Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hallelujah!!!!

This was the subject line of the most important e-mail that I've ever received. Yes! It's an adoption referral, received at 3:30am on Wednesday, May 21st! She's an itty bitty preemie in Taiwan, born at 28 weeks gestation weighing just 1180 grams at birth. Yes, that equals 2.6 pounds at birth. She's at St. Lucy's and she's four months old now, weighing in at 6.8 pounds a couple of weeks ago, and looks like she's doing really well... gaining weight, and developing like we hope and pray she will.

We're not posting photos or videos online right now because we're still waiting for approval from St. Lucy's. If you know me in real life, ask to see a photo and I'll have one on me, of course. (Duh!) But, I can't resist sharing with you here her non-identifying little double chin. I think it's just about the cutest thing there ever was, and I'm falling in love with that photo more and more every day. We joke, "Look... her chin looks like ours!" :) Kevin framed this photograph in a frame that says "believe." It's on my nightstand, and is the first thing that I see in the morning and the last thing I see what I go to bed at night. We truly believe that we're going to be the right adoptive parents for his child, and we pray that St. Lucy's will think so too. How long will St. Lucy's approval take? Well, we don't know. Days, weeks, maybe a month, or maybe even more? It varies. We're just so happy to get to this step that we (oh, well... we means I) haven't started obsessing about how long we've been waiting for approval.



Here's the back story behind the referral. On the Friday before we learned that the referral was coming. I had the weekend off, and I didn't want to go anywhere. I just wanted to stay by the phone and check the e-mail every 20 minutes. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday came and went, no referral. Tuesday night after work I couldn't sleep. I stayed up really really really late putzing around, and at 3:30am finally told Kevin that I was going to check my e-mail one last time, and then I'm going to bed.

Well, I checked my e-mail... and there it was. Our "Hallelujah!!!!" I gasped. I said, "Kevin... we have an e-mail from the agency... and it says Hallelujah!!!! What do you think that means?" Kevin's such a smart-ass sometimes. He replied, "I think (adoption agency representative name) wants us to go to church." I was starting to cry. I was so nervous, so scared. "I.... I can't open it." Kevin says, "Look, it's easy!" and takes the mouse from me and opens the message. We saw a PDF file and then lots of picture files. We decided to "read the card" (aka read the paperwork) before "opening the present" (looking at the photos).

We started reading about our preemie, and how many weeks gestation she was. We didn't have memorized the length of human pregnancies... and we so freaked out when we used Google to learn that it's supposed to be 40 weeks. Then we read her weight in grams and had to google to figure out how many pounds that was. I was stunned with how little she was at birth. In my head I was prepared for an older and MUCH BIGGER baby... and was just really surprised. We looked at the pictures, and oohed and ahhed at how great she's doing.

And I know you're asking, "So why did you wait so long to tell everyone?" Well, we like a good surprise! We had plans to be at my grandparents' home for the holiday weekend, and thought that would be a good time and place to tell my family. We didn't tell anyone... until we told my grandparents' Friday night. Saturday my mom and dad came over, and we were ready for the BIG REVEAL. I purchased a board book about Christmastime called "My Granny's Purse," and had been saving it for this occasion. We printed the baby's photos out and inserted them inside a cardboard envelope in the book. I didn't wrap the book because I didn't want to make it seem like too big of a deal and give away the surprise. Saturday morning I told my mom that I had a book for her, and handed her the purse. She seemed to like it and started reading the book, going through all of the little windows you can open and pieces you can play with. Then... she got to the part where the envelope was and saw the photos. Her face scrunched up like she'd eaten a sour pickle, turned red, and the tears came. It was beautiful. It was just the effect that I'd hoped for!!! Kevin got Dad to come over and look too. It was pretty neat. We had fun all weekend doing "the reveal" for other family members, having them find the photos while reading the purse book.

