Two China Dolls and a Prince!

This blog chronicles the story of 2 of our adoptions, both older children when they came home. It begins in 2008 and will continue in the hopes we can be of encouragement and information to anyone thinking of older child adoption.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


We are doing another fundraiser throughout the month of May.  It is a ThirtyOne fundraiser being hosted by Jennifer Webster.  Please click on the link below to begin shopping!  Jennifer is donating 100% of her commission to our fundraising efforts!

Long day and a mistake I hope doesn't come back to haunt me!

So today, as expected, was a really long day.  I got Jaz to school at 715 and then made copies of the dossier docs and waited for the post office to open.  I get over there, get all my envelopes in order....a Priority one for the State Certifier's office; inside that went an Express envelope addressed to There's Always Hope in Chicago, and inside THAT was all the stuff needed for authentication AND another Express airbill for Denise Hope to send the docs back to me.  So i was so proud of myself for keeping it all straight; right??  Later, I'm watching my kids play their ball games, and it hits me:  I forgot to do tracking or delivery confirmation on the entire packet going from my town to KC!  So if it gets lost, I'm sunk.....I hope and pray nothing happens to it just going that short distance.  Staying up as late as I did last night is NOT a good idea!

James' team lost one game, won one; Jessica's team won 2 out of 3 and got 2nd in the tournament; yay!  Jessica herself got two great hits and eventually got home to add her run to the game.  She's had a lot of trouble hitting, so it was great to see!  Jazmin had a choir festival at 2:30, so I drove to Harrisonville to see her, then we came back to Leeton to watch the older girls' final game, which they won 20 to 2!  Never eaten so much junk food in my life, it seems!

Finally got home around 8pm and I am soooo tired!  I did exactly what I planned, my feet are up and relaxing, but I can hardly keep my eyes open.  A much less busy day planned for tomorrow (other than grocery shopping to feed the "critters").

Paperwork, ugghh!

It's 1:30 in the morning on Saturday and what am I doing?  I've spent the last 3 hours getting my dossier docs ready to send to the State Secretary's office, then they will be sent immediately to a courier, There's Always Hope, in Chicago.  She will walk them into the Consulate and leave them to be authenticated, a big, long word that basically means they put a page with a China seal on it, charge $20 a page, and the courier comes to get it.  THEN, she will send it back to me, upon whench I will make copies of all said documents, and whisk it off to our agency.  So I had to make sure I had a list of what goes in what envelope and who gets what!!   IN THE MEANTIME, our I-800A was received TODAY in the lockbox.  I spoke with 2 different officers at NBC today and they said to call back next week and see if we can expedite the fingerprint notice (we just need the piece of paper, then we can walk in before the actual appt they give us).  We HAVE to get fingerprinted before May 18th, because Jr's co-worker is getting married, and will be gone for two weeks!  There will be NO WAY he can take off to go up to KC, so keep your fingers and toes crossed that I can finaggle that notice next week!
Here's a funny story (it is now, but wasn't earlier today).  I called NBC (Nat'l Benefits Center) and they couldn't find us in the system....I was freaking out because I got my dates mixed up and thought our I-800A went LAST week, not THIS week.  YuPing at WACAP got me straightened out, and I called the officer at NBC back and apologized about getting the dates wrong!  He was very nice; wow, such a difference from 2009.  It is sooo nice to talk to a real person anywhere anymore!
I also had another grant application to get ready.  On top of that, I have to have Jazmin at school at 7:15 for a choir event in Harrisonville, softball/baseball games at 9am and throughout the day, and then have to get to Harrisonville for Jaz's end-of-day concert.
I think I will come home tomorrow night, plop on my couch, and just go to sleep right there!
I will be so happy when the dossier goes to China; that's always a nice "breather"!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I-800A sent FINALLY!

