Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Wish From Poppie

(To borrow from and paraphrase the great Billy Crystal)

I’m going to be your Poppie!

I have the biggest smile.

I’ve been waiting to meet you

for such a long, long while.

I have so much to tell you

Before it is too late.

I already know I love you

As I sit right here and wait.

I want to feel your hear beat

As you lie upon my chest.

I’m waiting to play peekaboo

And watch you as you rest.

I’m waiting to give you bear hugs-

The kind that last and last.

I want to watch you dream and play

And run so very fast.

I will teach you about our family,

With pictures from long ago.

You’re the new twig on our tree,

And I can’t wait to watch you grow.

Your mom is my daughter,

And your dad is his mom’s son.

They crossed the ocean water

To bring you home, sweet one.

Get ready little Xiao Hai

Your life will be just great.

I am going to be your Poppie

And I can hardly wait!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Hopes For Our Future Child- Becoming Team Harkness

Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development.  (David Gottesman)

Very recently my husband and I celebrated our seven year wedding anniversary.  Over the last seven years we have had our fair share of hardships and triumphs.  The joys of college graduation, nieces and nephews being born, and building our first home together.  The heartache of learning that we can not have our own biological children.  Through all of these ups and downs we have become much stronger as a team.

We have had the joys of living with our “practice babies” for six years.  We have been through surgery and ICU’s, late night ER visits, and episodes of cyanosis.  All this with just the littlest of our two Chihuahuas due to her collapsing trachea with subsequent repair. We made a pact when we decided to bring Belle into our home.  If we made it five years and Belle was still alive- then we were ready to try for a “real” baby.  Well needless to say- Belle is still in fact alive.  We even took on a sister for Belle, Coco.  Coco came with her own set of special needs.  She was a rescue dog.  She had been rescued from  a puppy mill.  She had been in a cage so long she only walked in circles when she came to live with us.  She still is unable to jump- she just never learned how.

I give you all this back story to tell you that we have two “special needs” babies already (who are both alive and well).  We started to consider adoption long before we found out we couldn’t have our own bio kids.  We did not consider kiddos with special needs in this original conversation, but when we started the actual paperwork process it was a natural progression in our decision.  We decided to agree on four major “identified medical needs” in the waiting child program- cleft lip and palate, cataracts, minor cardiac conditions, and hypospadias.  I was much more comfortable with a child with medical needs due to the fact that I am an ER nurse.  Ray took a little bit longer but not much more.

The other day my husband did one of his usual thoughtful acts.  He packed my lunch while I was getting ready for work.  He told me that he enjoys packing my lunch because it will get him in the practice for when he packs our child’s lunch.  Ray’s father packed his lunch for him regularly and would even place notes in his lunch box.  I don’t get notes in my lunch but I do get chocolates and other surprises occasionally.  When my husband came to let me know that my lunch was packed as usual, I told him that my wish was that our little girl would grow up and marry someone just like her daddy!

That is my greatest wish.  If we have a little girl- I wish that she will marry a man just her daddy!  If we have a little boy- I hope that he will become a man just like his daddy!  Every day Ray shows me the type of man he is by his actions and how he treats me.  My coworkers and friends are tired of hearing about all of the wonderful things that Ray does on a regular basis.  “I know, I know- you love you some Ray” is a common phrase I hear.

As we wait for our xiao hai (little one) to add to Team Harkness, I can’t wait to see how Ray grows in his role as father in this next very important stage of our family development!  I know that he will rock whether our child has “identified medical needs” or is “healthy”.

Thank you for being you Ray!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Squishy #13

Square13Oh my goodness, when I gazed upon this gem of a Wish13piece  of fabric I absolutely fell in love!  This is my vision for my family!  This is what I hope all of our visions are for our extended family is even it can’t be our biologic/adopted family. This is what we should all strive to teach our children that the world really looks like, and that families aren’t limited to just what they look like (everyone looking the same).  I love the idea of a multicultural family and a multicultural community!  I love the idea of us all singing together in the same voice!  I think that I might be a little bias about this since I know that my little one is out there and is a beautiful Asian baby! But our addition will not be the first multicultural addition to our family (Thank you Phillip) and I LOVE IT!  Tricia I know that this fabric spoke to you and drew you in, and I am very grateful for the fabric and the message that it screams- even if it was unintentional.  

Squishy #12

So I went to the mailbox today (in the snow) just hoping for a squishy and I found a ray of sunshine in my mailbox!  The snow storm came through last night in full force, and I was stuck at work during the worst part.  I was not looking forward to driving home in the snow but made it home just fine. Soooooooo…… having said all that- I really wasn’t looking forward to dredging out to the mailbox in the snow. Square12This piece of fabric really did give me the warmth I needed to get through the snow!  Thank you Tricia!  Wish12

Squishy #11

Square11My first Toye!  My Tammy (maybe with the help of my Wish11_1brother) sent us an awesome piece of Disney fabric for the 100 wishes quilt. 

Tammy sent the fabric with a note that says “Nancy- Saw this fabric and thought it would be perfect Wish11_2for your new baby! It’s so “Nancy and Ray” Congratulations!!! I couldn’t be more excited for you! Love, Mark, Tammy, & Kiddos”

Hope you don’t mind me sharing your note since I am still holding out for the wish (wink).

I love you guys a ton and it is perfect! Thanks!

Squishy #10

Square10Wish10Sylvia from the Yahoo group sent me this vibrant piece of fabric!  As soon as I opened the package I had a warm fuzzy happy feeling from the bright colors.  Thank you so much for this piece of happiness wrapped up as a piece of fabric!

Squishy #9


One of our awesome friends in the Disney community sent this fabric!  (Anyone guess who might have sent this….wink)  Thanks Lori!!!!!!

It was the best pick me up!  I know that my little one’s quilt will be full of Disney magic and pixie dust.

By the way- LOVE all the Tiggers (wink)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Adoption Explanation complicated by Home Study Agency Problems

I know that by the end of this process I will have explained the reasoning behind our decision to adopt and the reason that we chose China hundreds of times.  I know that there will be people that will agree and disagree with our decision. I know that I have an AWESOME support system!  I also know that there will be days that I just want to say “Just because we feel like it” instead of going through the whole story.

This weekend I had the opportunity to educate one of my coworkers on the process of adoption from a foreign country and why this will take so long.  I knew when she asked how long it was going to take that she was sincere in wanting to be educated.  She and her husband have been trying to get pregnant for some time, so I was happy to explain the process to her knowing that she may consider it for her family in the future.

I started from the beginning of how Ray and I came to choose China as the place for us.  Then I got to the real meat of the conversation.  What happens next after you decide to adopt internationally.  The step of choosing your adoption agency and what is involved with that choice.  Choosing a home study agency and what is involved with that choice.  How many documents must be requested, collected, and notarized even before the home study can take place.  The process of the “paper chase” and what is involved with that.  The fact that we live in Oklahoma and our state includes an extra step in the “paper chase”.  The fact that the documents then have to be critically reviewed by CCAI three times  before they are approved for translation and binding before even leaving the country.

And all that has to happen JUST to get “logged in” in China and start the official wait.

She began to see why I sighed every time one of our other coworkers asks “How long is this going to take?” or why my response now tends to be “100 years”.  Right now that is how it feels.  I feel like it will be another hundred years before I get to announce my match date or my travel date.

The fact that I am having home study agency complications doesn’t help the matter either. When we hired our home study agency we were told that the time from hire to home study was approx one month depending on how long it took for documents to return to the agency (background checks, reference letters, etc.). At one month from hire I called to check in with the agency to make sure that we were on track with getting all of the info back.  Just to make sure I didn’t need to re-request documents or hound our references.  I was told that she hadn’t even had time to OPEN THE ENVEOLPES!  YES you read that right!!!!!  She hadn’t opened the envelopes!  She proceeded to tell me that she normally carried a case load of 8 families but was currently working on 15 families and that she just hadn’t had time to get to us.

WHAT IN THE WORLD!  I guess that I should be happy that this many families are able to consider adoption at this time, but I guess I am too selfish for that.  We are at a stand still until she “gets to us”.  I can’t even START the paper chase until this is completed- there is no point.  I would still be waiting for the home study report to get through the paper chase anyway.  That phone call took place 20 days ago, and today she is not answering her phone and she hasn’t initiated any communication in that 20 days.  I am frustrated!

I am a firm believer in the fact that EVERYTHING happens for a reason.  Usually we don’t realize the reason until much later in the future.  I just feel sorry for anyone who happens to ask this week- “How much longer?”.  I don’t know if my frazzled nerves can handle giving an appropriate response.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Squishy #8

Square08 Wish08

After working all weekend at the hospital (which is not my favorite stretch of days) I go out to the mailbox to find this fun piece of fabric from Trina R.  This is truly the bright spot that I needed after my long weekend.  Thank you so much!

Squishy #7



This is my first international wish! Thank you Beatriz! I am absolutely in love with the baby pandas!  This piece will definitely find a special place in the finished quilt!  I was also thoroughly impressed by the elephant wish keeper.  It makes me second guess the way I did my wishes (wink).  


