Happy Birthday, Dong and Yan!

Happy Birthday, Dong and Yan!
Are they making a wish?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Back at Home

We made it. after a 35 hour flight home with four kids (one barfing with air sickness, one barfing with a migraine) and a 2 hour delay in chicago, we are happily at home.

the kids - Yani and Taddy - are fantastic. Tad is like a 5 year old, but already after only a week he is giving us eyecontact, responding to his name and our instructions (turn off the tv etc) and not wearing ALL his breakfast...

Yani is a peach - smart as a whip and with a silly sense of humor. she will be a handful. And a fashionista. has discovered marys high heels, my jewellery, and is entralled by my makeup...Loves dresses.

both love the swimming pool which is where we will be later this afternoon.

i'll post photos and details later, but wanted to let you all know we are ok.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


We are settling into Beijing, where it has been foggy and cloudy and HUMID since our arrival. The heavens opened with rain yesterday for about 5 minutes - it sounded like a million trucks driving by. Then it stopped.We visited the summer palace yesterday and climbed longevity hill to the buddhist temple of incense (or somesuch), and saw the marble boat. It was amazing. The funniest thing though is the attention Addy especially attracts with her blue eyes and blonde hair. She had a bevy of grandmothers coming up to pinch her cheeks and kiss her and pat her. She was freaked out at first, but by the end of the day stood their stoically, smiled and said xie xie, which made them all smile.Today we have a meeting in the am, then are off to see the acrobats this afternoon. Sometime I will take mary shopping for some girl time. I got a manicure at the local supermarket/toystore/clothing/etc store - all of 20 RMB (or about $3.00). Fun. The need for a manicure transcends language.We had famous Beijing roast duck the day before yesterday - sliced and you roll it up on pancakes. Addy tried everthing and discovered she really likes chines pancakes and duck. Mary discovered duck soup broth (and noodles for breakfast). Right now it is 6:30 am and i am trying to get her to try seaweed salad for breakfast. Truly teh breakfastst here are wonderful with a full chinese buffet (veggies, corn, noodles, rice (corn on the cob seems to be the national treat!) tofu), plus assorted iced pickeled vegetables (beets, seaweed, beansprouts, radish, bean salad - some spicy, some not), plus pastries, an egg station, a congee and noodle soup station, fresh and canned fruit (always good watermelon), cereal (rice krispies and others) and their version of a western breakfast including bacon (after a fashion) sausage or meatballs (in soy...pretty good), bread pudding...sauteed potatoes. Toast and croissants. I enjoy every bit of it.Apparently Shiyan the senior representative of Bethany here has spoken at some point with Yan and she is very very excieted about getting a family of her own. Dong is happy if his sister is happy. Only three days to go.A big thank you to Fiona, Mary's good friend, who is doing these posts for us. All blog sites are blocked in China. There is NO free speech here.Our hotel - we have decided the beds are made of plywood. Harder than rocks. I have tripled a blanket under me. Mary has opted for the couch. Addy stole Mary's comforter and balled that up under her. And dad - well, he can sleep anywhere.Generally dining outside of the hotel is cheap. We all four feasted on duck for a total (including a beer) was $30.00. I've rambled on in no particular order. Will email more to dear Fiona tomorrow to post.You all can email us at wineanddiner@gmail.com.Love from BeijingNan, Lon, Mary and Addy-the-blonde otherwise known as shao pengyou (little friend).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Addy is a Genius

Today I get an email from our social worker. I'm in high hover with stress 3o hours before we fly, and she send along a note saying congrats to Addy for being the published in the NH Troubadour magazine as the 4th grade poetry contest winner. This cannot be, I say. She is confused. My daughter has entered no poetry competition.

So we call addy over. Did you write a poem? No...oh...well, Mrs DeSteuben had us write something for a competition a few weeks ago!

Here is the NH Troubadour Magazine (a volume I had never even heard of !) 4th grade winning entry by Addy! Way to go, kiddo!!!

Student Poetry Contest Winners

Song of the Mountains

by Addy Henderson, age 9, Lafayette Regional School-Franconia

In the mountains
In the mist
A blue bird flies
A deer trots
A butterfly floats.

In the mountain a lake sits still
And echoes the song of a bird
Under that bird lupines grow.
Behind the lupines is a town
In that town peace blows in the breeze.

