Sunday, April 22, 2007

Macy told everyone today - 10 DAYS!

Brad may be my videographer, but Macy is my aspiring photographer. She insisted on setting the timer for a Macy/Mommy pic today since we took one last Sunday before leaving for church...then of course she had to take pics of me and everything in her room before we could leave! She told everyone at church today - 10 DAYS until we get on the big plane to go get Baby Mia!!!

Shower Blessings

We have to go down on the books as having one of the most unique shower gifts of anyone around these parts. Thanks to everyone who helped buy supplies for our trip to China!

We are now stocked up on travelers kleenex, antibacterial, OTC medications, and snack foods!


More Shower Entertainment

Smell or taste were our two choices. That is all that they told us. Joyce smelled. I tasted.

This is what we were tasting!!

The GOOD news is - both Joyce and I guessed correctly - Snickers!
The funniest part is that Macy had been playing in the other room and came in to see Mommy eating "poop" out of a diaper - everyone said she covered her face in HORROR - and looked at me like "WHAT are you doing?!" Everyone was hurting they were laughing so hard.
After 4 dirty diapers filled with sugary chocolates - I was screaming for a drink - and Macy ran to rescue me with a drink of her lemonade. Sooo sweet!

Baby Shower Entertainment

Passing the pacifier with chopsticks took great skill!

The greatest skills of all were seen as we learned how useful chopsticks can be. They are not just for eating!

Baby Shower

We are so blessed by our awesome friends. Thank you to all who were a part of blessing Mia and our family through the baby shower. Thank you Carolyn for planning the shower and being such an "entertaining" hostess!

By the way - Macy was in hog heaven with her gifts from the shower. She now gets to "Dr." every toy in the house. She was taking Mommy's temperature last night...and said..."Yep, you have a need a shot!" (Trying to say temperature!) ;)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Baby Lizard

Macy found a green worm outside this week, and after taking it to preschool it wasn't looking like it would survive. So as we were outside looking for a new worm last night - I found a teeny tiny baby lizard. It looked like a "preemie" if there is such thing in lizard world.

This post is for Tay Tay!!! :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Moms, Friends, and more...

Even though everyone couldn't make it this week - us MOPS girls had a great time as usual. To all you MOPS girls that come to my house weekly while we aspire to be greater moms - I LOVE YOU! Thanks for supporting me on our Journey to Mia! Every week is an inspiration! You are all a gift to me from God!
And soon I'll be holding 2 girls on my lap! So it's kinda good all you girls with 2 little ones weren't here this day! We can wait n take that pic after I have 2!!!!

Mia's story, the compact version

I found a summary online this week and thought - "What a great idea for our blog!" And so Mia's story begins...
Abandoned at a Restaurant Gate...

Her story begins in the south of China.
In China, the most populous land on earth, the government allows couples to have but one child. Baby Zi Zhen (her orphanage name) was born female into a culture where sons are more highly valued than daughters.
Boys are raised to head households and provide for the family. Daughters are raised to marry young and care for their in-laws.
There, Mia was abandoned at a restaurant gate. The police were notified and picked her up. They noted that she was only a few hours old. Whoever left her there, out of fear, or shame, or desperation, or panic, wanted Mia to live and gave her a chance at life. It is illegal to abandon babies in China, a punishable offense that is rarely enforced. Sometimes the abandoned babies show up in the most unlikely places, such as vegetable bins in outdoor markets.
More often, they are placed anonymously at not-so-secret drop spots, where caring individuals scoop them up and deliver them to orphanages.
There is no way to know how hungry or distressed Mia was when she was discovered and taken to the orphanage. But this we know: She was tiny, resilient and well cared for by the time she was put up for adoption.
After more than two years of adoption paperwork and waiting, Brad & Glenda McMath received "the call" that Mia would be theirs. They had already decided to name her "Mia", which means "my girl". God has chosen 2 girls, Macy-now age 4, and now Mia to be daughters in this family. One by birth. One by adoption. Both completly chosen by God to be "McMaths".