Squishy #6

This is the second squishy that DC sent !  The lady bugs make me feel all warm and fuzzy!  I am sure to have good luck this week from all of the good wishes being sent my way! The OHGWQWish06 Square06yahoo group is such a great group of caring and giving people!

Squishy #5

Square05 Wish05

Friday was a doubly special day.  Two squishies in one day!  Opening the envelopes and unveiling the beautifully chosen fabric is now my favorite past time. (That is probably a really sad comment on my life right now.)  The mail came right before I had to rush off to work, and I was almost late for work just so I could check for good wishes.  It was totally worth it! Thank you DC!

Squishy #4



After receiving two beautiful squishies on Thursday I was so excited to check the mail on Friday.  Low and behold- there was another squishy!  Thank you Joy!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pixie Dust and Disney Friendships

Square2I am a LUCKY girl!  I have awesome friends in a Square3community that revolves around magic and wishes!  We may not have spent a ton of time together, but we have a bond that is able look past that fact.  We LOVE Disney!  All I can say is

thank you so much for helping to spread the magic!  This little piece of magic will get to travel over oceans and hopefully stretch over generations.  Isn’t it amazing what a little gesture can do?  Thanks again Pat and Tracy! 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My First Wish


I received the first piece of fabric for the good wishes quilt!  How appropriate that it has ladybugs!  For those of you who don’t know- the ladybug is a symbol of good luck in China adoptions. 

My mother sent me this piece of fabric.  The majority of the fabric was used to make pajamas for my niece Regan, and I feel that this is truly a perfect symbol for the journey ahead. 

None of the fabric that will be included in this project will be just another piece of fabric.  Every piece of fabric will have a connection to another person because of the love and the wish that accompanied the fabric on its journey.  Whether it started as a child’s PJs or was purchased just for this quilt, every scrap is dripping with love!  When all of the fabric is united it will provide physical warmth, emotional warmth, and spiritual warmth.  It will tie people together that have never met.  People who felt inspired to send little tokens of love to others- many times without knowing any more than the reason for the fabric.  They didn’t have to sit next to me in Sunday school every Sunday for 10 years to be compelled to act.  They didn’t have to work next to me in the ER trenches daily for 2 years to be compelled to act.  They just have a love for others that compelled them to act, and I think that is AWESOME!

I am inspired everyday by people’s goodness and generosity.  I have more reason than most to be a pessimist.  I work in an emergency room as a registered nurse and see the seedy side of things.  I see what happens when others behave badly!  And yet- somehow I can still find the wonder and amazement in people’s actions.

Thanks Mom for being the first to start this amazing project!

(You still owe me a wish- by the way ;)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

We are not at the beginning anymore!

January 18, 2009, Ray and I decided to request information from Chinese Children Adoption International (CCAI) about adopting a baby from China. We were in a hotel room in Ontario, California waiting to take a flight home to Oklahoma the next morning. We had some time to kill and just started googling different adoption agencies. Ray had an online friend that had adopted through CCAI and had wonderful things to say about the agency, so Ray decided to share with me what he had learned in his previous visits to the site.

The more he read the more interested we became in the details. We realized that we qualified for all of the things on the checklist which also peaked an interest.

I guess that I should back up a little….

We were in Ontario because Ray and I went to visit my mother and sister Julie for a "girls weekend" trip (for my mental well being).  Ray and I had almost been married for 7 years and had yet to become pregnant. We had started in with a fertility specialist and had received some very disheartening news about our inability to conceive. So, in my family, the answer to catastrophic news is a "GIRLS’ WEEKEND" which includes a trip to Disneyland, scrap booking, and lots of girl talk.

The fact that the trip included Disneyland was how Ray got to tag along. We are DISNEYHOLICS in our home! I can't keep Ray away in good conscience knowing that he needed the trip as much as I did- even if he didn't want to participate in the other aspects of the weekend.

So back to the Internet search.... We were drawn to China in particular already because of Ray's background. When he was in high school his family was transferred to Singapore for his father's job. He had the opportunity to explore all over Asia! He was able to go backpacking in the Himalayas, visit Buddhist temples in Thailand, went for school activities such as rugby in Hong Kong, and he gained a love for the Asian culture and the people through his experience. It was a simple decision to put China on the short list of places to go to add to our family.

We also requested information from the state of Oklahoma the same night regarding the foster to adopt program. The information was much harder to navigate, but we were hopeful that we would be able to find a contact person for answers once they received our request.

