Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I confess...I've been checking my e-mail a gazillion times a day just hoping for some news about our potential travel dates, updates on our son, Travel Approvals for several internet friends who are waiting on it (not to mention our TA), etc.

After checking for the 58th time this morning, I was finally rewarded with an e-mail from our agency titled "Xi JiHao". My heart quickened as I clicked to open the e-mail and was greeted with this news:

Good Morning Max and Tracy -

Below are updated measurements for your son, and attached are updated photos of him - he's a handsome boy!!!

Enjoy these and have a terrific day!

Xi Jihao:

height 122.5cm (48.2 inches)

weight 21kg (46.3 pounds)

head size 51.5cm (20.3 inches)

chest size 59.5cm (23.4 inches)

feet length 18.5cm (7.3 inches)

teeth 23

Are you thinking what I'm thinking???? Now that we have his current measurements...IT'S TIME TO, little boy shirts, little boy pants, little boy shorts, ball caps, swimsuit, pjs, undies, etc.!!! What could possibly be more fun (and more therapeutic) at this time???

O-kay...maybe studying his sweet new pictures is just as fun (and just as therapeutic). Doesn't he look more grown up?

We can NOT WAIT to meet you, our precious little man!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Oh, Happy Day!!!

The most beautiful piece of paper in the world!!

Our SCL has been signed, sealed, and priority overnighted to our agency in St. Louis, who'll send it off to China sometime tomorrow!!

I was soooo excited to find two new pictures of our son in our SCL packet! I've stared and stared at them, just as I have all the other pictures we've received of him. It is such a HUGE blessing to have these tiny insights into our son's life. By the way, we were "forced" to make a decision on his "American Name" in some of today's paperwork....

SO (drumroll, please)....Introducing,

Brock Ji Hao

So very adorable, isn't he??

We found out through his best friend that he is indeed called both names "Ji Hao". So, even though we gave him the required Goodrich Family Br- name, we plan on calling him "Ji Hao" until he makes the decision (if ever) to be called "Brock".

Next step...Travel Approval --STAY TUNED!

Monday, April 21, 2008

One BIG Step Closer!!


This morning, after 84 (LONG) days, we finally got the call that our Seeking Confirmation Letter (SCL) had arrived at our agency's St. Louis office!! The SCL is our "official referral" of little Xi Ji Hao, and the necessary NEXT STEP in getting to China to meet our son.

Just had to again include this picture because it is so irresistible, and because I can NOT contain my excitement!!! This little guy is OUR SON! I can NOT wait to scoop him up and kiss his sweet face. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself that he will be almost 8 years old when we first meet, so scooping and kissing might not be the best approach. Coupled with my gesticulative manner (not to mention protruding Caucasian nose), I just might be a little overwhelming (can any of you imagine that????)!

Anyway...back to the steps necessary before all the scooping/kissing can occur...

Our agency is going to overnight our SCL and other necessary paperwork. When we get it, we'll need to sign our name in a few places and then overnight it back to them.

Our signed SCL will be returned to China, and then we once again W A I T for China to issue us Travel Approval (permission to travel to China). This has been taking 2-3 weeks.

Once we receive Travel Approval, our agency finalizes all arrangements in China, we book our international flights, apply for our Visas, and PACK LIKE CRAZY!

Better go camp out and wait for the UPS man to arrive ...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

One Day Closer

We are on wait day 80 from LID to SCL.

Although our agency told us not to expect to hear anything "for at least" 3 months, I guess I really did expect to get our SCL before 3 months. I am starting to get antsy and uneasy, especially in the face of rumors that, due to the Olympics, China will not be issuing travel approvals r/t adoption in June, July, and August. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Our agency has not heard that there will be a halt in travel all summer, but I can't imagine the Olympics NOT effecting adoption travel in some way. For sure, it will become more and more expensive to travel to and then to stay in China the closer we get to August.

I honestly can not imagine having to wait until September or later to bring our son home. Especially knowing that his very best buddy has already gone home. Adoption can drive a person absolutely CRAZY! It's of the requirements to adopt from China is that you can not be taking any psych med (no antidepressant, antianxiety meds, etc.). So, of course, you send off your paperwork all happy, hopeful, and med-free ... BUT, by the time you WAIT out all the emotional twists and turns and FINALLY hold your child, you just might be on every psych med on the market!!! Hmmm...maybe drug testing on adoption day would be a good idea :0)

Thankfully, more numerous than my ansty, uneasy, and insane moments, are the the moments when there truly is NO doubt in my mind that God has ALL the details worked out, just like He always has. When I think back on all the detailed "coincidences" that led us to KNOW that Hao was OUR son, and how I have been "coincidentally" corresponding with Hao's best friend's parents, how can I doubt that He is in EVERY detail surrounding Hao's homecoming? No - it might not be easy to have absolutely no control over when we'll finally all be together (as a matter of fact, there are moments it feels downright unfair, sad, frustrating, crushing, nerve wracking, and torturous), but - the God of all the universe is such a better planner, organizer, and orchestrator of the details than I could ever be!

SO...instead of thinking about how many days we've waited,

I'm going to try to think of each passing day

as one day closer to our son.

*just so you know, I'm already anticipating the need for some daily accountability on this positive outlook :o)*

Sunday, April 6, 2008

More to share about Hao and his best friend!

I received another e-mail from Joseph's mom tonight!!! It seems that when they took the picture of Joseph and his "best friend"(see post below) in the orphanage, they did not realize this "best friend" was our son, Hao. It wasn't until yesterday that they started putting things together.

