Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Blog Name

"Expect Miracles" was taken from a suncatcher I bought for Deann while she was in exploratory surgery in 1997. I gave the stained glass suncatcher to her after she awakened. Those were dark days for Deann and I as we struggled to understand why we were not being blessed with children. Deann's surgery was another step we took to determine why we were infertile. Not long after Deann surgery and several failed attempts at AI we quit the treatments. We were given little explanation why we were unsuccessful. We were both healthy. Of course everyone on the planet gave us the old "just relax" advice. Take note, if you ever say that to a couple experiencing fertility problems, be glad they are unarmed (especially if you say it to Deann) :).

I was fully expecting a miracle to happen in our lives and it did. MaCayla Joann Cook 6lbs 10 oz, born August 26, 1998. No fertility treatments involved. Now we have another miracle. Chen Ya Fang, 7 lbs., born October 23, 2004 in Guizhou, China.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Map of China

This map of China shows Guiyang in the south central portion of China directly above Viet Nam. That is where we believe Hannah lives (she could be in another town near Guiyang, we just do not know for sure) and where we will be traveling in 2-3 weeks to get her. We will also go to Beijing and Guangzhou to complete necessary adoption protocols.

Monday, September 26, 2005


We have an update on Hannah. We were totally surprised on Friday night when we received an e-mail around 10pm. She weighs 16.7 lbs and is 27 inches long. We also received head, chest and foot measurements. Her feet are 10cm. That is half the size of MaCayla’s. She looks so much bigger in her photos… all those layers of clothes. What a hoot!


Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Hannah was born in Guizhou Province in Southwestern China. She was found the day she was born at the town goverment building in Nanshao. You will find Nanshao on some maps, but don't bother trying to find out anything else about this town. I have tried and can find nothing. Very shortly thereafter she was taken to the county government office of Jianhe County. A few days later she was taken to Kaili to the Qiandongnan SWI. A week after she was born she was placed in foster care where we believe she remains today. Her birthday will be October 23. At first we hoped we would be with her on this special day, but Deann communicated with another mother in our travel group whose daughter was born October 26 and she would likely miss her daughters's first birthday also. This very sensible mother said she was glad her daughter would spend her first birthday with her foster parents as they deserve one last special occasion with the foster daughter they have devoted their lives to. Well, this put it into perspective for us. Sometimes we can be so selfish, only thinking of ourselves. Now we are at peace with missing Hannah's first birthday and are glad for the foster parents.

General Musings
Guizhou, "No three days without rain, no three cents, and no three feet that are flat". How depressing a description. The infant mortality was 50% in 1934. Parents waited a month after their childrens birth to celebrate. The people plant, tend and harvest rice on terraces carved into the hillsides using oxen. This back breaking work has produced a hardy, strong people who take nothing for granted. The landscape is beautiful in all the pictures we have seen. There are more Chinese minority groups in Guizhou than any other province. The area were Hannah was found is know as The Autonomous Prefecture of the Dong & Miao Minorities. One description I read about the people of Jianhe County is the are fair skinned, strong and beautiful. If you know anything about these areas of China please post them in the comments section.

Monday, September 19, 2005

VISA, FCC, and Guizhou Website

We sent off for our VISA's today. It is a little disconcerting sending our original passports to a travel agency and then to the Chinese Consulate, but that is the the way it is done.

We attended a FCC (Families with Chinese Children) picnic in Athens on Sunday. What an amazing group of people and children. They were all friendly and very interested in our referral and travel plans. Unfortunately, none of them had been to Guizhou where Hannah resides. I was not surprised by this as Guizhou seems to be an area that does not refer many children for adoption.

I found a web page of a young man's adventures in Guizhou. He is from Hong Kong and traveled with family to Guizhou to inspect school buildings his Granfather had built in some of the poorest areas of China. There are many photos on his web page of everday living in cities and remote villages. He has a fascination with food and photographed everything he ate on his two week trip. He gives descriptions of the food and many of the dishes are quite "exotic". Don't read this on a full stomach. His english is very good, but unusual in his descriptions. Evidently, drinking alcohol is a favorite past time of the people in this area, because as the "Guest of Honor" in many of the places he visits he is required to toast all of his hosts, many times. Here is the link Bon appetite!

