"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step".
-Lao Tzu
 

Paperchase for Adoption of our 1st Precious Little Girl from China

August 2002:  I ordered 2 certified copies of each of our birth certificates, and of our marriage certificate (all from Arizona).  For the birth certificates, I got them at Vital Check (tried 1st to get them directly through the Arizona office, but they said it was better to go through Vital Check so they can keep track of our request better).  In addition to the on-line form, we needed to fax photos of our driver's licenses to them.  For copies of our marriage certificate, I did a search for the Pima County Clerk of Superior Court and I had to mail in a request with a SASE.  I wasn't sure if I needed certified copies, so I went ahead and paid the extra just in case.  I know when I get them I will have to send one of each (birth certificates and marriage license that will go in the dossier to China) to the Arizona Secretary of State for further certification (must be certified by state the documents originate in), so I looked up that web site and found out what I'll need to do when the time comes: http://www.sosaz.com/notary/notaryqanda.htm#apostille.  I won't need that for the I-600A copies that go to the INS.

August 19, 2002:  After talking with Great Wall China Adoption on the phone and driving down to their office to get their information packet and application, we filled out the application and I hand delivered it to their office the next morning with the application fee.

September 28, 2002:  We went to a Great Wall China Adoption information session and found out that they already have a few hundred dossiers for 2003 that will be sent to China Dec 1, 2002 (start of 2003 year in China).  If their quota number goes up from last year by more than 50, we will probably get a slot for 2003.  Otherwise we will have to wait until 2004.  They said we should find out in October, possibly as soon as October 8th.

October 4, 2002
After searching on the internet this past week for information about other agencies that are more certain of having openings for 2002 or 2003 (in case we don't make it into the Great Wall 2003 quota), I've finally found one that I really like.  In the process of this search, I met a nice lady named Mei-Ling, a teacher in Fort Worth, who is at the same stage as we are (submitted to Great Wall in August), and she is also considering which agency to use.  One that seems good is Harrah Family Services is in Houston, TX, and all the reviews on the internet about them are great!  Here are a couple of examples:
http://www.marmotgraphics.com/adoption/harrah.html
http://www.adoptionnews.org/agencies.asp?ID=301
Here is their web site:
http://www.hfsfamilies.com/

October 4, 2002
I sent off our birth certificates and marriage license to the AZ Secretary of State for certification.  I decided to go ahead with that since we'll need those certifications regardless of what agency we use.  We also made our doctor appointments for the end of October.

October 6, 2002
Well, we have some big news!  We have decided for sure to use Harrah Family Services!  I sent e-mails to other people that have used them, and got all wonderful remarks about Harrah's.
I found out from Donna (very nice lady with HFS) that Harrah's still has spaces for 2003 for sure, so we will send them our application this week after we get it in the mail.  We will try to get our dossier ready by about February (of course I will aim for sooner, but we'll see!).  Based on current DTC to referral times, that means we will get a referral for a little girl by about March 2004.  Then travel to China in late spring or early summer 2004 to pick her up.
I am very excited now that we can begin the paperwork chase!!!!!!

October 7, 2002  Sent application and application fee to HFS

October 12, 2002
I went to the bank and got a money order for the $560 INS fee.

October 13, 2002 Sent dossier preparation fee to HFS.

October 15, 2002  Talked with our social worker who was recommended by Harrah Family Services.  She was so nice!  I'm not worried at all about the home study process.  It sounds like it will go really smoothly.  It should probably cost under $1000 including her travel expenses (she is near Houston).

October 15, 2002
We mailed off the I-600A today by certified mail!

October 17, 2002
I got the return receipt from the INS, stamped October 16th!!  I'm glad they received it already.

October 23, 2002
Went down to Austin and got our Central Registry Checks completed, as required for the home study documents the social worker sent to us.  The lady was so nice and did them for me on the spot!

October 24, 2002
We sent our first packet for our dossier off to the dossier consultant in Dallas with our verification/authentication expenses.

October 27, 2002
We completed our home study packet and sent it off to our social worker.  What a relief to have all that paperwork finished now!  We'll be giving her our medical exam forms during our final home study visit November 16th since we don't have them yet.

