Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Eve

Sarah Lu wishes you a very Merry Christmas!!
We had a wonderful Christmas; it was very fun! It is so hard to believe that it was Sarah's 3rd Christmas at home, although it feels a bit more like her 2nd since her 1st was just three days after coming home. More posts on the day to come soon. We all wished that Chayah could be home with us too, but she will be very soon!! Travel dates are January 8th-24th; more info and posting on this over at Chayah's blog at: http://www.whenlovetakesyouin.blogspot.com
And Sarah wanted to quickly wish everyone a Merry Christmas herself too; video below. ;)

video


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Decorating for Christmas

Sarah was such a good helper in decorating the Christmas tree! I just can't wait until next year when Chayah will be home to do it with us.

News from Chayah's blog: My parents and Sarah will be bringing Chayah home in January!!! Go THERE for more details!

Also, today is two years since Sarah came home! Two years ago, mom, dad, me, and Sarah landed back in the US and brought Sarah home. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Two Years Gotcha

Sarah and Adam together! From China, all the way home, and still together! :)


December 11th was Sarah's two year gotcha anniversary! And this year, she had a very special day with some of her best friends! Sarah had a super fun day with Adam ("Di Di"!!!) and Neil! Very sadly for me, I wasn't able to go along! It was my last day of finals week and I had to be at school. But thank you so much, Cheri, for the pictures!! They are SO cute!! And I so wish I could have been there too! We will definitely need to get together with Adam and Neil again soon! Sarah loves playing with them, and I need to see them this time too! :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

TA!!!!!!!

We got it!!!!!! Chayah is coming home!!!!!!! December 12, 2006 was our wonderful first day with Sarah, two years later, it is a wonderful day of getting our final TA (travel approval) and as soon as we can go, Chayah will be coming HOME!!!!!!!!!!!! Praise the Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gotcha!

Mom meeting Sarah

Daddy and Sarah

Me and my Sarah Lu!

First night with us and a happy girl

Two years ago today, my parents and I went to Sarah's orphanage early in the morning and met Sarah Lu! I can hardly believe that it was that long ago, it seems like it was just yesterday. But still at the same time, it feels like Sarah has always been with us. Below is something I wrote a few months after getting back from China about Sarah's Gotcha Day.

Happy Two Years Gotcha, Sarah!