Here is a portion of the e-mail she sent me:

Yesterday we showed our son the referral picture of your little boy, and
asked him with our translator if that's the same boy as his best friend, and
he smiled and nodded "yes". You might also like to know that he asked us to
put the referral pic of your son and the pic of the two boys together into
frames, and he attached them to the head of his bed. Last night he said
"Wan an" (Chinese for "Good Night") to your son and he gave the pic a kiss
before he went to sleep.

Another part of this amazing story is that we gave our son a Legos transformer to put together in China. He loved it--it went into the bathtub and into bed with him. At the orphanage, he gave it to his best friend--made all the adults choke up to watch. At that time, of course, we had no idea his best friend is your son!

Is that AMAZING or what? My heart overflows knowing that our precious son has had such a sweet friend. At the same time, my heart aches for these little guys and their loss.

Again, I stand in awe that God has placed both of these boys in their forever families within months of each other...after waiting EIGHT long years!

I'm afraid my growing impatience is becoming unbearable. Hurry, hurry, hurry, LOA!!!

Best Friends

Yesterday, we received an e-mail from the family who recently brought their 8 year old son home from Wuxi. The e-mail read "attached is a picture of our son with his best friend from the Wuxi SWI".

Here they friends:

Joseph's parents took this picture when they returned with Joseph to the orphanage to say their final good-byes. Joseph has told his parents that he and our Hao are best friends! Wow! It warms my heart to know that Hao had a special friend, and that both of these little guys would now have a forever family. After eight years of waiting, they both would go home to loving families...within months of each other. I am confident that God had this all in the plans.

I'm sure our little Hao is missing his buddy. We still don't know whether or not he knows he has a family who will soon be coming for him. We do know that the orphanage director is aware, because he asked Joseph's parents for their contact information so that he can give it to us when we come for Hao. I'm assuming that this gesture shows the closeness of these boys in that the director wishes for them to make contact in America. So very sweet!

Your continued prayers for Hao are extremely important to us.

P.S. Joseph and his family visited the SWI during nap time, so Hao is kneeling on his bed...he is not as short as he looks in this picture. I thought I might need to clarify, because our first impression when seeing the picture was "wow...he is so small"

P.S.S. Also see our March update BELOW...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

March Madness

We’ve had an event-full March.

Our homeschool co-op ended the first Friday in March, supposedly freeing up more of my time. No more finishing school with my kids only to spend hours preparing for my co-op class! No more waking Brielle up early on Friday mornings to make it to co-op on time! Yes!!! The end of co-op also meant the performance of the radio drama that Brittany's Radio Drama class had been working on all semester. Brittany loves radio drama and, as always, pulled off her part with much passion and projection. Brant takes more just-for-getting-together-with-friends type classes, and he is always happy and content having no performances of any type.

March 15th, 2008, was an especially exciting day, as Brittany celebrated her GOLDEN BIRTHDAY! Our sweet daughter turned FIFTEEN years old. What a blessing she is! Brittany is content and gentle-spirited. She is creative and tender-hearted. Her dad calls her “perfect” (but he hasn’t been in her messy room lately). God has gifted her in so many ways, and we are so privileged to watch His plans for her unfold.

Thank goodness Brittany is also a loyal hockey fan, because we spent the weekend of her birthday at four of Brant’s hockey games in Dallas. Brittany was so excited to spend her birthday watching her brother play hockey…what a sweet sister. In between the games, Brittany wanted to go to the Dallas Art Museum, and we had a wonderful time exploring the works of art there.

It ended up being a rather disappointing weekend of hockey, as Brant’s team underplayed and therefore would not proceed to the Finals. You’ll note the look of disappointment on Max and Brittany’s faces (notice, too, that there are no pictures of the expression on my face…hmmm…with this finally being the end of hockey, I couldn’t help but have mixed feelings). Hockey is a great sport, and it is fun watching Brant become a solid hockey player, BUT seven months of practices, games, stinky equipment, and travel is enough for this momma…especially with a two year old “rink rat” in tow.

Broadway’s production of The Phantom of the Opera has been on tour here, so as part of Brittany’s birthday present, Max and I took her to see it. It was a beautifully staged production and a wonderful evening with just the three of us. You can read more about our evening on Brittany’s blog at

To add more to the excitement, last weekend our homeschool group hosted its annual Spring Ball. I guess you could call it a friend and family-centered version of prom. Brittany looked gorgeous in her gown! She had a great time dancing the night away with friends, while I had a wonderful time talking the night away with a whole bunch of adults (a rare occasion, indeed). Driving Brittany to the Ball, I looked over at her and tears welled up in my eyes. My little girl has grown into a lovely young lady. Sitting there in her gown with her hair done-up, the song “Butterfly Kisses” came to mind, and I saw her wedding day somewhere in the all-too-soon future. Wow.

Brielle continues to grow taller and taller and is talking, talking, talking. She is an adorable little bundle of energy, independence, charm, and will. She loves attention, and you’ll most definitely know if she thinks she is not getting enough of it. She had a great time Easter morning, eagerly hunting for her basket and Easter eggs. We recently went to the zoo, and she kept asking to see a “water buffalo”, which of course is one of the few animals our zoo does NOT have. I look at her, with her dark almond eyes and sweet little nose, and marvel at how God has brought our lives together. My heart swells with gratitude when I think about how He moved us to grow our family through the blessing of adoption.

Which brings me to our little Hao. We are still waiting to hear from China, some days more patiently than others. Now that co-op is over, I’ve been trying to spend some of my freed-up time learning all I can about older child adoption, microtia, etc. One thing that both older child adoption and microtia have in common is that there are no absolutes. We can do our best to prepare ourselves for our son, but we really won’t know exactly what our biggest blessings and challenges will be until he is finally home. Even then, discovery will be a process over time. I am so eager to begin this amazing journey (o.k….I don’t feel very patient at this very moment…hurry, LOA)!

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