November 4, 2002
I just got back from Arizona since my grandpa had a stroke last Tuesday.  He is doing very well and we hope he can go home soon.  I told my grandparents they did a wonderful job raising my dad, so it was time to sit back and relax so that he can take care of them now.  My parents are doing a wonderful job taking care of my grandparents.  My grandma will be 91 on December 27th!!
While I was in Arizona, I stitched an adoption sampler that I designed with ladybugs.  The Chinese lettering is based on conversion of "destined to meet" by our friend George who works with Rob.

Chinese Legend of the Red Thread: adoption sampler cross stitch with ladybugs
Click here for Chinese Adoption Cross Stitch Pattern page 1
Click here for Chinese Adoption Cross Stitch Pattern page 2
Model shown above was stitched on 28-count fabric and is roughly 3.5" square,
so using 14-count fabric would yield a stitching of about 7"x7" (very rough!).
(colors shown above or modify as you wish, and add any border you want)

November 6th, 2002
Due to the circumstances last week, my doctor's office agreed to reschedule my appointment for today rather than making us wait another month for my appointment.  Dr. Robins and his nurse Linda are both so excited about our adoption!  We'll send them pictures when we get the referral picture, and we'll take her to visit them when she comes home.  I'm sure they'll refer us to a great pediatrician.

November 8th, 2002
Our application letter and financial statement have been reviewed now and are ready to be notarized, so we'll probably get that done this weekend and send them off with our medical exam forms to the dossier consultant Monday.  I have been sick the past couple of days, so it'll be tight trying to get my work deadlines finished and the house cleaned up for the home study.  The social worker is so nice though that I'm sure she'll be understanding.  We just need to have our babyproofing list ready for her to review when she gets here next weekend.

November 9, 2002
Our neighbor and good friend Earl will be taking some pictures of us for our dossier.  We need to send those to HFS with copies of our passports soon.

November 16, 2002
The final home study visit went very smoothly.  Our social worker brought her grandchildren and husband (unexpectedly) to see how we react to sudden change.  Luckily I had made enough vegetable stew for everyone to eat (6 instead of just 3 to feed!) and I had some leftover crafts from Girl Scouts for the kids to work on.  They made magnets with Sculpey clay, and bracelets.  She didn't come upstairs since her knees hurt too much, but it's still nice to have the guest room ready in case family comes, and we'll have less to do before the baby comes as far as cleaning up the house.

November 17, 2002  We found out we need to make a minor change to our financial statement and get it notarized again.  Also I'll need to request a doctor's letter about my thyroid condition.

November 22, 2002  We received our INS fingerprinting appointment sheets today in the mail!  Also Linda called to say my doctor's letter about my thyroid condition is ready to be picked up!  This is a great day!  We plan to go get our fingerprinting done in San Antonio on Tuesday, and we'll probably get our revised financial statement notarized Tuesday also.  Thanksgiving is Thursday, so we have a lot to be thankful for! We should be getting our home study report to review next weekend, and then we'll be pretty much done with the paperchase after sending that to the INS.  Then we just sit back over the holidays and wait for the I-171H to arrive.  We'll be so busy with holiday trips and making Christmas gifts (I'm cross stitching and weaving many gifts this year), end of semester grading for the algebra class I'm teaching, and other activities, that time will fly by!

December 7, 2002  We submitted the home study report to the San Antonio INS today.  We hope there's a chance of getting the I-171H during the holidays!

Christmas 2002  We spent some time both in Tucson and Prescott and got lots of gifts for Becky from our wonderful family.  I have been thinking about how neat it would be to get a picture of Becky by next Christmas so we can show her off to everyone as a Christmas surprise for 2003!

