Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The rest of the crew...

Everyone here has seen pictures of Logan and knows nearly everything we know about him at this point. Well, except that I received some information about his feet, and we think he wears size 10 shoes. :) Since people ask (and I love to share!) I thought I'd tell you about the rest of my crew...

Brent turned 19 last week. Hard to believe that my firstborn is nearly finished with the teen years. That makes me an OLD parent! OY! Brent's finishing his freshman year at Boise State University. It's been interesting--a year of growth for him. We miss him terribly and are very sad he won't be with us in China this time. He's funny and intelligent, and plays a mean game of basketball. We'd love to see him give college ball a try, but know that HE has to want to do it. He works hard at his job and takes good care of the house he lives in. He won't be home this summer except for a few brief visits, and that makes this momma very sad. But, it's fun to see him testing his wings and actually flying on his own, so the sadness is balanced by pride in a delightful young man.

Hailey will be 17 this week. She's a high school junior, preparing for SATs and her senior year. I'm not sure I'm ready for college applications round two, but I know she'll be every bit as successful in college as her big brother. She's a great student with an incredible servant's heart: helping out around the house, serving in youth ministries at church, and enjoying the opportunity to serve others here and abroad on missions trips. This summer she's headed to Mexico to do some construction and VBS teaching. A basketball player and beginning golfer, she's had her share of "lumps" this year in the athletic realm but we are excited to see what her senior year brings. Her smile brightens everyone's day, and she is the current love of Ryan's life.

Emily is almost 16 already. A high school sophomore, she's our creative one, our artist. Rarely does Emily have a day where she's not singing, laughing, or otherwise bubbling with joy. An awesome student, she had her volleyball season cut short last year with an injury. Knee surgery put basketball out of the picture--likely for good--but she's trying her hand at golf this spring. She too has a servant's heart, and it's great fun to see her loving babies in the church nursery every Sunday. She's excited to spend some time in Mexico on a mission trip this summer with her sister and is looking forward to the opportunity (and repsonsibility!) of being a co-teacher for our two year olds this summer at Vacation Bible School. She'll do very well, but her biggest problem in the class might just be her very own little brothers.

At 13, Victoria is the last of the "big guys." Currently knocking them dead in 8th grade, she's definitely ready to move on to high school with her sisters. Volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter have kept her very busy, and she looks forward to trying her hand at those sports in the high school. Loved by children, it's hard to find Tori home these days as she's in high demand as a babysitter. Her biggest excitement this year--after the trip to China, of course--is the opportunity to spend a week in Washington DC in June. She's been raising money and saving to pay her portion of the trip, and she's nearly done it. It will be fun to hear her perspective, since both Hailey and Emily did this trip after they finished 8th grade. It amazes me that 3 children living in the same house can go the same places and have such totally different impressions... It will be fun to have the opportunity to help Victoria do a photo journal documentation of our trip to China. I can't wait to see it from her perspective!

And then there's Ryan... Sweet, charming, delightful, fun, and VERY much three years old. Ryan has been with us since he was 9 months old, and he's a joy and a delight. We have such fun with him! Everyone loves his smile and his giggle, and his personality just shines. He is very well loved for a short one. ;) And he IS a tiny mite: just 37" and holding steady at about 27 pounds, he is at the bottom of the height/weight charts. Quite a change from the other giants around here!! He loves to talk and his reasoning skills blow us away. He's an amazing athlete--puts Brent to shame, actually--and has yet to find a sport he doesn't like. Or excel at, for that matter! His new "trick" is learning to ride his birthday tricycle from Gramma and Poppa.
Jim's still working as an engineering manager for a major aircraft manufacturer. Most days he loves his job. It certainly keeps him plenty busy! Me? Well, I wear lots of hats: wife, full time mom, nursery staff at church, daycare provider on Wednesdays and Thursdays, committee chair at school, teacher in Adult Education at church, master scheduler, and general jack of all trades. Busy? You bet. But I wouldn't trade it--or any of them--for the world!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Where are we going?

Many have asked about our trip and where exactly we're headed. Here's a map of China with our trip marked on it. We'll fly into Beijing (red star) and spend a couple of days sightseeing, then meet Logan. Once we have him, we'll fly to Zhengzhou (yellow star). Zhengzhou is the capital of the Henan province, which is where Logan is from. When we complete the necessary paperwork in Zhengzhou, we'll fly from there to Guangzhou (blue star) to visit the US Consulate. This is where Logan gets an entry visa in his passport, allowing him to come home with us. Once all the paperwork is done in Guangzhou, we'll fly home again.

And just for reference, the green star on the map marks Chongqing, which is where Ryan is from.

Getting excited now! (Why else would I be up at 4 in the morning???)

