Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Wait Continues for Ministry Approval

Today marks 7 weeks that my file has been with the Ministry awaiting their approval. The bad news is that’s about 3 weeks longer than I anticipated it would take. The good news is that when I went to put my final Dossier together last week I realized I’d misplaced my long form birth certificate (BC) somewhere in the house and needed to order another one. Having done that this past Monday I’m sure the original will show up any day now! Until then I wait for approval and my BC. The BC has a guaranteed 15 business day turnaround. Which will come first? BC or approval? Trust’ll know when either happens!

Back to the waiting. It’s all a part of International adoption and just part of the process. Word on the adoption boards is that the stork has left China once again and people with login dates in late April/early May of 2005 are anxiously awaiting their referral calls any day now! While I wait, I celebrate with online friends who are meeting their daughters (via picture) for the very first time! Referral day...a life changing day when a prayed for, anticipated, celebrated baby becomes a real person with a name and picture! My heartbeat quickens just at the thought!!!

Dear Lord, Please watch over baby Hannah. You know exactly where she is and as referral times lengthen I begin to think again that she is still warm and protected, being created and formed by you. I give her to you already. Please care for her and then precious woman who is carrying her. Thank you Lord.

Disney Trip - Day 4 (Tues. Dec 13/05)

Tuesday morning we started off by having breakfast at our hotel. R’s b’fast came complete with a Mickey shaped plate, waffle and apple sauce.

Epcot was the park of the day as we had lunch booked in ‘The Land’ pavilion in the late afternoon. We stopped for a snack at ‘The Coral Reef Restaurant’ which was a neat experience. It’s normally ‘fine dining’ but for us it was ‘fine snacking’ that day! The Coral Reef is one of those little known restaurants that offers something unique. The one wall of the restaurant is the aquarium tank, below sea level so while eating you’re watching the fish, sharks and sometimes scuba divers swim by. Hmm...wonder if the fish were more than a little concerned that the main dishes served in the restaurant are seafood!

While visiting ‘The Living Seas’ pavilion, we took in one of Disney’s newest attractions, ‘Turtle Talk with Crush.’ Absolutely amazing and a must see!!! We sat in the ‘people tank’ while Crush visited with us from his aquarium. He was quick to point out that we had no water in our people tank so he couldn’t figure out how we were breathing! This interactive show is great! Crush talks with the kids who are sitting on the floor of the people tank and answers their questions. All I can say is it was a ton of fun and full of Disney magic! Don’t miss it if you go!

Lunch was a quiet affair with only 3 other families we could see in this restaurant that rotates through ‘The Land’ ride and other attractions! (Late seatings for character dining often finds smaller crowds and thus lots of time with the characters!) Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale all came to our table at least 3 times before heading in for a snack. Rebecca enjoyed figuring out what kind of snack each character might like. Nuts were always in order for Chip and Dale but Mickey alternated between cheese and ice cream! (I’d go for the ice cream if I were you Mickey!)

After lunch we headed to R’s favourite place at Epcot - Character Connection. Are you surprised? I’m guessing you’re quickly seeing a theme here and meeting characters was the highlight of her trip.

By this point in our day, evening was upon us and darkness had set in. This offers a whole other side of Disney! We spent time watching the huge fountain that danced and changed colours as Christmas music filled the air. From there we walked under the wonderfully lit archway bridging the transition between Future World and the World Showcase. We were women on a mission to find the best seat we could for the upcoming fireworks display but had plenty of time to find just the right spot.

On our trip around the world we took time in Mexico to try on the perfect sombrero! A stop in China (of course!) allowed me the opportunity to purchase a flag of China. We continued around the world stopping to purchase a pretzel in Germany, listen to a choir in the United States and finally find our perfect viewing spot for the fireworks - in Canada!
Once again Disney outdid themselves and served up a firework display that was breathtaking! Following the normal 14min. display there was a 3 min. addition of Christmas music featuring red, white and green fireworks. The finale was so grand (and loud!) that it reverberated in our chests! Wow!!! is all I can say!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Disney Trip - Day 3 (Mon. Dec 12)

Monday morning we were off to Animal Kingdom after a shorter than normal but good night’s rest. The day dawned bright and sunny and stayed that way all day. Temps. were in the high 60's/low 70's all week which was absolutely perfect!
After a quick visit with Meeko, we made our way to the far end of the park and rode Kilimanjaro Safaris. There was no wait at all and by the time we reached the ride we walked right onto our safari jeep. What a treat to see all the animals awake, moving around and close enough to see them well. When we rode this ride last year it was a rainy morning and the animals were hard to find. I’d prepared myself for it to be the same this time so seeing so much was a great surprise! We saw hippos, rhinos, elephants (including a baby!), giraffes, zebras and many more!