January 23, 2003  I sent out a letter to the INS to ask if they can fax the I-171H as soon as they have it ready.  Hopefully that will save us a few days so we can send everything to China soon!  I have been making baby clothes using organic cotton and trying things on my friend's baby.  She likes the clothes so much she even wants me to make something for her little boy too.  I made a sling yesterday using soft organic fleece and this pattern I found free on the web, and tried it out using my friend's little boy who's 17months old and 27 lbs.  It seemed like it was going to be too small, but it worked out just perfectly!  I liked carrying him facing me with his legs around my waist (sort of a hip carry position with feet out of the sling, but him in the front to balance the weight easier).  I was looking at all the referrals received (24 for HFS, completing all submitted in Nov01) and I was crying because I'm so happy for everyone that is finally going to be with their babies soon.  Some of the babies are very young (6-8 months), so I think I'll busy myself making some smaller clothes now too!  What fun!  I was making everything in size large to be on the safe side, but then she won't have enough for earlier if she's younger.  I can always give them to my sister for her first baby if Becky doesn't wear the small ones.

January 29, 2003  Our I-171H arrived!  Yippee!  Faxed it to HFS.

February 12, 2003  HFS wrote to let us know our dossier went to China today!!

February 18, 2003 is our official log-in date.  Let the waiting begin!

March 2003 It appears the CCAA is now processing 2 months of paperwork every month so by my calculations we'll have our little girl hopefully by Christmas!!  How exciting it would be to have her first Christmas at home with us. 

April 2003 I just read a neat book called "Kids like me in China" and it taught me a lot.  I've also been taking Chinese classes with my new friend Cheryl (soon to be DTC also!) and we're having a lot of fun.

June 2003  Adoptions are still on hold due to SARS.  I'm very anxious to see when the next referrals come and still hoping to be able to pick up Becky by Christmas.  I think of her every moment and can't wait to hold her.  I'm reading a book called "Gao Village" which is really interesting and teaching me a lot about rural life in China, since it was written by a man who grew up in the village.  I'm so glad he wrote the book and shared the story with everyone.  It was so neat to hear about a village being totally self-sufficient, and I wrote a little about it in an article called Local Organic Farming "Reconnecting with the Earth"
            Lately I've been really interested in reading first hand accounts of native cultures around the world.  I read a book called, "Limited Wants, Unlimited Needs" which tells about hunter gatherer societies.  That got me interested in learning about the edible plants in my area.  I'm also enjoying "The Continuum Concept" about a lady that lives in South America with native peoples.  Here is a neat excerpt about the "In-Arms Phase" for babies.  I've been making lots of slings to carry Becky and am currently looking for a material that would be really cool for the summer.
            I started walking more recently (getting in shape for when Becky arrives) and enjoyed walking to the library (my favorite place), which was about 7 miles round trip.  I'd been walking to undeveloped parkland to go bird and butterfly watching, but had been getting lots of chiggers (and don't like wearing DEET - read about trying garlic but haven't yet).  I didn't have much time the other day so instead of walking I biked to the post office and library, but didn't enjoy biking as much as walking (although it was much faster that way).
            I'm also reading a book called "The Explorers' Texas: The Lands and Waters" by Del Weniger.  It's wonderfully researched and gives all the quotes from the first explorers to Texas.  Some interesting things I learned were (1) There used to be vast numbers of enormous cypress trees here. The ones I thought were so big by the lake are actually new-growth from what the white man cut down after arriving here.  (2)  The myth about central Texas being a big prairie before white man's arrival is explained as to how it started, and all accounts by explorers tell of a land with more trees (especially junipers) than what are here today.  I guess the people that get allergies from junipers (cedar-fever) like to convince people that the trees don't belong here.  Apparently there were less of them for awhile after white man came and cut a lot down for fences and things, but before that they were very numerous and an important part of the ecosystem as they are today.
            I finally figured out how to eat healthy and cook my own food.  I've struggled with this for years and always hated cooking.  I'd do it for a couple of days and then quit again.  Now I've been doing well for a couple of months (a record!) and don't forsee stopping at all this time since I love it.  I never liked cooking meat and the fact that it took so long to make a meal, so now I just make quick healthy meals, mainly starting with rice or noodles or beans and adding various vegetables.  Sometime I'll put more recipes on my recipe page.  In Gao Village they survived on rice for morning, noon, and evening meals, so even though people always say we need tons of variety in our diet, I think it may not really be necessary as long as we get our vitamins through fruits and vegetables (in Gao Village each family had their own vegetable garden) and possibly a daily vitamin (haven't done that since I always forget to take pills).
            I've been making clothes and blankets for Becky (currently making little summer dresses from organic cotton) and I want to get some light weight linen to make a sundress with some cutwork across the front-top of the dress.  Cheryl was so nice to give me a book for Becky called "Happy Adoption Day".  There is a song that goes with the book, so hopefully I can learn to play it on the guzheng (Chinese harp).  We're going to a guzheng concert/recital on Saturday so I'm excited about that.  I hope I can start playing the guzheng soon.  I'm just waiting for my work load to get a little lighter before I start the lessons.  We're still really enjoying our Chinese lessons also, on Tuesday and Wednesday evening at the Asian American Cultural Center.

