Monday, December 3, 2007

2 Weeks Home/1 month with Charlotte

Well it was four weeks ago today that Charlotte was put in our arms for the first time and boy has she changed since then. She is so confident in herself and is so proud of herself when she does something new. She loves to clap and is starting to hug her bear. She loves to play with her big brother and is making lots more noises than when we were in China. We are starting to get back to normal and are looking forward to a wonderful Christmas here at home. Tomorrow is our first appointment with the craniofacial team at CHKD so we will have more to post then about medical stuff and her upcoming surgery after that. She really is doing remarkably well and we thank you for all your prayers for adjustment and bonding. We still have our moments but are so grateful for how well she is doing. I am posting some pics of her here with us at home. Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

One Week Home

We'll be posting more pictures soon, but Carla and I were joking earlier this week about writing a post about the little things Charlotte loves, so...
Here is a very short list of things Charlotte loves about life at home that make Carla and I smile.
1. Wind and sunshine. The cool November breeze makes her giggle (and us too).
2. The sound of her bottle being made. We shake it to mix the formula, and when she hears that, she laughs out loud, and falls into the arms of the Carla or me. It's awesome!
3. When we tighten the belts on her carseat. There is this dial that you turn to make the belts tighter. It's like the carseat gives her a hug. Again, smiles and laughs.
4. Dancing and crib surfing. When she gets happy, she sways from side to side, lifting her feet. When she is standing in her pack and play, she will get her balance, and then let go in a surfing pose until she is about to fall, grabbing on to the rail again, followed by throwing her head back and laughing out loud.
It is truely the little things in life that bring the most joy. Things like Diet Pepsi with ice, laundry you don't have to pay for, "American" pizza, and time with friends and family. Thank God for home. As we continue to recover from jet lag, we realize more and more just how blessed we are.
Pictures from home to come. Have a great week!

Jay, Carla, Ethan, and Charlotte

Sunday, November 18, 2007

We're Home!!

We're Home! Thanks you all so much for all your prayers and support. We cant wait for you to meet Charlotte. We have been so blessed, from the day we began this journey many months ago, and God continues to bless us each moment. Please continue to pray for our family, and for Charlotte's transtition to her new home. Enjoy this video summary of our Journey to Charlotte!

Jay, Carla, Ethan, and Charlotte

Friday, November 16, 2007

Our Final Post from China

Wow! This is our last post from China! I never thought the day would come that we would actually travel to get our Charlotte, and now we are heading home. Actually, we are really ready to return. As much as we have enjoyed being immersed in Chinese culture, we are all ready for home (personal space is at a premium in our hotel room, and in China in general).
What a wonderful, emotional, inspiring, and God-given trip this has been. There are just so many stories to share of how we have been blessed beyond measure. God continues to anoint this journey just as he did the day we decided to take it on. He continues to show us just how much He cares for us, how much he cares for all his children, and how he blesses us when we answer his call. I know we'll all have stories to share when we return.
Today was a wrap-up day in China. With most of the families in our travel group gone, it seems so quiet (prayers to all of them by the way, many who have long drives ahead of them after landing from thier 12+ hour flights). After breakfast we boarded the Guangzhou Metro for a subway adventure to Carrefour (the local wal-mart) for formula and diapers for the flight home. Then we had time for a quick nap before heading to the American Consolate. We had to appear and swear that we gave truthful information in all of our paperwork and statements to the consolate. Then we returned to the China Hotel to finish our time in Guangzhou the way we started...McDonald's take out.
Oh! Happy National Adoption Day everyone! How perfect it is that the day we Leave China (Saturday) and return home is National Adoption Day in the US.
Please continue to Pray for Carla, Charlotte and I as it seems we all have the same sinus bug. Ethan seems to have missed it, but his allergies may just cover it up. Pray also for our journey home, specifically our 12 hour flight from Beijing, the 5 hour layover in the Beijing Int. Airport, and for Charlotte. We have a fear that she will not do well with the cabin pressure on the airplane. No pictures today, but we'll have some to post when we get home and settled.
Thanks so much for your encouragement through the guestbook. It has been a really treat to hear your encouraging words from thousands of miles away.
See You Soon in the USA!!!

