Monday, January 22, 2007

Here is the man....

that makes it all possible. I spend so much time writing about my children and my friends and myself. Rarely do I write about my silent partner. He is the one behind it all and like the director of any great masterpiece, he is there allowing all the participants creativity and freedom, supporting without being overbearing, loving without smothering and giving direction and financial support! This is the man I waited 36 years for and he is the one that has given life to so many, including me. We've only been married a short 6 years, but I can't remember how my life must have been without him, nor do I ever wish to rediscover that loneliness. Soon he is going to be a daddy again, after so many years of being "dad". I can't wait for him to have a daughter who loves, adores and respects him - just like I do. He is the king of our palace and nothing functions quite right when he isn't around. I can not say how grateful I am for a husband, best friend, help meet, supporter and guidance counselor like him; trustworthy, honest, forgiving and righteous. Thank you again Heavenly Father!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Baby Shower

Wow. I just returned home from the most exciting and fun afternoon ever! So many people came to my "toddler shower". I was so surprised since we've only been in Frankfurt a short time and people don't know us to well, but the love and support for us and for Rosie was so wonderful. I think there were about 30 ladies there. We got so many cute things; clothes, toys, socks, bathtub toys, music cds, practical things like baby bath, mommy bath, baby blankets, money, the list just goes on and one. There are just so many wonderful and sweet people out there. Once I get everything organized, I'll post some photos. My friend Dawnella went all out. She not only had food, games and tons of cute decorations, but she made the most adorable party favors - candles with roses on them (hand decorated) with a scripture verse and saying about Light which I will post later, and a note to everyone to light their candle on the 5th of February to show support for us on "Gotcha Day", also she gave everyone a beautiful little potted plant. It was amazing - I've hosted so many baby showers and I never thought of most of the ideas she came up with. My First Baby Shower! What a milestone. It was so cute yesterday because the boys kept asking me how excited I was, finally last night Alexander said, "Do you think you'll be able to sleep tonight?". I thought that was so cute, but in fact I did have a hard time sleeping!
Thank you to all my beautiful sisters out there and to all my family and loved ones whom I wished could have been here with us.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Change of Plans

Well, we couldn't get the air we wanted in and out of SFO. I am pretty bummed out that I can't visit my family, which I have been planning on and getting excited about for a long time. We have to use frequent flyers and there were just no seats available. It is a bit of bad luck that we are going right before Chinese New Year. Since half of San Francisco is Chinese, they may have had that idea too.

Anyway, we have had to change a few things because we also didn't know it would take so long to get Rosie's visa into Germany. We are now taking Max with us and my mom isn't coming to dog-sit. I am a little panicked about that too. We are looking for someone to doggy sit, but who? There just aren't many people who will take care of my dogs like I want them too!

I am relieved that Max is coming though. I hated for him to miss this experience and now that we are going to be gone so long, I just can't be separated from him that long! So that is a relief and I am also excited that we will be able to see loved ones in the D.C. area. I think Max is disappointed that he won't come to Russia with us, but he has been a real trooper and I think he was feeling a little left out that he wasn't coming on the family adventure to China, so all is good with him.

So, below is our new itinerary.

Travel News/Itinerary

We finally have our reservations made and tickets (well, e-tickets) in hand. Here is our itinerary:

Jan 31: Leave Frankfurt
Jan 31: Arrive Dulles, VA
Feb 1: Depart Dulles
Feb 2: Arrive Beijing
Feb 3: Go check out THE WALL - How awesome is that? We can't wait! We didn't think we would be able to do this, but our air routed us through Beijing anyway and with a layover. This is so, so exciting.
Feb 4: Leave Beijing and Arrive Haikou
Feb 5: Get Rosie. Yes.
Feb 6: Tour Rosie's orphanage and get paperwork started
Feb 7-11: Hang out in Hainan
Feb 11: Fly to Guangzhou
Feb 12th and 13th: Paper work and American Consulate
Feb 14th: Get Rosie's visa
Feb 15th: Fly back to Dulles via Beijing
Feb 16: Arrive Dulles
Feb 16 - 23: Apply for Rosie's passport, citizenship, social security card and German visa, and hopefully do an American readoption if we can get it done that quickly
Feb 24: Fly back to Frankfurt
The return dates are approximate. We aren't sure how long it will take to get the German visa. We are tweaking every possible tweak to get it done quickly....mostly we are praying a lot!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A little perspective on Haikou/ Hainan province

Here is a little info on Hainan that my research poked up. It sounds like a cross between Africa and Switzerland.