We received a packet from CCAI just a few days later. It had a beautiful DVD with information about the agency and TONS of information! I cried when I watched the DVD (but I can tend to be a little emotional anyway). The amazing thing was that Ray seemed to be getting emotional as well.

We decided to continue to do extra research into the agency and the process of international adoption before we made an official decision, but before we knew it we were filling out the application. It was the second easiest "non-decision" that I have ever made. (The first being the decision to marry Ray) One second we were talking about the options and the next I was finishing up the application!

On February 3rd I mailed the application to CCAI! I was amazed at how much paperwork had to be gathered just to fill out the application. Finding the financial records, home owners insurance policies, pre-existing medical conditions for the purpose of adoption, retirement statements, blue book values of the cars, and all of the other things that you may not think of on a daily basis but that are required for the application was not so fun. (The worst was having to look through the 401K statements that we had been avoiding since the finical crisis hit). We also got our medical condition checklist submitted with our application for the waiting child program.

I just thought that paperwork was difficult. Man was I kidding myself!

I was so excited to get the application in the mail that day and I was so sure that we were going to be accepted that I applied for my passport on the same day- just so I could have it off the checklist. I started hounding Ray to get his passport updated since it was well past his expiration date. Anything that I could do to shave time off the wait to dossier completion!

February 5th we received notification that CCAI had received our application and that it was being processed! Ray got his passport application in the mail to get his passport current.

February 10th we were called by Hillary to let us know that our application was accepted! Ray put the call on speaker phone so that I could hear everything! I wanted to know every detail of what was next to come. Very quickly I realized that I had absolutely no control over the majority of the wait time in the dossier process. Once I got the paperwork started- it quickly went into someone else's hands. I couldn't stand the thought. I was already overwhelmed and I hadn't really even started anything. Hillary was very understanding and answered all of our questions- some multiple times.

The next day I had the completed service agreement and fee in the mail being sent overnight to CCAI. I was so determined that I would not be the hold up in this process! Anything that needed my action was going to be done quickly and complete. Plenty time to have wiggle room later if necessary!

February 16th we had our adoption physical with our primary care physician. He was so supportive of the process for us. We had labs done per CCAI request on the physical form and was told that we could come back to pick up the forms once the labs were completed. Yeah! One more thing off the check list!

February 20th I went to pick up the completed physical forms. I could tell that there was going to be a problem with reading the hand writing. I knew what it was supposed to say and I still had a hard time reading it. (and that is with practice- I am an ER nurse) I knew that I was going to have to type it out and take it back for him to sign again.

February 25th was our dossier conference call with CCAI 2 pm central time. The slide show was helpful and I felt like I had already gotten a jump on things since I had started almost everything in the guide by this time. All the requests were in for birth certificates, the marriage license, and all the paperwork needed by the home study agency. I actually left that call feeling pretty good about the progress that we had made already!

March 3rd we met with the pediatrician we will be using once we bring our little one home. I LOVE him! He came highly recommended by the doctors in the ER that I work with. He has a special needs son and has assisted in taking care of other international adopted children. He told me that I was free to page him whenever we received a profile so that he could give his honest input on the challenges and requirements that the child might bring. The whole office was extremely supportive with our decision and with the medical conditions that we had agreed to consider.

March 4th I got the completed employment verification form from work from the HR department. One more thing off the list- check, check.

March 5th I called the home study agency to see where we were in the process. I just wanted to make sure that our references were turning in their replies and that I didn't need to request anything else form previous states of residence. Our social worker then proceeded to tell me that she hadn't even had a chance to open any of our correspondence due to her work load. WHAT? Here I was busting my booty getting things taken care of and she hadn't even opened the envelopes! She told me that she normally carries a work load of 8 families and was currently working on 15! She told me that she probably wouldn't even be able to think about scheduling a home visit for another month!

OK that was the first slap of reality for me. No matter how much I have done I can't rush her. I can't even really start sending things off in the paper chase until we have this scheduled and completed since it has to go through all of the sealing steps AFTER being reviewed and approved by CCAI.

It is amazing though to be able to put these events into words now and realize that we are not at the beginning anymore! I know that I have so much more to do even before our logged in date (LID), but we are not at the beginning anymore. That is what I have to tell myself!

In the mean time I have found out about the Bai Jai Bei or the “100 Wishes Quilt tradition! I have been an avid quilter since junior high, and have even had the opportunity to contributed a quilt to a make-a-wish auction last year. I think that this will definitely give me something to do to occupy my mind and time as I start into the waiting process.

Thank you to all of my family and friends as you support us in this exciting and challenging time in our lives!


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