Sarah Evangeline LuHua's Gotcha Day
December 11, 2006
As I woke up on the morning of December 11, I was filled with excitement and anticipation of what this long-awaited day might hold. There were so many questions running through my mind... Would Sarah like us? Would it be a hard adjustment for her? How would she react? Just how would this day turn out? ...
At 3am on the morning of December 11, 2006, my Mom and Dad and JieJie "Yashi" (Me) woke up at the Guangxi Hotel in Beijing in our hotel room. This day that we had all waited so long for was finally here... At home in the U.S. it was currently 5pm on December the 10th, where two more Jie Jie's were anxiously waiting for a new little sister...
After getting ready, at 5am in Beijing, Coco, our guide, came to the hotel with a driver and a van to take us to finally get Sarah. We checked out of our first phase of the trip and embarked on a new leg of the journey. We packed up the van with our suitcases, had small bags from the hotel with some food, and we were off to get Sarah!
Langfang, Hebei, China, a city located between Beijing and Tianjin, with a population of 3.85 million...
Sarah was waiting for us at the LangFang Social Welfare Institute, a place where she had spent the last two and a half years of her life, and a place where she would just be the 10th child adopted...
On the way to her orphanage, I played various scenarios through my mind of how OUR miraculous "Gotcha Moment" would take place. While in the waiting stages of the process, I occupied myself by watching any and every family "adoption movie" I could get my hands on. Watching other families, just like ours with a red-thread connection, receiving their children felt like medicine while waiting. It was a light at the end of a dark and seemingly unending tunnel. And finally, here our day was... Unfolding before my very eyes...
The Langfang SWI seems to be a hidden jewel among the city of Langfang. Our driver got lost on the way and had to turn around several times. My anxiousness was rising... the moment would be here very soon, just as long as we could find our way.
After what seemed like an eternity, we finally drove into a small, narrow, dark alley. At first, I was worried, why are we stopped here? And then I realized, we were there! Finally, after all the waiting, our moment was coming. Within minutes, Sarah would be placed into ours arms forever.
As we walked down the alley into the orphanage, those were my last few seconds being the "baby" of the family, and you know what? I was finally ready to become a "Jie Jie", ready to become a big sister. All my life I had waited for that moment, the moment I would truly be called a big sister, and it would be true, and now, it was all so close... I could almost touch it.
When we walked through the already open doors of the orphanage and into the courtyard, we caught a glimpse of our new little princess... There she was! We walked into the orphanage and into a dimly lit room, after all, it was still dark outside. A nanny was standing there and in her arms was a beautiful 2 year old little girl, then known as "Dang Lu Hua".
As I juggled two cameras, one video taping and one in the other hand snapping off pictures, I struggled not to cry. Here in front of my eyes was the miracle that I had waited ever so long for.
Mom did not grab Sarah away from the nanny at first, just let Sarah get used to the idea of us being there. We all starred in amazement at her. As much as I tried to keep the next moments straight, It all seems to be somewhat of a blur. All the time in the world just seemed to stop at that moment. I was completely oblivious to everything else going on around me. I was completely enraptured in this new little person in front of me.
Mom talked to Sarah, Dad sang to her, as long as her nanny was still holding her, she was happy with us.
Then, my moment finally came. The nanny handed Sarah to me! I finally had my mei mei, I finally had my little sister! And this was forever... we were finally a forever family of 6!
Throughout the next few minutes, I concentrated on bonding with my new found joy. She took a liking to a granola bar we had tucked away for an emergency food source, and so we had our first "sisterly-bonding" over a simple granola bar.
Meanwhile, the nanny was still in the room, if only just in the background now. We heard a faint sound of a baby's cry down to hall, the nanny left, Sarah left. The nanny went down the hallway to the baby, Sarah followed. The baby was hushed and put back to sleep and Sarah was led back to us. This was when it happened, our first meltdown. The meltdown was rather short and easily handled. A different orphanage worker came in and picked her up and then everything was all right... At least, for the time being.
The time came for us to get on the road again, for in Hebei Province, the adoptions must be finalized in the capital city, Shijiazhuang, a "3" hour drive from Langfang. We knew this would happen, having to take this drive, but Sarah did not. Of course, She did not at all understand what was going on when suddenly these strange people were taking her away in a different vehicle, away from everything she had ever known.
She cried for a while. Mom just comforted her through it all,
"Wo ai ni" "I love you".
The drive was getting harder as the minutes went by... The interstate, the road we were planning on taking, the road that would lead us to Shijiazhuang, was closed due to fog. It is true, the fog was bad... we could barely see in front of the car... but how would we get to Shijiazhuang now? We had to get there to finalize the adoption that very day, there is no way around it. Our only choice now was to weave our way through the entire province. The hours passed and still we were not there and not even close to being there...
It was now about 10am, driving through the fog, we had no idea where we were, we had not eaten at all, other than a piece of bread from our hotel at 5am... Then, to add to the day, I got sick. I get sick from high emotions or stress, but this definitely topped anything. I broke out into hives, not the normal hives I get, but some kind of bubbling white hives. At this point, I was terrified. My skin looked like nothing I had ever seen before and I thought it would never look the same... I mean, how could it? Anyone who saw it would have agreed...
Sarah wanted nothing to do with us and took a liking to our guide, Coco. She was able to sit on her lap in the front seat which kept the crying from being constant.
8 hours after we had departed from Langfang, we arrived in Shijiazhuang...
It was 2pm now and we all were emotionally worn out... The highs and lows from the day were almost unbearable, especially for me. By this point my hives had disappeared as a result of the Benadryl that Mom had on hand, but physically I was very weak.