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Travel MUST be coming soon. Why do I know? Well, because as I look around the house trying to get ready to go, I see the things that are falling apart!! Yesterday, the toilet in our downstairs bathroom decided to quit working. It's a "vacuum assist" toilet, so it's not just a trip to the hardware store for replacement parts. Of course not--that would be simple. We found out we can order new parts, but they'll cost nearly $200! Yep, $200!! For that price, we can have a new toilet! OY! So we're down one bathroom while we decide what to do next.

Then, this afternoon, Jim was changing the oil in our Suburban. Needed to be done, and we wanted to finish it because we have some friends who are going to use it while we're gone. They'll be home on a medical "furlough" of sorts while they await the delivery of their baby. They need a car for a couple of weeks while they're home and we're gone. Fine by us! After all, it's God's car...and I sure don't need it while I'm halfway around the world. :) So the oil got changed and Jim started investigating what he thought was a minor leak. Turns out my relatively new radiator has a leak. Ugh. He's at the auto parts store seeing if they can order him a replacement radiator--PRONTO. Not exactly what we had in mind for this week. I mean really: Jim has to work, the girls have to go to school, and I have about 10 million little things still needing to be done. Major auto maintenance really wasn't on the "to do" list for this week. Fortunately, my parents are out of town and their car is still on the driveway. (I took them to the airport Thursday and haven't taken it back to their house yet.) I am grateful that they will let me drive it, and I'm not putting them out. God ALWAYS provides--even the little things.

Like I said--must be time to adopt. It's that Murphy's Law thing: Anything that can go wrong, will. Or, in the case of adoption: The more it costs to replace, the more likely it is to need replacing once you decide to adopt. And yes, we still pray over our refrigerator regularly. :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

In other parts of our life...

Yep, our world has other pieces that have very little to do with adoption. Right now I'm working on one of them. Jim and I will be teaching--perhaps facilitating is a better word--a seminar on "Evaluating Choices in Education" on Saturday. Our hearts' desire is to help families make wise decisions about their children's educations. It's hard! There are so many choices available today, and it's hard to know where to begin and what questions to ask.

So I'm wading through MOUNTAINS of paper on the kitchen table, trying to pick the best stuff to make sure we hit. We intend to provide primarily resource type information--websites to explore, essays to read, hard data to evaluate--so that people are making informed decisions. I wish we'd had something like this back in the dark ages before Brent went to school! Now, it's not so hard because we've done this a few times, but it's sure good to "review and renew" the information we use every year as we make schooling decisions for our crew. This adventure has taken on new meaning to me, since we'll be starting over again in just a few years. The thought of having to evaluate kindergartens again makes me nauseous! But, that's what we get to do. Fortunately, we're a lot wiser now than we were when we packed Brent out the door the first time. And our resource list is even greater . Unfortunately, I think we're pickier now, too, having done this a few times (like, um, about 50!). Ryan and Logan will benefit though. I've committed to staying one more year on the education/curriculum committee at the girls' school so that I can see firsthand where the elementary department is headed. Fortunately, we have a few years before we have to make serious school decisions for the little boys. We need to "know our boy" well, and Logan will likely need the time too. It's good all around.

Back to the table to see what I can finish,


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

getting closer

This is beginning to feel very real. Today is the first day it's actually felt that way. But here's where we are now:

*Itinerary done? Check. Complete and approved.
*Tickets purchased? Check. All international and domestic tickets have been purchased.
*New money ordered? Check. And received. :)
*Money wired for guide fees and hotels? Not yet. That happens next week.
*Gifts? Half a check. :) Decided upon, yes. Purchased--no. That will be a project for next week.
*Visas? Check. Just heard from the courier--they're on their way back here.
*Medicine? Mostly done. I feel like I pack half a pharmacy when all of us travel! Oh well.
*Clothes for everyone? Mostly done. Jim and I have our stuff; Ryan's set. Logan? Not so sure. Waiting to get some new measurements so that we know what size. The girls? Heaven only knows. :) I'm sure they'll let me know if they need anything.
*Paperwork? Check. The folder is sitting on the desk slowly gathering all the papers needed.

Left to do are the small little errands like pick up some things for the preschool at Philip Hayden and get a new thumb drive for storing pictures. Now it's beginning to feel like we're really going to make it!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

God is GOOD

Y'all are amazing, and GOD IS GOOD!! I got home from working in the nursery this morning, and the following e-mail was in my box:

"family Kaussebaum: we have changed tehm meet child on May.10th, but itwill be on Afternoon, leave hotel around 14:00. please let them know this."

With news like that, I'll even forgive the slaughtered spelling. :) Not only will we meet Logan on May 10, but we don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to do so!! We can thoroughly enjoy the Peking Acrobats on Friday night without worrying that we're coming back too late for an early morning. The girls will have an opportunity to do some homework. (I'll bet that will thrill them.) We should have an easier day all around because of this. Thanks for praying.