Jay, Carla, Ethan, and Charlotte

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Passing the Time

Well, now we are just passing time until we travel home on Saturday. We are all ready for that. We have had an amazing trip but are missing home and our families. Charlotte is starting to show us her strong willed side.....but she doesn't realize she has met her match in her mommy (ha, ha!) We are starting to see the normal behaviors of a 17 month old. Testing the limits, fighting off sleep, wiggly, wiggly, wiggly. We are ready to be home where we can get on a schedule and get a handle on nap time and the such. She is still doing well. And even starting to perform for the camera. Yesterday we went to Shaimen Island again, and to the White Swan for the famous red couch pictures. Tomorrow we will pick up Charlotte' s visa and pack. Today we are just relaxing in the hotel and Ethan and Jay went to another park with one of the other families left. Ethan us still doing well. He is such a good boy and big brother. We are very proud of him. I am trying to fight off a little cold. Hopefully the allergy medicine and Airborne will do the trick. Hope you are all doing well, we can't wait to see you all. We will post one more time before we leave China on Saturday. Enjoy the pictures.

Carla, Jay, Ethan and Charlotte

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Latest on Charlotte

Hello All! We are spending our last few days here in China spending time with the new friends we've gotten to know these few weeks. Many of them will be traveling home tomorrow morning, and we are trying not to be too jealous. It's hard to stay here knowing that 14 of the 18 families are heading home tomorrow. Charlotte is doing so much! Yesterday she showed us that hse can crawl! We knew she could do it, we had seen her do so in photos, but she is becoming more trusting and active each day. this morning, she was able to play in the bath for the first time and not fuss. As I write this, we are trying to explain "no" to her as she tries to grab at the laptop. Yes, she's becoming more comfortable each day. Today is a free day for us. no real plans, just passing the time until our appointment with the Consulate, and then traveling home on Saturday! We'll try to post more pictures tonight. See you soon!

Jay, Carla, Ethan and Charlotte

Monday, November 12, 2007

Medical Exam and Shopping

Well another full day today. First we went for the Medical Exam for Charlotte's Visa. It was pretty easy, we just had to wait in 3 different lines. She weighed 21 pounds with all of her clothes on. Not too bad for only taking formula and juice. She continues to do well and play and smile. She has also starting laying her head on our shoulder which is so sweet. She trusts us more and more everyday. After the exam we went shopping on the island "Shaiman Island." Lots of good deals and stuff for adoptive families. I was able to get 6 pairs of squeaky shoes for about $3 each. A girl can never have too many shoes right. Ethan had fun looking in all the stores as well, he is always a big hit with the Chinese women. We had lunch at a western restaraunt Lucy's which Jay described as a little bit of deep fried heaven. Then we hung out in the hotel with friends and ordered pizza. Kind of felt like we were in college again, just with kids. It was fun to hang out and fellowship. Tomorrow we have a free morning and are then going on one more power shopping trip. I only have a couple of pictures today. We left the memory card in the hotel today and had to use the internal memory on the camera. We don't have the cord to download. I am posting pics of our party in the hallway, so enjoy. We miss everyone and can't wait to be home.

