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An Adoption Prayer...
Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone.
   But still miraculously my own.
     Never forget for a single minute
        you didn't grow under my heart, but in it.
            - author unknown

Here she is... our precious girl Rachel Mei Li Evonne Shaw - If you are curious about the names:  Rachel is for Jodi's Grandmother, Ray;  Evonne is for Tom's Grandmother & Jodi's Aunt Vera; and Mei Li means Beautiful in Chinese, which is after Jodi's Great Aunt Bella (which also means Beautiful). Here is the info we have so far: 
Born: 12/2/07
As of 5/8/08:
Weight:   15.87 lbs
Height:  24.8"
Province:  Hunan

Chinese name:  Chen Qun Xin  -  Chen is her last name, Qun is her first and Xin is middle. The orphanage gave her that name as "their wish that she will grow to be a 'likesome' and beautiful girl"  There is not a direct translation for the names they chose for her.

Forever Day Sept 10th 2008It's our Forever Day. We were SO happy! and LOOK, she has HAIR!!!  I was just a little emotional :-)

Forever Day Sept 10th 2008Another Forever Day shot.  Look at the happy family!

White Swan Red CouchThis is taken on the Red Couch at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou. It is a tradition for all the kids to be photographed on the red couch.    Even though we were not staying at the hotel, we still got to take the traditional photos!  Is that not the cutest smile?

Here is a shot of all the kids in our travel group.  The little boy is the big brother of one of our little girls.  Rachel was one of the only ones that didn't cry for the actual pictures! (this was my photo by there was a professional photographer there to get the real shots!)

Nana & Grandpa on our first night homeAfter 26 hours on airplanes and over an hour in the car going home from the airport, our little girl is still smiling and happy.  Nana & Grandpa are looking pretty happy too, don't ya think?

Rachel has a new best friend!  Penny is totally in love with the baby.  All she wants to do is lick Rachel's face and in return, she lets Rachel do anything she wants! Rachel pulls Penny's lips, steps on her paws, climbs on her back, and that dog will just sit there and take every bit of it without complaining!  She even brings her toys to Rachel's feet!  We have to play tug of war for EVERYTHING!

Rachel's First BirthdayRachel's First Birthday. She sure had a good time. She had her own little Carrot Birthday cake and by the time it was done, she was covered from the neck down in cake. I had to hose her down in the sink, clothing and all.  It was just a little party at home.. my parents, Margie & Charlie & us... but it was still a great day. I made dumplings, egg rolls and we had a little birthday cake for the grown ups too!

Close to a year later... here is Rachel on her Daddy's birthday!  Her hair sure has grown in much better!  This was at Nana & Papa's house.  This is just 4 months away from her 2nd birthday! 

Here she is with her hair in pigtails!  FINALLY...  I've waited forever for her hair to get long enough for this.  Mind you, she pulled them out just moments after this picture.  She does NOT want to have anything in or on her hair!  I sure hope she changes her mind because I don't think she could look any cuter!

Here are the pictures from when we started putting the nursery together.  Here is the crib and you can also see the paint job I did on the room! We are SO thrilled with the bedroom set we picked out. I was so picky about the crib. I wanted to make sure the headboard was going to be solid and not slatted, because we got her a convertible crib that will eventually change to a full size bed.

armoire & dresserAnd here is the armoire and the dresser that goes with the set. It does not look anywhere NEAR that empty now... the shelves are full of all her toys and a collection of piggy banks!

Tom & JodiTom & Jodi enjoying a nice evening out... This is one of our favorite restaurants in Matlacha. There is an AMAZING view of the water. Ok, you will have to take my word for it!  :-)   This was taken when our friend Zulema came for a visit.  Thanks, Z...

Jodi & TomJuly 29, 2005
Dancing at Billy & Tammy's Wedding... We had such a great time, especially seeing the family again.

Grandma & GrandpaGrandma & Grandpa all decked out and enjoying the festivities at the wedding.  It was a wonderful evening...