July 3, 2003
I cried for about half an hour today as I read referrals that have come out today!  I'm so happy for the families that received their referrals for June and July02 log-in dates, and now it feels like it's getting really close to the time when we'll get our precious baby too!  Oh Happy Day!  I'm guessing it'll be November when we get our referral, but I secretly hope it'll be around Oct 25th (my Mom's birthday!)  I've been waiting 10 years now for that special day I'll get to call her and say she's going to be a grandma!  My dad got some great news on his birthday yesterday too.  Lee (my sister's husband) got the art teacher job in Prescott, so everything is coming together wonderfully!  The new house is almost done now, where Kate and Lee will live with my grandparents and care for them in their last days, all while living right next door to my parents!  Everything just feels right today! I also posted the adoption cross stitch pattern today since people have been waiting awhile for me to finish it!  I hope everyone enjoys it!
 

October 1, 2003  One of my favorite articles about Taoism is Tao Living: Living in the Moment  Today, there were many people living in the moment when they got their referral!  I called my sister, my parents, and my aunt today to tell them the good news that we are next!  We'll be getting our referral in about a month.  In this time I plan to learn more about taoism and practice mandarin before our trip to China, which will probably be in December.  What a joyous time in our lives this is!  Here is a wonderful video from one of the HFS families.  Cheryl found it and I'm so glad she sent it to me!  Thanks Cheryl!

October 9, 2003  I met with Becky's pediatrician today, Dr. Addy, for the first time.  She gave suggestions for what to do on the plane ride, and said to fax the medical information when we get the referral.  We can also make an appointment for when we arrive home since it's important to get an appointment as early as possible.  I stopped over at my doctor's office also since it's in the same building.  He ordered a CT scan for my sinuses so I should find out soon if that's the cause of my constant headache.

October 11, 2003  Yesterday Julia and I went to the Fall Wildflower Center plant sale and got lots of new fun native plants.  I got mostly grasses, but also found the passionflower vines I've been looking for for so long!  When Julia and I were in the car on the way home though, I was complaining of my never ending headache that I've had for a few years now.  It's not a migraine so I can still function, but it always seemed odd that no medication would work for it even at this lower pain intensity, and it has become very frustrating to live with it constantly.  The bones in my face always hurt and air pops out of my ears and eyes all the time for years now.  It is especially painful when I wake up in the morning.  Julia suggested I call to get the results of the CT scan, so I left a message with the nurse to see if they have the results yet.  After a few minutes the cell phone rang and it was the nurse.  She said the CT scan showed extreme inflammation throughout my sinuses, and I'll need 3 weeks of antibiotics and a steriod shot on Monday.  I got off the phone and was dancing in my seat!  I can't believe this may finally be the answer to stopping this never-ending annoying headache!  Yippee!  I stopped and got the antibiotics on the way home and then planted all the new native plants when I got home.

I'm still making more dresses for Becky, and I just finished a little ladybug dress for my internet friend who received her referral a few days ago.  I embroidered the baby's name on the front and it turned out pretty cute!  I plan to make one for Becky just like it once we get her referral and find out her Chinese name.  I want to add the characters for her Chinese name to it also.