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Big Dummy. Cut my hair.

What was I thinking? I was thinking it is going to be HOT in China. I got my hair cut - but I have NO IDEA how to fix hair this length. No more ponytail!

This is me and Macy running out the door for church on Sunday. She is carrying 2 Bibles, Dora dominoes, and of course...her favorite....lip gloss.

I'm already late for Sunday School since having Macy (thank you to my class - you wait patiently...and to Dallas for making our caffeine loaded Hazelnut Vanilla coffee!) -what am I going to do when I have Macy AND Mia?? I hope I make it in time for the dismissal bell! :)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Gotcha Day Celebration

On Saturday we celebrated Candace's 4th Gotcha Day Party. In April of 2003 Mark & Carolyn had a miracle enter their lives! It is hard to believe that it has been 4 years already! Carolyn turned 51 this year (don't tell her I told)...but I think she looks YOUNGER since becoming a mom! Candace has definitely brought that mommy fulfillment into Carolyn's life.
It is AMAZING how Candace fits their family. Carolyn and I have discussed many times how there is not another child who could ever have fit their family like she does. She is just like her mom! High strung, clumsy, silly, and PURE JOY!!

We are so blessed to call them friends! And of course Candace & Macy are still big buddies!

My Life in Perspective

The girl from Wal-Mart that thought my "Registry Scanner" was sooooo awesome....also asked me if I was taking all of the diapers in my cart on my trip. I had 6 cases of diapers, 2 cases of wipes, & some baby wash in my cart that I was buying for this Sunday's baby shower at church. I told her that a group of people always give me money and have me shop for showers. .....And she said....get this...." What an exciting life...I wish I had that much excitement."

OK - the scanner gun might look exciting. But a cart overflowing with diapers for a shower.....come on! I would have called my life chaotic! It's made me stop and think - what kind of life must she have to think a registry scanner gun and being the point shopper for a shower - is an exciting life? I guess I should be more thankful for my chaos if someone finds it "exciting".

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Funny Baby Registry

Carolyn is giving me a shower this Friday and is promoting for some people to shop for things for our trip. So as I'm registering for a baby shower at Wal-Mart...this girl sees my "registry" gun - and asked me - did you buy that here???!! She acted so excited and as if she wanted one. I don't think she even knew what it was - she just saw me scanning things!! :) So funny!

I was actually the one getting excited when she saw me b/c I was registering for those boxes of flavored tea where you just add a packet to a bottle of water - and discovered they have a brand that is caffeine enhanced called morning spark - you just add a packet to a bottle of water and have cranberry or orange drink....with caffeine! Woo hoooo! I was excited and many of these can I fit in my suitcase? I've heard diet coke is hard to come by in China!

I have to wonder if security is watching thru the little cameras in the ceiling bubbles. What do they think when they see someone like me carring around a baby registry gun and scanning drugs from pharmacy, caffeine drink mixes, etc....!!! I'm surprised they didn't bring me in for questioning! Good think I wasn't registering for Sudafed or they might have suspected me to be running one of the local meth labs! ;) Whewww, what an adventure this was!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Prayers Needed

As we approach this monumental day in the life of our family - we realize that the hurdles are not yet all crossed. We need for our friends and family to join us in asking the Lord for specific answers to these prayers:

1. That Mia will BOND quickly with us. She has been institutionalized for all of her 7 months - and many babies struggle with bonding and attachment disorder. We believe God can go ahead of us and prepare her for our family!

2. Pray for all 7 families that are adopting our babies from the same orphanage in Yang Xi. Pray that their daughters will bond and attach with their families quickly. The 7 baby girl's names are: Mia McMath (ours!), Kylee Oswald, Faith Rathjen, Jessica Morris, Jenna Holcomb, Maddie Cardwell, and Annie Copeland. Please call out the name of our girls to God asking for protection, health, & bonding.

3. Pray that Macy will embrace her role as big sister and have an incredible God-given bond with her new baby sister!

4. Pray for Brad, Glenda, Macy, Dorinda, and baby Mia that we will all stay healthy during our stay in China. Many travelers struggle with illness and we need God's blessing of health while we are there!