I am happy to report our I-800A went out yesterday; the USCIS should have had it today as we had our agency Express it to the lockbox in Dallas.  My understanding of the new process is that (get this), it goes from here to Dallas, then BACK to Lee's Summit!  Is that not crazy??  But it is Hague and this is our first Hague adoption; the first two were non-Hague.  Once it hits Lee's Summitt, we get an officer assigned.  However, I plan to call as soon as I get my receipt and get our fingerprint notice expedited, so we can hightail it up to KC North and get our fingerprints done.  Have to get all this accomplished by May 18th as one of Jr's co-worker's is off from May 21-30 and he won't be able to get off.  So keeping our fingers crossed for good luck!  In the meantime, I'm sending our dossier docs for certification and authentication so once we have immigration approval, all the other docs will be at our agency ready to go. 
We are continuing to fundraise to match our LifeSong grant; if you feel led to help bring Lucky home, please go to: and put "CAVENDER #2792" in the Purpose line; thank you and God Bless!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Link for LifeSong donations

Here is a link to the LifeSong donation page...remember, if you use this link, not only do we get closer to matching our grant, but YOU get a tax deduction as well! God Bless and thank you for helping Lucky come home!

Choose your method of donation and reference "CAVENDER #2792" in the Purpose section (Paypal) or memo line (check).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Many Blessings Today!!

We have received great news today! LifeSong has granted us an $1100 matching grant! What that means is that amount of money must be received by LifeSong in donations for us in order to "activate" the grant! You can either go to, click on the "Give" tab and then donate in whichever way you like (check, Paypal, etc.) You will need to indicate our account: CAVENDER #2792 in the memo or comment section. Or click on the "Donate" button to the right! (But if it doesn't work, follow the previous instructions!). Please help us get one step closer to bringing Lucky home; it's only 100 people giving $11! Thank you for your support!

We also received a wonderful video of Lucky today; see it here! He's the tall, skinny one in the purple shirt.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Lia Sophia Online and Home Party 6 pm tonight!!!

Lia Sophia Fundraiser!
April 16th 6pm - April 18, 12am
Adoption Jewelry Party; Help us bring our son home!
Directions for Placing an Online Order:
2. Type hostess' name: Jenni Padgett
3. Have fun shopping and place the order!

Wait! If you do not want to purchase jewelry, you can still make a donation! Just click on the "Chipin" on the right side of our blog.
Thank you so much for your support of our journey and thank you to Jennifer Padgett for hosting this for us!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Judi's 7th Birthday

Nothing makes you reminisce like a little one's birthday. Our Judi, our little Kunming firecracker, turned 7 yesterday. She has been home a little over 3 years and the changes in her have been nothing short of amazing! She came to us a tough, independent, take-no-prisoners attitude-wielding, extremely capable little girl just shy of her 4th birthday. In our 3 months home after Gotcha Day, I would deliberately not let her do things on her own, so that she would learn to depend on me and therefore bond. She had to ask for everything so that we could clearly establish who was in charge.

Today, she's learned to use her take-charge style more appropriately, plays cooperatively with her friends, and loves nothing more than having someone to play with. She is funny, smart, witty, incredibly perceptive, and can size up a situation in a snap. Our lives are definitely enriched for having her in our family!

She had an awesome sleep-over (her first) and then Sunday we had a family party; it was a really great, but tiring, weekend. No more birthdays until June and then we have 4 within 3 weeks!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I don't know what's happening with our Chipin today, but thank you to those who have contributed today and previously!! You are awesome and you have no idea how much your support helps right now!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lucky is so Sad

This is a picture taken April 11, 2012. Lucky is the boy wearing the white jacket with the red, puffy eyes. The family adopting Seth (seated in the middle next to the foster mom) is there and have met with Lucky and Ned while picking up Seth. It was a very emotional day as they were able to witness the friends' goodbyes and those of the foster parents. To say these boys appear well-cared for is an understatement. It was said that Lucky was very emotional during the whole day which in a way, makes me feel better. Not, of course, because I want any child to have to go through this kind of sadness, but because it shows Lucky and his friends have been raised in a way that they are not afraid to show emotion and care deeply for someone. It shows he has a deep attachment and bond with his friends, as does Seth with his foster family.
The family adopting Seth plans to visit the orphanage frequently over the next few days, so hopefully, they will get to see more of Lucky and tell us more about him. I also hope Lucky has time to really read our letter and decide on one of the names we offered! It would be nice to call him Jeramy, Jaxon, or Jonathan!

Also, an update on the homestudy! We sent off all the documents to the agency today, and we're hoping to have it all done by next week! From the time we started the first visit (3/28), that would be a 3-week turnaround; awesome!! Only glitch is the final draft comes with a $2600 bill! We've saved up some in addition to the amounts in our Chipin, but are still about $500 short; please pray for a miracle in the next few days!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lia Sophia Online and Home Party

Lia Sophia Fundraiser!

