About Me

Somewhere Between Here and There, United States
I'm a busy mommy to TWO beautiful, witty, energetic little girls.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Album One



Hello Hello. . .We can breathe just a little easier now. . . We are all home and doing well. Liana just had her first operation on Thursday (Children's Hospital of Boston). She had her cleft palate closed completely and some of her cleft lip. Her second operation will be in 6 months to completely close the lip.

Thanks to Uncle David, we were all able to be together and have very comfortable accommodations for a week.

I stayed with Liana (of course) in the hospital for the two days. Her operation took about 5 ½ hours. We also found out in the pre-operation visit the day before she needed ear tubes, which we’ve been through with Morgan (no big deal).

I am so glad and lucky we were able to be there for her and they did not do the operation in China (per our request). I cannot imagine a child going through this painful and exhausting operation without someone to hold them when they wake up in pain.

Liana is a strong little girl. . . We are very proud of her. She's on a soft food diet and has a doorknocker thing taped to her face, so she won't accidentally hit her face and tear her stitches under her nose. She also has velcro arm restraints to keep her arms straight, so she won't/can't put anything in her mouth and tear out the stitches in her mouth. She really showed no signs of pain since Saturday and needed no pain meds.

We went home to David's on Saturday and she was walking around smiling and playing with her sister like nothing happened to her. She slept through the night in a bouncy chair in a pack-n-play with her arm restraints on and did not make a peep. Not once did she whine or complain about anything. What a great child she is . . .She makes me want to cry (they both do). I know, I said this before, but we are so blessed. They prove there is someone watching over us.

Hope all is well with everyone and I’m happy to have family and friends who care so much.

The Dickinson Family

David: Thank you again for opening your home to us and entertaining Morgan. . .You helped us immensely. You've shown me I can leave both the girls in your care and not have to worry. . .So I'll be dropping them off next weekend. . Just kidding. We love you!

Liana Katherine Grace Dickinson 8.17.07

Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Morgan Elizabeth Dickinson - Birth Date July 21, 2004

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers


Her first name will be Liana (Lee-ona).

Simply meaning "My God Has Answered"

Her middle name will be Katherine

After my younger sister who has since passed on to her next life.

My sister's death in 2006 is still a close memory and it will always be. I think about her everyday. She was an Angel On Earth. Even though I feel her presence around me often, I miss seeing her smiling face with her fruit flavored, super-glittery lip-gloss, seeing her bright red car racing around town, hearing her loud music (which she sang equally as loud), and eating her famous Oreo Dirt Cake (she was a no bake/no cook kinda girl), and most of all, I miss our private jokes that made us laugh until we cried (at the most inappropriate times).

The one thing my sister was absolutely sure of is she wanted to be a mother. She gave her life to try to have a child. I wanted to honor her by sharing her name with my daughter.


1978 - 2005

She will be named Grace

After my husband's grandmother who has passed on to her next life.

Nanny Grace just recently passing way in 2007. She was a strong, generous, warm, loving, creative, hardworking person who would have given the dress off her back. She was an awesome cook and superb baker. After her husband's untimely passing, she was left to raise four beautiful girls on her own. Even though I was her grand-daughter-in-law, I knew she loved me with all her heart because her big hugs and kisses told me so. I can honestly say no one has ever given me hugs and kisses like Nanny. She made me feel so warm and worry-free, as if, I were a child trying to fall asleep in her arms. I wanted to honor her also by sharing her name with my daughter.

Nanny Grace

Nanny Grace
1919 - 2007


Here is our "Adoption Journey" step-by-step.

07/18/07 – Went to a meeting at FCA for our first informational meeting about domestic and international adoption. Before our little girl’s 3rd birthday we were coming to terms that it was not safe for me to get pregnant again. Then we started to have a series of unforeseen medical issues with our daughter, so we put adoption on the back burner until we figured it out. Thank God the medical issue was something minor. We started talking about adoption again. I let my husband know the direction my heart was headed, and I would like him to think about how he felt. Approximately seven months later we began to research our options.

02/25/08 – Contacted JFS to start our Homestudy process

02/28/08 – JFS interview (me & husband at the office)

02/29/08 – Signed on with Adoption Ark (Kazakhstan)

03/06/08 – JFS interview (me & Morgan at the house)

03/11/08 – JFS interview (husband at their office)

03/17/08 – Kazakhstan Embassy shut down. A statement was released by the embassy stating there will be NO adoption paperwork processed at this time and they don’t know when it will reopen.

03/17/08 – We tried to switch to the Kyrgzstan program, but our agency was not taking any more applications for girls because there was a long "Waiting List".