Love to you all.
Carla, Jay, Ethan and Charlotte

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Full Day in Guangzhou

Today was a full, but relatively quiet day in Guangzhoou. After Breakfast, we went to a Chinese folk art museum. It was in a former temple. There were wood carvings, siks, sculpture, fans, and so much more. Carla discovered a Chinese folk instrument much like the modern recorder that she easily picked up and played with a little instructionfrom the shopkeeper. From there we went to a department store for those that needed to purchase supplies, and then back to the China Hotel.
After a brief rest, Carla went to sign papers (3 hours worth! Whew!) While I stayed back with Ethan while Charlotte slept. After her nap we went for a walk through a local garden / park and then to dinner with some of our travel friends, the Nicholson's and the Duffy's.
Tomorrow we'll take Charlotte to her Adoption medical examination, and explore a shopping village, which I'm guessing will be quite an experience!
On a serious note, Charlotte appears to be teething. She chews on her fingers (and ours), and seems less content than usual. We are hoping she sleeps well tonight, and that she'll find comfort in the tylenol we can give her. Hopefullyh she'll be back to herself tomorrow.
Blessings and enjoy the new pictures!
Jay, Carla, Ethan, and Charlotte

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lazy Day and New Games

Well we had a pretty lazy day today. We had breakfast in the hotel and then met up with the rest of the families from our group who flew in today. It was so nice to see everyone with their new additions. When they arrived we were able to move into a new room in the renovated (or should I say re-invented as the sign in the hotel says) part of the hotel. Finally a queen size bed that is soft. We have been sleeping in full beds that were hard as rocks. Ethan was excited to see the flat screen TV too, pretty cool. We got unpacked in the new room and caught up with friends from the group. Then we ordered food with another family and had dinner together in the room to talk about our experience. It was so nice to hear each others storys. Tomorrow we will go to a folk art museum and the grocery store, so it should be fun. Hope everyone at home is doing well, we are in the final stretch now!!!
Oh, I almost forgot. Charlotte has a new game. I was kissing her today and when I stopped she made a little sound like "ha, ha, ha" (so sweet) and so I kissed her again. Now when she wants us to kiss her she will make that sound, it is so sweet and such a good sign about our bonding and attachment. We can't wait for you to all meet our sweet girl, she will steal your heart.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Zoo and Shopping Too!

Yesterday we spent the morning at the local zoo. We saw lots of monkies, bears, and of course, a beuatiful panda. After the morning at the zoo, We cam home for lunch and a nap. Carla and Wendy met up with a local guide named Ann and they went on a subway metro excursion for some local shopping. They had a ball finding lots of local treasures for us to take home. While they were shopping, I had some daddy time with Charlotte and Ethan. Charlotte loves to play. She clapped stacking cups together, laughs and giggles, and loves to shake her head from side to side when I say "no, no!" I know what your thinking, it's cute now but just wait. Until then, it's precious. Today we are awainting the return of all the other traveling families. this time we get to meet thier new babies! They should be coming in throughout the day today, so we;ll just relax here in the hotel, and I may venture out to the local mart to pick up more formula and water. One week until we return home!!! Yeah! Enjoy a few pics from the zoo.
Jay, Carla, Ethan, and Charlotte.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Charlotte Day 4

We are all doing so much better today. Charlotte woke this morning with a smile for all of us. She is starting to adjust more and more every day. She will only drink formula and juice for now, but I keep trying the cereal and bananas. She will do it eventually. She is so much more relaxed with all of us and is just a cutie!! We are enjoying having special moments with. Thanks again for the journal entries we love to hear from home. We are doing better with the looks too, we just ignore or stare back. She is beautiful little girl and we are so happy that she is our daughter and little sister. Today we went to a Museum and Ethan is excited to visit the zoo tomorrow. Thanks again for your prayers, we love and miss you all.

Carla, Jay, Ethan and Charlotte

From Ethan:
She is doing so good and getting really used to us. I like to play with her rings with her and play the drops game. She drops them and I pick them up. She gives us smiles and she laughs. I miss everybody. Love, Ethan

Charlotte Day 3

First let me start by saying, today is much better. We still have a ways to go but we are all feeling better by the moment. Let me say also, thank you so much for your writing us on the guestbook. It so helps to hear from home, please know that your words are so encouraging to us. It is hard to be a new mommy and daddy again in a foriegn country. Your words are extremely comforting. Thank you so much.
Okay, so more about Charlotte she is eating much better, which is a huge relief. She is showing more happy times too. She played and laughed with Ethan at breakfast and let me carry her in the hip carrier which she would not do yesterday. She is moving around more and almost crawled a little on the bed. She will go to either Jay or I which is a huge relief. She even let me clean her lip, which made this mommy so happy. They did not do that before we got her and there was a lot of dried "stuff" on it. I did not want to mess with it before today, which was hard for me, my babies never have messy faces. But while she was eating I cleaned it all off-yeah!! I am posting some pics of her playing with Daddy and Ethan. We have to leave at 2:30 to get her Chinese Passport so easy day today. Ethan is doing much better as well just getting a little bored. We are going to try and venture out of the hotel today but it is hard because so many people stare at Charlotte's lip. I know it is cultural thing, but still hard for a mommy to take. I am trying to be brave though. I may do another post tonight if I have time. Thanks again for your messages and prayers we feel them working.

Carla, Jay, Ethan and Charlotte

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Charlotte Day 2

Okay well today was harder than we anticipated. Charlotte stored up all of her emotion and crying (screaming) for today. First, we were having trouble getting her to eat. She would just not take any bottle I brought. When we met our guide she said we needed to cut the hole even bigger and maybe make it thicker. We went back to the civil affairs office to sign our Chinese portion of the paperwork. While we were there I was able to get Charlotte to drink about 5 oz. of juice, yeah! Then after leaving she was very hungry and letting us know about it. She screamed. We tried to make a bottle thick-well it gaged her. So she screamed all the way back to the hotel. Oh and I did not tell you that immediately after we got moving in the van she started to dry heave (nothing in her stomach to throw up) so she is definitely motion sick in vehicles. Please start praying now for our flight home. I came back to the hotel with Ethan and Charlotte and Jay and the other Dad with us went to the Chinese Walmart for some supplies. Charlotte would not let me console her at all and actually pushed me away. I finally just laid her down and let her cry herself to sleep. She slept and I of course had a break down. When she woke from her nap I tried just formula with the bigger slit nipple and she took it-praise God!! She was very alert after that. She played with her toys and smiled and laughed for us for about an hour and a half. We were so happy to see that. It did wonders for our heart. Then she closed up again but did take another bottle and went to sleep hopefully for the night. So we saw a glimmer of hope which will continue we know. Ethan is doing really well, he is a big help but it is hard on him to not have Charlotte interact with him yet, so say an extra prayer for him if you can. So that's where we are. Looking forward to lots more smiles and laughs tomorrow. Here are a couple of pics from our happy time.

Love you guys,
Carla, Jay, Ethan and Charlotte

Monday, November 5, 2007

We Have Charlotte!!!

Okay, I am making this a quick post because we have to pay by the hour for internet service in the hotel. We will try out the free wireless internet at Starbucks tomorrow to post more. We flew out of Bejing this morning to Guangzhou, leaving the hotel at 5:30am. Then we arrived checked into the hotel and went to the cival affairs office to meet Charlotte. We ended up having to wait about 1 1/2 hours the van from the orphanage was running late because one of the babies was having motion sickness. Of course that was Charlotte. Anyway they finally brought her in and she was good as gold. Not a single tear, but not really a smile either. I think she was a little shocked by the whole experience. She is starting to open up a little bit more the longer she is with us, so keep those prayers coming they are working. We are very blessed to have been chosen to be Charlotte's parents. We are so excited to have in our arms at last. We love you all, thanks for helping us get this far.

