Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Blessings

We have such grateful hearts as we ponder upon all of our God-given blessings! While driving to visit my mom (who's out of the hospital, yea!) for Thanksgiving, each of us listed 3 things we were thankful for. I thought it would be a great idea to document those things as it tells you a little bit of our heart at this time.

Josh is thankful for his new snowboard/boots/bindings, his dog-Chloe, and his much-used IPod.
Courtney is thankful for her autographed copy of the new Jonas Brothers book called, Burning Up!, her home, and her boyfriend-Steven.
Frank is thankful for his health, family, and home.
I, Paula, am thankful for the blessings from God that have provided the necessary funds to make this adoption work, my heart procedure that has cured me of those crazy episodes, and my wonderful husband.

We are also so thankful for our extended family, friends, and AWAA family who have supported us throughout our adoption journey, for without your encouragement and kindness we wouldn't have made it this far! God bless!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We Have our Chinese Visas!

Today I drove about 90 minutes into Hollywood to the Chinese Consulate to get 4 Chinese visas stamped into our passports. Because I didn't want to make that drive again (imagine the traffic through 3 major LA interchanges on the 101) so I paid the extra money to get a 1-day rush. I waited around for 4 hours and then paid big money to pick them up at 2:30. This was just one more important step toward getting our little girl. It seems this whole adoption process is just one series of things to get done after another. But the good part is that that humungous list is ever so small now. I think all we have left to do is pay for our incountry travel, do some laundry, finish packing the rest of our suitcases, get Al to take care of Chloe (our dog), clean our house so it's ready for us when we get back, and confirm Sophie's pediatrician appointment for Dec. 19th. Only 6 things left to do! Watch out China, here we come!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday, Sophie!

Today is Sophia Rose's first birthday! We are so sorry that we aren't able to celebrate with her in Jiangsu, China. We'll figure we'll find a bakery that makes delicious mooncakes and party with her there. Tonight we'll have a little celebration in Thousand Oaks with white cake, a candle, and ice cream. We can't pass up an opportunity for a party, can we? Maybe we'll even go out for Chinese food. Yum! It's starting to become so real that we can hardly stand it! Besides the sleepless nights, we're trying to focus on all the positive aspects of becoming parents to a baby again. Staying positive is the key here. Happy birthday dear Sophie! We'll be coming to get you 10 days!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Travel Approval

Yipppppeeeee! On December 4th, the Gammariello Family will be traveling to China...FINALLY!!! We received our travel approval this afternoon after a 3 1/2 week wait! We're halfway we have to get serious! We need to drive to LA to the Chinese Consulate to get our VISAS next! Busy, busy, busy! We only have 2 weeks to get ready! Please pray for travel safety, for anxiety-free traveling, for Sophie to be healthy and strong, for her to quickly attach to us, and for us to love her like crazy cakes!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hurry Up and Wait-The New Name for International Adoption

Well, we've been waiting for our TA-travel approval which I thought would be here by now. They told us 2-3 weeks. We are on day 24...and still waiting. It's like a cross country flight that is supposed to only take 5 hours but ends up taking "days" to get to your final destination because every time you think you're on your way, the plane has to stop for a connecting flight. Ugh!

I was happy to find an email from our agency travel coordinator today! But the only thing I got out of it was that there are no guarantees on when we'll get our TA. She just told us to hurry up and get our travel documents faxed over to her office. "Hurry up and wait" that's the name of the game!

It's kinda weird how now I'm not getting my hopes up at all. It's a real let down to be so close yet so far. We have no control over any of this. The only thing I do know is that I need to walk by faith. That's what this long journey has taught me the most. We think that we are in charge of our lives, but that's all a big hoax. We think we have control...but we don't have any control at all.

I must admit that I would LOVE to travel the second week of December as that is when my substitute will be taking over. If I leave any earlier, I will have to get a sub for a couple of days before the 2nd sub (the more desirable long term sub) took over. God has always provided and been my rock. He has this "perfect timing" thing down. Apparently, I don't. So, I'll continue to trust in Him and just trust that it will all work out. Besides, even though everyday I'm disappointed that the next call hasn't come, I'm getting pretty excited that soon I'll have my little Sophie Rose in my arms forever!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Showered with Love

Frank and I were showered by Troop 718 Boy Scout Parents at Janice and Martin Leung's home this afternoon! It was so much fun to be treated to an Asian-themed couples shower hosted by Janis, Linda, and Sandee. Everyone brought in a delicious dish to share ranging from Chinese chicken salad, egg rolls, and sushi to roasted pork and fortune cookies. Linda made a beautiful cake which was 6 pastel-colored baby blocks that spelled out "SOPHIE." Pink Chinese lanterns were blowing in the wind and pink M&M filled take out boxes as favors sprinkled the tables. Every little detail was so well thought out. We felt so honored by our friends who wished us only the best in our upcoming journey. It was wonderful to get together and share our happiness with a great group of people. The Troop blessed us with a beautiful, much-needed car seat and other miscellaneous gifts. We left a big smiles on our faces.

The best part is Janice has invited us over after Thanksgiving to teach me how to make congee, a well-known rice mush that all Chinese kids grow up on. She also volunteered to have us come over, once Sophie arrives, to show Sophie that there are Chinese people just like her in America!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pictures of Sophie

This is Sophia Rose Gammariello, Sophie for short (yes, we changed her name again) at 5 months. This is most current picture we have. Isn't she adorable? We can't wait to see what she looks like now. We leave for China probably in about 3 weeks. We're still waiting for travel approval and our consulate appointment.