happenings around here

In case anyone is wondering…Pepper Poppy Campbell is doing well. Very loved. Hugged and carried far too often. She is one tolerant, laid back little cat.
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I prefer crafty magazines, the boys devour Lego magazines. You can’t even really call them magazines, they are more like catalogs. At first I didn’t get it. But in a way they are like craft magazines for the boys. They study kits and then build their own version.
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On the topic of magazines…FireCracker’s room is in the current version of Parents magazine. I look at that picture and think, “wow, I wish my daughter’s room looked like that” – because right now it is filled with boxes to move out to the studio. Not so cute or magazine worthy.
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The boys room is featured in a recent book by Andrew Weaving. Funny thing is…I look at those pictures and wish my boys’ room looked like that too. Currently the boys’ room is wall to wall twin beds. Really, there are about 6 inches between the three beds. I have to walk between them sideways! But the boys are happy. And I can always look at this book to remember the good ole’ days!
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Yesterday the lovely Emily of The Anderson Crew stopped by for lunch. I don’t even remember how we first ‘met’….but I am thankful we did. She has been such an encouragement to me and taught me so many things. I’m looking forward to having her within driving distance to maybe get to get some together ‘in real life’. It was shocking how quiet my house was – with 10 kids in it. My boys REALLY liked hers. Her kids are so sweet and were such fun to have in our home. And – I felt pretty honored to finally get to meet Emily in person. I would like to point out the kids in the photo below: Emily’s are all smiling so cutely, a couple of my kids weren’t so into the picture taking.
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Her youngest two didn’t make this picture…next time we’ll get her other two and my youngest daughter in the group shot!
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Speaking of my youngest daughter…how about an update? Last week was a little hard for me. It felt like little setback after little setback. Silly things like filling out visas too many times to count because I kept making mistakes. Showing up at the bank to get a certified check only to realize I lost my driver’s license. Getting to FedEx just after the last truck left, so a package got delayed. Just lots of little things that add up.

Another family, picking up their daughter, was able to visit the orphanage. They so graciously requested to take pictures of our Little One. I didn’t get my hopes up that they would be able to…but they did! And they got video to send us later. Priceless gift. We are forever grateful to this sweet family. Though I can’t put into words how incredible the gift of new pictures is to my family, they were also hard to see. She has teeth now. Her head was shaved again (it was shaved in February for lice/scabies prevention/treatment) and she just didn’t look very good. As a mom, I wish we’d get pictures of her with a smile and the look of being very well cared for. It is so hard to see pictures that I can’t see a light in her eyes. IT IS SO HARD.

So…I was very down about things over the weekend. I woke up Monday morning to find out her visa paperwork that we were waiting on was sent along. This was a very big step. Then yesterday we got word that all our stuff was dropped off to the appropriate government office…and will be picked up on July 24th. So what does that mean???

IT MEANS ON JULY 24TH WE BEGIN WAITING FOR OUR TRAVEL APPROVAL (TA)!!!

The travel approval takes 1-4 weeks and then we’ll leave 2-3 weeks after that….obviously we are hoping for a one week TA wait and then to hop on a plane as soon as possible.  The older boys will be going with us. We needed some updated travel shots. Since we were so brave, we got very special treats on the way home.
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So, around here I’ve got stuff to do. Number one on the list – make our 2011 family photo books! If I don’t get them done in the next two weeks, they’ll never happen. So I’m getting that done…then I will let myself start getting our travel stuff together. And then I am going to go get my daughter!

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  • Hannah - Agh! Praise the Lord! I have been praying for you sista! This is exciting stuff! Praying that it’s only a week and that that week goes by quickly!!!!

  • Claudia - Ashley, I like so many read your blog daily. I pray you get to travel as soon as possible. I am a mother to four and three of which are girls, I can imagine your heartbreak at seeing her with no light or hope in her eyes. I hope and pray when she sees you and the beautiful life you have waiting for her that her eyes will not only be bright but her soul rejoice.

  • Ruth@GraceLaced - I know you get this all the time, and I promise I’m not being creepy about it, but I have always dreamt of making up an excuse to drive through your neck of the woods (that would have to be some excuse cuz I’ve got none right now…) and get our fams together. How about this: You guys take a road trip down to NM, and I promise to feed you and be your tourguide! C’mon…. ;)

  • Taylor - I cannot tell you how happy I am for you!!! This long road is finally nearing an end, and starting a new beginning for your family! Many thoughts and prayers that she will be home asap :)

  • Tamara Romero - Oh my goodness!!! That is so very exciting for your sweet family! So happy for you!

  • Tina I. - Congrats!!! It’s so close, now!!! Just think, soon, you’ll be that light in her eyes that she’s missing. Praying that it all goes as quickly as possible for you.