In Him,
Jay, Carla, Ethan and Charlotte (yeah, I can finally say that)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Day 2-Beijing

Another whirlwind of a day in Beijing. We started this morning with a very meaningful bi-lingual worship service at Beijing International Christian Fellowship. We sans songs like "Everlasting God" and "Blessed Be Your name" in English, and several other songs in Chinese. It was a beautiful service, with communion and a guest preacher. After Church it was off to a jade factory store, another lunch around a lazy susan, and then finally to the Great Wall. I thought it would be flater. Lots of steep steps. I think I saw an episode of the Amazing race that featured these steps, where the teams had to climb to the top. One of our Friends, Roy Duffey, says he made it to the top. He is in the picture waving. Ethan and I made it about 2/3 before He got tired and I got scared of heights! We had another lazy susan Chinese dinner and then went to see a acrobat performance! They were amazing! We are tired but having a wonderful time.
Tomorrow is the day! We will leave Beijing around 5:30am to head to Guangzhou to finally meet our Charlotte! Please pray for us for this upcoming day, and that God will increase our sleep tonight. After tomorrow, I'm told the pace slows down some. Let's hope.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Day One-Beijing

Wow, what a day!!! We started with breakfast in the hotel Lobby, which was good. Then we got on the bus at 8:30am and we are back in the hotel now at 8:30pm. We begain with a tour of Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City. From there we went to a pearl market, bought some pearl earrings for Charlotte and a bracelet for Mommy. Next was a Chinese Lunch, which was pretty good, just a couple of questionable items. Ethan enjoyed the rice. Next we went to the Summer Palace, a silk market and then a traditional Peking Duck dinner, you can see a picture of Jay making his "duck taco" and enjoying it. Oh and I forgot to tell you that Ethan is a celebrity here in China because of his blonde hair and blue eyes. I can't tell you how many people came up to him to shake his hand or touch him. Or just look and chuckle. He handled it all in style though! Tomorrow we head to and International Church service and then the Great Wall. Only two more days until we meet Charlotte-yeah!!! Oh, and we are meeting some fantastic people in our group so all in all even though we are ready for sleep, we had a wonderful day.

Friday, November 2, 2007

We're Here!

Just wanted to write a quick post to let everyone know that we arrived safely in China!!!! The flight was long and Ethan and I did not sleep much but we are going to get the bed early tonight. We have a full day of sightseeing ahead of us. We will update again tomorrow. Thanks for all your prayer for safe travel, we appreciate them all.

In Him,
Carla, Jay, and Ethan

Thursday, November 1, 2007

We're Off

Today is the day and we can hardly believe that this day is finally here! The bags are packed and this morning Papa will take us to the airport. Yesterday Carla and I worked steadly at packing until it was time for lunch. We went to get a bite to eat and when we came home, We had locked ourselves out of the house. Priceless! Every time we think we have it togehter, God tells us to slow down, relax, and let him have the driver's seat.
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to t give you a hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29: 11
Please continue to pray for us and other traveling families as we begin this long, exciting day! Pray specificily for safety, patience, jet-lag, and the upcoming transition.
~ Jay

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Travel Itinerary

Okay, I can't believe it but here it is our Itinerary while we are in China!!!

November 1st - November 17th
Thursday, Nov. 1st: Travel Day, Depart Norfolk at 10:30am
Friday, Nov. 2st: Arrive in Beijing at 2:20pm
Saturday, Nov. 3rd: Beijing Sight-Seeing: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Great Wall
Sunday Nov. 4th: Church Service and Summer Palace
Monday Nov. 5th: Morning Flight to Guangzhou-Afternoon-MEET CHARLOTTE!!
Tuesday, Nov. 6th: Civil Affairs Appointment
Nov. 7-10: Paper-work, Sight-seeing, Shopping
Nov. 11-14: Fill out Consulate Forms and Medical Exam
Thursday Nov. 15th: Consulate Appointment
Friday Nov. 16th: Pick-up Charlotte's Visa
Saturday, Nov. 17th: Depart Guangzhou to Beijing, Then Beijing to Norfolk, Arrive in Norfolk at 11:15 pm

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Update on Prayer Request

We serve an amazing God!!!! Our Travel Approval came today!!!!! Praise the Lord, we are so blessed! We still need prayers for our last little hurdle. Our agency will now request a Consulate Appointment for us in . This is where we get Charlotte’s Visa to return to the US. As long as they can secure the appt. for the 2nd week in November we should be able to leave on or around November 1st. We should know by Tuesday for sure! Keep those prayers coming-it is working!

