“Ni hui shuo yingyu ma?” [Do you speak English?]

April 25th, 2012 by Jill

[April 25th, 2012. Published August 13, 2012…because he is now safe at home and we feel safe sharing this.:) ]

My phone rang at 5:52 today.  When the caller answered in Chinese, I thought it was a courtesy call. Completely uninterested in whatever they had to say, I asked the caller in Chinese if they spoke English.  “Ni hui shuo yingyu ma?”

The reply came in Chinese, “I can’t.  This is Pu Min Yu!”  *GASP*  I almost yelled, “Pu Min Yu!?  Really??”  And his sweet little reply, in English, “Yes!”

I handed the phone to Todd, since my Chinese is not so hot.  He asked him how he was doing, if everything was okay, was he happy, etc.  I think he was trying to make sure there wasn’t a specific reason for calling us.  Unfortunately, we got disconnected after about 4 minutes or so.  And he didn’t give us any reason for calling.  So it seems he just wanted to say hello to his family.  I have thought and thought about that phone call, and am probably trying to read too much into it.  Does this mean he’s ready to come home?  Does he think about us as much as we think about him?  Does he miss us terribly?  Is he feeling impatient?  I’m still wondering…

Pu Min Yu called us!!!  I love, love, LOVE that sweet boy!  I don’t know how he did it, but I have never been so grateful to receive a phone call in my entire life.  I still can’t get over it!  Love that boy. 🙂

5th Care Package

April 11th, 2012 by Jill

Is it just me, or does it seem like we’re sending a care package every other week??  Every time I tell Todd I have a letter to translate he asks, didn’t we just send a package?  Well, it sure feels that way!  I guess that means time is flying by.  Yea!!!

I didn’t take a picture because there were only two items in the box–a letter and a Chinese trivia game.  It was a small package.  🙁  I had meant to get some treats to put in it, but totally forgot to run to the store last night.  And I had to send it today because our Chinese tutor was nice enough to do it for us.  (My Chinese is NOT good enough to attempt the post office yet, and Todd left town this morning for a work trip in Shenzhen.)  So, off the package went, sans treats.

This month’s letter was about birthdays and food.  The Chinese typically don’t celebrate individual birthdays.  Usually they celebrate “everyone’s” birthday during the Chinese New Year.  Since Kaylee Ann and Spencer had birthdays this month I explained our traditional birthday celebration–cake, presents, and sometimes a party.  I also listed all our birthdays, including his.  Children in the orphanage don’t usually know their own birthdays, so I wrote his in hopes that he’ll learn it.  I plan to send a cake and presents for his birthday, and now that he knows when his birthday is I’m hoping he will look forward to it. 🙂  Can’t wait!

I also discussed food in the letter.  When Jasmine came home, the first morning I made eggs and toast (because I saw her eat them almost everyday we were in China).  And when I set them in front of her she started looking around for something and finally asked, “Where’s the soup?”  Umm…sorry, Jasmine.  No soup for breakfast in America. 🙂  We had lots of other fun little experiences like that with food/culture differences.  That’s the reason I gave Minyu a heads up on some of the biggies.  Like no soup for breakfast. 🙂  I’m hoping he’ll feel a little more prepared to join our crazy American family!


March 19th, 2012 by Jill

I am SO grateful today!  In addition to our LID last night, I discovered another happy email when I woke up this morning.  I’ll back up a bit first.

We took a big giant step in faith when we started this adoption.  Financially, we were not ready to begin this in the fall, but we felt very strongly that we should.  (And then discovered our son’s file was already prepared.  Good thing we didn’t delay!)  To be perfectly honest, we had spent all of our savings on our previous adoption, and then the move here to China.  And then the little that we thought we had left was quickly drained to cover mortgage payments for our unsold house during the fall.

So we have spent every extra penny (about $15,000 since August) on this vacant house.  Ugh.  We could have paid over two-thirds of the adoption fees with that.  But this morning, we got an email saying that we are ready to close on the house!  It came just a few hours after the LID email.  Yea!!!  This will be a HUGE burden lifted once we close on this sale.  Until now we have had to put all our adoption expenses on a credit card–that is now almost maxed out.  But it looks like we’ll close just in time to save enough for the China adoption fees which must be paid in cash.  Phew!

My mom has reminded me several times now, “God is never late, but he is almost never early.”  So true. He has answered our prayers and rewarded our faith.  Again. 🙂 We feel so incredibly blessed.


March 19th, 2012 by Jill

We finally received word about our log in date.  It was today, March 19th!  Woo hoo!  China has logged us into their system and now we’re waiting for our LOA (Letter of Acceptance from China).  Should be here in about 5-8 weeks.  Then another 2-3 months for TA (Travel Approval).  And THEN we bring home our boy!

