Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Lily Wen!!!

Lily is four years old today. Time really is passing so quickly. I can’t believe that she is four years old. She has changed so much from the sweet little 10 month old that was placed in my arms. She is fiercely independent and simply a joy. She loves music and any live performance. She is excited about our adoption of a sibling. She bounced out of bed this morning in such a good mood and announced that she wanted to go to the Mexican Restaurant for her birthday dinner so they could put the big hat on her and sing to her. She has it all planned out! We are having her birthday party tomorrow evening, High School Musical is the theme as requested (demanded)! I love to see her this excited and it is so much fun.

At the same time, I find myself thinking of her birthmother and wishing that there were someway to tell her about our special Lily Wen. I imagine that on the other side of the world there is a woman in quiet reflection on this day each year. I wish for her peace and comfort. I wish I knew the rest of the story. One of the reasons, I wanted to adopt from China was knowing that I would not have contact with the birth family…less complicated or so I thought. I would give anything to have contact. I would love to send yearly or monthly updates and to be able to tell Lily Wen more about her birth family. I didn’t know. I didn’t know I would feel this way. I wonder what her birthmother thinks about each passing year. I wish I could know.

Happy Birthday Lily Wen!!! May you always know how much we love you!!!! We are so blessed!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I finished the 100 Good Wishes Quilt!!!!

Lily and her 100 good wishes quilt. She is wrapped in the love of many!

My 1st prize pic for scenery taken in Orange Beach right after we submitted paperwork for our I171 H for Lily. It was a wonderful weekend!

McKenna, Hannah and Lily took 3rd place in Black and White. Aren't they cute?

At 3:00 a.m. Friday morning, I finished Lily's 100 Good Wishes Quilt. Woo Hoo!!! Yes, me, I did it! I have never sewed more than a button and took on this quilt. I hand pieced it and hand quilted it. I believe it took me about three months from start to finish. I really enjoyed working on it and Lily loves it. I entered it in a quilt contest at the local Mountain Masters Show. I entered for fun and I won first place in the Baby Quilt category! I also entered some of my favorite photos of the year and I won first place in scenery and third place in black and white. I'll post pics of all for you to see!

We have so much to be Thankful for!

Becky and LilyLily with the Goss family

Lily loves Goondaddy Vesper (Becky's Dad)

Lily and Mimi (Mark David's Mom)
Sarah, Lily and Elizabeth

Elizabeth and Lily
Our family

We spent our Thanksgiving with the Goss family. They took me in years ago for holidays when I was not able to travel home. They are my extended family here in Harlan and I love them all and our time with them. Becky is one of my dearest and as Lily would say Bestest friends. We have a sisterly relationship and if we are blessed with a daughter, she will be named after Becky. I have been blessed to watch her girls grow up and they are such beautiful young women. I am sure Lily will learn so much from her close relationship with them. Mark David has the driest, funniest sense of humor. We love them and all of their family and friends who celebrate the holiday together. This year we talked about Lily's first Thanksgiving home. She had barely been home from China a month and we came to Kentucky for the holiday. Special memories! I hope we have our next little Miracle home next Thanksgiving. I can't even list all that I am thankful for this year. It simply overwhelms me.


We went to Dollywood the day before Thanksgiving. We have not been there for the Christmas Season. We didn't stay very long due to the weather but we had lots of fun! Lily loved the lights and her magic wand that she bought!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Love's Journey 2

It's here! We got the copy of the book yesterday. Lily and I tore into it in the post office and did the happy dance when we found her picture. We live in a very small town so I am sure that word is out that I have officially lost it and I'm taking my daughter with me. I love that what I wrote made it into the book and that her picture is in there too. I hope she reads those words one day and knows how much she means to me!

Friday, November 9, 2007


One of my favorite blogs is The blogger is an independently spirited artist who is a fellow soon to me adoptive Mom. I love her openness and willingness to share. I have shared our day to day life with Lily and some of the just scratching the surface information about our adoption. I tend to be emotionally guarded so this is a big step for me. I answered questions that were posted on Maia's blog. I hope you enjoy. I feel as if I am free falling. If you take the time to read all my rambling, then please take the time to post a little comment!

1.What secret/surprising/personal goal (that is realistically achievable within the next 15 years) would you like to fulfill?
I would love to be a Mom to three. We are currently pursuing our 2nd adoption but I am just not quite sure if that is the final chapter. Wes on the other hand thinks this is it and we are too old. Maybe, it is because I come from a family with three and being in the middle I just think we will need one more to be complete. Who knows what will happen in the long run and maybe after this adoption, I will feel differently. It just seems to be a quiet whisper in my heart. That happened with our first adoption…the whisper. I think it lead me down the most amazing path to Lily.