In that peace a mountains mist
All is still
All is well
Except the sun
Which rises
Then sets
With the beautiful song
Of the mountains.

Monday, May 18, 2009


WE received our Consular Appointment today, which by default means that our long awaited Travel Authorization is in the hands of our agency (which I've decided though excellent in agency stuff is not too hot on communications with parents!)

we will travel on 6/15 from Boston via Chicago to Beijing
spend through the 21st in Beijing, then fly to Chengdu
get the kids on the 22nd (I think)
Fly to Guangzhou on the 27th (or thereabouts)
Have our US consular appointment on the 29th
and fly home Guangzhou-Shanghai-Chicago-Boston, arriving at 11pm...then driving home. ugh.

Why via Boston? Cuz it was nearly $3000 cheaper than Manchester.

Anyway, more to follow, without a doubt. Yippeee....

Friday, May 15, 2009


7 weeks after LOA and we are still waiting for our travel authorization (the one that is supposed to take 2-4 weeks...). Our agency says "yep, its longer than normal" and "everything is in order, it is imminent" - and has said that for the past three weeks. This is driving me nuts. The fact that swine flu has hit mainland China, and of course it is is Sichuan province (!) is just icing on the cake.

Actually, I dont mind waiting. I want the kids now, of course, but I really am using the time to get ready a bit more. I just want to know when we'll travel so I can plan better. Right now, I'd say mid June maybe?

Oh well.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu?

I am so frustrated. We have been holding our breath for 4 weeks now for our TA. Now the rumor has it that either 1) the director of the CCAA which issues the TAs is out for another week and nothing will get done (that is the "good" rumor). or 2) CCAA has completely stopped issuing TAs for a period of 30 days, and will consider restarting at that point depending on the Swine Flu epidemic.


I just want our kids.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Its getting real...

I've been a member of a web community which tracks referrals, letters of acceptance, travel authorizations...we celebrate together on line, we pound our collective heads at the frustrations inherent in the process, we commiserate with those who seem stuck in bureaucracy, and the good list owners publish a chart of where everyone is in the process. We moved 2 weeks ago from the "waiting for LOA" list with much fanfare to the bottom of the "waiting for the TA (travel authority) list" - and expected a 5 week wait. Yesterday, two weeks later, the China Center for adoption affairs issued TAs to almost everyone ahead of us on the list. We're now pretty close to the top. It is just barely conceiveable that we will receive TA next week. Of course it could be another three months...who knows. But probably in the next week or two.

I'm SOOOO not ready. I'm SOOOOOOO ready. I"m so conflicted!

I have a house to clean, beds to move, sheets to find, trinkets to pack up, clothing to unearth (its still winter here but 90 degrees in Chengdu...so gotta find the summer stuff buried in the garage). I have to choose cabinets and door hardware, clean the fridge out (yuck), and get the inn ready for the season. Get ready to move houses. We're out of town 4 days next week, 3 days the following...AARGH!!!!!!

All in God's good time.

Wow. Its happening

Friday, April 10, 2009


I think I am beginning to panic. I have a long list of stuff to do (that is no where near complete) . Our house wont be done by the time we return, and I havent even begun to address that. Work is suffering because frankly my attention is about 10,000 miles away. And I know I am absolutely positively crazy to be doing this.

On the other hand, spring is springing (back and forth into winter it seems) but there are crocuses and the day is sunny and the birds are singing and the roofers are roofing.

Message for Julia

Thanks for your post. Can you email me at innkeeper@sunsethillhouse.com? Your boy is adorable.

Monday, March 30, 2009



Today we received word that we have our LOA - the "Letter of Acceptance" from China. The China Center for Adoption Affairs has reviewed all of our affairs (and believe me, the mountains of paperwork we sent ensured they have every detail of our lives documented, stamped and sealed) and has officially said "yep, you can adopt Yan and Dong". This LOA came a full month earlier than we had really expected.

