04 January 2008

Friday, January 04, 2008 - 10 comments

Our Holiday Letter

Hi Everyone!

Happy New Year from all of us here at Stories of life in the middle of adoption. Many of you are faithful readers and can enjoy a break from reading my craziness, but for some of you who are reading this, it's because you just got our New Years card (pictured above) in the mail! This year instead of our usual holiday card with a page long letter of what has been happening, I thought I'd change it up for you all and give you the 411 the environmentally friendly way...via the internet! So sit back get a cup of coffee, tea, wine, beer or what ever and enjoy catching up!

Where do I start! Well I guess with the house, the continuous project house. Mike has done A LOT this last year to beautify our home. The biggest project this year was stuccoing the entire house! Mikes work did a BEAUTIFUL job and the house now looks updated and polished! We also put up a fence surrounding the property. To say that it has changed the house is an understatement! All of us feel so protected from the busy street that has always prevented us from enjoying the front yard, and now we LOVE to sit out front and enjoy the new outside living space! The only problem is the gopher that ate almost all of our landscaping that we did! ARGH!!
The only change on the inside this year was a walk in pantry in the kitchen.
This is by far my favorite thing in the house! Once again Mike is amazing to me! He is running out of projects, which can be a good thing, he can now sit down and RELAX!!

Other than doing things at home, Mike is still enjoying his job with Oliveira Plastering. He just recently designed a website for the business and had fun learning all about HTML. He is also thankful, as am I, for good health this new year. In November he had a prostate scare that just about put me in my grave! What turned out to be a pretty bad prostate infection, has opened our eyes to making sure Mike gets regular check ups and takes those aches and pains more seriously.

2007 has brought us a 16 year old! Yes, Holly had her sweet 16 in mid December. She was surprised by her mom by having a limo pick up she and her closest friends for a night out. She also got a lap top and is now the techno geek like her step mom! She'll be taking drivers ed in the spring and should be driving by summer. Watch out! As for school, she is a sophomore this year and continues to make honor roll every quarter and is looking at graduating early. She is also starting to explore what she wants to do when she's done with school, so far she's thinking about a police officer, a x-ray tech, or a beautician. In April she and her youth group went to Mexico to build homes for families who are in need. She thoroughly loved the experience and is looking forward to going again someday. It's been so amazing to watch her this last year as she has completely blossomed into a beautiful young woman.

Jacob has had a busy year and life changing at that! First off he graduated in June from 6th grade and is now a big junior high school kid! Junior high has been a wonderful change for him. His grades have soared and he is looking at making honor roll for the first time this next quarter end. He is going out for the volleyball team in the spring and is loving the "freedom" the junior high offers. In the summer he spent some much needed time with all sets of grandparents. His first trip was to southern California to visit his Grandma and Grandpa Grosdidier and of course he loved it and is looking forward to this summer to go again! He also spent 2 weeks this year in Oregon with Grandma and Grandpa Gibson at the farm. While there he decided that he wants to own 400 acres to grow hay and livestock AND he also wants to be a marine biologist as well. I'm thinking he's gonna be one busy farmer/marine biologist! Besides school, Jake is again doing our local basketball rec league and has become really involved in our church youth group. In fact he is the president of the youth group! He has also decided after much thought, to volunteer at the local homeless shelter. So on Tuesday nights we serve dinner to the less fortunate in our community. He has really enjoyed doing this and wants to do more. As he is growing up so quickly, Mike and I have to sit and just admire the young man that is is becoming.

This last year we got the bad news that our sweet faced Molly has Lymphoma. We immediately put her on a full blown chemo therapy regimen and we are happy to say that she is currently in remission. Although the chemo treatments slowed her down quite a bit, she is still with us and trying to keep up with Ella. Ella of course is and always will be a bundle of love. She's been so sweet with Molly and seems to take extra care of her when Molly's having a bad day. The chemo treatments are supposed to give Molly a year to three years more with us, so now we are just plain letting her run the show.

We've done quite a bit of camping this year and of course this is like crack for all of us and the dogs think they've gone to heaven. We just recently sold our motorhome and bought a little trailer which suits our needs much better. We just got back from a fantastic trip to Shaver Lake and are looking forward to a trip to Pacific Valley in February when the whales come back through.