Also known as "Qiong", this is one of the Special Economic Zones located in the South China Sea, at about the same latitude with Hawaii, is China's second-largest island after Taiwan. It covers 3,135 sq. miles, and is inhabited by 5,600,000 people of Han, Li, Miao, Hui and other ethnic groups. Hainan Island has a long history tracing back to 6,000 years ago. The original native in Hainan is believed to be Li nationality. Han nationality moved in gradually from Han() Dynasty onwards. Hainan first became part of China in "Spring and Autumn" Period at 200 B.C. It has been referred to as a "treasure island". An abundance of tropical crops such as coconuts, rubber and lemongrass are grown, and the island is rich in aquatic products and mineral resources. Hainan is accessable by plane from Hongkong (DragonAir) or by ship down the Pearlriver in Canton or by bus even (with a short boattrip). I dont recommand a touristical visit to the provincial capital of Haikou in the north unless you miss Las Vegas...its a gambling paradise. Sanya-a former american military base- in the south is a good option to go. Emperor Hanwudi established two administrative centers in Hainan after conquering the southern part of China in 110 B.C. During Tang Dynasty(), additional administrative centers were established, and later Dynasties of Song(), Yuan, Ming() and Qing(), also set up various government offices for the administration of Hainan. Li and Miao are the two most important ethnic minorities in the island of Hainan. Li (ca 1,000,000 of people) belong to the Thai linguistic group. Miao belong to the Miao-Yao linguistic group and are also scattered througout Laos, Viet-Nam and Thailand.Hainan was known as the "tropical Siberia", because it has been a place of exile since the Tang dynasty. Nowadays, as one of Chinas Special Economic Zones (SEZ) encouraging foreign investment, trade, and tourism...and not only a few officials see in it the Hawaii of Asia.

Maybe Sanya's most famous beach, situated about 3 km from the center of the city and just off the main road.The beach's close proximity to the city means that it can get very busy here but this remains a pleasant and convenient spot to kick off your shoes, soak up the rays and swim in the sea BUT BEWARE that there are sharks and NO nets to keep them off and also some jellyfish. You can even have remoter beaches when taking some bus outside the city and enjoy som 15 miles of beach on your own. You can rent one of these boats to go to other remote bays and beaches. There have been built a few resorts around this beach where most Hongkong business people invite there chinese mainland counterparts for a weekend -so imagine its their company that pays and this is part of the reason that prices here are like downtown Manhattan and more coz there is no competition (yet).The shops near the South China Hotel are all owned from the same person and if you are looking for a better price than the previous store in this area -just forget about.

Even though the local government advertise with slogans such as "Hawaii of Asia" there are very very few western tourist making their way here-most of them are foreign students during the springbreak. Prices can be outrageous and even seem to be subject to different times of the day (or light) Dadonghai Beach you have even jetski for "just" 8US$...PER MINUTE though with increasing competition, prices might get more reasonable in the future. Mostly Hongkong business men with their mainland counterparts coming here to spend a weekend on companies cost. If you have to look at your budget - it might be advisable to select another island. Gee, I thought it was going to be "China on the Cheap" for us. I was promised I could shop till I drop everyday and not spend much money at all!

ACCOMODATION (Sanya is where our agency is going to take us to spend the 4 days we are waiting for our paperwork to be processed)

In some editions of Lonely Planet the Sanya Hotel is the only recommanded place. I was here in 1995 and it was one of the noisiest places you can imagine because nearby was a kind of redlight district (old relic of american military base history) where one razzia followed the next one to crackdown not only prostitution but illegally gambling. The Hotel was full of rats that came down the roof at night though as the patron told me that they only came into 3rd floor-well sometimes they even came through the toilet or ate their way through the wood. Dont be afraid-this is a bad example but meanwhile the situation has changed. You find some excellent resorts and my favourite is the one located on Louhuitou Island-the photo is taken behind the bungalow. The whole place reminds someone of a botanical garden and even satellite TV is provided inside and if you are interested in playing music (or singing Karaoke) there is a big pavillion with all the equipment needed. The staff is very nice and the coconuts allover the place give you a real feeling of having found a little piece of paradiese.