Now, we wait for our Travel Authority (TA) (Adopting internationally is a world of abbreviations! I thought the Army was bad, but it has nothing on this!), then our CA (Consular appointment), in preparation for GD (Gotcha Day. I think this is a dumb name but hey, it is the recognized name for the day you get your kids!). OMG. Realistically 4-8 weeks. Probably 6-8. But still, that means travel beginning in MAY. Happy birthday to me... Zhu ni shengri kwaile...

sooo much to do now. Yippeeee.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dong and Yan

I woke up this morning to find a bunch of photos of you in my email in box. Yippee!!!! Apparently you received your birthday cake. It looks tough to eat birthday cake with chopsticks. We'll have to try it for Mary's birthday, I think. And no napkins - horrors! You're wearing winter coats indoors so I assume there is precious little heat there, and though it is 50 degrees f. or so outside, I know I would be cold.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quilting Time

We just keep getting more quilt fabric. From neighbors, to Mary's social studies teacher, to old friends, and church friends, and family near and far...We have gathered this huge pile of fabrics and wishes. I think it is time for a party to put these together! We are indeed blessed.

Tomorrow is the kids assigned birthdays - the day they were scooped off the streets of Chengdu, three years ago, was 3/18. We have sent a cake, and musical birthday cards and more photos.

No word yet on when we'll go get them - it could be 2 months...it could be 4 months...who knows.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Thank goodness for on line chat groups, and especially for Brita (Yan's "california boyfriend's" mom...) who confirmed with her son that Dong is NOT doing Tai Chi in the photo but is doing the Ultraman move. Yes, the same ultraman from the late 1960s in the US is all the rage in China and Japan among the under 4-foot-tall boy set. Who would have known! It is good to have some means of connection - if we become an Ultraman family, so be it.

On another note, things are progressing slowly here. I got two matching sweaters for the new kids today that coordinate with ones Mary and Addy have - I've never color and style coordinated a whole family before! This is fun.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Good wishes

Thank you Aunt Sherrie, Uncle Alan, Aunt Cindy, Mrs Regan, and Michelle Whitenack for the wonderful good wishes and fabulous fabrics for Yan and Dong's quilts. This is such a fun project!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An Amazing Thing

When we received the referral from Chengdu, we signed up for the yahoo chengdu adoption users group. Its a pretty quiet group - not much going on - but we figured we'd keep an eye on what others who had been there had to say.

One person asked if anyone was adopting an older child from Chengdu - she wanted to find some of her daughter's friends from the Children's Welfare Institute. I directed her to this blog, and lo and behold the daughter and Yan may well know each other.

Then the next day I got an email with the title "is this your daughter?" Now, as a mom of 2 bio kids, such a title can be a bit disturbing...what on earth was Mary or Addy doing that would cause such an email to be sent? I opened it and was amazed. The mom of a very cute boy adopted in California had seen the thread, viewed the blog, compared the photos to one she had of her son and his friend in Chengdu CWI, and was very excited to send that photo along. What an incredibly kind thing! B - thank you again and again.

Indeed, it is clearly of Yan, and the one we are now jokingly calling her California Boyfriend. She is as beautiful in that as in every other - and I will post the photo just as soon as I get the other mom's permission.

Still waiting on the photos that were taken last week.

Such a small world. God is good indeed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day, Children

Happy Valentines Day to all four of my precious children. Mary, Addy, Yan and Dong - you all live in my heart. I love hugging two of you, and just wish my arms were long enough to reach Yan and Dong right now.

A funny thing happened today - I had responded to a blogpost asking if anyone had an older child recently from Chengdu. Long story short, I directed the asker to this blog, and it seems her daughter knows you, Yan, from the Children's Welfare Institute, where you played together. Even funnier, I asked where she lived, and come to find out she lives in the same town in Wisconsin I grew up in.

It is a small world. I hope and pray your portion of this small world sends usthe Letter of Approval sooner rather than later! We all want our new kids!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Our care package arrived

We just received word from our intermediary (Adele at Blessedkids.com) that the care package with photos of us, a letter to the children, a letter to the nannies, and cameras arrived at the Chengdu orphanage on 2/5, and the two dragon new years cakes we sent them arrived on 2/9. Wow. I think that Yan and Dong probably know they are being adopted now. Wow.

Adele's father also asked if the orphanage would send along current photos and measurements. They did so, and pending me paying Adele for the service, I will have those shortly. She says they look happy.