From ‘Africa’ we headed across the park to Dinoland, taking time during our walk to enjoy the Tree of Life (ToL) from many angles. It was fun to see how many animals we could find in the tree. On our last trip Rebecca didn’t care for the ToL but this time she was fascinated by it! (I quickly learned to re-introduce her to things she didn’t care for last time as the year-and-a-half between our trips made a big difference in her comfort level. She’s still a timid little mite at times but I wouldn’t want her to be any other way!) A quick detour to meet the ‘Pooh’ characters and then on to Dinoland. She wasn’t in the mood to ride any rides but was more than happy to pose for pictures while running around the ‘Bone Yard.’ The Bone Yard was a great place for her to run off energy and me to enjoy a rest from walking around. It’s a glorified playground with lots of places to climb and slide and parents to relax for a bit. With the exception of Epcot, each Disney park has a place like this and it’s great for the kids and parents too.

Next we moved on to see a couple of stage shows. ‘Tarzan Rocks’ was a fun show featuring amazing rollerblading displays and lots of music to get ya up and moving! After Tarzan we walked back to Africa and saw ‘The Lion King.’ Great show with wonderful costumes! Very interactive which is always fun too.

The Lion King show gets out right beside, ‘Camp Minnie Mickey’ which is a wonderful place for the children to meet characters as it’s lines are often shorter here than in other parks. Rebecca was thrilled to meet Minnie and Mickey too.

At this point, the adventure I alluded to last time began! She decided she’d also like to meet Goofy, if I went with her and stood beside Goofy for the picture. While we were in line we were approached by a couple of cast members who asked us if we would like to help them out. Thinking they might want us to complete a survey or something I said ‘sure.’ You can imagine our surprise and excitement when we were asked to ride on Goofy’s float in the parade that afternoon! Too cool!!! We couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough!
We needed to be at the parade gate at 2:15 which was about 45 mins. away. We stopped and had lunch but were basically far too excited to eat much. After a quick potty stop we went to the gate to wait with the other 4 families that would participate in the parade. I snapped this picture of Rebecca calling Grandma and Grandpa to tell them about the parade. You can see the excitement in her face!

We were not allowed to take any pictures once behind the gate but all I can say is that it was magical! We were dressed in red and green vests and matching Goofy hats complete with reindeer antlers and red noses. From the moment we walked up to the float Goofy played with her as she called out to him. She blew him kisses and he’d grab his nose as they landed which made her giggle all the more!
The music on the float is quite loud so we were each given a pair of earplugs to wear for the duration of the parade. Believe me, I know every single beat of the jungle version of ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’ by heart after hearing it for 30 mins over....and over......and over! :o) Rebecca was so excited that her little legs never stopped kicking and she waved at everyone! I was surprised at how many people took pictures of total strangers on a float! Once our float left the gate a cast member took a couple of pictures of us with a disposable camera. I still need to get that developed but will post 1 when I get it.

As our float arrived back in the staging area we watched the remainder of the parade from the gate. Rebecca called out to Mickey and waved at him as his float entered the staging area. After climbing down he motioned for her to come over and posed for this great picture! She was quickly becoming Mickey’s girl!’d better watch out!