5. Pray for the LONG flights! Pray that Macy and Mia will both be peaceful and happy while traveling!

6. Pray for God's provision - He's gotten us this far- pray that He will provide for everything else down to the last penny! We are not sure yet how much our travel is costing - hoping we can stretch every dime to cover it all! With God all things are possible!

7. Pray for God's favor in everything we do while there. We want to pray now for favor - in case we face any unforeseen circumstances while in China!

Remember we will be keeping this blog posted with journal entries and pictures every day we are in join us on the...Journey to Mia!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Update on Orphanage Cribs

I have some new friends I've met through the YangXi Orphanage Yahoo group. They have helped me process the cribs with boards in them. The Guangdong province is very hot and sultry and many people sleep on mats or boards due to this. These adoptive parents who have actually visited the orphanage say that the boards are very smooth and that the babies are very well taken care of there.

I processed my orphanage research so well when reading about it the last couple of years... But when it became personal - and it was "my" baby...I reacted differently than I thought I would. Guess it is that protective mode kicking in! :)

Friday, April 6, 2007

Big Sister Macy

Macy and I played in the tulips in Fayetteville this week. (This was BEFORE the snow!) What joy and love she has brought to our lives! At first I didn't want to take her with us to China (that was when we thought we'd be traveling 2 years ago when she was 2!) But Brad could not stand the thought of leaving her for two weeks.

Now I am so glad that she will be going with us to China. She will share in this experience of our family growing. I think she will even be a good distraction for Mia if she's discontent. Of course Brad and I will have "Noni" along for great help too! That will make a BIG difference!

Snow & Kittens- All on April 5, 2007!

In the midst of our "flurry" of activities...I discovered JoJo had her babies when I came home for lunch yesterday! 4 tiny baby gray kittens. They are so small they actually look like mice!!
You can still see the umbilical cord on this little one!

Then last night as I was running the skid steer (part go-cart, part video game, part dozer!!) to move the massive rocks in our yard so that we can finnnaallly plant grass - it started snowing! Huge flakes! On April 5th after several weeks of 80 degree weather!! (Brad finds it very comical to come home to find me running heavy equipment - but it is Easter week and he is swamped with his illustrated sermon prep!!!)

Here's a pic of the tree in our driveway.

Our trip schedule

We are tenatively scheduled to fly out on May 3rd. After a 13-15 hour flight we will land in Bejing first for a few days of sightseeing and to recover from jetlag before we receive our girls. There are 19 families in all in our travel group. When we depart from Bejiing -12 of the families will split off and go to their specific provinces to receive their children. Our group has 7 families including us. We all are from: Arkansas (us), Virginia (2), New York, Oregon, California, and Alabama. All 7 of our families have been matched with 6 month old girls from the Yang Xi orphanage located in the Guangdong province in South China. We will spend most of our time in Guangzhou getting to know Mia and processing her paperwork. After a few days the 12 other families will arrive in Guangzhou with their children and rejoin us so they can finish their paperwork. (All adopting families must exit China and finish paperwork through Guangzhou).

Guangdong is the tan province at the southern tip of China. Some of the info I foundout: Guangdong has a subtropical climate. Summer can be sweltering hot and wet. Typhoons hit this province frequently in summer and autumn. Annual rainfall averages nearly 1500-2000 millimeters and annual temperature averages 19 C - 26 C. So the best time for travelers to Guangdong is in spring and autumn. (Whoo hoo for us!)Guangdong is famous for its fine Cantonese cuisine. Guangdong is graceful and charming. It is full of bustling markets, brightly lighted night fair, the Cantonese restaurants and tea houses.