Grandpa & GrandpaJuly 2004 - Celebrating the 4th of July, here's Grandpa & Grandma...  We had lots of fun watching the fireworks!  We are voting on what they should be called... Nana & Pop?  Granny & Pappy  (nah... )

July 2005 - What a family shot! So we have Grandma & Grandpa on the left, Then Aunt Marla & Uncle Daniel in the middle, and lastly, Mom & Dad (Tom & Jodi) to the right.  We had SUCH a great time in Cape Cod, but it was way too short a visit!!!

xmas 2004December 2004 - Tommy and I, enjoying Christmas Day at The Silverman's...  The rain didn't stop us from having a lovely day!  Does Tommy look like a hit man in that trench coat or what?? 

PennyJanuary 21, 2007 - Today we welcome another new family member... So in keeping with my tradition of Beatles-related-pet-names... This is Penny (for Penny Lane). She is 7 weeks old and she is 1/2 Labrador and 1/2 Vizsla.  She has the most beautiful green eyes!

sleepy pupand so far this has been her favorite position... oh... and she snores!  We were trying to adopt a Lab but found out about a family giving away these pups for free so we decided to go this route instead! Both breeds are great with kids, so we are all set... now just got to get her trained!

April 2007          Penny has discovered the swimming pool.  She is having a blast. Her routine is running around in the play yard - an area we fenced in just for her to run and work off that excess energy - and then she comes in and lays down on the top step of the pool to cool down. 

What eyesWhen she is done playing in the water, she jumps onto one of the lounge chairs to lay on her towel and dry off!  She doesn't really want to swim unless we are with her, but she has fun splashing the water with her front paws. She will probably be a great help teaching Rachel to swim!  Ha Ha Ha...  Oh... and as you can see, she has gotten quite a bit larger in just a short time!  She's about 40 pounds now and she is only 5 months old!!

And here are our Furry, Feathered & Finned Kids...

Goofy AbbeyHere is our silly little Abbey... quite the contortionist!  Since we have gotten her, life around our house has changed... no more sleeping late, no more eating meals in peace... She has really gotten us prepared for bringing home a baby!!!                             And she is soon going to have a new friend to play with... We are also adopting a BEAUTIFUL Cockatoo...

FredMay 2006 - Here's another addition to the Shaw family.  This is Fred!  When I found him on the driveway, he was about the size of a silver dollar. Now, just a few months later, he is about the size of a NERF football!!!
He's actually a pretty cool pet.  He doesn't make any noise, he doesn't bite, and he's actually pretty cute!

Jan 2007 - a more recent pic of Fred... as you can see, he is still growing! We now have him in a 55 gallon tank and he's about to bust out of that one too!     UPDATE ON FRED...May 2009 -  well, we finally realized poor Fred was just too big for this tank and we could not afford another size up... so, we donated him to the Shell Factory, where he will be in a huge outdoor exhibit and will have lots of friends.. OH... and we found out that despite the name, Fred is actually Freda!!! Yup, its a GIRL!

Scruffy Wooly BearHere's our little Wooly Bear... She was the best little poodle in the world... We lost her in March after she had a stroke. She was 24 years old... We were so lucky to have had her for so long.  She will be missed forever... We love you Woo...

Sgt & Pepper... with LoveLastly, here are Sgt & Pepper... Gone, but not forgotten... We still miss them both so much.  Sgt passed away at age 16 from cancer in 2000 and we lost her sister, Pepper, a week before Hurricane Charley blew through in August 2004.  She was almost 20 years old!  I sure do miss them both.

Coming Soon... our newest family member... August 2005 - And this is Peaches.  We adopted her from my parents friends Carol & Harold.  Peaches is actually the reason we bought Abbey... I fell in love with her right away... What a sweetie pie!  Anyway, she joined us in the beginning of August after we returned from my cousin Billy's wedding in NY.   UPDATE:  We found out our Abbey was allergic to Peaches, so we had to give her up.  Carol & Harold took her back and sold her at the pet shop to someone who will undoubtedly love her...

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