Of course, Kevin's needed equal drama for his big reveal to his mother. We bought him a plane ticket to Florida, and he flew in Friday afternoon unannounced and rented a car. Kevin drove to his grandma's, told Grandma and then they went to his mom and dad's in the rental car. Kevin went and hid at the side of their house while Grandma went inside and got Kevin's parents to come outside to look at this car that she was thinking of buying (aka... Kevin's rental car). Kevin had the pictures of the baby framed in the trunk. Kevin's mom and dad took a look at the car... all the while Kevin was on his cell phone with his mom on her cell phone. Kevin's mom thought he was up here in Indiana. Kevin snuck through their house and waited. Grandma opened the trunk to show Kevin's mom and dad what someone had left in the truck of this car. Kevin's mom started looking at the framed photos of this baby, and remarked "What a cute baby." With the view of the house blocked by the trunk lid, Kevin stuck out the front door and came up behind his mother and surprised her with, "That's your grandbaby!" Obviously she was very startled and surprised and overjoyed and there was a bunch of screaming and crying outside of the house last night. They called me a few minutes later so I could share in on the excitement!

So, sorry there's no baby pictures to ooh and ahh over, and sorry that I had to wait 10 days to post about it... but it's been lots of fun surprising people! Everyone keeps asking... how long until you get to bring her home? Who knows... I'm telling people 4-10 months. I'd be thrilled if the adoption is finalized in Taiwan before the end of the year, but I'm not betting on it. Everything thus far has gone so much slower than anticipated, that I'm trying very hard not to place any more expectations on a timeline. It happens when it happens, and there's not a whole lot I can do about it except to complete my paperwork thoroughly and timely when prompted and do a lot of praying.

You can add our itty bitty girl to your prayer list as she needs to grow grow grow and learn all she can. Pray that she attaches to her caregivers and feels loved and secure. Pray for her caretakers as they help this preemie and many other babies through challenges. Pray for her birthfamily and their loss as they cope with not being able take care of their child. The baby is truly loved by them as evident by the meaning of her name... worthy of celebration.

And... I'm starting to cry again. She's so worthy of celebration, and we're been having a lot of fun celebrating her. We love you so much already, little one.

65 comments:

  1. Okay, even though I already heard, it was SO excited to read about all of the details here! I am so, so, happy for you. Can't wait until we can see all of Hannah Claire- those lips and that chin are adorable!

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  2. WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO! Congratulations - I'm so happy reading this email and I'm thrilled for you guys - wow did you ever trump the reveal of the referral or what??? You two are so creative, I LOVE it! I'm positive it will be a moment that your family will NEVER forget (and of course you guys too!) Enjoy every minute celebrating - you've waited so long to have this moment and what a moment it is :)
    Oh my I can only image how cute this little lady is - I mean the chin and lips...definitely those of a beautiful little princess.
    Sending tons of love your way -
    Love
    tiffany

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  3. Big congrats! I cried reading, and can't wait to read your story unfold. What a wonderful, wonderful story.

    Love.
    Kathy

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  4. Hallelujah! There is great rejoicing in blogland as Hannah Claire has finally found her family. We are so, so happy for you guys and can't wait to watch your journey unfold.

    What a rollicking good job you both did with the "reveal" to your families!

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  5. Congratulations that huge long wait was worth it!!! To be referred a newborn is very special. We have been back 4 weeks with our son from Thailand who is 28 months and still a baby in many ways(we waited 2 years for our referral). We waited 7 months from referral to travel and really, try not to worry about when you'll go, just take it all in now and enjoy this part of the journey for it really is a special time.

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  6. HUGE congrats!! I hope the process moves quickly and smoothly for you : )

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  7. Congrats Sarah!! You know my feelings already....so happy for you and love this post! Can't wait to keep following along and I'll meet you in Taiwan, baby! C'mon approval!

    Love ya,
    Kristy

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  8. Oh my gosh! I am so excited for you! I love all the ways you surprised your families. . .what a special way to share the news! We'll be praying for little Hannah Claire!

    Cindy
    http://adopttaiwan.wordpress.com

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  9. Hurrah!! Hurrah!! Hurrah!! This is the post I have been hoping to see! I will say a prayer that your little one continues to grow and get stronger. I know 28 weeks soiunds scary, but at 28 weeks, almost all babies have no long term effects from their preemie birth. She's going to to great! Those preemies are some serious fighters!