Guangzhou, the South Gate of China, is a prosperous metropolis full of vigor.Guangzhou is the capital city of Guangdong, and the center of its political, economic, scientific, educational and cultural life.
Guangzhou is located in the middle south of Guangdong Province, north of the Pearl River Delta. It lies close to the South China Sea, Hong Kong, and Macau. Zhujiang (The Pearl River), the third largest river of China, runs through Guangzhou and is navigable to the South China Sea. Situated in such an excellent geographical region, Guangzhou is called China’s South Gate.Guangzhou is home to more than 11 million people, including a 3.7 million transitory population. WOW! I THINK THE TOTAL POPULATION FOR THE STATE OF ARKANSAS IS JUST UNDER 3 MILLION!

Mia's "Finding Spot"

We received translation of Mia's finding spot. She was found outside the gate of a restaurant on August 21, 2006. She was estimated to only be a few hours old, and was taken to the local police department. In China they make several attempts to locate parents of abandoned babies (which of course they won't find) before they take them to the orphanage. Mia has been at the Yang Xi Social Welfare Institute since the day she was born.

That information was really hard for me to take in. My baby. Left at the gate of a restaurant just hours after she was born. Then spending the first day of her life at a police station. It makes me want to break down just thinking about it again. HOWEVER....I have embraced the fact that it was because of this abandonment...that she could be mine. And I rejoice that God has chosen us to be her family. And I am humbled that He has given us the opportunity to give her the same great love that He has given to us as His adopted children. Thank God for the BEAUTY of adoption.

Mia's Orphanage

I was able to find these pictures of Mia's orphanage by joing the YangXi Yahoo Group. I was at first shocked to see that the bottom of each crib is lined with a board instead of a mattress. My mouth dropped and I was speechless. But after contemplating it - and being gracious about it - maybe they have to use boards for sanitary reasons - I don't know. But I can't fathom our babies spending the first 6 months of their lives laying on boards! ;(

Getting to China

We received our Travel Approval from China this week! We are tentatively scheduled to fly out to China on May 3. We will arrive in China on May 4th, our 11th wedding anniversary - and we will be in China with baby Mia in our arms during Mother's Day! The best part is that I will have both Macy and Mia with me this mothers day! What a gift to have both my girls together with me! Macy is going to be such a wonderful big sister. It is amazing at the love she already shows towards Mia. She doesn't want to share some of her toys with the other kids that are here at our house during MOPS each week, but when I ask her if she is going to share with baby Mia - her eyes light up and she says yes! (Although I'm prepared for that to change when she sees Mia chewing on all the toys!)

Brad thinks he will have his video camera glued to his head while we are in China. Mr. Aspiring Video/Movie Man...he plans to make a documentary of our trip. He is so gifted in that area! One of our missionaries wanted us to "jet" over to the Phillipines while in China and have Brad meet with the Asia Pacific Media Ministry. Yeah right! Who cares about anything but getting our precious baby! :)

My mom will also be traveling with us to China. What a blessing that will be with having 2 girls on the 14 hour flight home! "Noni" already has a grandma bag packed for the plane ride over with Macy. I'm anxious to see what all distractions she has in her bag of tricks!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


March 5, 2007 we got our big call!!! We had been matched with a baby girl that was only 6 months old! It was soooo exciting...but almost seemed unreal. Could it really be happening?

We decided a long time ago to name our baby "Mia". Her name means: my girl. We want her to always know that we chose her.

Mia's name in the orphanage is YangXi Zi Zhen. YangXi is the name of the orphanage and all of the babies there have the same "last name." We received pictures and her medical report via Fed-Ex the next day.


Who likes waiting? Yuck. I thought that the 7 month average wait was going to be eternity. However because of the China Adoption office in China moving to a new facility this year, and they say that the number of people applying to adopt has increased significantly - WE HAVE WAAAAIIIITEDDDDDDD.

Even though it has been hard - there has been a peace deep within me that I can not explain. I KNOW God has this all planned out. The reason we are having to wait so long is so that we are matched with the PERFECT child that He has for us. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Being pastors and having an active 3 year old help time to pass too! Between the church and having a preschooler - I stay pretty busy!

After waiting 17 months - we finally got our BIG CALL!

Ughhhh the Paperwork!