Prayer Request

Hello Everyone,
We have a major prayer request today. We are still waiting on our Travel Approval. The last piece of paper we need before we can go get Charlotte. Our agency has a group leaving on November 1st. We really want to be part of that group!!!! Please be in prayer with us that God will move mountains and bring that TA to us from China very soon. We still have a chance to get in with the group if it comes in the next week and a half. Thank you for all your prayers thus far and please keep them coming! If we do not get in with the 11/1 group it may be closer to the end of Novemeber before we will be able to leave.

I posted a new pic of Charlotte. It was taken on the same day as the last photo believe it or not, but by a different family. It looks like she just woke up and needs her mommy, daddy and big brother to give her a BIG SQUEEZE!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

We have our LOA!!

We are so excited to let you all know that on Tuesday our agency received our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) from China. This is the letter that states we are okay with China and officially approved to adopt Charlotte. This letter usually arrives 70-90 days after you send in your Letter of Intent. Ours came on day 89-not a moment to soon! Our signed LOA should arrive back in China on Monday. We hope to get our official Travel Approval in the next 2-3 weeks so that we can leave on Nov. 1st But no matter how you look at it we should be traveling in November. We can't believe the time is almost here. Thank you so much for your continued prayers. We will keep you updated as to when we will be traveling for sure.
I have included another new picture of Charlotte. She is pulling herself up on chair in this picture. She must be a strong little girl.

Monday, September 17, 2007

More Pictures

I received a new picture of Charlotte today. The wonderful lady that updated me before, went and checked on her and took this picture for us. Here is her e-mail.

Dear Carla,
Hi there i went to day to see her and she is doing very well.
I took this photo and she was sleeping so soundly,i went back to see her before i left and she smiled at me when i said mummy is coming soon .
This photo was taken to day at 3 pm.
Love sandra
This was a needed boost to get us through the rest of the wait.

We received another picture of Charlotte from a family that visited her orphanage in July/August. They told me that she was crawling around looking very sure of herself. Check out the pic below.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

New Photos

I just recently found a yahoo chat group for adoptive families from Charlotte's orphanage. Sometimes families are able to tour the orphanage while in China. They often take pictures of the children and then post them. I found 4 more pictures of Charlotte!!!! In a couple of the photos she looks a little sick which makes me sad, but in the other 2 she looks great. It makes me all the more excited to go and get her NOW!!! I know be patient Enjoy!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Lateset News and Finding Ad

We are still moving along with more paperwork to bring Charlotte home. We need to have a home study update completed because in Virginia your home study can only be 1 year old at the time of adoption. We also need to have our fingerprints done again for Immigration. Luckily, we get one free extension so we do not have to pay for that again That change just took place on July 30th! We have also through the help of located Charlotte's finding ad. In China, when a child is abondoned, the orphange must run an ad in the local paper, an attempt to find the child's parents or family before they are placed up for adoption. Charlotte's ad was run on January 20, 2007 (she was already almost 7 months old.) The finding ad reads: Yangchun Hua Sha, Female, On June 27, 2006 she was found at the gate of the Yangchun City Welfare Institute. She has small eyes, a little hair and a cleft palate and lip. Claim unit: Yangchun City Welfare Institute.

We think she is probaby 5 or 6 months??? old in the photo. I have also included a picture of all the entire newspaper page, look at all those beautiful children who need forever families just like Charlotte. Keep those prayers coming for us and Charlotte. We still have quite a bit of $$$ to raise for our travel expenses. We have applied for one grant and are working on another now. So your prayers for financial needs to be met as well would be wonderful. We will keep you updated

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Call

I posted this on my yahoo group through my agency. That group has been a wonderful source of encourgement through this journey. I wanted to share the story will all of you as well.