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  10. Yeah! I've been watching your blog daily for the news. I am crying too! I too am waiting for a Taiwan baby girl referral and now it means I move up the list too! What a beautiful post. Happy day for everyone!

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  11. YAAAAAHHHOOOO!!!
    Jumping up and down for you in Cali! I scared poor princess Maya to death when I read your post! She did not know why her momma was acting as if she had just won the lottery! So SO SO happy for you both and I can not wait to see the rest of that sweet little face!
    Janalee

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  12. Congratulations!! That's the most wonderful news!! I will be praying you can travel to bring her home very soon!
    Andrea
    http://sweetasberries.blogspot.com

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  13. Finally!!! Congratulations on the beautiful Chin! lol. AND it does look like yours! It is beautiful. No really. I can't wait to see the real pictures of this sweetie. I am glad to see you finally standing here, looking at your little girl and celebrating! Your journey is in full swing now! And I am here if you need me!

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  14. Oh Sarah!! This is so thrilling! I will absolutely add you and your little one to my prayers, absolutely!! Your story and wait are an encouragement to so many, thanks for sharing.
    Be blessed as you prepare to be a mama!!!!
    Courtney

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  15. What wonderful news! Funny I don't even know you, yet I have had this pull on my heart for you all month. Just this feeling it was coming and it would be joyous! Congratulations!

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  16. I'm going to scream all the way from Germany! Sorry were you sleeping??? I didn't even finish reading the post yet cause I had type my CONGRATULATIONS first!
    THANK YOU GOD!
    What a cute chin! Can't wait to see the rest.
    I am so happy for you Sarah (and Kevin too). It was way too long in coming but at long last there she is :)

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  17. I read the post :) So just adding that your announcements were so creative. And the 21st was Miranda's 2nd b-day - I know it's sign of good things!

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  18. Sarah,

    Hooray, Hooray, I've been hoping this day would come for you for a while now. So glad it is finally here!!!!!!

    Congrats,
    Tamara

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  19. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. I predicted you would spill the beans this weekend and well, how could you NOT. She is SO worthy of celebration!!! Congrats again, sweetie, and thanks again so much for sharing your joy with us in person. That was really and truly one of the happiest moments of my life. Makes me cry just thinking about it. :) And she really does look like a Hannah Claire!!! I love the chin picture. :) And the fanfare music when I arrived on your blog, well, that sums it up. It's a day for happy dancing in bloggy land!!!!!!! Hannah Claire has found her mama and daddy - and Mama & Daddy have found their Hannah Claire. :)

    Love to ALL THREE OF YOU!
    Rebecca

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  20. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I'm so so happy for you two!! WAHOOOO!!

    And, I wanted to tell you that my friend adopted a 27 weeker from Colombia, born at just 2 lbs. He is now almost 5 and is doing FABULOUS. Not one trace of preemie-ness is left in him. :) And he's very intelligent.

    Love HC's chin and can't wait to see the rest of her!!

    Congrats!!

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  21. Congratulations! Finally! I can't wait to hear more and follow your journey. Hope the St. Lucy's approval process goes quickly. I am so, so happy for you and Kevin.

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  22. Aside from my own three, I truly believe that is the MOST excited I have ever been about a double chin! You already know how blessed I feel to be a small part of this journey with you - I will NEVER forget about driving off the road because I couldn't see through my tears. I'll tell Hannah that story some time =). Much, more love to all of you - looking forward to shopping for smaller clothes .... Amy and the gang

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  23. I still get chills when I think of you FINALLY getting that email!!! Can't wait to hear more about your baby girl!

    XOXOX

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  24. (CRY, CRY, SNIFF, SNIFF, BLOW NOSE!) O.K. ! Now I'm Better!
    Waiting for YOUR referral was harder than waiting for OURS! :)I feel like we all just hit the lottery!
    What a BEAUTIFUL little fat chin!
    Congratulations on your first child. I pray that she is the first of many!
    Kisses to you!
    You too, Kevin!

    A

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  25. YEAH!!!! This made my crappy day much brighter. Congratulations.

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  26. Sarah,

    She is beautiful. And I am so happy for you and Kevin!!!!