After a fun day at Animal Kingdom filled with great excitement we headed back to the hotel to change for dinner. We had reservations at ‘Chef Mickey’s’ in the Contemporary Resort and this was the Character meal Rebecca was most looking forward to. She had an absolute BLAST!!! Dancing with Donald Duck! Posing with Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale and Goofy.
I love the look in her eyes in this picture! We were only 3 days into our trip and there was still so much before us but already we had built memories that would last a lifetime!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Disney Trip - Sunday, Dec. 11 - Part II

Sunday evening Rebecca and I had tickets to, 'Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party' (MVMCP) and what a party it was!!! From the moment we entered the Magic Kingdom you could feel the excitement in the air! It was Disney, it was Christmas and it was snowing on Main Street! Who could ask for more? Even though snow is nothing new for us it was still really neat to have it snow in Florida! That being said, R quickly realized that eating this snow (unfortunately something she still does in Canada when we're not watching!) wasn't very was made from soap! We both laughed as she shouted, 'Auntie's Tide!' (This is an inside joke in our family as this past summer at the cottage grandma accidently put Tide in R's apple sauce thinking it was sugar! A reminder to myself to keep things in their original containers...even when downsizing for the cottage! Other than a really clean tongue, R was fine and we have gotten a lot of mileage out of that story!)

After wandering through the snow storm on Main Street we picked up a free hot chocolate and cookie and headed for Tomorrowland where 'Mickey's Twas the Night Before Christmas' was being performed on stage. It was great and I must admit to tearing up a bit when the Dancing Reindeer and Marching Soldiers first appeared! Being a Disney fanatic, I've seen these on TV Christmas Day for years but this time they were REAL! Too cool!

After the stage show we headed back towards Main Street where the first parade was winding by. Taking advantage of the shorter lines we had our free official MVMCP picture taken and also grabbed another cup of HC to warm us up a little. It was a cool night and quite damp. A Disney photographer took some pics of us with the castle behind us. Unfortunately, mine didn't turn out too well as it's hard to hold the camera still long enough for the long exposure.

By this time, the first parade was finished so we found the 'perfect' spot on the side of the roadway to watch the castle stage show, the Christmas firework display and the 2nd parade! There is nobody, and I mean nobody who does fireworks better than Disney! Timed perfectly to Christmas music it was a display that took my breath away! Watching the video makes me laugh as the excitement we were feeling is very evident on the video! What fun!

Unfortunately, the dampness in the air caused the cancellation of the last 2 stage shows that were scheduled to play on the castle stage. After the first number was cautiously presented it was announced that due to the weather, the show had to be cancelled. I would much rather miss the show then risk someone falling on a damp stage. They had 25 people out mopping and drying the stage with towels for more than 20 mins. so it wasn't for lack of trying on their was just too wet!

Because of the dampness, R was bundled up for the parade too. If I'd known how chilly it would have been I'd have brought her winter coat from the room but didn't do that. Next time! The parade was all we could have hoped for and so much more! It was complete with every character imaginable, dancing snowmen and gingerbread men, marching soldiers, dancing reindeer and Santa himself....Wow!

By this point it was 11pm and many people were leaving the park. Not my party girl and I...the night was still young and we had 1 hour left! So much to do...So little time! We jumped onto Cinderella's Golden Carousel and galloped off to the land of princesses and imagination! From there it was time to take to the skies with Dumbo the Flying Elephant! (A quick look at Dumbo gives you an idea of the humidity that was in the air.) Our final adventure for the night was a visit to Mickey's Philharmagic. An amazing 3D movie that came complete with the smell of apple pie and water being sprayed in our faces as the water splashed off the rocks in, 'The Little Mermaid.' If you are going to Disney, Mickey's Philharmagic is one of the 'musts' to do!

Our evening at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party was AMAZING! We had a great time but were more than ready for bed when we finally arrived there sometime after 1am! I guess the best indication of just how tired my Boo was was when she fell asleep standing up on the bus ride home! Guess we'd gone hard that day and we were ready for a good night's sleep. After all...we still had 5 more days of partying in the parks to come!

Can't wait to tell you about Monday's adventure and the really cool thing that happened to us! Here's a couple of little hints...can you guess what we might have been asked to do Monday?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Matching Room Picture

Part of my Dossier includes 6 pictures of myself, family, home, etc. Then, there is 1, and only 1 picture that goes into the infamous 'Matching Room.' (This is a picture of the Matching Room) Each and every one of these files represents a person/couple just like me who is anxiously waiting for the referral of their child. No wonder it takes a while to receive it! The files represented here are for people throughout the world who have been approved by the Chinese government to adopt a child and now each child will be perfectly matched to their parent(s)!