Speaking of our boy, I promised pictures in my next post.  As promised!


Pictures :)

March 14th, 2012 by Jill

[Published June 2, 2012.]

I’ve done it again.  If you recall, during our last adoption I had the brilliant idea to search for our daughter online in Chinese.  I had been searching in English with no luck.  Well, when I searched in Chinese we ended up finding at least 5 more pictures, plus some pictures of the children from the Puyang SWI.  (And then the whole “searching for your child in Chinese” became this huge craze.  Had no idea it was such a novel idea.  Ha ha!]

So…I decided to do it again!  I actually searched for Minyu before we made our trip to Puyang and found a couple pictures.  Like these:

At the zoo. Summer 2011.

8 years old. Since this is the now the youngest picture we have of him, I guess that makes this his "baby picture."

I searched some more a couple weeks ago and have now found over a hundred pictures from the SWI.  And our son is in quite a few of them.  (I even found a couple more of Jasmine when she was there!)  Between the pictures given to us from the SWI, pictures we took during our trips, and online pictures, we now have about 80 pictures of Minyu!!!  If you haven’t adopted from China, I cannot begin to describe how incredible this is!  When you receive a child’s file, you may get lucky and receive 7-10 pictures.  Sometimes only 1-3.  And if you get any updates during the wait, you might get 1-10 more.  So a LOT of pictures would be 20 or so.  Some people have less than 5.  Total.  So…80+ pictures…definitely something to smile about! 🙂

Summer 2010

Summer 2010

4th Care Package

March 12th, 2012 by Jill

Yea!  4th care package sent today.  Or in Todd’s super secret code language…The petunia has been planted.  Bahahaha!  He cracks me up.  I asked him if he got the package sent today and that was his reply.

4th care package.  I only planned on sending 8.  We’re at the half-way point!!  That just leaves April, May, June, and July.  And then we should be there!!!  (Of course, this is all based on my carefully calculated, and highly unpredictable travel estimate of late July/early August.)

Oh.  And I just realized that I forgot to take a picture.  Sorry.  No picture.  (I’ll make up for it though by posting new pics of our boy in the next post.  Promise! 🙂 )  Well, it contained a letter of course.  I wanted to include some art supplies, but I couldn’t figure out where to buy them.  I’ll have to look again for the next package.   We also sent some snacks to share with his friends–nuts, dried fruit, and 3 little containers of gum.  3 containers because he has 2 good friends there, also older boys, and we thought it might be nice if he could give each of them their own gum.  I was thinking about gifts, and how nice it is to receive them.  Then I thought about how much nicer it is to give them, and I wondered if children in orphanages ever have that opportunity to give gifts.  I hope Minyu enjoys giving some treats to his friends. 🙂




March 5th, 2012 by Jill

YAHOOOO!!!  We got the email from our agency on Friday that we were DTC!  (Translation: “Dossier to China.”)  The big stack of paperwork that began the moment we got Minyu’s file the first week in November is complete and has been mailed to Beijing, the place where all dossiers for China adoption go.  (Which is still ironic since we live here.)

I am so incredibly happy with this!  We were able to get our dossier finished in UNDER 4 months.  That is just awesome.  Some of that swiftness was due to our crazy paperchasing, some was because of our fabulous agency, some because of our social worker, and the rest was just lucky.  (Who am I kidding.  It wasn’t lucky.  It was meant to be. 🙂 )  Anyway, the estimate to complete a dossier is 4-6 months, and we beat it!

We should be bringing our sweet boy home this summer–June at the very, very earliest and September at the very very latest.  With the way things have been flying along so far, my feeling is that he’s meant to come home sooner.  So my best prediction is LOA around the 1st of May and TA the 1st or 2nd week of July.

So, here is the new timeline:

  • PA:  11/8/2011 (Pre-approval from China to adopt Min Yu)
  • DTC:  3/2/2012!
  • LID:  3/??/2012 .  We will receive a “log in date” sometime in the next couple weeks, which means China has received our dossier, logged it into their system, and we are officially in line to complete our adoption.
  • LOA:  1-3 months after LID we’ll receive our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) from China.  This is now the biggest unknown.  Once we have this we’ll probably be able to estimate our potential travel dates within a 2 week range.
  • TA:  (Travel Approval) just over 2 months after LOA.  There are about 5 little steps between LOA and TA, but they go pretty quickly.

So happy!  4 months down and only 4-5 months to go!  We are half way there and are all MORE than ready to bring Minyu home.  I hope we can make these next months fly quickly while we work hard making our home and family ready for our sweet boy.  Fly time, fly!  (And U.S. and Chinese governments, please issue our approvals in a quick fashion–lightning quick would be preferred!!)