We're so excited now that we only have about 3 weeks to wait for Becky's referral!  We are anxious to find out where she was born and start learning about her province.  I've been looking at some beautiful pictures of Guinlin, so I'm hoping we can go there for a couple days before we go to Becky's province.  Plus that way we can leave for China a little sooner and feel closer to Becky!

October 28, 2003  Okay, it's almost time!  Hip, hip, hurray!  We're so excited we're about to burst (we always like what one of the PowerPuff girls said on one episode - "she 'sploded")
We had a great time in Oregon visiting family.  They were all so nice, and we especially loved playing with the kids.  We can't wait to bring Becky to meet everyone in Oregon next year.  Uncle Tom gave Becky a beautiful wool blanket that we plan to hang on her wall.  Grandma was so excited to see us (we surprised her by showing up for her birthday - what fun!)  We also enjoyed a very nice trip out to the lake with Mom.  It's beautiful in Oregon and the desert area reminds me a lot of Arizona (I kept thinking, "Are we in Arizona?")
I took a long walk and picked pecans along the way.  I also enjoyed watching a woodpecker for a little while and a monarch passing by.
Here are a few of the clothes I've been making for Becky.  I've been having a lot of fun making all these clothes and thinking of my sweet Becky.  I can't wait to take pictures of her in the clothes too! (those will be much better pictures than these!)  Click on the small images for a bigger view.



Cloth diapers:

November 4, 2003
The latest thing we've heard about referrals is that they are probably ready, but not yet signed by the CCAA director.  We hope to get them this week or next week.  It's getting so hard to wait!  We want our sweet Becky home with us, and we think about her every second of every day, and dream about her at night too!  Kate dreams about her a lot too, and in her dreams Becky is always 14 months old.  I can't wait to bring her home!  I will be delighted whether she is 6 months old or 10 years old!
I took a walk tonight and watched the moon appearing and disappearing behind the clouds.  It was so pretty that I sat for awhile at the edge of the lake just watching the moon and listening to the birds as it got dark.  On the way home I stopped at the playground and swung on the monkey bars and then played on the swings awhile.  There were some high school kids there talking about smoking.  Tomorrow after work I think I'll take a walk to the library and pick pecans along the way again.  That's so much fun!  At the library (I love the smell of the library when I walk in) I can't wait to get some books on dinosaurs and prehistoric plants.  I saw a show on TV today that got me interested in dinosaurs again.  There was also a good show on volcanos.  It talked about the potential effects of an eruption in Yellowstone.  Apparently the last one (I think they said 600,000 years ago) coated the whole U.S. with something like 6inches of ash.  They also talked about other volcanoes around the world that could erupt at any time.

November 14, 2003  Referral News!  Oh my God!  Oh my God!  We just got this e-mail from our agency:
"Dear Jenny,
There is a package on the way to us!  I'll tell you first and then to the list.  It's due to arrive on Monday (barring unforeseen difficulties).  I talked to the shipper and have tracking info, so we'll hope for good news Monday.
Now, keep in mind that 2 months ago our CCAA package got stuck in a shipping container in Ohio overnight, so things can happen, but you can enjoy the weekend knowing that a package has left China!  We are assuming they are the referrals, but we will not actually know for certain until we open the package.
Hope that helps!
Have a great weekend!
Teresa"

and then this e-mail:
"Hugs to you!!
Research Chongqing.  : )
Teresa"

It's been a couple hours now and I'm still dancing on a cloud.  I cried and cried with joy when I got the news.  I never dreamed it would be this exciting and wonderful!  To all of you waiting for your baby, please trust me it is worth every second of the wait to finally get news about her.  I had thought about the moment for a long time, and I didn't know exactly how I would react, but this is the best day in my life so far.  I was crying and crying and I called Rob to tell him the news.  He heard my crying and asked "what's wrong".  I said "I'm so happy".  It's unbelievable to finally know where our baby is.  I had the China map out in the car so I fumbled around trying to figure out what to do and called Cheryl and my sister and my parents, my aunt, and Rob's parents to tell them all the news.  It doesn't feel real.  We've been waiting so long for this moment and it's finally happening.  I can't describe it.  Kate says I should try the labor (pregnancy) breathing since I'm having trouble breathing.  I was supposed to be at a "meet the pediatrician" meeting at 12:15, but it's 2:31 now and obviously I didn't make it.  I called them before the meeting and they said there's another meeting in December so I can go to that one instead.  Plus by then we'll have the medical information to show her.  I can't believe it, but our baby is waiting for us in Chongqing!  I can't wait to meet you sweet Becky.  You're our dream and we want to be together as a family as soon as possible.

