Monday, May 30, 2016

Waiting is hard to do.

Another email from Ms. Krista brought the most amazing news!  We know that Kassi has a best friend, although we don't know her age or name, and since we began this process we have worried about whether her family would find her.  Well, they have!  We are hoping to be able to get in touch with them, but just knowing that she has a family coming for her has lifted such a burden from our hearts! 
We were also told that Kassi's physical condition is good, but she is "expecting her family"! 

She asked the orphanage staff when we are traveling, and says that she can't wait to see us!!

Oh, Kassi!  We are coming as fast as we possibly can, and we can't wait to see you! 

Mama, Jie Jie (Kenley), and Xiao Mei Mei (Kolya), fly out on July 16th. 
Until then...

Friday, May 27, 2016


This afternoon, our agency called to tell us that we are DTC (our dossier has been sent to China)!!!
Next step, LID...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

New Video!

Well, all the paperwork that we can do for now is done. It is all in the hands of the American government right now, and everything will be sent over to China on Monday. Meanwhile.... we got a new video to tide us over till we can do the next step!

Here is the new video:

Kassi is on the far right in the pink jacket. We have tried (futilely) to find the lyrics to the song, and if we do, we will be sure to post them!

We have some more videos (introducing the current Cogans) coming soon! 

We are counting down the days until we are all together - 2 months from tomorrow! 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Where We Are and What Comes Next


No, this isn't just a random combination of letters -they are the next steps in our journey to Kassi! 

Here is the short version of what they are and what they mean, in chronological order. We should be DTC in about a week! 

DTC (Dossier to China): Our dossier, which is essentially a stack of paperwork with everything that anyone could ever want or need to know about our family, has been sent to China!

LID (Log-in Date): Our dossier is "logged in" to the system. 

OOT (Out of Translation): Our dossier has been translated and is ready for review!

LOA (Letter of Acceptance): A letter from the Chinese government asking whether we accept a particular child. If (when!) we accept, we are given full approval from the Chinese government to bring her home! 

TA (Travel Approval): We are officially approved to come get Kassi! 

There are several more steps between LOA and TA, but these are the biggest milestones. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Piecing Our Puzzle Together 1

Three out of four corner pieces in our puzzle have been sponsored! Thank you to our wonderful "Mawmaw" (our grandmother) and to Ms. Rogan, the first sponsor outside of our family! 

You, and all of the wonderful people who are supporting us through this, are helping to make something beautiful happen! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


We have a new fundraising opportunity! This one will be more of a keepsake for our family and Kassi - a visual of amazing people who have helped to bring her home where she belongs!

We have had several kids in our community wanting a way to help and this was created with them in mind, but of course anyone is welcome to join in the fun! It's pretty simple, really...

Here is our puzzle:

There are 300 pieces:  

Each corner piece can be "sponsored" for $10, each edge piece for $5, and each middle piece for $2. 

For every piece that is sponsored, we will write the name of the person (or family, etc.) who sponsored it on the back. When it's all complete, we will frame it between two pieces of glass, so that we can see both the completed image and the names of some of those who have helped, loved, and supported us through this journey! 

You can "sponsor" puzzle pieces by commenting here, and making a donation to our Reece's Rainbow page for the amount needed to sponsor those pieces. (For those of you whom we are lucky enough to have around in person, feel free to donate personally instead of online!) 

Thank you so much for your support in these 73 remaining days before we are a family of 9 in the flesh as well as in our hearts!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Jacksonville Clearances

We got our  USCIS biometrics clearances! 
(I know- sounds fancy!) Five days ahead of time, and we got them!
(Check that off the list...)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mothers Day

Happy Mother's Day to mothers of any kind! May you know that you are loved and appreciated! 

We spent our Mother's Day outside with some amazing mothers! 

Where would we be without you? (Answer: nowhere!)

So now I give virtual roses to all the mothers, soon-to-be mothers, and mothers of all kinds. Happy Mother's Day to you all!

(virtual roses)

You are so loved and so amazing! 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Kassi...with a K

Another one of the connections that we have been blessed with during this journey was with the Masse family.  They came home from China with their newest daughter last summer, and began the adoption process again. They found a precious child who was aging out in July and really tugged at their hearts... our Kassi! They did everything that they could to bring her into their family, but it just wasn't possible - now we all know why! They have added another sweet face to their family, her name is Tessa and she is adorable! She will come home to them this fall. 

The Masse's have been so supportive of our journey, and Emma, their eldest daughter, is working on some awesome fundraising surprises!

I told Emma that we were going to spell our sweet girl's name "Kassi" and she told me a story that was just so amazing that I asked her if we could share it! 

Her cousin, "D", had been so excited to bring Cassie home, and was heartbroken when she was told that it wasn't possible. She prayed every night for Cassie to find her family. One night, when Emma was spending the night at her cousin's house, "D" came running in to tell Emma that she had had a dream: Cassie was running and dancing because her feet were fixed! She had drawn a picture and written Cassie's name on it - but she had spelled it with a K! Emma reminded her cousin that "Cassie" was spelled with a C, but she insisted that it was a K in her dream! 

Well, "Cassie"s feet will be fixed - she will be able to run and dance, and her name will be spelled with a K

Friday, May 6, 2016


During the China adoption process, families are allowed to ask 10 questions about their child once they receive pre-approval (PA).  The answers take a while to come, though - we just got ours today! 

We do have to remember that this information may not be accurate, but her orphanage seems to be trustworthy. 

We learned that Kassi is very small for her age (not a surprise!) - she is almost exactly Kai's height. She is "super happy when she plays with other children", but "if you tell her she is not doing a good job, she is sad".  She is afraid of bugs, but likes pets. A good thing, too, because we have these furry family members: 

And right now, we even have a couple of these!

Kassi's favorite color is pink, and she likes to eat fruit. Her favorite things to do are reading and writing. 

We're coming as fast as we can! Just 78 days! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Our Patchwork Quilt Family

Kassi's Krewe, take 2! 

(The blanket behind the dolls is a sweet gift made for Kassi by one of Daddy's students.) 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


This week we got Kassi's bed and doll all ready. In our family, it is a tradition to have matching dolls, and since we were little we have all had matching Cabbage Patch dolls. One of the first things that we did for Karwen was find her doll, then with the boys, and now Kassi has hers, too!  

Isn't she great?

We also got her bed ready, so now she will have it all made and ready when she comes home! In 81 days! Way too short, but also too long!

We can't wait until this girl:

 is here and sleeping in that bed! 

Our Girl...

Knows that she has a family coming for her - and she is very happy and excited!!!

We were so blessed to be connected with Ms. Krista from First Hugs, who has met Kassi many times - such an amazing gift! She was able to give us many pictures and videos and some information about her past - all of which are just not typically available to the adopting family! 

She was able to ensure that Kassi was told that she has a family coming for her - and gave us a precious video of that moment! 



Translation (It's a little difficult to get everything because we are not used to her speech patterns yet, but this is the gist): 

Ayi: "Kassi, you have a family coming to get you! Are you happy or not happy?" 

Kassi: "HAPPY! I have a home! I am so happy to have a home! My brothers and sisters - (and then something like...)  we can play together! 

Ayi: "Do you want to see your Mama and Baba?"

Kassi: "Yes, I want to!!!" 

She also sent a message to us: that she is so excited to meet us (and something like...) she wants the time to go fast! 

Oh Kassi, we just can't wait to meet you! Hold on for 81 more days...

Monday, May 2, 2016


Today we got a call that brought some joyous news! We now have all of our clearances!! Our home study is being submitted tomorrow, and we can move forward for the next step. (Some more paperwork...)