The Road To Ren

Our adoption journey to our son Ren William.

Musings by Elaine and other Blitherings. This blog was origonally intended to document our China adoption journey to our son Ren. Now we are home and this blog is about our family. I would love to have you sign my guest book.

Scroll to bottom to see slideshow pictures.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Girls

Rachel has been home on her winter break. I have enjoyed having my 2 girls together. Rachel "kid sitted" for us as Eden likes to say, and Mark and I had a date! This could in reality be one of the last dates we get in a very long time, LOL! After we bring Ren home we will have to keep him close to us and not leave him with anyone for a while (I'm thinking a year, yes really) . We will need to do this for attachment or bonding purposes because he will need to learn that we are his mommy and daddy and we will be together as a family forever! Thank you for "kid sitting" Rachel!!
I have so enjoyed Rachel this visit. We went ice skating one day with my friend Becky. I don't think I have been on ice skates in over 30 years!!! I am proud to say I stayed on my feet but I will get no medals for gracefullness, ha ha ha! We had a blast! I learned that I need to work out more ;-)!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our Christmas

Reading the Christmas story

We had a wonderful Christmas! Rachel was home from college during her break, now all we have to do is get all our boys home. Caleb spent Christmas in Ohio with family! Christian spent Christmas in Austin Texas and Ren is spending his last Christmas in China! I look forward to having all my kiddos home at one time. Maybe then we can get that elusive family photo done with everyone in it, LOL! I didn't realize how few pictures we actually took at Christmas till I went to post some here. Most of our "pictures" are video, I guess I need to learn how to upload video on here next, ha ha!
I wish everyone a very Happy New Year! May it be blessed and joyous!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone

Happy Birthday Jesus!! I hope everyone has a blessed and wonderful Christmas! This is the time to celebrate friends, family and God's gift to us.
I've been thinking about Ren and wondering if anyone has told him about Christmas and Jesus? This will be the last Christmas we are a family of a 6 and next year we will be 7! Wow! So for now we are thinking about all our family and friends near and far, wishing you and yours all the blessings of the season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Please Throw Me A Bone

Ok so we were supposed to get our LOA/LOSC between 90 and 120 days. Today is day 122. So I have decided I am done waiting. I am sooooo tired of waiting. I am over it. So Hellooooo China you can send my LOA now, I'm ready!!!!! Anytime now, thank you very much!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How Big Is God?

I don't usually talk about other people's blogs. Mainly because I don't know the politically correct way to do it. I don't have those little bloggy links on my sidebar. Do you have to ask permission first before you link them or if they are public can you just do it and so on. Actually just having a blog is a major technological achievement for me, LOL!

Today I want to share a blog with you all that is about an adoptive family that is truly inspiring. If you have ever wondered how big is your God (or even if there is a God) you need to read their story. I don't have permission or even know this family, but I have a feeling that they won't mind me sharing their link. Their story is updated daily (with miracles), start on their side bar with Part One. In this holiday season it is a wonderful testimony and reminder of how God adopts us all into His family. Click here for their story:
A Place Called Simplicity

Ephesians 1:5
he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus
Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is
this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself
from being polluted by the world.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Early Christmas Present

As we wait to travel a good cyber friend is in China now to adopt her little girl. This little girl lived with Ren at the same Orphanage. While in China she got to go visit the orphanage to see where her daughter had lived. She visited the room where the children slept and the kids were in there for their afternoon naps! As they were peeking in the room a little boy called to their daughter, guess who it was?! Yep, Ren. Apparently their daughter and Ren are good friends and she took some priceless pictures of him for me!!!

If we can't have him home for Christmas the next best thing are these wonderful pictures!

Friday, December 5, 2008


"Gorgeous! friendly, outgoing...big smile, looks healthy. Needs help
with toileting, not completely potty trained yet.Very interactive and sociable!"

What a wonderful surprise we received in the mail yesterday!! New pictures of Ren!! We had heard that he could be living with a foster family and I was not expecting anymore pictures of him. The directors of our adoption agency recently traveled to China, met Ren and took pictures of him for us!!! From piecing all my information together he could be coming to "work" with his ayi or foster mom to the orphanage and then going home with her at night and weekends. Of course this is all guessing on my part from little clues I have gotten recently.