Blessed by awesome friends and an incredible God,


Prayers please!

PLEASE pray for a scheduling miracle! When we received our consulate appointment and were working backwards to schedule our trip, we were told we would get Logan on May 10. So, we planned our arrival and our time in Beijing, giving us time to adjust to the time difference, get over our jet lag, and see the sights BEFORE we got Logan. Nothing against Logan at all--we can't wait to have him!--but we planned these things not intending to have him with us. Now, the Chinese travel group that is responsible for planning our adoption related travel is telling us we MUST meet Logan on either May 8 or May 9, both days we're scheduled to be sightseeing in Beijing. I don't want Logan with us then. We know Ryan can handle the schedule; we don't know if Logan can. We are all set with our Beijing guide. Getting Logan on May 8 or 9 really messes with the plan and will likely cost us significant money.

Please pray that things would work out for us to meet Logan May 10. We're not in danger of not getting him or having our trip canceled or anything major. It's the hassles and the headaches right now that are stressing me. Our agency director has gone to bat for us, letting the adoption travel planner that May 8 or 9 is not an option for us because we're already scheduled for those days and to figure out how to make it right. She told us to "keep our fingers crossed." So, here we go again--prayer is far more effective! Let's see what kind of miracle God can perform for us, and for those who watch and direct this process who don't know Him and His power.

There are still other hassles with the arrangements, but we have decided that the "getting Logan" date is the most critical. You can pray that we can fix the other mistakes as well. I don't know how we can afford to pay for the hotel we're booked in, but changing doesn't appear to be an option any more. So, we'll just deal with it. God has provided everything we need so far, and somehow I don't think He expects us to starve while we're in China. We will come up with the additional money...somewhere. This faith-building stuff is no fun once in a while. ;)

Friday, April 18, 2008


Today was supposed to be such a great day. And most of it was. Ryan and I spent the morning at the aquarium with some friends of mine--Anne and her daughter Rachel, and Colleen and her daughter Linlee. Both Rachel and Linlee are from China and are about exactly Ryan's age. It was a ball watching the three of them together! We had a great lunch, and as usual I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Anne and Colleen. But when I got home.....

Yeah, well, let's just say that the travel planning isn't quite going like I had hoped. Rather than go into it all (and raise my blood pressure a few points!) I am just going to ask that you all pray things will be resolved quickly and favorably for us. We NEED this to get fixed, and soon. Otherwise, we'll be scrambling to be able to rearrange this trip. Since my stomach is already in knots because of the increased costs, this isn't good. Changes now mean even more money, and there simply isn't any more. A few unexpected increases and a return plane fare for Logan that was out of this world have done a number on our budget. I'm still praying that God will provide what we need to pay the bills for what's already outlined!

And so, pray for quick resolution to the travel issues, and for provision for the unexpected costs. God is faithful and we know he'll provide, but I am finding it hard to NOT stress out anyway.

Praise God for the weekend! Even if it's April 19 tomorrow (Jim's birthday!) and we're supposed to get SNOW. In Seattle. Unheard of, especially since it was over 80 last Saturday. Oh well.

Off to hide in a corner and cry,


Thursday, April 17, 2008

You know you're an adoptive parent when...

1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.
2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
3. You can't watch Adoption Stories in TLC without sobbing.
4. The fact that if 7% of Christians adopted one child there would be no orphans in the world is convicting to you.
5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.
6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about your adopted child's 'real' parents.
7. You have ever been 'pregnant' with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth (2 years!)
8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.
9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.
10. You believe God's hear is for adoption.
11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.
12. You know what the word 'dossier' means, and you can actually pronounce it!
13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.

~author unknown

I first saw this on the Chinese Starfish website. What to be challenged in your faith? Check out what Amanda from South Africa is doing in China!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

only a child...

Gotta love 3 year olds. They have such a unique sense of humor. Here's last night's conversation with Ryan.

Ryan: What are we doing tomorrow?
Mom: Well, we need to go grocery shopping.
Ryan (excitedly): At Costco??
Mom: No, we're going to WinCo
Ryan: I don't like WinCo. I don't want to go.
Mom: Well, we also need to go to the hospital and see Mrs. C.
Ryan, after a VERY long silence: Let's go to WinCo. It's my new favorite place.

Now, Ryan adores my friend Ann. They have a ball together and he loves seeing her. But when he saw her last, she wasn't feeling her best and was resting under a blanket. It bothered him a bit, and he remembered that. So he decided he'd prefer to go to his "new favorite place," something he reminded me of several times on the way home from WinCo and the hospital today. But he did get to push the buttons in the elevator. I think that made up for having to stop at the hospital. :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

trouble...BIG trouble

God has a sense of humor. I'm dying of laughter here, and I'm not even sure I'm going to like this...