Letter from Minyu! And a name.

February 23rd, 2012 by Jill

[Written 2/23/2012.  Published 3/13/2012.]

We received our second letter from Minyu yesterday! Love that boy!!! It’s almost like Christmas at our house when we hear from him.  He received our 3rd care package and wrote a response to our letters. (He previously responded to our first letter, but not the second.) In our last letter we asked him about the English name we had chosen, and he says he likes it! So, Minyu now has an English name!

He likes it!

It’s Matthew. 🙂  “Matthew” and “Jasmine” actually have the same meaning: gift from God. It just seemed so fitting.  All of our children truly are gifts, but these last two gifts were unexpected surprises, both given after we thought we were finished receiving “gifts.” 🙂  I have to tell you a bit more about this name.  I went through hundreds of names–literally.  It had to have a really special meaning, and it needed to sound nice too.  Well, after going through aaallll these names I made a short list, and then narrowed the short list down to the “real short” list–to about 10 names that I thought I could live with.  Then I picked my two favorites–Matthew and Evan.  Well, later that day when I realized “Evan” rhymed with “Trevin” that one was out too. 🙁  Phooey.  Only one really good name left, in my opinion.  ONE.  Out of hundreds.

So, before I told Todd what I’d come up with, I emailed him and said something like–hey, I’ve come up with a short list of names, but I don’t want to influence your thinking with my list until you let me know if you have any opinions on names.  So let me know if you have any thoughts before I send you the short list.  And I rambled on for another 4-5 sentences or so (like I am innately inclined to do).  And I did NOT send him the list yet.

A few minutes later Todd sent a reply.  Man-Of-Many-Words wrote:  Matthew.

That was it.  A one-word email.  Yeah, he wasn’t even interested in my short list, or my “real short” list, or how I’d combed through names for hours.  It was decided, and fortunately he decided right. 🙂  (Only joking!  Mostly!  Ha ha!)  And fortunately, Minyu really liked it too!  I was a bit worried that he wouldn’t like it…because we had nooo backup name if he didn’t. 🙂

Now back to his letter.  The very first thing he wrote was, “I’m so sorry I didn’t write last month.”  He explained that he had been very busy with homework–and I believe it.  (Our kids attended Chinese school for a month and it was pretty demanding.)  He gets very good grades and is always at the top of his class.  Yes, I am certain he’s working very hard.

We have some family coming to visit us in Beijing next month, so we asked him if there was something he’d really like to see when he comes.  (I was thinking maybe the Great Wall, or the Forbidden City.)  Minyu knew what he wanted to see.  He wrote, “When I come to Beijing, what I want to see most is my dad, mom, brothers, and sisters.”  Why didn’t I think of that.  That’s what we want most too–just for him to BE here.  He then thanked each of his siblings individually for the things they had sent him.  So sweet.  They all loved hearing from their brother.  We ALL loved hearing from him!  I know every parent think this about their children, but he really is someone special.  Really!  We are all so anxious to have him here with us, but until that day comes, we are grateful we can exchange letters. 🙂


3rd Care Package!

February 13th, 2012 by Jill

[Written March 15, 2012.]

Sent February 13th!  I’ve decided that since it is such a huge hassle to try to print real photos, I’m just printing them in the letter instead.  Besides, it’s easier to include captions this way.  In addition to a letter with pictures, this package included lots of things from the kids to their brother.  Letters, drawings, and a book.  All of our kids love Harry Potter, and since our two oldest just finished reading the whole series this past year, they thought Minyu might like it too.  So, we sent the 2nd book, Chamber of Secrets.  I hope he loves reading like our others do!  If he doesn’t yet, we’re hoping “Hā lì bō tè” (Harry Potter) will help get him hooked. 🙂

2nd Care Package

December 31st, 2011 by Jill

[Written March 15, 2012.]

We sent our 2nd care package to Minyu on December 31st!  All of the kids received a new book from us for Christmas this year.  (They love books, so yes, new books were a good thing.)  We’re not sure if Minyu likes reading, or if he really gets much of a chance to, but we also sent him a book.  Our kids love the Harry Potter series and the oldest two just finished them all this year.  So we thought we could try to find it for Minyu.  That way when our kids talk about Harry Potter, at least he’ll be able to participate in the conversation.

“Hā lì bō tè” or “哈利·波特” or “Harry Potter”

We were able to find the entire set of 哈利 波特 (aka Harry Potter) books in Chinese and bought them off of Taobao (a Chinese website–like a cross between Amazon and ebay??).   Yea!   So we sent the first one, The Sorcerer’s Stone, to him for Christmas (a little late).  We hope he likes it!

We also sent a letter, pictures, and some goodies.  I hope he know how much we love him and think about him!