Saturday, December 31, 2005

One more thing...

I just added three links this morning, and I wanted to tell you why. These are the blogs of three courageous, single women who are also in various stages of the adoption process. Their posts are inspirational and entertaining! I am encouraged by their strength and perseverance, and I'm eager for them to be united with their daughters. Julie and Lisa have been kind enough to correspond with me via email and offer advice. Mission to Mali is a blog that's detailing the trip to China one mom is on NOW to pick up her daughter. Very cool!

New Year's Resolutions

Like most people, I'm good at making resolutions, just not so good at keeping them! But, I think that as I prepare for parenthood that there's more motivation to stick to some resolutions. I want to be the best mom I can be.

I decided around Thanksgiving that I was going to make a renewed comittment to exercise daily. Since then, I've been walking two miles 5-6 times a week at the gym. I started out the whole walking thing after being inspired by my sister. I gave her one of my dogs (Reagan) in the spring and she took to walking him daily. The result is that she's at least ten pounds lighter and she looks great. I know I should be walking my dogs, but I really like to set a pace on the treadmill and reach a distance goal. So, I intend to keep walking daily at the gym, and when the days lengthen, I'll hit the sidewalks with Buffy and Taylor, too.

My other resolutions include: managing non-work time better, sticking to my budget, growing spiritually, and volunteering to help others.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Shopping for Jillian

While I think it's too soon to begin redecorating the office as a nursery, I don't think it's too soon to buy some cute things for Jillian. The first thing I picked up about a month ago is the Boheme dolly by April Cornell. She's a cute little cloth dolly with a patchwork skirt and a knit sweater. She wears a backpack with a little kitty in it. Boheme herself has a fair complexion, long black hair (yarn), and black eyes. She is adorable!

My second purchase for Jillian was a handmade blanket with pink satin on one side, and some cream colored, soft fleecy stuff on the reverse. It's trimmed with a pink, yellow, and green ribbon. Tres chic! When I was a little girl, I called my blankies "yoy-yoy". I was a thumb sucker until I was around eight years old, and my thumb sucking habit was coupled with rubbing my fingers on anything satiny. I did a number on most of the blankets in the house until they didn't have that satiny trim on them anymore. I just rubbed the stuff right off. So, this will be Jillian's 'yoy yoy', if she's inclined to be a blankie carrying, thumb sucker like her mom.

And, just today, I found a discounted copy of Mary Engelbreit's Mother Goose. I had seen it at Barnes & Noble recently for $19.99, but Home Goods had it for $12.99. Such a deal! I love ME, and I loved my own copy of Mother Goose when I was a little girl. Everybody needs a little Mother Goose.

Monday, December 26, 2005

New Links

Today I figured out how to add links to my blog. (Hey, I'm new at this!) And I wanted to explain what they are and why I've included them here.

America World is my adoption agency. They are headquarted in McLean, Virginia and they are a Chiristian, non-profit organization. They were the first agency I came across when I started researching adoption on the web. I really like their philosophy about adoption and the spiritual dimension they bring to the work they do. I haven't had that much interaction with them yet as it's still so early in the process, but the seminar I attended last month was informative and inspirational. I have a good feeling about working with them.

Half the Sky is an organization that provides monetary support to Chinese orphanages. This is a good way to contribute and help Chinese orphans if you have a heart for them but aren't able to consider adoption. I've decided to become a monthly giver to this organization in 2006. I may be helping my own daughter by doing so.

Shoahannah's Hope is a charitable organization started by Christian singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth. They have adopted three daughters from China and are activists for adoption. In fact, they were featured on the CBS Sunday Morning show on Christmas day promoting adoption of children in foster care in this country. Their organization gives grants to adopting families and channels money to Chinese orphanages. Their family's story is very inspirational.

So, take a moment and check out those sites to learn more, and if you feel a tug at your heart take some time to think about what you can do to make a difference. You will be blessed.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Okay, I have a blog!

Okay, I have a blog! I've spent the last couple of months reading lots of other blogs about China adoption experiences and I've learned so much from what others have shared. I guess I just wanted to document my experience as well, for Jillian (eventually) and for my friends and family. So, it's really not 'Just for Jillian' but I liked the way that sounded!

I decided to adopt in September of this year. As my 38th birthday was looming, I was asking myself, "What are you going to do with the rest of your life?" I'm happy with my career as a elementary school teacher, and I love my home and my dogs. I've recorded my own CD and opened locally for several national country acts, and I just took my first trip to Europe this last summer. Life is good, but it's not what I ever expected it to be.

I always though that I'd be married with children by now, and I was terribly frustrated to think that I'd not have a family of my own if things continued to be as they have been. When I imagined having a family of my own, adoption was always something I was open to and I hoped that I'd marry a man who felt the same way. After being in the classroom for ten years, I know that I don't have to be related genetically to children to love them. Anyway, I'm not sure exactly how the idea came to settle in my heart, but I decided that I wanted to be a mom for the rest of my life. I shared my idea with my mother and some good friends and I received a lot of encouragement.

I sent away for an information package from AWAA, and ordered a copy of National Geographic's China's Lost Girls with Lisa Ling. If I hadn't already made up my mind about adopting from China, that DVD really sealed the deal for me. It was just such a powerful depiction of what's going on in China, and how families are being made here in America as a result. I've watched it several times with friends and I still cry every time I see it.

So, I sent off my application to AWAA earlier this month, and I learned this last Monday that I'm on their singles waiting list. Thankfully, their waiting list is just a few weeks long, and so I will begin my 'paper pregnancy' sometime next month! I've heard that things have been taking longer on the China side of things, so I'm excited to get my part of the process (mountains of paperwork) started and completed as soon as humanly possible.

In the meantime, I begin my masters program in just a week and a half. The coming year is sure to be a busy one!