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  27. Congratulations! I'm all the way over here in Taipei, sitting on a bed at midnight, finally reading your post! Love the chin! I'm so thrilled that y'all finally got your call. We're on our own countdown over here. And still jetlagging apparently!
    Jeri

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  28. Congratulations!!!! I am so happy for you guys!

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  29. Oh My HEAVENS!!! SOOO CUTE is that Chin!!! CONGRATULATIONS SO HUGELY!!!! I started screaming when I heard the news; my husband thought I was nuts! I check your blog everyday probably 2 to 3times and now she's here! Oh thank goodness. Congratulations Mama! Just amazing! Can't wait to see more than that cutie chin! =0) Love Sara/Sofa

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  30. WHOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! I am so excited for you two. Congratulations. That's such wonderful wonderful news. I can't believe you were able to pull off the surprise. Kudos to you. The next couple of months are going to fly by, it's going to be amazing. And I can't believe that all I can see is a chin!!! But I understand. I can't wait to see the rest of little Hannah Claire!!! WhooooHOOOOO!!!

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  31. WHAT EXCITING NEWS!!!!
    Congratulations!!!!

    Dawn
    Canada

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  32. Finally!! What details you put into your announcement to your families! I'm thrilled that they were all surprised!!!

    SOOOO excited for you guys!

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  33. Wow, hooray, yippee and congrats! I love the effort you put into surprising your families! I can't wait to read about your trip to Tainan.

    Cheers,

    Kevin

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  34. Congratulations, Sarah and Kevin!!! This is such awesome news after the long wait. Can't wait to see more of this beautiful girl! Heather and Bruce

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  35. I'm SO thrilled for you guys! Congratulations. Her chinny chin chin is beautiful :)

    cm

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  36. Congratulations!!! We are so excited for you! What a CUTE little chin -- can't wait to see the rest of her!

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  37. Congratulations!!!!! You're story is so fuuny - what a fun way to break the news. You're husband sounds really funny!

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  38. Congratulations again lady! I loved reading your story and I think your new little ones Taiwanese name is truly perfect! Kobi & I are celebrating in MD right now for you guys:)

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  39. YEA!!! I'm so excited for y'all. You don't know me, but I have been following your blog for a while now...I'm friends with Jeff and Abbey (and Reed) of "LandLife," so I got to your blog through them. My son is just about to be 4 months old, and he weighed 6.8 at birth...I thought that was interesting. I had tears well up in my eyes when I saw the title of this post. Congrats!!!

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  40. Oh Sarah! I've been following your blog (like a few others that have/are adopting internationally) and am just absolutely thrilled for you and your family. I've never commented but just had to when I read this blog. Congratulations and I can't wait to continue reading about your adventure!

    Take care,
    Donna
    http://whiteoaktreefamily.blogspot.com/

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  41. I'm so happy for you three ( baby dog too) should you change the name to Hannah Hallelujah Claire or Hallelujah Hannah Claire??? hehe. I pray the wonderful Nanny's @ SLC will work their magic on itty bitty Hannah. Once she is home she will catch up so quick. Our referral for Kimi was not what we expected or requested at all in the end we are a perfect match and can't believe I ever thought that! I have tears of joy for you. Hang in there the road can get bumpy but now an end is in sight!
    Lot's of Love,
    Megan
    dd Kimberlyn Williams

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  42. About darn time!!!! Can't wait to see all of her.

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  43. We thought we'd let everyone else comment first. We are so, so, so excited for y'all! Everyone is so thrilled for you three!

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  44. You just made my day! I don't know if I have commented on your blog, but I read it every week and have been praying with you for months now. I will keep praying.
    My eyes are filled with happy tears for you all. LOVE
    God is Good!!!

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  45. Wow, so many comments - and what exciting news. I was just thinking about you when I saw your comment on Tish's blog and thought I'd see if you got a referral yet. and lo and behold you did. I'm so thrilled for you!! This is such great news!!! :) YAYAAYAYAYAYAAY!!!

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  46. So happy for you!!! That's the best story I've ever heard. Cannot wait to see pictures of your cutie - her chin is just adorable - I'm sure the rest of her is too!