2. Can you list an event in which you made a last minute decision or guess that significantly changed the path of your life?
I don’t know if it was a last minute decision but it certainly changed my life. When I moved to Southeastern Kentucky the first time, everyone thought I was crazy. I had grown up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and would not say that I was very worldly. I do have an adventurous spirit and knew that I wanted to live somewhere different for about a year or so. My last semester of college, I along with my friends started looking for jobs. The only difference was that all of my friends were competing for the same jobs locally and I did not go on one local interview (by choice). I was flown to North Carolina and Kentucky and was offered a job in Oklahoma over the phone (no offense to anyone from Oklahoma but I don’t think they wanted me to see the area but were hoping that I would just take the job blindly). When I flew to Kentucky and drove to the interview in Harlan. I can’t even describe it, I just felt at home. It is a small Appalachian town settled in the mountains and it just felt right. Then, I met Becky, who would become my supervisor and dear friend….hence Baby Becky if we are blessed with a daughter….and it all just clicked. I called my Mom from Knoxville, TN and told her that I had accepted a job in this small town 12 hours from home. She wasn’t too keen on the idea but she supported me. If I had not made that decision, I wouldn’t have met Wes (long story). I wouldn’t have moved with him to Charlotte, NC and started working more with hearing impaired children. I wouldn’t have met Beth Walker, my first mentor for Auditory-Verbal Therapy. I wouldn’t have started the mentor program to be an A-V therapist (6 more years of on the job training with an extremely difficulty curriculum to become certified in A-V along with the other 300 therapists practicing worldwide). In other words, I wouldn’t have found my passion. I wouldn’t be me. It makes you wonder how your whole life could change in a moment.

3. What is one unrealistic goal (but your total secret dream) that you would love to come true, but are pretty sure it won’t ever happen?
I would love to be on the Amazing Race with my husband. I absolutely love watching the contestants journey around the world and work together to solve the clues. Wes and I have laughed about how we would be perceived on this show. We both have a sarcastic and dry sense of humor and tease with each other in only a way that we seem to get. I am not quite sure how that would play out on the show.

4. Who has had the most influence on your life and what did they teach you?
This is so hard. I would have to say my Paw-Paw and my Dad. My grandfather lived with us until he died when I was fifteen. We had an extremely close relationship and I could share most anything with him. He had a quiet gentle strength and I always felt safe, protected and loved with him. I am a better person for having him in my life all those years. My Dad was very influential as I was growing up. He and I are a lot alike and I don’t think I appreciated that growing up. I did in the last few years of his life more so than ever. He was an avid reader and could get so absorbed in a book that he was clueless as to the world around him. We shared that love of reading and many years I bought him books for Christmas. He would open them and ask which one was the best because he knew that I had already read them before I gave them to him and he didn’t mind at all. He was somewhat of a work-aholic. He got lots of pleasure from his job and struggled to continue to work even when the chemo was making him so sick. I would describe myself as a bit of a worker. I put in 50-60 hour weeks all of the time. It helps that I work with children and families and love what I do. My biggest regret is that we made the decision to adopt a month after Dad passed away so he never knew. But then again, maybe he was the one who watched over Lily in the orphanage. I sure hope he is checking in on our Baby Miracle! Words can’t even describe how much I miss him.

5. You are on a deserted island. You are stranded with someone from any point in time for 2 months (they are coming to rescue you but are busy right now). Other then family/friends/naval engineers, who is it?
So if I can’t take my girl or my man, it would have to be Matthew McConaughey. If I am stuck for 2 months and I know I will be rescued, I might as well be there with someone who is adventurous and who looks good with his shirt off. It is a beach and all and I live enough inside my head that I wouldn’t need intellectually stimulating conversation so bring on Matthew.

