Monday, July 21, 2008

Presents, Pictures and More

The heat index in Baltimore this weekend was around 100 degrees. So we tried to take it a little easy. We had some family over Sunday, and everyone got to enjoy the swimming pool. The water in the pool was 88 degrees, but still, it was refreshing.

We do have some new things to report.

First, we know in our travel group to China, we’ll be making the journey with families from all across the country. There’ll be a couple from Alaska, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, and three from Colorado. There could be another couple or two, but we know of at least these families.

Beth has been shopping for gifts to take to China with us. That’s right, we have to give some gifts. It is suggested you give gifts to the foster care family, Chinese notary officials, orphanage caregivers, the orphanage director, and other government registration officials. Among the gifts they like to receive are t-shirts, baseball hats, Swiss knives, good quality cosmetics, compact tool sets, perfume, bath gels and body lotions, nice pens. American made candy and chocolate, scarves, and neckties. Beth has done most of the shopping. Let’s just say when we leave, there will be a few new Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens fans in the Hubei province of China. By the way, do you know how hard it is to find ties that are actually made in the U.S.?

Mark’s nephew Douglas, his wife Kadie, and their son Jordan, came to visit, as did Mark’s brother Glenn and his wife Sandy. Jordan loves the pool and he's become quite adventurous. He dives to the bottom now and even tries the "dead man float." Here’s a picture of Jordan…

Jordan is very excited to have a baby joining the family. He says he can’t wait to give Merrilee a big kiss, and he asked a lot of questions about our trip to China. Jordan and his parents also brought over some nice gifts for Merrilee – some cool books and a Leap Frog musical desk. It was very sweet of them to think of us, and we know Merrilee will love all of her presents.

Speaking of gifts, we got a package last weekend from Aunt Brittany that was filled with bath toys. Lots of floating toys that squirt water. A lot of Chinese babies are a little afraid of their first few baths, so these toys will help make bath time play time for Merrilee.

Merrilee will have a bunch of cousins in Arkansas. Brittany has two girls and a little boy. Here’s a picture of Madison, Blakely and Cade...

We just know Merrilee will love being able to go visit them, and we’re sure she’ll want them to come visit us too.

We’re hoping to hear this week about our visas. It will be two weeks tomorrow that we got our referral, so we’re counting down to our trip. The June group left just one month after they got their referrals. Who knows how quickly we’ll get to take our trip?

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