I know that God has already matched Hannah and I but it's still neat to think that He will match us in this very room. There is only 1 picture that will make it to the actual 'matching room' and this is it:
You can imagine my original horror when I was told that it was my Passport picture that went to the matching room. Nooooo! Too scary! If you're really brave (and I mean really brave) you can click here and see the picture I thought my daughter was going to be matched to. Yikes! Since we can't smile for Passport pictures in Canada, about the only thing missing from that mug shot is a number board! glad I was allowed to have a new Passport sized picture taken where I could smile! Oh so happy! I'm not sure what features they're looking for as there's not going to be a lot alike between us looks wise but somehow they do this and absolutely everyone says their child is the perfect match for them!

I do find myself thinking at times, 'I wonder what she'll inherit from me? My smile? My fingers?' And then I catch myself. Hannah is so much a part of my life already that I briefly forget we are going to meet via adoption rather than be related biologically. That just fine with me and she also won't have to worry about inheriting Mommy's lesser-attractive body parts either!

Still Waiting for Ministry Approval

I tell you...I'm so glad God is in charge of this timeline because if it was me I'd think it was moving too slowly!

My file was submitted the the Ontario Government on December 1st. At that time approvals were taking about 4 weeks. I figured with Christmas and New Years in there it would probably take a little longer but really hoped it would be approved by now. Nope! I received an email from my agency today letting me know that they had contacted the Ministry yesterday and there had been no recent adoption approvals. :o( My agency alone has 6 files awaiting approval so I wonder how many there are that belong to other agencies? Ugh! This is the first delay I've had in my adoption paperwork so I have ZERO reasons to complain so instead of complaining I'm just...hmmmm...complaining! Yup! Gotta call it what it is! Oh well.

On another note, referrals from China have also slowed down. Does it sound selfish to say I'm thankful I know this before my files goes over? I can't imagine what it's like for those who thought they'd have been to China and back already with their babies yet at this point don't even have a referral and it's looking a ways off. hard! (Referral = THE CALL! The time your agency calls and tells you the name, date of birth, weight, height, province of birth, etc. about YOUR child! That day or the following day you see a picture of your child for the very first time!) In the summer referrals were being received approx 6 months after a file was logged in China. The current wait times are 8.5 - 9 months and may be getting longer still. Again, oh so glad that God's in charge of all this!

All I have is questions...He has all the answers and, in HIS time all will be revealed. He knows who Hannah is and is waiting for His perfect time to introduce us - first by a picture and then 6-8 weeks later in person!!!

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Wonderful Remembrance....God's Preparation 18 years ago!

As you know, I've been living, breathing, and sleeping adoption for the past year. A few weeks ago I remembered something really neat that happened to me almost 18 years ago. I had thought about it on and off over the years but now it held all new meaning to me!

It was August of 1988 and I was 22yo girl returning from a wonderful trip visiting friends in the Philippines, having helped them after the birth of their 2nd son. After spending 8 weeks together, I was heartbroken to leave my friends and especially the beautiful baby boy who had grabbed hold of my heartstrings from the moment he was born and never let go.

I was on a flight from Japan to Seattle, WA which was probably 12+ hours. From the moment I boarded the plane in Japan I noticed 3 caucasian women with 3 Asian babies and 2 toddlers. Well, if you know me, I was immediately pulled to these women and chatted with them the first opportunity I had. It was during this first chat that I found out these women were the wives of Northwest Airlines pilots and they were flying these beautiful children home to the US to meet their adoptive parents for the very first time! Yes, you guessed it. Part way through the trip I offered to hold a beautiful baby girl as she flew to meet her new family. I was able to feed her (a new challenge as at the time she had an unrepaired cleft lip and pallate), care for her and hold her close. She filled a void in my arms for a few hours and I in turn had a very small part in transitioning her to her new home.

I left those dear ladies and precious babies in Seattle as they boarded a plane to take them elsewhere in the US but I never forgot those beautiful almond eyes of coal and dark hair that graced my world if only for a couple of hours. She will never remember me but I in turn, will never forget her!