I always read about how people spent MONTHS obtaining all of their paperwork for international adoption...but I thought - not me. I'm organized, efficient, ....I'll get it done in record time. Boy was I wrong! I am a crammer and thought I could sit down in one or two days and get it all done. But noooooo. Every piece of paperwork depends on another and on another.... And then it all has to be notarized. Then it all has to go to the capital to be notarized. After it comes back - then it has to go to the Chinese Consulate to be authenticated. THEN when it comes back you mail it to your agency who then mails it to China. WHOOOH!

After a little over 8 months of paper "chasing" ...literally....our "Dossier" (the final packet of paperwork) was logged in at China on October 19, 2005! The average wait to be matched with a baby was 7 months at the time.

Journal entry from April 5, 2005

Found this as I was organizing my jump drive this week. It is a journal entry I printed and put in Mia's baby journal. Notice the date.
April 5, 2005

I cannot wait to get you home and hold you close. You are my sweetie, my girl, and I love you so already. Today God provided the miracle we needed to take away the huge pressure that goes with the expenses of getting you here. My biological father, Glen, had a life insurance policy that left me money upon his death. We really did not think that it would go through – but had hoped and prayed for a miracle. It seemed providential that this might come through during the time we are pursuing adoption. What is so unique - is that since I was adopted 15 years ago I can count on one hand how many times I have seen him. I was so surprised that he would think to do an insurance policy that would cover his burial expenses and have a little left over.

I was praying on my way home today and asked God to help me remember that He is in control. We still hadn’t heard anything about this insurance money.

Then tonight as I was rummaging through the mail – I saw it. I nervously opened the letter and then began to shake as I realized what it was. It was a check for what was left from the insurance policy after the burial expenses! It was almost exactly what we needed for the rest of our adoption expenses! I immediately called your Dad and told him we had our miracle. While shaking and about to breakdown and cry – I told him God had provided – and that I knew that He was confirming that He has indeed destined for you to be our daughter – and make a way when there seemed to be no way.

I then drove to Carolyn and Mark’s house to show them the check. As Carolyn realized what it was – I began to cry. I told her I had all but given up on this and was wondering how else God was going to do it. It seems I always have to try and figure things out. This time God floored me with his miracle. I have no doubt that it was God that prompted Glen to do this. God was making a way for you to be part of our family! People have always asked us how we were going to pay the expenses associated with international adoption, especially on a pastor's salary - and I have ALWAYS said - I have no idea - but I believe God will provide. I had begun to doubt these last few months....but...WOW. I'm speechless at His awesome love.

God loves a little girl in China who needs a family – and has picked us to be that family. We are so blessed and so excited for you to be a part of our family.

Every night we pray as a family; your Daddy, your sister Macy, and me, your Mommy. We pray for you that God will protect you until we get to you. We love you so much already. Me and Macy talk about when her baby sister comes home and I think she is starting to grasp it a little. (She just turned two in January).

We are working on picking out a name for you. Right now the leaders are Mia, Maya, Jasmine, Marissa, and Makynna. I really like Mia b/c of it’s meaning: girl of mine. That so describes how my heart feels about you, sweetie.

With love,

Macy grows in my tummy, and Mia grows in my heart

Even after I found out I was pregnant - I was awestruck by how my desire and longing grew for this baby in China. As my heart and my tummy grew with Macy - I continued to research China, the phenomenon of the "lost daughters" of China, and adoption agencies.

My pregnancy was TERRIBLE - I threw up every day multiple times for 4 months. Then I had gestational diabetes. Then I had inflamed nerves in my legs and couldn't walk....and on and on. After I had her I was badly anemic and didn't feel healthy enough to take care of her. It was the roughest year of my life. I thought my life was over and that life would never be the same again. :) I was wrong. I did survive. And the child inside of me that brought me so much sickness - has brought my life so much joy!

Brad reminded me this week of how he thought I had lost my mind when I was pregnant! I would watch "Mulan" while I was on bedrest and sob my eyes out b/c of my longing for this chinese child God was implanting in my heart! And I hardly ever cry!