CALL 717-648-3652 to schedule your time slot!!

Thanks!!!!!!
Amy Dinello

Monday, October 17, 2011

About A Boy.....



Since I have our newest son, Shawn on the brain, and I haven't shared all the great bits about him yet....I thought I would let you all get to know him!!


I first saw his face when he was part of a camp that was held at his orphanage. An American agency visited, met him, made videos, asked questions, and gave an amazing assessment of who our sweet boy is....


Here are some things that were said about him by the agency rep that met him.....



"Shawn is absolutely precious! I got to meet him when we did our camp there:-)




He is an orphanage favorite! The nannies all talked about him so lovingly.




They would take him home at night, so he has some experience in family type settings:-)




He seemed very responsive during the interviews--he was able to point to all of his body parts and he knew his colors. He was often caught snuggling with one of the nannies during the camp. He performed a cute little tiger dance all by himself for the camp.




I worked so hard to try to find him a family, so I hope so much his family finally will find him!




Do you know about his orphanage? If you don't, you should go to our blog and look at the posts about Bao an. It is truly a very special place. They have a tremendous amount of resources there,including the Sunshine Academy (which you can look up online), which teaches the kids English. Miss Heidi is the American English teacher and she is great with the kids.


They take all sorts of outings, like to the market or the zoo to help the kids experience life! They do a lot of performances at Bao'an, because I guess they have officials visit pretty often. It's really quite an amazing place. Don't hesitate to contact me if I can answer any other questions for you."




This was written also during the camp....


"Let's take Shawn: he has a special need that may never effect him in his life, or it could--it's hard to say. Up until now, he has been a healthy, intelligent, scrumptious little boy! Everyone loves him. ."






And this.....


"Shawn is an orphanage favorite. All of the nannies enjoy taking him home and giving him lots of attention! His special need doesn't affect his daily life and he is adorable and well loved. He is one of the youngest in our group of kids this time. I had no idea he was any different than any other 3 year old! He's quite responsive and knows his body parts and colors and can follow directions. He had a good time with the beach ball!"

And this too......

"Shawn is definitely loved, and the nannies fight over him! He is smart, agile, and has such a sweet personality! The family that gets to call him theirs, will be very blessed!"

So there you have it!! It seems that our dear boy is being very well loved while he is waiting for his family. This is WONDERFUL, as it gives me such peace of mind. However--it also is one of my greatest fears.

He will be missing these loving nannies terribly. They have been his "Mama" for almost 5 years. He loves them. He know nothing outside of his orphanage. He doesn't realize that having a family is better than living in an institution. He WILL come to realize this, but in the beginning it will be so rough for him, I'm sure.

Our 5 and 7 year olds are coming with us to China, and I have prepared them, as excited as THEY are to meet Shawn....he might not feel the same way in the beginning.

If you are a praying person---please pray for his little heart--as we are preparing to meet him. Pray that God holds his little hand as he meets us, and that he is as prepared as he can be!

I truly cannot wait to have this blessing of a boy home....even the challenges, I welcome them--he is so worth it!

And at the end of this week, we will be officially waiting for our travel approval! Anticipating travel hopefully in about 5ish weeks!! Holy Cow--we are in the homestretch!!!

Amy xoxoox

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Juggler





Lately, I feel like I have taken on a new occupation...one for which I was not trained, nor, ever thought I was capable.

I have become a Juggler. Yes--every single day--I juggle.

Breakfast
laundry
football





cheering





dance





gymnastics


homework
marriage
hurts
celebrations



tears
cuddles
discipline
baths
bedtime
adoption related stuff





and on and on and on

Every day--I have all the proverbial balls in the air--trying to make everyone happy...maintain some sense of control, and normalcy.






Guess what happens every day?

One of the balls is bound to drop.

There is just no way that I can do it all, and do it all perfectly. Some days are pretty great...we sail through, all goes pretty well.






But some days--I feel as if all the balls are just lying on the floor taunting me...and I just want to run screaming. Or possibly, just take a nap.






Do you know what I have learned?

It is OK to not be perfect.

It is OK to drop the ball once and awhile.

If my kids see me as infallible, then they will get a false sense that they too must be perfect. That they can't have an off day.