Just think! Approximately one year an almost identical situation will happen in my life and yet it will be oh so different!!!
~ the lady carrying that beautiful baby girl onto the plane will be me...and I will be called, 'Mom!'
~ those almond shaped eyes of coal that gaze back at me will be those of my daughter
~ that little head of black hair will be mine to brush and put into cute little pig tails that stick straight out!
~ I will be the one to carry her through Immigration and proudly introduce her to Canada as my daughter
~ my family and friends will be the people on the other side of the arrivals gate, welcoming us home as a new family!

Yes, God was preparing me for Hannah almost 18 years ago....I just didn't know it! His timing is always perfect! 18 years ago I know I couldn't have handled the thought of being single without a child until I was 40. Now I know it's His perfect plan for my life and I'm thankful for His plan and the steps of preparation that He has placed in my life!

Letter of Presentation...phew...tough to write!

I have just completed writing the first draft of my, 'Letter of Presentation' and to be honest, I'm emotionally exhausted and feel on the verge of tears! This letter is sent to the Chinese Government requesting the honour and priveledge of adopting a child from their country. It must be written with great respect and care yet at the same time I wanted it to come from my heart. How do I put on 2 pages all my heart is feeling and how much I love this little girl whom I have never met? How do I show these wonderful people that she will be loved and cared for? I know that this will happen but it's so hard to put it onto paper. Also, having to write the words, 'I promise never to abuse or abandon my child' were really, really hard. I know I will never do this but it just seemed awful to actually put pen to paper and include this in the letter but included it must be. Another really difficult part to omit was the portion of how I feel this is God's will for my life and that He is leading this entire process. I believe this with all my heart and even though I cannot write this in the letter I will share it with my daughter when she is old enough to understand.

I've often been told that the adoption process will be an emotional rollercoaster and today was just another example of that. How can I long to hold someone so badly that I have never met? How can there be such an ache in my heart for this baby girl? Why do I feel like I miss her already? It's going to be a long year!

Dealing with what I'm feeling, I can't begin to imagine what her birth mother must be going through. I ache to hold Hannah and have only a year to wait. She must/will ache to hold her baby girl and this ache will never be fulfilled.

Oh God, please help this precious woman deal
with the loss of her beautiful daughter. Please hold
this dear lady in your loving arms and comfort
her as only You can.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Open Arms Open House #2

This afternoon I went to another Open Arms Open House in Toronto. This is a time when all 'waiting families' can get together, meet, talk and share in the adoption process together. Last time I attended an open house in October 2005 I had yet to begin my homestudy. When I went today is was great to say that my homestudy was complete and that my file had been with the Ontario Government for the past 5 weeks. Hopefully their approval will come soon! I met 2 other families that may be in my travel group. One already had ministry approval and the other was submitted about 3 weeks after me.

Another good thing that happened was that I met 3 other single ladies who are with Open Arms and also in the process of adopting their first child. They had met previously and had since gotten together a couple of times. They've invited me to join them the next time they get together which I'm really happy about. It's wonderful meeting others who are adopting and to have the role of 'single mom' in common is an even greater bond.

It was a great day! Can't believe it will probably be a year until I hold my daughter for the very first time yet in saying that I can't believe it will be a year this Wednesday when I first decided to look into adopting from China! I pray this next year goes as quickly as this last one has!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Adoption Timeline

*** Last updated March 25, 2009 ***

I'm often asked how the adoption timeline is going so I thought I'd share what has been so far and what the anticipated (very flexible) dates may be for the next steps in my journey to mommyhood. This timeline covers all the nitty gritty details!