What a wonderful surprise for us as we wait for word to travel. We had expected to have traveled and have been home with Ren for awhile now. But because of new Hague rules and "other things", it has taken us a little longer to get him than we expected. We are anxiously waiting to hear when we are going! Hopefully it will be in the next 2 months or so! He looks very good in his pictures. All the swelling in his cheeks from the steroids has gone away. Notice "Pooh" is spelled backwards on his jacket, soooo cute ha ha.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 94...and counting

Just an update as far as our adoption goes. We are on day 94 waiting for our LOA (letter of acceptance). This is significant because the LOA usually comes between 90 and 120 days! Once we receive this we basically will travel in 5 to 7 weeks give or take a few days! We are very excited knowing we are so close to receiving this piece of paper. We're coming to get you Ren, just hold on till we get there!! It won't be long now. I can't wait to kiss those sweet chubby cheeks!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good Friends

My friend Carolyn and her Daughter Keira came for a visit this past weekend! Eden and Keira were best friends when we lived in Georgia. They have not seen each other for 15 months but started playing together like they had never been apart. I have not heard so much giggling in a long time. It was wonderful to see my friend Carolyn too, whom I had missed very much. We spent one day walking around DC. We all met her husband Wolfgang downtown and enjoyed a wonderful meal at a Irish Pub with Irish music and some yummy Shepard's Pie. Here are some pictures we took of our weekend.
friends on the metro

Making our lunch at the China Town Express. The ancient art of noodle making.

In front of the FBI building
In front of the White House

Sunday, November 9, 2008


In front of the Washington Monument
Rachel my oldest daughter came home for a nice long weekend to visit. She and her boyfriend Alex made the road trip up here from Georgia and we had a great time!

We had Mario Party tournaments and lots of good food all weekend. Mark made sure in a very Clydeques way that we were never hungry. We actually ate at Red Robin's AND Cold Stone Creamery all in ONE day. Oh where oh where is my treadmill.

Saturday we went downtown to DC and went to the National Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Then walked to China Town for some awesome Mongolian Barbecue at Tony Cheng's. Did I tell you we ate ALL weekend.

I wanted to kidnap Rachel and keep her here, but she needs to graduate from college so I reluctantly let her return. Rachel and Alex are both engineering students. Here are a couple of pictures I borrowed from her.
Capital Building in the background
The Ocean exhibit at the Smithsonian

Saturday, October 25, 2008

WHO said Mothers don't get paid???

Priceless artwork the bunny ballerina

I am a rich woman. I am a mom who gets paid very well for the job I do. Sometimes I feel over paid for my job but none the less I'll take it. How much do I get paid you ask? Well let me answer that for you. Sometimes I am compensated in very unusual ways, sometimes its all about the perks, sometimes it is things you just can't put a price on. So here are a few of the ways I'm blessed everyday.

  • I receive works of art on a daily basis. I also have my portrait done regularly. This is very nice because my artist usually leaves out all the wrinkles, grey hair and extra pounds!

  • I receive flowers, my favorite are bouquets of dandelions

  • I also receive gems and treasures. Particularly shells, very interesting rocks in various forms of pink, feathers, and interesting unidentifiable objects .

  • I receive calls home from college on a regular basis from my college age children, Priceless.

  • Free comedy shows, specifically knock knock jokes that last for hours if you let them.

  • I get to attend ballet performances

  • I was serenaded by a Chinese Opera singer ALL day the other day. This was quite interesting and I must get this on video one day. This could prove to be quite lucrative and I could probably use the video to blackmail someone one day.

  • I attend fashion shows regularly

  • I am loved "a gadzillion 5 thousand 90 hundreds eleventeen times!"

  • And the #1 pay off I receive is the hugs and kisses I get all day long. Life is good.
    fashion show

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

County Fair and Trivia Question

One of the best parts of fall are the county fairs. We love all the fair food and will splurge on all the stuff we try to avoid the rest of the year, Italian sausage sandwiches, cotton candy, elephant ears, fresh french fries with malted vinegar..., Yum. Its not a trip to the fair without seeing the animal barns, I think this is my favorite. We couldn't escape all the rides with a 5 year old along. Eden had a blast and we were surprised to learn that her favorite were the Swings. She smiled the ENTIRE time on this ride. You can click on some of the pictures to enlarge them.

Trivia question: What is the State of Maryland's official sport? scroll to bottom of post for answer.

Its not a trip to the fair with out visiting the animal barns!

Eden is in fifth car back she wasn't too sure about this ride at first but ended up enjoying it.