November 16, 2003  It's early afternoon in China right now, and I am laying awake at 2:41am thinking of my sweet Becky.  Here is a wonderful poem I just read on our adoption group:

Longing for a child to love, I'd wish upon the stars above. In my heart I
always knew, A part of me was meant for you. I think how happy we will be,
Once I adopt you, and you adopt me.

I dream of all the joy you'll bring, Imagining even the littlest things. The
way it will feel to hold you tight, And tuck you in every night. The
drawings on the refrigerator door, And childhood toys across the floor. The
favourite stories read again and again, And hours of games with make-believe
friends. The day you took my outstretched hand, A journey ended but our
lives began. Still mesmerised by your sweet face, Still warmed inside by our
first embrace. I promised to give you a happy home and a loving family all
your own. A house you've now made complete, With laughter, smiles, and tiny
feet.

A parent is one who guides the way, Know I will be there everyday. Rest easy
as each night you sleep, A lifetime of love is yours to keep.

Longing for a child to love, I'd wish upon the stars above. In my heart I
always knew, A part of me belonged to you.

Anonymous

Dear Becky, I can't believe we're going to receive your referral on Monday.  Knowing you are in Chongqing gives me such a warm feeling inside.  The journey has been so long for all of us, but we will soon be together as a family.  I know the Aunties are taking very good care of you and love her very much.  I just can't wait to hug you and hold you in my arms.  I am knitting and sewing every day so you'll have plenty of warm clothes to wear this winter.  I've already made dresses for next summer too in many different sizes, since we don't yet know how old you are.  Tonight I've been thinking about a pattern for a soft organic wool sac for you to wear at night.  I think it might be most comfortable for you if the neck is high in the back so you won't feel the top neck edge while sleeping on your back.  I think the organic rib knit material will make a very soft night shirt to go with the sleep sac.  I also made a toy to send to you once we have your address, and I sewed our picture into the toy so you can see what we look like and hopefully not be too scared of us when you first see us.  I know it will be very scary for you the first time we hold you, so I plan on turning you to face out the first time I hold you, so you can look around the room as I walk around.  Your daddy and I love you very much and hope we can make the transition as easy on you as we can.  We have been thinking of you for a long time and can't wait to hold you and kiss you.  I am so happy and excited that we will be together soon.  Both your daddy and I look at the crib next to our bed every night and imagine you being here with us.  The joy is so strong when we think of you being with us as a family.  I think of all the decisions we've made along the road to finding you, and realize that every decision was critical in leading us to you.  For example I remember the night we decided to switch agencies and use Harrah Family Services.  Here is the e-mail I wrote to Donna when we decided to make the change on Oct 6, 2002:
Donna,
I am soooooooooooooooo excited to hear the news about your 2003 applications to date.  You have no idea how happy this makes me.  The past couple of days I have been contacting more people that have used Harrah's, and received all outstanding recommendations (of course I can already tell why, after my communications with you)!!  I am so happy now I'm practically crying after reading your e-mail.  We will fill out our application to Harrah's as soon as it comes in the mail, and will send it back to you by FedEx right away.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,
Jenny and Rob Rasmussen  (all smiles now!!!!!)
It was a wonderful lady named Mei-Ling that led us to find Harrah Family Services.  She ended up working with the agency Great Wall, but we have kept in touch occasionally throughout the process.  Here is her web site: http://www.juancamei.net/
 

Sunday, November 16, 2003  I finally slept a few hours this morning starting at 6am (maybe I stayed up all night since our sweet Becky was probably awake then too!).  I doubt I'll sleep much tonight either!  Here's a fun Referral Warning sent by a friend on our DTC group (thanks Lisa!)
From the Referral Broadcasting Center
Sun, Nov 16 - 12:50 pm CST

The existing Referral Watch has officially been upgraded to a
Referral Warning by the Feb 03 DTC Referral Broadcasting Center.