And that's just setting them up for failure.

So I am learning to embrace the days that dinner gets burnt, there are missing socks, one kid is in a timeout, while another is dumping rice all over the kitchen floor.

It's LIFE. And to be honest, in this house....there are more balls dropped then kept in the air most days.



And guess what?



My kids forgive me. My kids love me. Most times they don't notice when things aren't just so. And life continues with the promise of a better tomorrow.

And, my family gets a lesson in all of it.

Perfection is over-rated .

And if I wanted to be a juggler---I would have just joined the darn circus.

Wait a minute......I think I already have!!! :-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shawn...


I cannot even tell you the stress that I have been feeling at the lack of pics since April...

I truly felt like there had to be something wrong...he was hurt, sick, something...(I know, it's irrational...I mean it's not like they are busy or anything!!:)

And then, after checking my emails one last time before bed...here they are!!! My beautiful, beautiful boy!! Is it possible that he is even cuter???? Oh my word!! And he is so big...it makes me want to seriously cry!!

As Caroline said.."Oh, no Mom...it took too long to get him, and now he got big!!"

We love him to pieces...seriously...madly in love with his face!! And we could be holding him in just 2 months!! (If all goes well!) ...

Without anymore rambling...here are pics of him, taken Saturday...which just happens to be my birthday!! What a GIFT!!

At the end of the photos I made a slideshow with my new bday present..Macbook! I am having so much fun with it!! Click on the arrow to watch the slideshow!!












Isn't he AWESOME!!!???? I am so in love!!!

Here's the slideshow!


video

Friday, September 23, 2011

ABOUT A BOY.....



Since I have our newest son, Shawn on the brain, and I haven't shared all the great bits about him yet....I thought I would let you all get to know him!!


I first saw his face when he was part of a camp that was held at his orphanage. An American agency visited, met him, made videos, asked questions, and gave an amazing assessment of who our sweet boy is....


Here are some things that were said about him by the agency rep that met him.....



"Shawn is absolutely precious! I got to meet him when we did our camp there:-)




He is an orphanage favorite! The nannies all talked about him so lovingly.




They would take him home at night, so he has some experience in family type settings:-)




He seemed very responsive during the interviews--he was able to point to all of his body parts and he knew his colors. He was often caught snuggling with one of the nannies during the camp. He performed a cute little tiger dance all by himself for the camp.




I worked so hard to try to find him a family, so I hope so much his family finally will find him!




Do you know about his orphanage? If you don't, you should go to our blog and look at the posts about Bao an. It is truly a very special place. They have a tremendous amount of resources there,including the Sunshine Academy (which you can look up online), which teaches the kids English. Miss Heidi is the American English teacher and she is great with the kids.


They take all sorts of outings, like to the market or the zoo to help the kids experience life! They do a lot of performances at Bao'an, because I guess they have officials visit pretty often. It's really quite an amazing place. Don't hesitate to contact me if I can answer any other questions for you."




This was written also during the camp....


"Let's take Shawn: he has a special need that may never effect him in his life, or it could--it's hard to say. Up until now, he has been a healthy, intelligent, scrumptious little boy! Everyone loves him. ."






And this.....


"Shawn is an orphanage favorite. All of the nannies enjoy taking him home and giving him lots of attention! His special need doesn't affect his daily life and he is adorable and well loved. He is one of the youngest in our group of kids this time. I had no idea he was any different than any other 3 year old! He's quite responsive and knows his body parts and colors and can follow directions. He had a good time with the beach ball!"

And this too......

"Shawn is definitely loved, and the nannies fight over him! He is smart, agile, and has such a sweet personality! The family that gets to call him theirs, will be very blessed!"

So there you have it!! It seems that our dear boy is being very well loved while he is waiting for his family. This is WONDERFUL, as it gives me such peace of mind. However--it also is one of my greatest fears.

He will be missing these loving nannies terribly. They have been his "Mama" for almost 5 years. He loves them. He know nothing outside of his orphanage. He doesn't realize that having a family is better than living in an institution. He WILL come to realize this, but in the beginning it will be so rough for him, I'm sure.

Our 5 and 7 year olds are coming with us to China, and I have prepared them, as excited as THEY are to meet Shawn....he might not feel the same way in the beginning.