Eden being lassoed

Trivia Answer : Jousting!! There are little rings hanging in the middle of the metal frames. They start with the largest ring which is 1 3/4 inches in the middle and go down to 1/4 inch!! This is about the size of a dime or lifesaver!!! We enjoyed watching the tournament and learned some interesting facts that day. And yes they hit their mark and speared those little rings! Quite impressive at full gallop.

If you look closely in this picture you can see a white dot in front of his lance, this is the ring.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Autumn Fun

On a Hayride with daddy.
Pumpkin patch

Corn maze fun. This maze was in the shape of a rooster.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cowboy Boots

What is it about cowboy boots that make them so fun? These were just too cute to pass up. Here is our little fashionista with them paired up with her jammies, she is going to have them worn out before fall gets here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Travel to China is a adventure. Travel to China to adopt a toddler is a challenge. Traveling to China for 2 weeks with friends is a major blessing! We have been blessed to meet another family with Homeland, who will travel with us to adopt their little girl. How awesome is that!

Heather and I connected online through our adoption agencies message board and have been corresponding for months about our adoptions. Last night we were able to meet for dinner and get to know them more. I felt like we were meeting old friends. Heather and her husband Marty have a 6 year old son who will be going with them too and will be a great traveling companion for Eden. Their son Tristan is a cutey pie who Eden got along with well. How nice to have two along who can entertain each other! We also met Heather's wonderful parents. Heather's mother will also be traveling with them on their journey.

You know when your on an adoption journey for 2 weeks you can't always pick out your traveling companions. You are thrown together on bus rides, plane rides, and countless dinners, meetings and sometimes stressful situations. Sometimes we have fussy babies who can have melt downs. Not to mention being in a land where it is hard to understand the language and there aren't people to just call up and chat with. That being said it will be wonderful to have good friends to pray for, share laughter and tears, and adventures with our new children. God is good and knows what we need even before we ask for it ;-).

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Ren!

Today is very bittersweet for me. Today is Ren's birthday. Happy birthday baby boy. Our "baby" turns 3 today. For him today is just an ordinary day and he probably isn't even aware that he has a birthday. For me I am thinking about missing another birthday but looking forward to spending the next one with him. Wow, 3 years old. I am so grateful that we have recently received pictures of him and get to see his gorgeous smile (a first smile for us). So today Ren I am thinking of you and wishing you blessings, God's favor, and lots of extra smiles and laughs today!
P.S. Ren's birthday is September 1st. Even though I wrote this on Aug. 31st. Silly me.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

More pictures!!

I think the picture says it all, what a glorious smile! His cheeks are still puffy from the steriod he received when he was sick but he looks very healthy now!

Friday, August 29, 2008

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged! I have to answer the questions and then tag someone else. Sounds like fun so here goes. I have decided I need to get some more interests or something ha ha.

7 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:

  • See my grand kids

  • Travel the world

  • Take a vacation somewhere really cool with ALL 5 of my kids along

  • Take a vacation with just my husband

  • Settle down in one place I really like for a long time

  • Have my house stay clean for a really long time

  • Hike Bryce Canyon

7 Things I Can Do:

  • Love my family

  • Roll my tongue

  • Identify birds

  • Score over a million in Bejeweled

  • Play Mario Party

  • Make a mean chocolate Flourless cake (and then eat it), see picture Rachel helped bake this one with me

  • Sing along to Fiddler on the Roof my favorite movie (not on key but its a lot of fun)

7 Things I Can Not Do:

  • Sky dive EVER

  • Listen to country western music

  • Pretend to be a liberal

  • Sing

  • I cannot lie well

  • I cannot dance well

  • swim in the ocean after watching Jaws

7 Things That Attracted Me To My Hubby:

  • His good looks

  • His humor

  • His height (6'4")

  • His kindness and generosity

  • He's the opposite of me

  • His spontaneity

  • He likes to make me laugh

  • His compassion (whoops that's 8)

7 Things I Say Most Often:

  • "Cool"

  • "Have faith"

  • "I love you"

  • "Can I ask a stupid question"

  • "Have you prayed about it"

  • "Does this make me look fat?"
7 Celebrity Crushes:

  • Nicholas Cage

  • Tom Sellak

  • Brad Pitt

  • Johnny Depp

  • Takeshi Kaneshiro

  • Legolas

  • Vin Diesel

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Here is a video Mark put together of Eden's first dayof kindergarten. She thought she looked like a turtle with her back pack on.