Air-conditioned buses go from Haikou to Sanya every hour and take between three to four hours. The cost is approximately RMB80. Only enter the bus if FULL...when we took a bus for just 30 RMB something "funny" happened. The busdriver stopped his truck when just leaving the capital Haikou in the north of the island and returned HOURS!!! later...with a huge crowd of additional passengers... Well we were just about "kidnapping" the car:-)). The buses have huge flashlights on their roof and using often the horn when driving in the mountains to warn the traffic downcoming. Dont wonder if you will see Hardcore Movies in the bus. When a woman with her child entered our bus she had to ask the driver more than 5 times to switch the movie. The main bus station in Sanya is at the northern end of Jiefang Lu. Buses from Tongzha and Lingshui pull up around the intersection of Jiefang Lu and Gangmen Lu.

Oh boy, another fun Baxter Family Adventure!

Got our Consulate Appointment

Finally! We got our Consulate Appointment in Guangzhou. We will get Rosie on February 5th and we will get her adoption finalized on February 13 and get her visa on February 14th (Happy Valentines Day!).

It is so cool because we also adopted Max and Daniel on February 13th. Our lucky day.

Robert has been on the phone and computer all evening trying to figure out how to get us to China and back using our award miles. Right now it looks bad, but somehow he always figures things out and makes it work.

I will post our itinerary as soon as we find out. My mom has confirmed that she can come dog and Max sit. That is a huge relief, however, she can only stay through the 19th and that is going to be tight. We are praying everything works out. Here is what we will be doing when we finally get to China.

Sunday, February 4th: Arrive Haikou, Hainan Province ( A small island south of Guanzhou)

Monday, February 5th: "Gotcha Day". They bring Rosie to us, we go do some paperwork.

Tuesday, February 6th: Tour Rosie's orphanage and get a chance to talk to some of the workers. We are also supposed to bring small gifts for the workers - I still haven't thought of anything yet!

Wednesday the 7th - Sunday the 11th: Wait for paperwork to be finalized

Sunday: Leave for Guangzhou

Monday the 12th: Do medical and other paperwork in Guangzhou

Tuesday the 13th: U.S. Consulate Appointment

Wednesday the 14th: Get Rosie's Visa from the Consulate

Thursday the 15th: Fly to San Francisco

It looks like we will only be in SFO for 2 or 3 days total, we have to get back to Germany asap as my mom has limited time to Baxter-sit. While in SFO we will have to get Rosie's American Passport and a German Visa. But, she will get to meet almost all of my family. She will have to wait a bit to meet Robert's family though.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Little Good Russia News....

Okay, well, I think we are moving forward again. We found an adoption agency in VA that will help us with this new snag. Of course, it is just another delay which is frustrating for all of us, but I am grateful that we've got it all worked out now. Our agency in Seattle is moving forward with all the Russia stuff while the one in VA is getting the rest of the other paperwork ready.

Yes, working on this adoption are:
1 huge adoption agency in Seattle
1 medium sized adoption agency is Utah
1 medium sized adoption agency in Virginia
1 Social Worker in Munich, Germany
1 Frazzled and Confused mommy in Frankfurt
Oh, and we just got our INS paperwork updated thanks to the Department of Homeland Security in Frankfurt.

Let's see, did I forget anyone? Yes, Alex in St. Petersburg who has done so much to help us and the person who gave us all the tools we need to move forward -- Mary Kirkpatrick from -- you can read about Anastasia on her website.


This is starting to sound like an Oscar acceptance speech and we don't even have Anastasia yet. Sigh. Just wanted to share the magnitude of what it has taken for the last 3 1/2 years to get to this point. Can you imagine? All for a little girl whom no one in the world, except us, wants.
Well, wait till she is in my arms. Because I will be thanking all these people again and again. The little snags aren't going to bring me down anymore because when I look back at it now I know we are almost there. Thank you Heavenly Father!!

Baby Shower Next Saturday!

Woo Hoo. My first baby shower is coming up. I'm so excited. I think it going to be about 15 ladies from church and one or two ladies from Robert's work. Fun, fun, fun.

The boys want to come of course. They said, but it's our baby too -- pleeeease??? Oh well, I am really looking forward to some "sister/girl" time!

So, check out these invitations...they are so pretty and pink. We are still working on the nursery, I'll post pictures as soon as it looks acceptable.

The invitation.............

Isn't it beautiful? I think Dawnella did a marvelous job with these invitations.

Alexander's Big News

Today was a wonderful day at church. Alexander was set apart as a First Counselor for the Deacons. The Deacons are the quorum or group of 12 and 13 year old boys.