Hey Guys,I have been wanting to share a story with you all about our referral but needed to wait a little while for everything to sink in. But I wanted to share with you how God has worked in our lives and through this journey. So here goes. When calls started the last week of June, we had not heard anything. From going through previous batches I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that Charlotte was not in the batch. I was sad, but since the day I turned this entire process over to God he has continued to bring me peace throughout. So I cried and prayed and hugged my husband and prepared for another 3 month wait. That same night I received an email from Lisa Cox a member of our yahoo group. She said she felt led by God to contact me. She was praying for all of us waiting and the picture of my family on our website kept coming to her mind. She searched her favorites list (don't we all have lots of blogs on ours too:) and found our website. She really felt that God was telling her that Charlotte was being prepared for us, she didn't know if that meant now or not but she had to let me know. But still no phone call. The next day one of the special friends I have made through the yahoo group e-mailed to let me know she had gotten a call. I was really excited for her family but still no call for us. So I knew it was not meant to be even though we had been praying to get to travel together. That Thursday I was sitting in the movie theatre with my son Ethan waiting for Surf's Up to start. I had just silenced by cell phone when I felt it vibrate. I looked at the # and it was a 703 area code. I could not believe it. It was Lauren and she was giving me info on a little girl. I was in total shock. I called my husband and told him to meet me at home when the movie was over to open the email together. Now don't get me wrong Surf's Up was a great movie, but boy was it ever LONG!!! I did not want to tell Ethan yet, since we still had to read the file, get Dr. opinions and pray over this little girl. My husband and I finally got home and opened the e-mail. Wow it was so much to wrap our heads around. You have this picture of what your little girl will look like and then you actually have a picture. Doubt started in on us immediately, can we really do this. Can we go through the surgeries with her, how will Ethan react, what will our families think and on and on. Now I will back track just a little, a few days earlier (before the call) I asked Jay to write an update for our website. In his reflections he talked about the song Bring the Rain recorded by Mercy Me. I even wrote a post about the song and how it was really speaking to our hearts. We lead worship at our Church and started practicing the song. On the Thursday we got our call we had Praise Team Practice. We were going through Bring the Rain and the sun was shining. All of a sudden I looked up and it was raining, with the sun shining. Jay and I looked at each other and knew that God was nudging us. I also during these couple days talked to Sarah Strand, who adopted little Esther last November with a cleft lip/palate. She was so wonderful. She really helped me see that we could do this. It is so awesome how God puts people in your path for very specific reasons. We continued to pray and over the next day God calmed my heart and I knew that this was our Charlotte. Jay knew too, and before we even met with our pediatrician we had already made our decision. It is so wonderful to know that God chose her and crafted every moment of our journey this far and will continue to do so. Every detail scripted so that we would know his plan. We would know without a doubt that he had given us the desires of our heart. We can't wait to see what the rest of our journey will bring. We know that we are going to blessed beyond measure by this little girl.I wanted to reaffirm for all of us that God is in control of our journeys. He has already chosen our children and he will reveal them to us in his perfect timing. How Great He IS!!!!! It is so hard on certain days to wait, but I sing over and over in my mind "Bring me joy, Bring me peace, Bring the chance to be free, Bring me anything that brings you Glory"Jay and I pray for all of us everyday. And we can't wait to see what God has in store for each of our families.

In Him,Carla L.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


We received our referral on June 28th. Our Letter of Intent was sent to China on 7/5/07.

