First thought: "Whoa. This lady looks young to be surrounded by all of those kids."
Second thought: "Uh, how many are there?"
Third thought: "My, they are CUTE!"
Fourth thought: "Wow. That takes commitment. This family is the real deal."
Over the next several hours and late into the night, I poured over her posts, both recent and from years past. I couldn't wait to show Andy, my mom, my sister. Anyone who was around.
Over the weeks and months that followed, I witnessed (through their blog) the mom, Stefanie, wait and work to bring home a little girl, Poppy, that completely stole our hearts. She seemed sad in many of her photos that the orphanage had sent back. And even when Stefanie and her son Zach finally got to her in China, it took Poppy a long time to ever give them a smile. Andy and I would check the blog each day, wanting to see how Poppy was doing. Had she smiled yet? We were pulling hard for this family and this little girl, and she became part of our daily conversation. And sure enough, she finally smiled.
Fast forward about 5 months. Almost 2 weeks ago, the day after my birthday, God gave me a special gift. As He would have it, Andy and I were walking through a store in another town, and "bumped into" Stefanie. I was sure I had to be hallucinating! This is the last person on earth I'd expected to run into. Trying to play it cool, we walked up to her, introduced ourselves and explained that we followed her blog and were in the process of adopting from China ourselves. Of course, Andy had to know if Poppy was around :) No, she was at home with her daddy.
We chatted for awhile and graciously, Stefanie offered to talk later in the week and answer some of my questions. So, we talked on the phone a few days later and she was so kind and generous with her time. I was able to ask some questions of her and get some feedback on things we're considering.
Well, this weekend, we got to meet most of the Ni Hao Y'all crew! We arranged a meet-up at a Chick-fil-a near them (we had a wedding to go to in the same town). And Andy got to hold Miss Poppy! He's still on cloud nine over that one. It was so good for us to see Chris and Stefanie interact with their precious children and just watch them at work, being a family.
I would tell you to check out her blog, but I must warn you first. Proceed with caution. You may just find that you have room in your home and in your heart for an orphan - or two or three. You also might get hooked on her blog. And you also might spend hours and hours clicking through it. But it would not be time-wasted. So there. You have my warning. Now, go check it out!