Worthy brethren may be ordained deacons when they are at least 12 years old. A deacon follows counsel, sets a good example, and may (1) pass the sacrament, (2) collect fast offerings, (3) care for the poor and needy, (4) be a standing minister appointed to "watch over the church" (
D&C 84:111), (5) assist the bishopric, (6) serve as a messenger, (7) participate in quorum instruction, (8) serve in quorum leadership positions, (9) fellowship quorum members and other young men, (10) be baptized and confirmed for the dead, (11) speak in meetings, (12) share the gospel, (13) bear testimony, and (14) care for the meetinghouse and grounds.

They have a President and he chooses 2 counselors. Each of the counselors has certain responsibilities, like:

Quorum leaders (1) preside over the quorum, (2) teach quorum members their duties and help them accomplish the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood (see D&C 107:85-87), (3) watch over and fellowship quorum members and other young men of quorum age, (4) strive to develop love, brotherhood, and loyalty among quorum members, (5) provide opportunities for priesthood assignments, leadership experiences, and spiritual growth, (6) have a special responsibility to watch over and fellowship new quorum members, unordained young men of quorum age, less-active quorum members, and members who have disabilities or other special needs, (7) preside over quorum presidency meetings and Sunday quorum meetings, (8) help plan quorum activities, (9) serve on committees, (10) visit the Primary class for 11-year-old boys, and (11) keep records. (For more on our church go to or both are great websites that are inspiring and educational)

It is just such an honor that though we have only been here 4 months, Alexander is already considered responsible and worthy to hold this position. We are so proud of him and know that he will do his best to rise to the challenge and blessings presented by this calling.

The second bit of news is that Alexander did a doozy on his knee last Wednesday. He and Max were out walking the dogs in the morning and decided to race home. When they came close to our doorstep, the dog stopped and Alexander tripped over him and hit his knee on the edge of the marble step. It didn't scrape but actually pushed back the skin, maybe a 1/4 inch of skin. I got him to the doctor and they couldn't save the skin because it was too badly damaged so they had to remove it. Hence, the big hole in his knee. I gather it will be quite a scar, which he didn't care about, he just didn't want to get stitches.
Anyway, here is a picture of it on day 2 and I must say that the doctor did quite a good job of cleaning it up (after about 15 goes at it with an anesthetic) and making it look decent! Yuk.


This just looks so yucky doesn't it??

Monday, January 08, 2007

My Three Sons

Here they are; the three big brothers. Have you ever seen anything cuter than these three? I think they are almost as excited as I am to go and get their little sister!

The Close Up

Here you can see what the T-Shirts say. I also have a little, tiny pink one that says "I'm the Mei Mei (little sister)" Aren't they cute??

Introducing..........Drew Baxter

Look at this beautiful, sweet baby boy. He was born on January 4th (Utah State Day reminds Grandpa). He is Robert's 5th grandSon (that's right, no girls yet). We are so thrilled to welcome him into our family. His mama Erin is doing fine and daddy, Stewart and brothers Sade and Ethan are all very excited, as are we. How we wish we could be there, but we send our love and kisses and prayers your way!

He looks just like his Daddy!!


I'm feeling grumpy and blue. We still don't have our TA (Travel Approval) for China. This is getting really nerve racking because my mom has requested the time off work and we still don't have travel dates confirmed. Our agency was quite sure we would have the TA last week but it didn't come. Most of the other agencies have theirs, it is so Frustrating. It didn't come in their Monday Fedex so we are hoping for Tuesday. bummer

On the totally un-grumpy and joyful side -- I'm having a shower. I can't tell you all how excited I am about this. I love baby showers and celebrating new little lives. I have given so many baby showers to those I care about and it has always brought me such joy. I've never had one myself though and I am oh so excited about it. Unfortunately, we are still quite new in Frankfurt and I don't know if my dear friend Dawnella will be able to scare up many participants but even if it is just a couple, I am so excited! I am so blessed to have moved to Frankfurt and still be close to all my friends in Vienna (even if I have only seen 1 of them so far!) and be only 30 minutes away from the most marvelous friend; she has 1 son who is living on his own now and 4 little girls under the age of 5! Two of them still in Diapers and she is giving me a baby shower. I actually feel guilty, but that's okay! I just don't know how she does it. I just wish Stephanie and Donna and Ronde' and Silvy and Christy and Michelle could be here with me to celebrate. I miss them so much. I will definately take pictures and post them later. It is going to be on January 20th.

I don't know how I got blessed with these wonderful friends but I'm pretty sure we all hung out together even before we came to this earth!