April 16th 6pm - April 18, 12am

Adoption Jewelry Party; Help us bring our son home!

Directions for Placing an Online Order:

2. Type hostess' name: Jenni Padgett

3. Have fun shopping and place the order!

Wait! If you do not want to purchase jewelry, you can still make a donation! Just click on the "Chipin" on the right side of our blog.

Thank you so much for your support of our journey and thank you to Jennifer Padgett for hosting this for us!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Having a good day by Jazmin Cavender, age 8

This post is by Jazmin. Today was a best day and all this week and next week our class will have no homework, except maybe for math. That is because we have MAP testing. MAP means Missouri Assessment Program and Assessment means Test, so we will be taking tests this week and next. If I get an "Advanced", I will get to go to Worlds of Fun! Mommy says I have to go to bed earlier than usual and eat a good breakfast. I will tell you one thing that is good to eat for breakfast is the cereal Whole Hearts....I had some this morning and it is sooooooo good!

Addendum by Debbie...

just wanted to say we had an awesome weekend celebrating Easter with God and our family. Saturday we "tried" to have a garage sale to raise funds for the adoption, but it was a bust due to cold, rainy weather. But in the afternoon, Jessica, our oldest daughter, and I went prom shopping! She must have tried on at least 15 dresses, but we found a beautiful one that is royal blue; she also got gold strappy sandals and we found a sapphire and diamond necklace and earring set (fake stones of course), all at the same store! She looks so beautiful in her dress; hard to believe my firstborn is getting so grown up.

That evening, we grilled out and had S'mores; an all-around awesome day (except for the garage sale, but it was only the first one).

Sunday, we did church with the family, and went to my Dad's for an Easter Egg hunt and lunch. The kids had a blast looking for eggs. Then we roped everyone into a game of Pictionary and after that the kids watched the movie HOP while my soon-to-be-stepsister figured out how to do Jessica's hair for the prom. We had Jess try on her dress and show everyone; Daddy's eyes got big seeing his little girl all grown up and looking like a princess! I've posted a picture of the dress, but not with Jess in it until hair and makeup are done!

Then we finally got home, put the kids to bed, and got on to begin one of our adoption training classes. We made it halfway through until we got so tired we couldn't focus on the words.

Today, we got good news that the church will let us do a fundraiser for Lucky; I'm thinking a lunch thing after the second service, something easy to put together like baked potato bar, taco bar, etc. Plus stepmom-t0-be is an awesome cook, so I think lots of people would come just to eat her goodies!

As I sit here, I'm thinking of Stacey and Richard in China, it's about 7 am there on Tuesday. They meet Dusty (Seth) today face-to-face for the first time. I am so nervous I feel like I'm the one over there! Am saying many, many prayers for a harmonious meeting (and that she gets to meet Lucky and Ned!). If Lucky gets my letter, than he may be a Jeramy, Jaxon, or Jonathan by the end of the week!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Teen adoption

Recently, some on my Yahoo groups have posted many issues with teen adoption, in some cases, real horror stories. To read some of these, you would run screaming in the other direction and never consider adopting an older child. Then you read the posts of those who had the opposite experience. While I can't imagine any transition being seamless and perfect, there are those who have experienced less "bumps" in the road.
Am I more scared now than I was? Yep. Am I more aware of what things to watch for? Yep. Do I worry about how this will impact our current children? Of course! Each time we adopted, we spent time rebuilding a "new normal". I cannot speak for anyone else, but I feel it was crucial for us to wait so long between adoptions to get to that "good" place that can weather another upheaval and adding another teen will definitely upheave us!
We talked with all our kids at the dinner table tonight about all the things that "could" happen and what we would do. As advised in some of the posts I mentioned above, having a plan is the key. We even discussed changing certain behaviors that we don't want our new son to mimic and that we would all need to be tremendously patient while Lucky finds his niche in our family. We even talked about our basic family rules (which is hard to put on paper definitively if you've never done so!).
I especially have to be prepared for him to not want affection or touching or hugging for a long time, if ever. That will be hard for me, as I show my affection physically with hugs, kisses, a pat on the shoulder, etc. I think when we come home, one-day-at-a-time will be my motto.