If you are a praying person---please pray for his little heart--as we are preparing to meet him. Pray that God holds his little hand as he meets us, and that he is as prepared as he can be!

I truly cannot wait to have this blessing of a boy home....even the challenges, I welcome them--he is so worth it!

And at the end of this week, we will be officially waiting for our travel approval! Anticipating travel hopefully in about 5ish weeks!! Holy Cow--we are in the homestretch!!!

Amy xoxoox


Thursday, September 8, 2011

THIS JUST IN..........







Celebrating here today! We got our Letter of Approval from China to adopt Shawn! This is the biggest step in the process, and it means that in China's eyes, we are approved officially as his family! :-)




We now wait on our travel approval, which is broken up into several small steps that take about 8 weeks. We anticipate late November/early December travel! I am so excited that it looks like our sweet boy will be home for Christmas!! (unless we meet with a delay of some sort---praying for none!!)



I feel like now I can start organizing things for travel, and really getting things ready for Shawn! I get superstitious before this point to really do too much. I am just so excited---I cannot WAIT to wrap my arms around my darling boy!!




In my excitement, I sent Shawn another care package! I also will be mailing him a few things from us--through our care package lady--Ann, at Red Thread China--she's great!



The Autumn Moon festival is coming up in a few days, and the moon is incredibly important in the Chinese culture. I am sending Shawn and his buddies some Moon Cakes to celebrate--and some Lollipops, since I know he likes them! I am also sending more pics..with all his siblings English names, so hopefully he will be somewhat familiar with them! :-)

Funny thing is, when I uploaded a picture of Shawn to send--the label Sam was on the pic--without me realizing it. His name when he was listed at our agency was "Sam"-which is also the name of my youngest!
(ironic huh?)

Anyhoo--when Ann got my pics--she kept the Sam label on. By the time I realized it--the package had already been sent! So--the orphanage just might start calling him Sam! Yikes!

Hopefully she can e-mail them and tell them my mistake! Can't have two Sams in the house......haha!


Here's the pics of the kids....(and Shawn labeled as Sam!)




Here are the treats we sent--I hope he likes them!



I'm so excited to be at this point--but now I just want to go and get him home!! Can you all pray that the process goes smoothly--and quickly---from this point on?? Any delay could mean Christmas travel--and we would have to wait till after! ugh!!


Can you also keep people in PA in your prayers--we have had MASSIVE flooding, and even been off school for two days. It is heart wrenching to see all the damage done by water.


Thanks! And I hope you all have a great Friday!



xoxox

Amy

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Don't tell them















This post was initially going to be a back to school post---focusing on Hope and Charlie--since they started their first day of Kindergarten today! (sniff sniff!)




But as I was going through some old photos of them, it evolved into something more. Something that I haven't ever been quite able to explain in words....since seeing it in pictures is much more eloquent than I could ever be........


It's the story of a brother and sister.........







not born of the same mother.....



no similar blood running through them......







yet......
they love each other........just the same as if it were so.











They watch out for each other.......






get in loads of trouble together.....


















have the most fun together....









they are REAL siblings in every sense of the word REAL....


In fact....their names run together even in my mind...as in "HopeandCharlie.....get in here!!"







Their personalities are very different...yet they have the same sense of humor--and can find something silly in everything!










They have each others backs at all times....and often get very


upset when the other gets in trouble.....



If that is not the definition of being brothers and sisters....I don't know what is....






They share a home, they share a huge space in their Mama's heart.......






even if they didn't BOTH grow in my belly....




the term "blood is thicker than water" does not apply here......






They are siblings....almost "twins" at just four months apart......






And to think that I was so worried before we adopted Hope that having them so close in age might be a bad idea. I didn't realize that God had it all planned out...just as it was meant to be. HOPEandCHARLIE......


together as far back as they have memories.....




best friends.....


brother and sister......









starting Kindergarten today...together...watching out for each other, having the security in each other that only a sibling could bring.


Don't tell them they aren't "real" brother and "sister". They are the real deal...in every single way that matters.




Though my mama heart is breaking today at them being gone all day...I have such peace because they are together......just as they should be, just as it was meant to be.





amy xoxo