To My Fair Lady

Once upon a time there was a fair lady,
whose dream was to have a second baby.
She prayed and she cried,
few understood how hard she tried.
Her tears grew into a pond of sadness,
driving her at times to it’s shore of madness.
Her days grew dark and dim,
as her hope seemed so slim.
As her faith began to diminish,
a loving voice said “wait, I am not finished”.
Then came the least of these from the east,
her shimmering eyes seemed to calm the fair lady’s grieving beast.
Slowly, her days grew brighter,
the burden a little lighter.
The little one from the east,
brought a message of hope and love, a banquet feast.
With her faith filled,
the lady’s heart began to still.
She began a journey, but not without fear,
finally, her days had a different kind of tear.
The trip began traveling toward the sun as it set,
but this was no reason to ever fret.
At last a brown eyed beauty,
filled her arms wearing tiny booties.
The pond of tears began to dry up,
as she fed the babe from a little cup.
Another little one from the east,
has filled a heart with hope and love unceased

Travel Planning-Not!

We received the following e-mail from our adoption agency. At first glance I was very excited as I thought we were going to get some details on our intinerary while in China, but reading further I realized it was a pre-planning meeting. Oh well, any agency contact is good contact. If you are adopting you know what I mean.

Dear China Families:

We are writing to invite families who received a match on 1 September 2005 to participate in a travel planning conference call scheduled for the date listed below. This call is for all families regardless of the province your child is from and will review travel planning for your adoption travel to China. We will discuss your trip inside China later, during the call we conduct for each group when travel dates are set.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Now We Wait...Again!!!

It has been two weeks since we found out who our Daughter is...Chen Ya Fang or as we will call her Hannah Yafang Cook. We are still on top of the world. And we wait for our Travel Approval (TA) from the Chinese Government which should come at the end of September or very early October. We will likey travel to China at the end of October or beginning of November. Deann is packing. MaCayla continues to pray for her little sister and we are all very anxious to be close to Hannah.

I bought MaCayla a roll up piano today so she can continue to practice her piano lessons while in China. The piano is made of rubber and shaped like a mat with a speaker on the end. She loves to play and practice. The piano rolls up and fits in a small case that can easily fit in her back pack.

I read a blog last night about a medical team that went to China to perform surgeries for orphaned children. Oh my! What a need for the children of China. The name of the organization is Love Without Borders. The blog address is If you don't want to cry do not click on that link.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


A picture is worth a thousand words!
Patrick Cook

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Introducing Hannah Yafang Cook!

Dear Friends and Family,
Finally! We are blessed to have a new Daughter and little Sister. The description we were given says she is very energetic and smiles all the time.
Deann, MaCayla & Patrick Cook

Chinese name: Chen Ya Fang
Soon to be: Hannah Yafang Cook (we think)
Birthdate: October 23, 2004
Foster care through Qiandongnan SWI, Guizhou

Patrick Cook

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Deann received the call today at 6:35 PM. Chen Ya Fang is her name (soon to be Hannah). Her birthday is October 23, 2004. She is in foster care in Guiyang, a city in Guizhou Province. In March she weighed 14 lbs and was 24 inches long. Her Social Welfare Institute is called Qiandongnan (Orphan House of Southwest City). Holt is Fedexing us 3 pictures of her on Saturday, along with more information about her. Our contact at Holt said she is adorable and smiling in one of the pictures.

Evidently, Holt does not do very many adoption from this province...according to our contact at Holt. This is a recipe for an adventurous trip to China as our guides will probably have little experience in this part of China. I have already read that changing money and finding places to eat can be difficult in this part of China. It's all about getting Hannah. "Whatever it takes" is our new motto.

MaCayla cried as Deann received the call. Deann cried and I wiped away a few tears when she called me with the news.

We are ready to go to Guiyang, China, now! Just a little longer sweet Ya Fang.