Little by little...I can't wait to see you!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pre Approval

Just got a happy email from wonderful Jan at Bethany - our agency. We have received pre approval from CCAA to adopt these two. Now they review the dossier (that they have had since December 06...), and issue us a formal approval. How long that takes is anyone's guess. We're praying for sooner rather than later! Could be months...

Thursday, February 5, 2009


My littlest ones

Happy New Year! Happy Spring Festival! Last week we arranged to have a cake sent to each of you, from your new family. We also sent along two photographs (it is so hard to find photos of all 4 of us) and some disposable cameras, and a letter to you and to your nannies. I sure hope you get them! Our intermediary service will have the cameras picked up and the film developed, so hopefully we will have new photos of you very soon.

I am trying to learn Mandarin. Your grammar is easy, but boy oh boy is the language itself a trick! Right now I can order coffee with some confidence. But that is it!

You are in our thoughts and prayers. Everyone is so excited about welcoming you home!

Wo ei ni.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Post Your Good Wishes Here

Please add to our long list of good wishes for Yan and Dong (and Mary and Addy) by posting a comment here!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One Hundred (or Two Hundred) Good Wishes

A tradition in China is that a new child is welcomed with a "one hundred good wishes" quilt. Each block represents a good wish for the child and their life. What a lovely idea (especially if you are a quilter...).

Please join us in creating a"one hundred good wishes" quilts for each of our new children

  1. Send a piece of fabric (8" square), or a completed "quilt square" (6 1/2 " finished size (for a 6 " block). Use any technique you wish, or just send a piece of fabric you love.
  2. Send along with each patch a written wish (on paper) which we can put in a memory book for them.
  3. To keep some degree of organization, we would ask that the squares for Thaddeus/Dong be in the Red/Orange/Yellow palette, and for Elizabeth/Yan in the Red/Pink/Purple palette.
  4. Return the squares to us by the end of February, so Nancy can get them sewn together, off to the quilter and ready for their arrival sometime between April and June! The Mailing Address is: 231 Sunset Hill Road, Sugar Hill 03586
When they are done, we'll publish the photos of the quilts on the blog.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009: Nancy was at an overnight meeting in southern NH, so I was checking her emails for her. Junk mail, junk mail, routine stuff, more junk mail and a message from Jan Lessard at Bethany Christian Services. Usually just an adoption update, but maybe--just maybe--something more. I hadn't even finished it when I knew with absolute certainty that this generic "are you perhaps interested?" email blast message was actually written just to us.
There were no beautiful pictures like what you see. No long write ups like we have in hand now. Not even their names.
All I had was a compelling sense that this was it! Them! For the last 2 years I had thought we were looking for only a daughter to add to our family. In 30 seconds I KNEW we were adding a son too. The email was almost hopelessly austere with information. Yet I interupted Nancy in her meeting to tell her that we had just made first contact with the rest of our family. Without even seeing the email, she believed.
I forwarded the short, hopelessly undetailed email. Her voice was hushed and serious when she called back. "This is it, isn't it? How could we be so sure? All we had was the following: Two children, found living on the streets in Chengdu, China. A small boy being raised by his not much bigger sister. He was described as "liking small animals" and "likes to run." The message said she was "maternal and intelligent."
Then there was a list of necessary qualifications needed to even hope to become their new family. Mentally I tallied them. We had a chance. So I found a quiet spot facing our gorgeous mountains and had a conversation with God. And I prayed. Yesterday, we were told we were 1st choice to be their family.
Would we like more information? Did we want to accept them? How could we not want them? Nancy answered "yes" for us without even wasting breath conferring with me.
24 hrs post "yes" and one week from the first email, I am still overwhelmed when I think of adopting these two beautiful children. My children.
We are so blessed and to be able to share our gifts with not just one, but two more young people is twice the answer I expected to our original prayer.
Liu Dong and Liu Yan. I can't wait for you to come home.


The Henderson Family is Exploding!

I am at a loss for words.

Two years ago, I asked Addy what she would do if she could go anywhere in the world. Without batting an eyelash, she said "I would go to China and adopt a baby sister". Where that came from I don't know - but as soon as she said it, Mary chimed in "yes", and we took the first tentative steps on a lifelong journey.

Yesterday we received, and will accept, a referral to adopt two beautiful children from Chengdu, China.

Liu Yan and Liu Dong - welcome to your family.