Jan 11, 2005 ~ Decided to adopt a little girl from China
Jan 26 ~ Attended Information session at Oshawa Public Library
Jan 28 ~ Placed on Open Arms to International Adoption’s singles waiting list
Feb 27 ~ Attended Information session hosted by Open Arms
March 27 ~ Submitted request to Ontario Government for long form birth certificate
April 30 ~ Helped with Open Arms’ Silent Auction
May 19 ~ Received long form birth certificate
May 30 ~ Advised by Deborah Maw that I could begin my homestudy
June 13 ~ Initial visit with Sal Garofalo, my social worker
June 15 ~ Adoption placed on hold for the first time - praying and seeking guidance

June 28 ~ Met with Pastor Rick. Prayed with him and discussed my feelings. A wonderful visit! Such a wise, godly man!
July 4 ~ Physical and blood work - Dr. Fitzpatrick
Aug 15 ~ Slowly began to proceed with adoption but to be honest at this point I’m going ahead without the reassurance that this is what I should be doing
Aug 22 ~ Submitted local police check request
Aug 29 ~ Received local police check back
Aug 31 ~ Fingerprints taken by friend Pat Sayer
Sept 1 ~ Fingerprints mailed to the RCMP
Sept 6 ~ Officially registered with Open Arms. I have an official file #!
Sept 12 ~ Adoption placed on hold for the second time - seeking God’s guidance. I only want what He wants. Waiting on Him for direction.
Sept 14 ~ Fingerprints received back from RCMP
Sept 28 ~ Second meeting with Pastor Rick
Oct 17 ~ Talked with Madge Ellis about her adoption of her daughter Debbie. By the end of that conversation I knew that proceeding with the adoption is what God is leading me to do!!!
Oct 18 ~ Told Mom and Dad to prepare for China! The adoption is a GO!
Oct 23 ~ Open House hosted by Open Arms. Met a number of other singles and couples who are also in the process of adopting from China.
Nov 10 ~ First in-home homestudy visit with Sal
Nov 18 ~ Second in-home homestudy visit with Sal
Nov 25 ~ Homestudy completed and signed!
Nov 28 ~ Homestudy sent priority mail to Open Arms
Nov 29 ~ Service Agreement signed with Open Arms
Nov 29 ~ Homestudy received by Open Arms
Dec 1 ~ Homestudy delivered to Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services
Jan 8, 2006 ~ Attended second Open Arms Open House
Jan 23, 2006 ~ Reapplied for long-form Birth Certificate
Feb 2, 2006 ~ Received long-form Birth Certificate
Feb 6, 2006 ~ Dossier Couriered to Open Arms
Feb 16, 2006 ~ Received Ministry Approval!
March 13, 2006 ~ Dossier to China!!!
March 23, 2006 ~ File Logged with China Center of Adoption Affairs!!!
March 8, 2007 ~ Dossier is through the Review Room and in the MATCHING ROOM!!!
Jan 14, 2008 ~ Applied for new police clearance to update Ontario Ministry on Community and Social Services which is due by April 30, 2008. (After a mini-update is done with my social worker to extend my current approval until April 30th. The Ontario government recently changed their approval requirements and require new/updated paperwork due to the extended wait.)
Jan 17, 2008 ~ Physical to update Ministry approval
February 8, 2008 ~ Completed mini-update with Social Worker to extend Ontario Ministry approval until April 30, 2008
April 20, 2008 ~ Completed 2 year update paperwork with Social Worker to exteng Ontario Ministry approval until April 30, 2010. Praying I do not need to extend it again!!!
January 15, 2009 ~ Applied for Part I of Hannah's Canadian Citizenship. Part II will be completed in Beijing!
February 28, 2009 ~ Passport Renewal applied for
March 12, 2009 ~ Part I of Citizenship approved!!
March 13, 2009 ~ Passport arrived. Good for another 5 years!
August 29, 2009 ~ Saw my sweet daughter's face for the very first time!!!
September 12, 2009 ~ Open Arms Travel meeting. We're leaving for China October 29th and Hannah will be in my arms on November 2nd!!!

Disney Trip - Day 2 (Sun. Dec 11) Part I

After a good night’s sleep on Saturday night (11 hours!) we were ready for our first full day...and we do mean FULL! What better way to begin then dining with the Princesses? Rebecca donned her Jasmine outfit (thanks Jasmine B!) and we were ready to begin!
If you haven’t dined Disney style then it’s something you might want to do if you ever get the chance! We arrived at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot about 20 mins early for our 10:10 reservation. Soon after leaving our name we were summoned to the dining room...,’Announcing the Royal reservation of Ryan - Party of 2.’ Oh what fun! We were assigned a personal hostess who stayed with us, answered any questions we might have, offered to take pictures and introduced us to Belle who was wearing her golden ball gown. She signed autographs and posed for pictures with a wide-eyed, excited 6yo! We’d never seen Belle in her ball gown before!
During our breakfast of fresh fruit, Florida orange juice (yumm!), fresh baked goods, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns we were visited by Mulan, Mary Poppins, Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and Snow White! Talk about dining with Royalty! Each princess visited the table, signed Rebecca’s autograph album, talked with her and posed for pictures. Such fun!