We drove up to a small parking lot with a little building, this was the Hebei Province Civil Affairs Office. I wanted to go in, to experience the whole process. I thought that just if I walked in, I could sit down, then I would feel fine. I needed a change of scenery, I needed to get out of that van.
I got out, cameras in hand, after all, I wanted to document everything... My intentions were soon canceled by a sudden onset of uneasiness. I reached out for Dad's arm, "Dad, I don't feel too good..."
The next thing I knew I woke up looking into Coco's, our guide's, face. Everyone was standing around me... and I was so confused. I didn't remember where I was... and who are all these people? Why am I laying in the middle of a strange parking lot? I could get run over at any second! Finally, I found Dad's face, He looked so concerned. Then Mom's, she was holding Sarah, but why did she looked so worried? I asked Dad what happened and I was told that I had passed out, just fainted in the middle of the parking lot. I had no idea how long ago it was... a minute, an hour, a few hours... how long had I been like this? Fortunately, just for approximately 3 minutes, but still, all this had me quite worried.
Dad and Coco helped me up and supported me on the walk back to the van. I sat down in the seat and our driver came running from somewhere he had gone to get me some Dove chocolate. We thought it could have been partly brought on by the fact that we had not eaten, so this was so nice. Sarah had a little "juice-pouch like package" of milk and so I drank that for some protein and ate the chocolate for some energy and strength. I will never forget how that tasted, Sitting here right now I can still taste it in my mouth, feel the consistency of the chocolate and milk, and it never tasted so good after not eating for the entire day.
Dad had to leave now, he had to go into the Civil Affairs Office. We did not go there for nothing!
But suddenly, right after they went in, they came back out... Was that it? Were we done?
No, the Civil Affairs director had seen me faint in her parking lot and when she found out we had not eaten, told them to take us to get some food.
Food was the absolute last thing on my mind right now... I had just eaten a chocolate bar and milk, and that was hard enough, but a meal? And how was I even supposed to walk in? I decided to stay in the van, since I did not really feel like having another fainting experience...
I was feeling so sick when they finally all came back out. Then, we were off again to the Civil Affairs Office to finalize Sarah's adoption.
Once again, I stayed in the car... I did not have very kind feelings for that parking lot now and had no intention of having the same experience over again. The hours passed...4pm...5pm... Were they ever coming out? How long was this going to take? I was able to fall asleep in the vehicle and felt a little better when I awoke. However, they still did not come out...
At about 6pm, they finally all came trooping out of the office and here we went again.
We drove somewhere else, I guess to get pictures for the adoption taken... They did this and came back and we drove off again... To another building which no one offered an explanation of to me... It was dark out now and I had no idea where I was and where my family was... I would even settle for our guide...
Then, who came walking up? Our nice, but non-English speaking driver. How helpful. There was absolutely no way, without Coco who was not there, that we could understand each other.
So, he just starts the van and drives away. How nice... I'm sick, in a foreign country, with a person who I do not know, in a strange vehicle, driving around the capital city of the Hebei province. Now, at this point, I did not know what to do... Was he going to take me back to my parents? Um... Did he forget that I am back here?... Just what exactly is going on? Am I dreaming?... All I could was trust that God would keep me safe and get me back to my parents.
I had no reason not to trust our driver...but then I really and no reason to trust him either...
While I was thinking about all this, I saw two boys, probably 11 years old, right outside the van window, beating each other up. They were screaming at each other too, but of course not in English, so I could not understand. As you can imagine, this made my uneasiness all the worse.
The driver came out of a little store with some lady and they both got into the van. They were talking about something... Were they talking about me? I had no way of knowing...
To my great relief, we drove up to the familiar building where my parents had gotten out... The place where we were supposed to be. I was so relieved.
They came back out and oh how happy I was to see them! Mom, Dad, Sarah, they were all back with me.
They told us that we now, at about 8pm, needed to make the drive back to Langfang, the drive that had taken us 8 hours that very morning/afternoon. No way! There was no way I would ride for that long... again! Not tonight, not that drive, it was not happening! I told Mom that if they really had to make the drive back, then they could, but there was no reason that I had to. After all, our itinerary had us going back to Shijiazhuang for the following days, so I would only be on my own for a night and until they got back the next day...
Well, Mom and Dad did not exactly jump at my idea and instead convinced everyone who was with us, our driver, our guide, the orphanage director, that we needed to stay in Shijiazhuang tonight and make the drive back in the morning. Thankfully, they agreed to this and we were able to check in to the Hebei Century Hotel.
When the four of us got to our room, it was the biggest relief. Of course, we still had the communication problem about "crib", not even our guide knew what a "crib" was and finally we were able to make some sense with a "baby bed".
Being as famished as we all were, Dad went out to explore and see if he could find something for us to eat. Dad was a lifesaver that night, he found Pizza Hut! He brought it back to the room for us and it tasted so good. Sarah loved her Pizza and we enjoyed our first meal as a family (plus two at home). We played a little with Sarah and we finally had some smiles. And the cutest laugh of all time!! When she laughs, it is the most contagious laugh ever! If you are ever unhappy, just listen to Sarah laugh and you will not stay that way for long! We played and had a very fun night together. She seemed fine to go to bed, of course, who would not be after such a day? We all went to sleep and had a much needed good nights' rest, finally as a forever family of 6!
I love you my sweet Sarah Evangeline LuHua!
~Staci, aka Jie Jie Yashi