LID 8/19/2008 (and other thoughts)

We got the call today that we have a LID date, 8-19-2008! That is "Logged in date", meaning our dossier has been translated and is now sitting in the office of the CCAA awaiting them to issue our LOSC (letter of seeking confirmation). What does all this mean? Well it means we are now another step closer to getting Ren. The countdown can now officially commence to travel. Best guess for travel to China is November or December (maybe January). I can't think of anything to be more thankful for in November or a better Christmas present in December (except to have my whole family go with us)! I have been told that we are going to be traveling with a bunch of really lovely families! Yay how fun! I do not know officially yet who these other families are, some I can guess :-). You can bet we will be comparing dates to figure out who our travel group will be.

Other thoughts
Monday I sent my 5 year old to kindergarten and on the very same day my lovely oldest daughter turned 20!! Wow. In the meantime I have learned a new word to describe myself. A multi generational parent. I saw this description on another mom's blog, please forgive me for not being able to remember which blog. For some reason I am really happy there is a term for what I am doing. I can't wait to use it in a conversation when someone else would like to apply a term less flattering like "your bonkers". "Nope, just a regular mom with a few extra gray hairs, you can call me a multi generational mom". ;-D

Monday, August 11, 2008

Good News

We have been waiting to hear how Ren was doing after he had been sick and we received good news! He is fine, no signs of any symptoms and his blood count is good now. We think he just had a weird reaction to a childhood virus. We were not really worried about it but it is good to know there are no lingering signs. Still no new pictures :-(. There is a group of people traveling over to China to be united with their children, maybe we will get pictures when they visit the orphanage then.

Other news, my daughter Rachel is home between college classes for a week. It is great having her here and we will celebrate her 20th birthday before she leaves. TWENTY YEARS OLD!!!! Wow kids grow up so fast, I'm getting in all the hugs I can while she is here. Eden has been stuck to her big sister like glue. Rachel is going to babysit so Mark and I can go out on a date. Now all i have to do is remember what a date is, LOL!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Paperwork done!!!

After six lonnnng months I can finally say we are done with our dossier (paperwork)! It is now on its way to our adoption agency where they will look it over and make sure its OK, then mail it off to China. Once arriving there it will then be translated and go into a pile where it waits to have the people of the CCAA go over it with a fine tooth comb. Once it passes that inspection, China will then issue us a letter of acceptance. We will sign this and send it back. Then... (deep breath)... China will issue us our Travel approval. This is their invitation to us to travel to China to pick up Ren!

Mark and I drove to FedEx yesterday with literally our life in our hands, OK life representation is a better description. What is simply called a dossier represents our life histories, blood, sweat and tears, months of work, inspections, many dollars later, and practically a whole ream of paper. OK maybe I'm being a little dramatic but that's how I felt ;-). We walked up to the counter and presented our package. Mark's hands were literally shaking, my stomach was in knots. The lady asked us if we wanted to declare a value, Mark and I just looked at each other. We didn't have to say anything to know what the other was thinking. After a huge pause we just said no. There is no way to put a value on those papers. Not because our lives are so interesting but because there is a another life counting on our paperwork. I am not ashamed to say we actually laid hands on and prayed over those papers before they were sent!

The reason for my excitement today is that our part of the work is DONE. We can now try and sit back and relax (yeah right) till the next step. The next big job will be packing, Hallelujah! Oh and did I mention shopping, lots of shopping ;-D.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Getting Closer! We got our golden ticket!

This is how I feel.
Well we received the last paper for our dossier yesterday! The infamous I 171-H, translation: our permission from the United States Immigration Office to adopt Ren and bring him home! It is our Golden Ticket, LOL! This is a huge step in completing our side of the process. For every step closer it makes GUESSING (and I stress guessing) when we travel easier, it narrows down the window. We are thinking we might travel in November. We are hoping to travel in November, God willing. We still have a couple of steps, but we are thinking we will have our dossier to China in August and then we wait for travel approval. Travel approval is averaging anywhere from 90 to 120 days to be issued. Who knows, but for those of us adopting we take quite seriously all the work that goes into our wild speculating.

November would be good for several reasons. #1. The city of Nanjing where we will be staying is called one of four "Furnace" cities in China! :-O Jiangsu Province has four seasons with winter being cold and summer being extremely hot and rainy. Hence it is better to visit in the spring or fall. #2. The trade fairs are in October, they will be spaced out over 3 separate weeks. That means the hotel and air fares will be doubled and even tripled during those weeks. Also the trade fair means tons of more people and even more crowded. So even though we would like to travel sooner we are trying to look at the bright side of having to wait till November.