As for me you are asking?? Well things with me are good. My health has been great, I've lost about 25 pounds and am trying for another 15 in 2008. Oh and speaking of health...I got a tattoo for my birthday

Yeah that's right, it's on my wrist and it's a medic alert bracelet sorta. I LOVE IT!!! I am still cleaning houses a few days a week, but am enjoying my time home more and more. It's been the best thing for Jake and for Holly too when she is here to have me home. I've also been able to do some things for friends, like take care of my dear friend Sarah's three kids this last summer. Mike and I spent 5 days with them and we left feeling more prepared to be parents of a small child then we ever could have imagined! HA! A few other things I've been up to in 2007...I was elected the youth commissioner at our church. This has me busy once again with lots of volunteering and coordinating, but I love it! I've been searching for something to do with the youth in our community and this was put right in my lap! I've also continued to blog obviously and LOVE it! The blogging community has been my saving grace this last year. And of course this leads to the final chapter in this letter. The adoption.

Yes we are still adopting. Yes we are still waiting. And yes it's been a LONG time. I know the whole process is really confusing and hard to comprehend so I'll try to give you the basics of what is going on as best I can. The only people who now what exactly is going on with Chinese adoption is of course the Chinese and unfortunately things change for no rhyme or reason and change often. We sent our paper work to China and was "logged in" on March 29, 2006. At this time the wait to receive your "referral" or pictures, medical information and basic information about your child is 24.5 months. So yes, you can see from our log in date that our time is coming soon, BUT unfortunately that is not the case. You see right now the Chinese are sending out referrals once a month and only send out, on average, 6 days of referrals at a time. (are you confused yet?) The log in dates they are currently working on are December 19, 2005 and forward. You read that right, they are STILL working on paperwork from 2005!!! We have about 14, I think, weeks ahead of us in the "line", so if you do the math....one week a month = 14 more months ahead of us. You can always check the box on the right of the blog that says where the CCAA (China Center of Adoption Afairs)is in the referral process.

Needless to say this last year has been one of the hardest years of our lives. As we had thought the wait couldn't get much longer, it did and did again and again. With every month that passed this year, the wait was extended and is expected to go to 36 month wait. We also received news from our agency that we have approx. 15-17 MORE months ahead of us. The sad thing is this isn't JUST happening to us, it's happening to over 30,000 other expectant parents, siblings, grandparents and friends. We are determined not to give up though. God has a plan and we, as hard as it is, are following along with it. When we started this process in July of 2004 the wait to finalize your adoption was 6-8 months, well we've waited 21 months so far and are willing to wait more. There is a little girl for us in China and one day we will see her face and know the wait was worth it. It has been a blessing to have our family and good friends and of course the blogging community around us to continue to support us during this treacherous journey. I hate to say it again for the 3rd holiday letter in a row, but we are hoping 2008 will be the year we extend to our family. One can only continue to dream and dream big, right?!

Well, I believe my time has come to an end here. I must stop before you all fall fast asleep! We do hope that you continue to check in with us here and please leave us a comment just to say hi!

All of our love and good wishes for a healthy 2008!

Mike, Kayce, Holly and Jacob


Loved the card and your letter was great. The house lookd great and your kiddos are super!

Looks like you had a pretty good year. I'm glad your pup is doing better. I hope 2008 turns out better than last year.

Great post..thanks for letting us get to know you better!!! Love the tattoo

Happy 2008! Great way to do a Christmas card update! Cute photos to go with it as well.

What a great idea for a tat! Cool!
Happy new year to you and yours.

Happy New Year to you and your family. You have been busy and happy. Can't wait to see what this years brings.

I think that your tattoo is sooooo kewl. What a great idea & so stylin.

OH yea, and Happy New Year right back at you. XO

I love the look of where you are going for your vacation... looks so pretty... hope all is well with you... take care...

Despite the waiting, you did great things in all aspects of your life and you should revel in it. You have a lovely home and family.

I hate holiday letters though, as people leave out the snark. Can you imagine my holiday letter? LOL!

What a year. Love all the pics and family updates. Your hair looks GREAT in the holiday pic too!