This Referral Warning is in effect for all of North America for the
next 7 days. Disturbances in the Pacific jet steam indicate the
potential departure of the silver stork. Further, several North
American agencies have confirmed that the silver stork did indeed
depart Mainland China, but the contents of the package it was
carrying are unknown at this time.

Those who reside in the Referral Warning area should take urgent and
immediate steps to be sure they can be reached at all times;
including such drastic measures as affixing your cordless phone or
cell phone to your head with duct tape. It is also strongly
recommended that you have ample supply of paper, writing instruments
and tissues nearby. If you receive the Referral call while driving,
immediately pull over to a safe spot off the roadway to prevent
unintended injury to yourself or to others.

Be aware that once an actual referral post shows up from an actual
Referral call in North America, conditions on this board and many
others will dramatically decline for the remaining waiting families.
Take appropriate steps to prepare your heart and mind for an
extended wait. Remember that the Traffic Gods may have a Fed Ex
driver held up in traffic, or there could be some other delay out of
your hands.

Those who begin sharing their Referral news on this list should take
notes now to be sure you provide your fellow Firecrackers with
appropriate information. Do not attempt to remember by heart what
you need to post once you are under the influence of Referral Call
Brain. Please post your family's name in the referral line, your
child's name, birthdate, and SWI location; and some other
information like your agency, your ages, and the age child requested
is extremely important to those still waiting. Use of special
characters such as #, $, %, &, @, or ^i^ in your Referral
announcement is left to your personal discretion and preference.

- END OF MESSAGE - Referral Broadcasting Network
 

REFERRAL DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
November 17, 2003  I woke up and did some last minute sewing, and your daddy left for a business trip around 10am.  Then Julia came over about 10:30 to wait with me for the referral call.  I was on pins and needles still, wondering if this would really be the day.  Julia brought some wonderful presents for Becky, and then we took the doggies for a walk (Sandy, Pokey, and Rufus).  We started watching Moonstruck between 11am and noon, and then at around 12:20 the phone rang!!!!!!!  I was frantic trying to get to the phone, the dogs were barking (especially Sandy) and Julia was trying to turn off the T.V.  The caller I.D. said Harrah Family Services and I knew it was the call about you!!!!!!!!!!!!   I answered and it was Teresa, who is the very nice lady who told us Friday that you were probably in Chongqing.  I was so excited!  I had a paper prepared for the call so I could fill in the blanks with the information about your name and size and everything.  This was so exciting to be finally filling in the blanks!  She said you have big beautiful brown eyes, and a little fuzzy hair.  She said you are so adorable.  I asked how long it might be until we get your picture, and she said about an hour and a half.  There will be about 8 families traveling to Chongqing, so they need to call them all and then scan the pictures to e-mail.  I called your daddy and he was driving to the airport when I called.  He was so excited to hear about you.  Then I called your Aunt Kate and all of your Grandparents and your great aunt Susan, and then some of our close friends.  Everyone is so excited!  After making some of the calls we went upstairs to wait by the computer for the e-mail with your pictures.  I kept making more calls while we waited.  I sent out the announcement about your referral while we waited too.  We immediately got lots of responses and everyone was so excited to hear about you!  Then an e-mail suddenly appeared from Harrah Family Services, with an attachment!!! I knew this would be the first time I would see you!!  I paused for just a nanosecond to reflect on what an exciting moment this was, and then opened the e-mail.  You are so beautiful!  I cried and cried with joy.  I posted the picture to a web site so your daddy could see it right when the plane lands.  He has a cell phone where he can see pictures on the internet, but not in e-mails.  I made a smaller image of just one of the three pictures and hoped he could see it on his tiny cell phone screen.  I sent your pictures to everyone and your Grandma Bonnie (nai nai) was sobbing with joy.  She said she didn't stop crying until night time.  Everyone else was also crying with happiness.  Here are some pictures from today

December 2003 China Trip and Photo Links