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bolt, Anyone?

We took Sarah to see Disney's Bolt last week and she really enjoyed it! The story is all about a girl and her dog, which inspired this picture with Wesley when we got back from the theater (The white on his head is powdered sugar which had just accidentally been dropped on his head). Sarah is totally an animal-lover and loves her baby Wesley (and puppy Lilly, too)! Being the dog lover that I am, I thought Bolt was pretty cute too. :)
This is a song that Sarah wrote and sang to Wesley a few days before seeing the movie;
it is SO sweet!

"You are the greatest dog in the whole world;
At times you are bad, I still love you...
You are great; You are great!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Funny Girl and Her Quotes


The other day while Sarah was eating lunch, I started taking some pictures of her. Being the hilarious little girl that she is, she was making some pretty funny faces for me! These pictures show a bit of Sarah's personality- extremely funny and soo much fun! Looking at them is looking at the real Sarah; how she acts and plays. She is so much fun and filled with so much joy. I am so thankful that I am blessed enough to be one of her big sisters and be able to watch her grow into the person that she is becoming. It is such a blessing to spend every moment with her. I love my silly Sarah! And just for fun, here are some 'Sarah Lu Quotes'!

"If an iceberg doesn't land on you, it'll be good."

Sarah: "Rachael, do you have a jump rope?"
Rachael: "No, I don't have a jump rope. Why do you want a jump rope, Sarah?"
Sarah: "Because I know many pirates."

"If you don't do anything like a princess, my name is Princess Eloise- kingdom of beautiful things. But if it isn't a ship, then you shouldn't get on it!" (inspired by veggietales: the pirates who don't do anything movie, about princess eloise on her ship)

"I miss Rachael so much I can't eat another bite." (about big sister Rachael who goes to college across state)

"I'm gonna go to the Princess Academy, only for good princesses and no boys."

"If I'm the Princess, then you're the 'getter'. You know, the food-getter who got my food for me?! And Chrissy, you are the person who picks out the outfits and puts them on the Princess... Food-getter, can you please get me some food, which would be pizza. Thank You! Because ALL Princesses say 'Thank You'!"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sarah's New Haircut

Sarah got a new "Princess" haircut and it is SO cute!! I absolutely love it and so does she.

Downtown Holiday Jacket and Pant GIVEAWAY!!!!

Downtown Holiday Jacket and Pant GIVEAWAY!!!!
I found this awesome site through Donnie and Me Plus 3 and I love it!! This outfit giveaway is absolutely beautiful!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Art by Sarah Evangeline LuHua

"Cinderella"

"Bunny next to Flowering Tree with Flying Bug"

The Little Artist

Thursday, November 13, 2008

HUGE NEWS

Check out Chayah's blog ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Hint: LOA!!!!!!!!)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sarah's Bible

Daddy bought Sarah a new Bible!

And she absolutely loves it! :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

To America

Value Voters USA has produced a video that every American needs to see.

I'm not telling you who to vote for, but rather telling you that you need to look into and actually take the time to research the positions that both of the candidates have. Truly think about. Pray about it. Why are you voting for the candidate that you have chosen?
My dad has a shirt from our local pregnancy center and what it says describes this perfectly:
"Without life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness do not exist."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Then and Now

October 2007; Sarah at 3 yrs old.

October 2008; Sarah at 4 yrs old.

Monday, October 13, 2008