Here is the info we have about Charlotte:
DOB: 6/25/2006 (She just celebrated her 1st birthday)

Once we have the appropriate paperwork done we will post her picture. She is a CUTIE!!!
She is in the Guangdong Province of China and has been in the Yang Chun Social Welfare institute since she was abandoned at 2 days old. Her file says she is closest to her caregiver and likes to bury her head in your chest when being held (how sweet!) She does have a special need as she was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. She will need surgery for both once we return from China. We have already met with our pediatrian and he feels that other that the lip/palate she is very healthy. We have also sent her info on to a craniofacial specialist to review so that we can be ready to move forward when we return. Again I will post her picture soon, but for now know that we are so excited that God has chosen us to be the parents of such a special little girl.
In Him,
Jay, Carla and Ethan

Monday, June 25, 2007

So Far....Jay's Reflections

Dear Friends,
What a journey this has been so far. As God prepares us for the time when Charlotte joins our family, I wanted to take an opportunity to reflect on where we are so far. My what a journey it has been! Carla and I were talking recently about how resolved we've felt lately. Through this long process we have truly realized that God’s timing is perfect. He does things for the sole purpose of bringing glory to Himself, and what a celebration it will be when He tells us to go get Charlotte! Every day we become a little more at peace with God’s perfect will for us (even though we are still anxious, especially when we hear about the possibility new referrals!). Many of you know that Carla and I lead worship at our church, Messiah UMC in Chesapeake. God always puts songs in my path that speak directly to my heart. Lately the song He has blessed me with is “Bring the Rain” by MercyMe. In the last few years, as God has brought us along in this journey through infertility, IVF, and now the miracle of adoption, it is clear to me that God is truly using our lives to bring glory to Him.
Praise God for the journey.

Bring the Rain - MercyMe
I can count a million times people asking me how
I Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me, can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You?
Maybe since my life was changed, long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord, my only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray…Bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus, bring the rain
I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray…

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

7 Month LID

Well, we have been Logged in with China for almost 7 months now and we started this journey almost 13 months ago. Where are we now? Well, we all know that we are waiting to meet Charlotte but I have also learned some important lessons in this last year. God has really used this journey to teach me so much. I am the kind of person that is extremely organized, everything is planned out down to the second, and when a kink is thrown into "my plan" I get very anxious about it. I have always been this way, as my mother likes to remind me, and I have a son who is this way as well. He always wants to know "so what is the plan for today." But through our adoption journey so far the overwhelming lesson is "there is not a my plan." God is definitely in control and I have to give in to his will. No matter how much I want to change this, or do something else, or ask another question, I can't make the process faster or more efficient. No matter how hard I try:) But, it has been good for me. I find myself more and more just saying, go with the flow Carla. It is all in God's hands and all you can do is pray about it and lean on him. Actually, what a burden that is lifted off of me. It is not my "problem" to fix, I don't have to come up with answers, or a more efficient way of completing the task. God will do it all for me-how awesome! We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our Charlotte is out there, we just have to be patient and wait on Him. Thanks for taking this journey with us and for your encouragement and prayers. We appreciate it more than you know.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Big Question

And the answer to that question is unfortunately no! There are a couple of things that we do know however; there are more families on the Special Needs list than have been in the past. And it will all work out in God's timing. We are praying that God will bring her to us as soon as possible. In my last post I am sure you could tell that I was a little down in the dumps about the wait. This is a roller coaster ride after all, but Jay said something to me that has really helped. He said, Carla you keep saying it is going to take forever for her to get here, it is going to be 2 years before we see a referral.......but you are forgetting that God is HUGE! He can do anything! So instead of praying to get through the long wait, let's start praying that he brings Charlotte to us now! He can do it, we just need to have faith in Him. I have felt so much better concentrating on those words and every night we pray as a family (Ethan included) that God will bring Charlotte to us soon! I read on our agency's Weekly Update that AWAA will be receiving a small batch of new Special Needs referrals in the next few weeks. This is an unexpected batch and there is a very real possibility that Charlotte is not in those referrals but we are fervently praying that she is, and if she is not we will contine to wait upon the Lord. The biggest lesson that God has taught us through this process so far is is to Be Patient, Trust in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart according to his perfect plan. So continue to pray with us that Charlotte comes home soon!