  • Laura @Ms Smartie Pants - I hope the time just flies for you! I can’t wait to meet her (via your blog) and see the light in her eyes. By the way you won’t believe how many nights I have laid awake thinking of your daughter’s bedroom, I just love it! And now my daughter is going off to college and loves the room too and wants me to do some of the things you have done! Praying the days get easier as they get closer!

  • Brooke - I can’t say it any better than all of the other wonderful people who commented before me so I will just say….I am so happy for you and your family getting one step closer to your newest addition. Tears and smiles make for a great post :)

  • Jenny B. - OOHH!! I have goosebumps!!! So sorry for the week of setbacks and seeing those little sad photos… but you will be holding her in your arms soon!

  • sarah k - This makes my heart happy–that you get to go get your daughter soon. It must be so hard to wait to love on her in person. Thanks for sharing the journey here. That little girl is so blessed to be coming to your family.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - So happy for you! How cool is it that you will have a journey sharer with you so very close!

  • Margo - My heart is full knowing you are getting closer and closer to bringing your precious daughter home….I am so excited for you and your family! Thanks for sharing your journey of adoption with all of us blog readers!

  • Susannah - You are so close to getting your little girl! That is so exciting!!!! I’ll be praying that the paperwork gets where it needs to be and approved as quickly as possible!

  • emily anderson - honestly, it felt like i’ve known you for years. oh wait, i kind of have. in a creepy sorta way.

    but for reals. we’re stopping back by again on the way home :)

  • Nicole B - yay for getting close to TA! That’s awesome. I’m excited for you guys!

    We actually just added a new baby to our family through domestic adoption (and will add our 4th kiddo from China in a couple of years). I love finding people that are passionate about adoption and I cant wait to read about your experiences and see your pics (which i am sure will be awesome).

    Congrats again!

  • Amanda K - Do your boys get the Lego Club magazine too? My son is finally getting into his. Great marketing on Lego’s part. Free magazines that introduce your children to their products. I guess it’s not much different than the Martha Stewart magazine… ;)

    I can’t wait to read your post after your daughter is home. :)

  • giozi - August is in the corner, soon soon. Encouragement.
    My mother is great, no pain

  • Dawn Ritchie - Awesome. So happy for you and your family! July 24th is my 30th birthday, so it’s no surprise to me that it’s a special day for you, too!

  • Jules - Praying your TA comes swiftly and all falls into place!

  • Valerie - Although I do not know you or your family personally, only through blogdom, I am praying boldly for a swift process.
    Our eldest son is adopted from another country also, and every time I read about your adoption I get teary eyed because it brings that emotion right back. Take comfort in the fact that one day it will be a distant memory. Our adoption began when my son was 14 months and because of delays and red tape, we were not able to pick him up until he was 2 1/2 years old. I can not wait to hear when your baby is home and flourishing. Love really is a miraculous medicine.
    One piece of advice…research orphan doctors in your area that you can take your baby too. Regular pediatricians are not necessarily equipped to handle or know what to look for. My orphan doc specializes in different areas and specifically knew what to look for because of where he was from. It was amazingly thorough,though it was not covered by our insurance, it was money well spent.

  • Paige - ? Praying that this will all happen quickly!!! ?

  • Paige - whoops, the question marks decided to replace my hearts. :/

  • Jeanette - How exciting!! I pray 7/24 comes quickly for you! And the TA takes 1 week :)

  • Sandi Leonard - I have a nephew and his wife that just found out they are going to China soon to get their little girl. Good things happening.

  • Kara M - Thanks for the update on your daughter. Sorry for the discouraging week. I’ve been discouraged as well. We are soldiering through our training. Our next steps are just waiting on us to finish! This weekend I want to shut the world out and tell them I have other things more important, but can’t do that!

    I’m praying for 1 week TA!

  • Lacy Beck - Hi Ashley,
    I’ve just stumbled upon your blog after seeing the nursery in parents magazine. I LOVE the room and the bed and the paper lanterns and all the beautiful family treasures.
    We just downsized our living space so that I can take time away from teaching and stay home with our daughter. I really want to make her new room super special and the paper lanterns are just the thing to complete her space. I’ve tried finding out how to order them and to no avail.
    Please guide me as I’d love to duplicate the one you have in the magazine.
    Thank you for the inspirational blog. You seem to be a beautiful women of God.
    God bless,
    Lacy

  • Carolyn - SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!

  • Kayla - I thought of your boys when I saw this roundup (Houzz article) for Lego-inspired products… there are some really cute things on this list!

    http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/2832771/list?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u134&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery29

  • AshleyAnn - Lacy Beck & Jenny – the lanterns and items are from Walmart 3 years ago…they used to carry a Martha Stewart line. Here is a post on it: http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2009/07/05/diy-hanging-lantern-arrangement/

    Amanda – they have a few options that are coffee-free…just ask your local barista :)

  • Elizabeth - YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The BIG day is getting CLOSER!!
    so excited for you, your lovely family, & especially for your sweet little girl!

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