After breakfast we headed over to ‘The Land’ and took in Epcot’s new hit attraction, ‘Soarin’...WOW!!! It’s a must see if you’re at Disney. We’d picked up Fast Passes before going for breakfast so didn’t have to wait in the hour+ line to get in. Gotta like that! Soarin’ is a ride where you feel like you’re hang gliding over California - the orange groves (complete with the smell of oranges), beautiful rivers surrounded by fir trees, the ocean and of course, Disneyland. Rebecca didn’t like this ride but I think she kinda freaked herself out before we even got in line. She did peak a little at the end but quickly decided it was not a ride she wanted to do twice. Oh well, there’s always next trip...whenever that may be.

Soarin’ was followed by a cookie baking opportunity for Boo, hosted by Nestle. Figured since she’d ridden Soarin’ for me it was my turn to do something for her. We also rode, ‘The Land’ and saw some really neat things. Imagine...plants growing without soil, pumpkins shaped like Mickey Mouse and 1 tomato plant that had thousands and thousands of little tomatoes on it! We also had an opportunity to meet a few characters at the new, ‘Character Connection’ at Epcot. Boo was still pretty timid but did meet Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald plus Chip and Dale. She didn’t always want them to touch her but they always complied and took pictures near her, rather than touching her. A ride on ‘Spaceship Earth’ was our last adventure at Epcot that day.

Next, we did some shopping at Downtown Disney and found cute matching Minnie Mouse Christmas hats that we would wear for the majority of the week. Well....I wore it most of the week but after a few day’s Rebecca changed alliances and her hat was worn backwards as a Mickey hat! After shopping we headed back to the room for a bit of a rest. It was about 4:30 by this point but we still had much fun in store for us! ‘Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party’ was on tap for the evening...but that’s another entry at another time.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

2006! Wow! Wasn't it just yesterday we were stocking up food and water just incase things didn't go as planned when we welcomed in the year 2000?

2005 was an exciting year in my life and if you're reading this, you probably know why. It was in January 2005 that the Lord laid it on my heart to begin the adoption process of a precious baby girl from China. It was an emotional year and one where I was reminded that I need to truly rely on God and leave everything to Him. He is my Saviour, guide and friend and I am continuing to trust Him as He leads me into a new role that I welcome with open arms; the wonderful world of Mommyhood! Will it be in 2006? Only the Lord knows. He knows the year, month, day, hour, minute and second that Hannah and I will meet face to (teary) face for the very first time! As excited as I am about this happening, I want it in His time and daily leave the adoption in God's hands asking Him to protect Hannah and love her for me until the day we meet. I don't know if she's born yet and I pray that if she's not, God will form her, protect her and also be with her precious parents. As I anticipate this most wonderous gift I can't help but ache for the selflessness of her birth Mom and Dad.

Lord, Please comfort and love the birth parents of this precious baby girl that you are preparing to be my daugher. Help them to know in some way that their daughter will be loved unconditionally and that they are appreciated and loved.

It's times like these that I find it so difficult to fathom what will happen and also must admit to feeling a little guilty at times. I'm so excited about this baby yet at the same time it means a woman who has lovingly carried this baby for 9 months will have to leave her not knowing her future. She won't know what happens to her daughter or that God has a plan for her life that includes a Mom and new life is half-way round the world. This birth mother needs a comfort that I cannot provide, but one that God can and I ask him to do so.

Will I become a Mom in 2006? I'll let you soon as I hear! Trust me...I'll be shouting it from the rooftops...and telephone...and email.....and just about everyplace else too!

Happy New Year everyone! May God bless you and your family this year. May we all live for Him and share Him with those around us!
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