Friday, August 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Andrew!

Happy Birthday Andrew!
We wish we could be there to celebrate with you, but we will have lots of birthdays together in the years to come.  We hope and pray that it was a blessed day and that you know that you are loved!

Today is Andrew's 3rd birthday! Hannah and Mama made cupcakes in his honor. We don't know what his favorite flavor is yet, but Hannah and Papa love chocolate; so, we used chocolate frosting with LOTS of sprinkles because Hannah LOVES to use sprinkles. She got to put the sign and the candles in, and we all sang "Happy Birthday". Although he didn't get to eat one of our cupcakes, he did have a cake of his own in China thanks to Lady Bugs N Love, a company that specializes in sending packages and arranging for birthday cakes on behalf of waiting families to their waiting children in China. They also sent a camera so that Andrew's caretakers could take pictures of him having cake with his friends. We're not sure when we will get those pictures, but we will share them with you as soon as we get them!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Lincoln, Jonathan (holding Duchess), Hannah, and Kidd

For two weeks, Hannah got to practice having boys in the house.  We had three temporary brothers from Chengdu, China living with us for a couple of weeks.  There English names are Lincoln, and Jonathan, and Kidd.  They even called us Mom and Dad.  We tried to avoid using the word brother when talking to Hannah about them.  We didn't want her to get the idea that brothers come and go because her real brother is coming home to stay! 

Even though we didn't call them brothers, they treated each other like siblings.  They enjoyed playing with each other most of the time, but the boys did like to pester Hannah who had no problem yelling at them to stop or tattling on them to us. Since they left last Monday, however, she has been carrying around a picture of all of them and asking where they are.  She really misses them.  Duchess really misses them.  The house is much quieter, but we all really miss them.  We know that they have to go home to their mamas and papas; so, tomorrow they fly from New York back to China.  We pray that they have a safe journey home and that they always know that God loves them very much.   Here are a few pictures from the two weeks.

Hannah measuring Kidd on her growth chart...

...announcing the astounding results...

...and recording the important stuff!

Making Pizzas

Ready to eat!

Duchess was in heaven while they were here.

At Starr's Mill with Papa.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Introducing ..... Andrew Nathanael!

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.  Psalm 127:3 (NLT)

Near the end of April, Lois and I started looking through Lifeline's list of waiting children; open to however God might lead.  At the very top of the list was the above picture of this precious little boy - Lois and I were both drawn to him so we called Lifeline and put a hold on his file so we could find out more about him and start praying.  We read through his file and consulted with several medical professionals including a visiting physician in my research group at Emory - who is only here for a few months from China!  She was a tremendous help in reading through his Chinese medical reports and interpreting them for us (God is good!).  After the consults, and spending time in prayer, we really felt at peace in moving forward with adopting this little boy.  So, on Friday afternoon, May 6th, we submitted a LOI (that's adoptionese for Letter of Intent) to the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs.  Miraculously, they responded 3 days later with our PA (Pre-Approval) to adopt him!

And so, without further ado, we would like to introduce you to Andrew Nathanael Cooke!  At this point, our agency has requested that we not reveal his Chinese name or location until after we receive our LOA (Letter of Acceptance - probably sometime this Fall).  So, the most we can tell you is that he is 3 months younger than Hannah and he lives in one of the provinces that Lois lived in while she was in China.

The picture above is the first picture we saw of Andrew, here are a few more:

As you may have noticed, like Hannah, Andrew has a cleft lip that was repaired in China (and it looks like they did an excellent job).  Unlike Hannah, Andrew also has a cleft palate, which means he will need surgery at some point after coming home.

The information we have on him says that he is energetic, likes outdoor activities and likes playing with toys.  His favorite toy is a car.  He gets along well with others, but is a little timid. One update, made when he was 11 months old, said, "He is an outcome, restless boy, fond of music and watching TV, very lovely." We think that means that he is outgoing, energetic, and lovable :>)  We also have two recent videos of him, and he appears to be all boy: running, jumping, playing, rolling in the grass.  We also saw a gentler side of him as he played with a baby and his caretaker.

Because he will be older when we bring him home, he may have a harder time adjusting to his new life; so, we would ask that you begin to pray now for his adjustment when he comes home. When will that be? We are hoping to travel in December, but our agency doesn't want us to be disappointed if we don't get to travel until the beginning of the year. Of course, we would like to travel sooner than later, but we know that all of the details are in God's hands. He knew Andrew when He knit him. He was with him when he was born and has been with him every day of his life. He will be with him until we go to get him and everyday after we bring him home.

As I (Lois) went to mail our care package to him last Saturday, the song, "While I'm Waiting" came on the radio. Here we are waiting again, but we know that we are waiting on God and His timing which is always perfect. I don't know John Waller personally, but I would like to thank him for writing that song. It has encouraged us many times.

Here are some things that we are praying while we wait. We would be honored to have you join us in praying for our son if God leads you.

  • Andrew’s safety and provision while we wait for travel.
  • Patience while we wait to travel.
  • Blessings for him, his caretakers, and the other children.
  • His adjustment when we finally are able to go and get him.
  • Our adjustment as a family.
  • Hannah’s adjustment to no longer being an only child.
  • Wisdom concerning the details of travel since we are planning to take Hannah with us.
Thanks for following along as we take this amazing journey to our son!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Pregnant with paperwork, again :>)

Yes, it is true - we are "expecting" again :>)  We have applied to adopt a little boy from China and have been pre-approved, by the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs to adopt him!  He will be 3 next week and is from one of the provinces that Lois lived in for several years.  So, though Hannah will be a big sister, she will only be 3 months older than her brother.

Stay tuned for more details, pictures and a name tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Hannah Wants to Tell You Something

Can you read my shirt?  I'm going to be a big sister! 
(Details to come very soon.)