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  47. I know that I've already congratulated you, but man... I wanted to be a part of the 47+ t comment on your blog! LOL...
    Can't wait until you can share your photo's with everyone...If they think that double chin is sweet, wait until they see the rest of her!
    Smiling and waiting along with you...Lora
    ps Kevin, Hope you are having a nice visit with your parents!

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  48. Sarah, So happy for you! Hope you soon have Baby Hannah in your arms...Sylvia

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  49. Laura, Ryan, Rebecca, and Sara JamesJune 3, 2008 at 10:22 AM

    Yahoo!! I'm so thrilled for both of you!!...and all of your family! God is good! You'll be wonderful parents for such a beautiful little girl! I hope all goes smoothly and quickly. Take LOTS of pics and enjoy every moment! Love ya!!

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  50. You know I'm thrilled for you!!!!!! Love, love, love the chin.... and look at those kissable lips! You guys hang in there- breathe--- someone is working on your file to unite you with your darling Hannah Claire!

    And, you've given me hope that we may have a referral by year's end!

    Tisra
    waiting for referral since 04/2007
    http://lifetrain.blogspot.com
    www.tisrafadelyoriginals.etsy.com

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  51. OH Sarah, I'm so happy for you and Kevin. I've been reading your blog a lot lately waiting for the day when I'd FINALLY read the post about a referral. I LOVE the way you told your families...way cool!!
    Can't wait to see a whole picture of the little cutie.

    Beth

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  52. Oh can I add I just noticed her chin totally looks like Kevin LOL!

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  53. Hi Sarah!

    CONGRATULATIONS! We got Ben from SLC more than a year ago (April 2007) and I have since been following your journey to Hannah Claire. I am so happy for you. I wish you and Kevin a speedy process from this part of the adoption process onwards!

    Bernadette Smith
    www.mattnmay.blogspot.com

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  54. Congratulations on your wonderful news!
    Best of luck for a speedy remainder of your process.
    And I'll keep that little baby girl of your's in my prayers.

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  55. God bless you! Congratulations!

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  56. WOO-HOOOOOOO!!!! I have been waiting for the big reveal and then almost missed it as it was in the sidebar! We truly are very happy for you. We are praying that Hannah comes home very soon and in the mean time is well cared for and loved. God bless you!!!

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  57. OH, I am just thrilled for you guys. I know she is just beautiful.

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  58. Yeah!!!!! I am so excited for you, Kevin, and your families. I have been reading your blog for some time and cried when I read you received your referral. I can't wait to hear about your travels and see pics of her.

    Congratulations!

    Lisa

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  59. Angie Carbonero (Jones)June 10, 2008 at 8:45 AM

    OMG!! I am so happy for you. I had tears in my eyes as I read your story. I will keep your family (especially your beautiful little girl) in my prayers. Good luck with everything and I hope that your union is better than anything you could imagine!!

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  60. Congratulations!!! Sooo happy for you folks..you have been so patient. Loved how you surprised your family. Here's to a speedy court process. Kristie

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  61. Oh my gosh, that is the most beautiful chin in all of the land!!!!!!! how lucky are you guys!!!!!!! sending speedy judge wishes your way. oh happy day!!

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  62. Oh, I am SOOOOOO HAPPY for you!! I've been thinking about you and hoping you would get this good news and here it is!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! I wish you a very speedy court process.

    R...
    p.s. YIPPPEEEE!!

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  63. Hi! My name is Jenny. I live in TX and came across your blog simply by googling Taiwan Adoption Blogs! :) My husband and I are beginning our journey of adopting a precious little one from Taiwan and are, of course, trying to gather as much information as possible. Would you mind telling me who your adoption agency was?.. possibly how your process looked? And any other tidbits of information you'd love to share? Thanks so much for your time! My e-mail is angel2911@hotmail.com

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  64. Hey Sarah, I'm a video blogger in Taiwan, I wonder if you would be interested to do an interview with me? I'm unable to find your contact details on your blog, so hoping you'll contact me!

    Cheers
    Anje(at)weviewtaiwan.com
    www.weviewtaiwan.com

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