6. Name and describe 3 things on your mind lately. Is there any particular reason why you’re thinking about a particular thing?
1. The adoption and who are baby will be. I love thinking about the baby or toddler and how I just have this feeling and peace that it is going to be the child that was predestined for our family. I like to think about when we could get the child, boy names if we get a boy, decorating a room again, traveling to China. I also think about our child’s special need and all that may be involved if medical care or therapy is needed. I feel happy with our decision and feel lead to this program and excited. I realize that our child is probably alive at this point and I talk quietly to him or her a little each day. I’m trying to send all that love telepathically and hoping it works. 2. Our next move. We moved back to Kentucky after Hurricane Katrina to feel safe again. We knew it was a temporary move and Wes is pursuing a midlife career change by attending nursing school. He will finish the RN program in May of 2009 and we already know that we will move. We seem to live about 5 years for every move. It is so up in the air as far as where to move. I want to work either directly or indirectly with a cochlear implant team again so that will somewhat dictate where we go. We have talked about staying in Kentucky, Lexington or Louisville. We have also talked about moving west like Denver. Wes lived in Telluride years ago and would love to go back out west. We know we are moving but don’t know where so it is fun to think about all of the possibilities.
3. The other two were so serious, let’s get to what is on my mind most these days and that would be planning Lily Wen’s 4th birthday extravaganza! She is probably the only 3 year old turning 4 that is insisting on a High School Musical Party. Yes, you heard right. I can’t explain it but she loves live performances and music. Her favorites are HSM and Hairspray (she can sing most of the soundtrack) and insisted on seeing it repeatedly at our theatre. We take her to as many live performances as we can. She also loves country music…you read that right. Loves Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and Big and Rich. Last Christmas, Wes took her to buy my presents at the local WalMart, only store in town pretty much. She saw the new Keith Urban CD and insisted that Mom would LOVE it. She sounds like my daughter (refer back to the part where I read all the books before giving them to Dad)

7. If you could go back to one moment in time and change it, what would the moment be and what would you change it from and to?
This is the hardest question so far. I just can’t say. There is a time that emotionally I would love to change but would that change me? Would I not be the strong and independent person that I am? I don’t want to change that. I love that when asked to describe me with one word, my husband used Driven. I would like to change the moment and erase it from my memory but have it not change me. In the end, I guess you can’t do that though so I wouldn’t change a thing.

8. What is your biggest pet peeve and is there anything that you can do or not do to stop other people from doing it?
This is weird but I can’t stand to have adult feet touch my body. Baby feet and small kiddo feet, I don’t have a problem with. But adult feet, anyones, Ewwww! I do whatever I can to avoid it at all costs. Strange, I know. It is a quirk. Also, people singing out of tune in public places. Keep that in your shower or car when you are alone. I do!

9. Who has been the most influential teacher in your life and why did he or she have such an impact on you? Have you sent them a note?
I have been blessed to have many. I would go back and visit many of my elementary school teachers even when in college so I think they knew. Later in life, it was my mentors for A-V. I went through many mentors and was touched by many during the 6 year process. I have a fond memory of an evening with all of them. I was living in Louisiana and we were all at a conference in Denver. My mentors were in from Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. It was the night before the certification exam (the culmination of 6 YEARS of work). They convinced me that I knew it all and we all went out in downtown Denver. We found this little bar that specialized in flavored Russian Vodka. I toasted all of my mentors on the eve of the exam. They went through a lot of vodka that night along with other adult beverages. I had a little…test the next day so I stayed reigned in. It is one of my favorite memories with some of the people in my profession that I admire the most. I’m not sure if they remember the toast but I do!

10. What three things do you regret not learning to do?
1. Skydive.
2. Scuba dive
3. Control my weight. I know it to that is. My emotional outlet. For those who know me, I am a bit of a control freak in all areas but this one. I said I would in my forties, well here I am time to work on it. Maybe I should dream of being on the Biggest Loser instead of the Amazing Race.

11. What is your biggest fear?
Death of the people that I love and how to cope with that lose. I just can’t fathom and hope I never have to experience it again

12. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My insecurities. This is hard enough…I just can’t say more.

13. What is the answer to life, the universe, everything?
Count the moments that take your breath away. Strive for a little Breathlessness each and every day. Find joy in the smallest of wonders and share it with others. Don’t take anyone you love for granted and be sure that they feel that love each and every day. I am not an overly demonstrative person so at times, I have to think to show emotion. I should do that more!

14. If you knew, beforehand, that the wait for your child from China would take this long and drastic a time frame, would you still go through with it or would you choose another country.
I knew as a young girl that I would adopt. It was that whisper. As an adult, I was immediately and emotionally pulled to China. I researched domestic and all other countries but my heart continued to say China. The same thing with the second adoption. I want both of our children to be from the same country and to share that culture and experience together. It is plain and simple.

15. What is one food that most people like that you do not like at all?
Pizza. I can eat it but don’t like the tomato sauce. I would much rather have a homemade with pesto instead of tomato and grilled chicken and veggies. Mmmm!

16. Name one place in the world you would love to spend at least one month visiting? Is there anywhere on earth that is so repulsive to you that there is no amount of money that could convince you to visit it?
Europe. I have been to China and never been to Europe. I can’t say just one country because I would love to visit them all. I would also love to spend a month in Alaska…just to experience it. I think that would be an amazing place to live for a month or so. DisneyWorld…I could spend a month at Disney. I can’t think of anywhere too repulsive.

17. What book have you just finished reading and why did you pick it up? Would you recommend it to others?
China Ghosts, My Daughter’s Journey to America, My Passage to Fatherhood, Jeff Gammage. Very insightful and well written. Described some of the things I have thought and felt before, during and after our adoption of Lily.
The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield. I am reading now so who knows how the story will develop but I love her style of writing and the unique and brilliant way that the words just flow from the page and draw me in.

18. Share a relatively quick and easy recipe for Fall. One pot/dish recipes given extra credit.
I’m definitely better with reservations. Wes is making chili tomorrow, maybe he will finally confess the secret ingredients. Delicious!

19. Would you rather be financially well off, but unhappy, or a happy person who is always in need of money?
I would prefer financially well off and Happy but if I must choose one of the above, then happy and in need of money…that is my current life!

20. What is the most comforting sound in the world to you and why?
The sound of Lily giggling in her sleep. I would love to step into her dreams and observe the cause of that sweetest of sounds. I also love to hear her deep from the gut laugh when she is playing with her Dad or being tickled by me. We caught that laugh on video while we were in China and it is still one of my favorite sounds. I also love the sound of a hard rain…no thunder. Just rain…that is magical.

21. What is your all time favorite book? If you aren’t a reader, what is your favorite movie? And why?
I can’t do all time favorite so I will have to list a few recent favorites and not so recent favorites: Anything written by Silas House: Clay’s Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves and The Coal Tatoo. He writes from the heart about Appalachia and it reminds me of why I love where I live right now. The Harry Potter series. I loved it and especially this last book and can’t wait to share them with Lily. Charlotte’s Web. It is the first book that I remember having a teacher read aloud to me and I loved it. I can’t wait to read it aloud to Lily.
Speaking of which, The Read Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease. I always talk about this when I present in workshops. We have instituted a read aloud program with Lily and I credit it with so much of her vocabulary development. Books I love to read with Lily: I Love you Like Crazy Cakes, Love you Forever, Guess how much I Love you, anything and everything by Eric Carle and her personal favorites right now are the critter books.
Last in this neverending list but certainly not least, Parenting with Love and Logic, teaching Children Responsibility, Foster Cline and Jim Fay. No parent should parent without this book. I share it with all the families that I work with.
I can’t even get started on the movies…this is long enough already….are you still with me?

22. Share one of your most cherished childhood memories.
Youngest would be snuggling with my Dad in church. He was not overly demonstrative but would always hold us in church. I still remember the smell of coffee and cigarettes on his breath, not a pleasant smell but vivid in my memory. I also remember when he would go to the local pool with us and through us in the air. One of those first thrill seeking adrenaline rushes that I continue to crave.

23. What are you paranoid about?
My relationship with my mother. I love her dearly and we have become much closer recently. I hope she doesn’t read these answers and wonder where her influence has been in my life because it is at the core of who I am. I think we dance around each other sometimes because we seem so different but I am blessed with her values. She is Lily’s only surviving grandparent. I want them to be close. I wish Mom could be with her every day. I worry about the distance.

24. What trait of yours do you MOST hope your children will carry on?
My Driven nature that has allowed me to accomplish all that I have. My sense of adventure that I will try most things at least once. My ability to see the whole picture in a situation and to make decisions quickly and without regret. To love deeply and loyally and to trust openly.

25. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Books, books and books. I have a stack just waiting to be read and feel nervous when the stack is too low. Also, shopping for Lily. It is an obsession actually. Our guide in China teased me about my “powerful shopping”. I guess “Power Shopping” was lost in translation!

26. What would you buy if you had a thousand dollars to spend on yourself? The only catch is that it has to be a totally selfish purchase, just for you. No paying bills or buying a year’s supply of wet wipes.
would have to say a new laptop. Mine is a dinosaur and I want a new one to use when presenting, online and for pictures….another passion.

27. Help me update my your favorite artists, and then your favorite song that they perform.
this is so hard! It definitely shows my age!
James Taylor -anything
Eric Clapton –You Look Wonderful Tonight and the Journey Man CD
Melissa Ethridge – Come to My Window
Garth Brooks – The DanceT
he Indigo Girls – Language or a Kiss and the rest of Swamp Ophelia
Journey – forever yours
Foreigner –Juke Box Hero
Sammy Hagar – Standin Hampton and I Can’t Drive 55
Big and Rich – Please Man, Don’t call the Police Man

28. What is your favorite charity?
Love Without Boundaries and Half the Sky. Non China related, the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing or

29. In The Shadow of the Wind, there is a beautiful passage that says “few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart.” Do you think this is true, and if so what is your “first” book and why.
It is getting late and I’m tired. I love the saying and completely agree with it. For books that I have read when younger, Bridge to Terebithia, Charlotte’s Web and there are others that I glimpse parts of in my memory but am not recalling titles of at this late hour. I did go through a phase in the 3rd or 4th grade where I was obsessed with a series of biographies about the childhood of famous people. I was drawn to the ones about women like Betsy Ross, Juliet Low (founder of Girl Scouts), Martha Washington and so many others. I loved going to the local library and borrowing books from that series. I drank them up.

30. What is your favorite wilderness hike and why? (You knew I was going to ask this-if you aren’t a hiker, you can modify it to drive by landscapes or whatever speaks to you.)
I am not in the best shape and have not been on a really good hike in a while but I love it. Years ago, Wes and I went to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks and hiked. I think the name of the trail was the Panorama trail that was a 12 mile hike. Again, I was not in the best of shape but that adventure seeker side of me just kicked in and off we went. It was Amazing and Exhausting. I saw some the most beautiful thing on that hike. We ate lunch on top of a waterfall. It was quite the accomplishment for me. I would love to share that with Lily.

31. What were/are your nicknames? Do you like them?
I was Sissie for years. It was in the elementary school yearbook even up until the 3rd grade when I put my foot down and demanded to be called Margaret. After that I have been Margie, Meggie, Rebel Woman (by friends in high school for my total disregard for rules…long story).

32. What was your first concert?.. Your most recent?
4th grade – 4th row at Shaun Cassidy and I caught the roses, then I was jumped on by a bunch of teenagers but manage to save a few precious peddles
Latest: Does Sesame Street Live count?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

the NEW LIST!!!

Many of you know that I am on many yahoo groups related to adoption. I love the support and the true friendships that I am making online with others who are going through the same experience as I am. One of my current favorite groups is the waiting child group for our agency CCAI. I joined the group right before we submitted the paperwork to adopt a child with a special need. I wanted to know more about the process. I didn't bargain for the wildly interesting people that I would meet through the group. There are many families that received travel approvel when I first joined and they are in China now bringing home their babies/children. I love reading their blogs. There are others in various stages of the process and lots of Woo Hooing for each and ever step that a family passes. Since I joined the group, I have been anticipating along with the group when the next list of children would arrive at our agency. Well, THE LIST arrived today! Many families will be getting their calls in the next few days. We do not expect a call from this list as we are so new to the process. I will live vicariously through the excitement of the group, my new friends. I posted this to our group, "Here is to all the families in that magical place, just teetering on the edge of the most amazing journey. WOW!" and a big WOO HOO!

Monday, November 5, 2007

A new look and a visit with Granny and Papa Jim

Granny and Lily, two lovelies in the castle!
Our Little Cheetah Girl!!!
Granny, Lily and Papa Jim

Daddy and Lily

We got have had a great visit with Granny and Papa Jim. I had a four day weekend and Mom and Jim are doing an extended trip with friends and family including stops in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina. Lily has loved having them here with us and all to herself. It has been a low key wonderful visit. The pictures tell the rest of the story.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Awesome power of Rumor Queen!

Yesterday, our blog was posted on Rumor Queen at It is a forum for parents adopting and parents home to hear the latest rumors and information regarding adoptions from China. In just over 24 hours, we had over 1000 visitors to our blog to see Lily's Halloween pictures. Amazing. That is double the number of visitors that we have had since I started the blog, I think in August! We love the visitors and welcome the comments. It is so fun to see what people have to say. Thanks to Rumor Queen for the info and the boost to our blog!

I have the most wonderful Secret Pal!!!!

Thank you Secret Pal! We picked up the mail today and received your package. I was a little worried because there was a rather large whole in the top of the box and our local post office simply stated that it came that way. Yeah right!!!! So somewhere between your house and ours well who knows what happened to the box. I was worried because you always put so much thought and attention into our gifts that part of it may not arrived. Well the box was full! Lily loves her cookie making kit and her personalized stickers were a huge hit! That is what she is hugging to her chest. She hasn't put them down since we opened the box!!! I loved the journal and will start writing to our new baby in this journal. It will be cherished. I have kept one for Lily and will now start to write to baby Miracle as well. I loved the note card unique. The Wheelie pull toy will be lots of fun with our little one! Thanks so much Secret Pal! I can't wait until I can know your true identity. I have not let myself try to figure it out. I love waiting for the surprise!