In today's mail came the monthly newsletter from Philip Hayden Foundation. As I was reading the back, I came across this little nugget:

"Our sweet "A" met his new family in mid-March, and we were delighted to see the three year old finally matched with his forever family! "A" was known by visitors for his sweet smile, but in the House of Love, he and James were also known for frequently collaborating to sneak out of bed at naptime."

"A" went home to a family in Europe. I've been in touch with his momma, and they're having a wonderful time with him. The part I found so funny? The other little boy, James--well, that would be our Logan. Spunky dude! There's a first time for everything. We've never had one who snuck out of bed before. Perhaps we're getting "too big" for our parenting britches. :)

Somehow, I think God has lots of other lessons in store for us with this child.

Beijing in May

Beijing in May. Doesn't that sound lovely? Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be able to spend a few days in such an amazing city at such a pretty time of year just before the entire world turns their eyes the same direction. We'll be in and out long before the Olympics, and yet the excitement they generate will be felt while we're there, I'm sure. We get to see the Great Wall (tram up and toboggan down!), the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, Tian An Men Square, an acrobat show, and best of all, the place Logan has spent the last 3 1/2 years.

Along with the excitement comes some fear. Will our airlines still be flying when we travel? Given the bankruptcies and the cancelled flights for inspection and repair, this one gets me. We simply can't afford this one! How about the trouble with the Olympic torch relay and the protests about Tibet? The torch relay will be in China when we're there, although not in the same cities at the same time. But will it cause the public reaction there that it has here and around the world? I know the risk is small, but I don't love the thought of walking into trouble with my children in tow! How about the terrorist threats against domestic flights in China? We have to take some of those. Those threats can be frightening! How about Logan? How will he react to a new family, to the huge group that we are? Will he shut down entirely or becoming a furious raging 3 year old? How will we communicate?

I can get caught up in those fears very easily. And there are more. What about Brent? How can we keep him "in the loop" since he's not traveling with us? How about the flight? What do you DO with a 3 year old on a 13 hour flight?? How about TWO three year olds??? What about the logistics of the whole thing? Our house while we're gone? The girls and their schoolwork? The list goes on and on...

Fortunately, we are only responsible for following where God leads. He's in charge of the rest. And you know what? He can handle every one of those fears. Quite easily, I might add. None of them are too big or too hard. And so, about a billion times every day I give those things to Him, knowing that there's no reason to worry about tomorrow. He's got it all under control. And guess what? Today's got enough stuff of its' own!

We're all doing well. I'm feeling much better after a minor case of the crud and hoping no one else gets it. The sun is shining, and today is Friday! Jim is still feeling good after his surgery. The girls are doing well in school. Brent was good the last time we talked, recovering from his bout with the crud. My car is going to be washed--finally. Does life get any better? :)

Monday, April 7, 2008


Well, the consulate appointment has been confirmed. The tickets are on hold pending one minor name correction. The touring in Beijing has been arranged. Everything looks good at this point, and God has blessed with awesome ticket prices. Especially considering that I was checking over the weekend, and they were about $400 more EACH than what we just got... Logan's ticket? Well, that's a different story. His one-way ticket home is outrageous! But, like I told our travel agent: what exactly am I going to do? He HAS to come home... :)

Friday, April 4, 2008

some days....

It's been an:::interesting:::week. Not sure how else to describe it. Yesterday was a killer day--just too much for me to process. Too much icky stuff going on in the lives of people I love. Add to it the intense frustration of an incorrect cell phone bill and the worry about Jim's surgery today, and you have a recipe for potential disaster. I was looking forward to hearing from Stefani this morning with our consulate date so that I could begin truly planning this trip.

But, it was not to be. Friday in China was Grave Sweeping Day, known here as Memorial Day. Although the US Consulate does not honor all Chinese holidays, for some reason they chose THIS YEAR to honor Grave Sweeping Day. And so, there is no answer yet as to our consulate appointment.

Disappointed? You bet. Discouraged? Nope. Not a chance. Too many times in this journey I have seen God-things that give me hope. Yesterday morning, the devotional Jim and I read was about waiting on God's timing. Then in the mail we got an awesome prayer letter from some incredible missionary friends in Africa, again about God's impeccable timing. Would I love to know exactly when I'm leaving? Sure. But that will come. In God's time, not mine. In the meantime, I have a husband who needs some TLC this weekend. Yes, his gallbladder came out just fine. "Ripped right outta there," according to Jim. But he's moving a little slow, and I can think of no better reason to spend time hanging out with my guys watching movies and playing games. Hailey needs my time on Sunday, and I can go and thoroughly enjoy a day with her, without feeling like I "should" be home working out our trip details. Overall, I just flat out need some down time. And, I don't have to teach preschool or do daycare next week. Sounds like God ordained trip planning time to me!

Waiting, sometimes even patiently,