03/18/08 – 03/23/08 – We used this week to regroup from the unforeseen closing of the Kazakhstan Embassy, and our agency (at the time) not taking any more application for girls for their Kyrgzstan program. Going into this adoption we initially were most interested in adopting from China, but for fears we would be rejected (medical reasons) and the wait for a girl was approaching two and half years, we thought it would be impossible. We just didn't want to set ourselves up for a broken heart, and in the process, lose anymore money.

03/24/08 – I was going to call FCA to talk to a social worker about adoption, and where do we go from here. I went to the FCA website to get a phone number and saw “Special Needs China Program”. I saw a Special Needs list and saw the first girl on the list. She had a cleft lip and palate to the III degree. I called FCA immediately and talked to a social worker (Lynn) and she said she had just put her on the list that Friday and she will send me the rest of her information. I got her medicals and started to go to work on the research. Lynn had asked us to go the Special Needs Seminar they were having at the office in Norwalk on Saturday. She said there would be a few kids there that she would like us to meet. They were from China with repaired Cleft Lip/Palate and Clubfoot.

03/25/08 – I looked at her paperwork and joined two yahoo groups (Adopt Cleft and Waiting Children China) to get more information about her "Special Need" and what are the steps (medically) that need to be taken to treat this issue. I talked to my husband about her special need and to see if he would go with me to FCA for the Special Needs Seminar. He was apprehensive, but he went because he knew it would make me happy.

03/29/08 – Went to the Special Needs Seminar where we met other gorgeous children with repaired cleft lip/palate and clubfoot. After this seminar my husband was not only on-board, but was very excited about the little girl on the list from FCA.

04/01/08 – Sent all Lian Zhong Hua’s medical information to Dr. Dana Johnson, International Adoption Doctor. I sent it at 12 noon and got it back by 10:22 pm the same day. I LOVE HIM!!!

04/02/08 – FCA gave us a few days to make our decision. We were ready to say yes after the seminar, but FCA wanted us to sit with our decision for a couple of days.

04/07/08 – As soon as Lynn got in the office I called her and told her WE WERE ON BOARD TO ADOPT LIAN ZHONG HUA. She sent an e-mail congratulating us on accepting to adopt Lian Zhong Hua.

04/10/08 – Letter of Intent was sent to CCAA electronically.

04/23/08 – Our Homestudy was completed and sent to the USCIS with our I-800A for approval. (Our anniversary date before we were married)

05/12/08 - Deadly Earthquake in China. SWI of Lianyangang is untouched.

05/16/08 – Got our YELLOW 5page letter from the USCIS stating what changes needed to be made (My Birthday)

06/03/08 – We were fingerprinted in New Rochelle, NY by the USCIS

06/05/08 – RECEIVED AN UPDATED PICTURE OF Lian Zhong Hua. She was much bigger than the others (Lynn said). I thought she was perfect. I just want to kiss and pinch her cheeks!

06/13/08 – Back and forth with corrections to the Homestudy

06/23/08 - Back and forth with corrections to the Homestudy (my younger sister birthday)

07/10/08 – Got a phone call from my officer from the USCIS stating our HOMESTUDY WAS APPROVED and our I-797C is in the mail. (My husband’s birthday)

07/21/08 – Still waiting for my letter. I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers at the USCIS, so I waited a week until I called again to let them know. . .I NEVER GOT MY LETTER!!!. . . They apologized and said they must have had the wrong zip code. . .Anyway. . .My officer e-mailed it to me promptly and I sent it off along with my Homestudy to get state authenticated. This was the last piece to my puzzle. This is my daughter’s birthday. . .This is getting too weird!!!

07/25/08 – I got my Homestudy and my I-797C back from the State.

07/28/08 – I dropped my Completed/Notarized/State Authenticated Dossier at FCA (with 2 copies).

08/14/08 – Dossier in China

08/17/08 - Lian Zhong Hua will celebrate her FIRST BIRTHDAY!!!!!

08/18/08 – Dossier delievered to CCAA

08/20/08 – Went to the meeting at FCA. My husband and I met other couples that have just gone to China and are back with there new bundles of joy and people who are going to China soon.

08/26/08 - Log In Date (Our Dossier was officially registered by CCAA.

10/31/08 - Received our Letter of Acceptance
(LOA - Dated 10/29/08)

11/09/08 Mailed I-800 Packet

11/12/08 National Benefit Center received I-800 Packet

11/16/08 Send Liana (and her caregivers and friends at the orphanage) a cake to celebrate her adoption. Also send a disposable camera (and a teddy bear). Hopefully they will send us pictures of the children with cake on their faces.

11/20/08 We received our Travel Notice and the National Benefit Center Approved I-800 Packet. . ."Whatta' Day"

11/21/08 National Benefit Center sent I-800 Packet to the National Visa Center12/06/08 Goal for Travel

12/6/08 -12/17/08 - Travel to China

12/8/08 - Meet Liana for the first time

12/9/08 - Officially making Liana our daughter

12/16/08 - Swearing In

My Playlist

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones