Happy Holidays!

(Melissa in China)

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season, and the Blessings that it Brings!

     Well time marches on and Melissa started Fifth Grade this fall, her last year at Ridgeway, then on to middle school. She got back into gymnastics this spring starting just once a week, but by summer she was going back to her usual schedule.  She’s had a couple of meets so far and is still getting back into the swing of things. 

   Miriam, Bernie and Abby are all doing well, too.  We spent Thanksgiving together at our house.  What with our hectic schedule and theirs it was the most time we’ve had together all year. 

   Our biggest news this year was a trip to China in June!  We left the Good Ole US of A on the same day nine years ago that we adopted Melissa. We traveled with 4 other families and a couple workers from Dillon Intl (the agency we used in the adoption). The trip was a blast for everyone!!  This time we were site seeing and not worrying about forms, paper-work and governments.  We got to tour 4 cities and Melissa’s home town, plus visit the Orphanage where we meet with a Caregiver that took care of Melissa 9 years ago. Although Melissa did not remember her, there were plenty of tears from the Caregiver.  You could tell that she really cared about what happened to the Children she took care of, and was glad to see Melissa and how she had grown up.  One of the officials at the Orphanage said, while we were touring the complex, that Melissa’s was the most animated child to return (she was hopping, and skipping and running ahead of us most of the time).  Even when we were eating a meal they had prepared for us in the dinning hall, she go up and went around the table to get some more dumplings and watermelon that was out of her reach (quite un-like Melissa’s usually reserved self until she is familiar with her surroundings).  She asked me a couple of times; Why everyone thought that they “the five girls” were so special? The BLAS and CCAA of China made them all feel like princesses.  You can read more about it if you want at: http://www.lowary.org/return.htm 

   While in China a friend of ours in Chicago had arranged for us to meet the person that was making the Memory Book covers for her and we were able to bring most of them home.  So Maureen was able to start offering these again at: http://www.chinamemories.net  

   I’ve just finished my third year at ToastMaster/Salton and it’s been a trying year with several rounds of downsizing, but hopefully better times ahead.  May the rest of this year and next bring you a special blessing, and know that you have our fondest wish for a “Happy Holiday” Season and a “Blessed and Prosperous” New Year!! 

   God Bless! Maureen, Jim, Melissa (and of course Miriam, Bernie, and Abby)