The journey to Kate began many, many years ago, when God planted the DREAM of adopting a little girl from China in my heart...  Following is the closest thing I've ever experienced to a "Fairy Tale" come true!

...a flower for Him

     I had a story to tell and God was beginning to give me more and more opportunities to tell it now that we were out of diapers, high chairs, and car seats and on to school every day.  I was finding myself again and I liked it!  My life-long dream of adopting a little girl from China was fading fast.  I decided that I'd waited too late for that and my selfishness over-ruled any thought of returning to those baby years again!  I loved my freedom, my romantic rendezvous with Doug, and my speaking ministry too much!  I would occasionally feel overwhelmed by sadness that I had not pursued my dreams of adoption and wondered if I had missed something special from the Lord in my relentless pursuit of "self"...
     Doug had a vasectomy several years earlier when we were convinced that we were done having home-grown babies.  I was keenly aware of my selfishness, and feared making such a "final" decision, so I begged God to "over-ride" our decision, should He have a different plan than ours. I'd left the adoption door wide open for the first few years, but now it seemed I was subconsciously closing that one too!
     You could have written a calendar based upon my female cycle during that time, so when I was days late and then those days turned into weeks, I didn't think that I needed a pregnancy test to confirm what I already knew!   I became more certain with every passing hour... we had been "over-ruled"!  There was only one way I could reconcile such an unexpected jolt to my plans.... If God was going to force me to go back, I'd dive in, go all the way and finally adopt from China too!  Doug agreed to my new plan and I actually began to feel some excitement creeping into my heart!.... until my cycle kicked back into high gear and I discovered that I wasn't pregnant after all.  I was embarrassed that I had assumed so much without any medical clarification.  
     Now I can see what I could not see then.  God used those weeks to begin awakening a dream He had planted in my heart when I was just a little girl!  In His love he would not let me miss His best for what I thought was better!
     As God would have it, I was in the middle of reading an old classic - "Hinds Feet on High Places" that very month.  The story centers on a young girl known as "Much-Afraid" because... well, she was much afraid of everything!  The good shepherd (representing Jesus) comes and invites her to travel with him to the "high places" where she can experience God in a way that she is not able to surrounded by nay-sayers and dream killers.  Along the way she and the good shepherd come to a hillside covered with beautiful little wild flowers.  
         "I have often wondered about the wild flowers," Much-Afraid said, "It does seem strange that such unnumbered multitudes should bloom in the wild places of the earth where perhaps nobody ever seems them and the goats and the cattle can walk over them and crush them to death.  They have so much beauty and sweetness to give and no one on whom to lavish it, nor who will even appreciate it."

          "Nothing my Father and I have made is ever wasted," the Shepherd said quietly, "and the little wild flowers have a wonderful lesson to teach.  They offer themselves so sweetly and confidently and willingly, even if it seems that there is no one to appreciate them.  Just as though they sang a joyous little song to themselves, that it is so happy to love, even though one is not loved in return."
           "I must tell you a great truth, Much-Afraid, which only the few understand.  All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can only dimly guess at.  Every inner response of the human heart to Love and every conquest over self-love is a new flower on the tree of Love."

     The Lord used those words from that old classic to speak deep into my heart!  He was plainly calling me to become like those little flowers... to give of myself for the pure joy of God's pleasure alone... to give myself to His plan, not my own...  to trust Him that sometimes His best work is done where no one else sees... to willingly die to my "self"!  
     God was not forcing me to go back!  Instead, He was gently bidding me to become like a flower on that hillside... to discover true love and it's redemption, far from the eyes of the world... and to display His beauty in way others might not even notice.  He would notice, though, and that was my heart's desire!

The Dream Giver...

     My body was in Florida celebrating 20 years of marriage... My heart was in China.  I could think of little else.  My mind was in full-out war with itself.  One moment I was certain - the next - terrified!!!
     Doug and I knelt next to our hotel bed and begged God for direction.  For Doug, the whole process was pretty cut and dried.  You feel led to do something - go do it!  Not me!!!  I was on an emotional roller coaster.  Couples celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary  aren't usually contemplating starting a family--- again!  Nothing could cure my restless heart like a good long walk on the beach with the Lord.  I grabbed my Ipod and headed out the door.  I set my Ipod on one song and hit repeat again and again for the entire walk!  The words of that song expressed the words of my heart... a prayer I couldn't have spoken better myself!

     "I'm finding myself at a loss for words, and the funny thing is, it's OK.  The last thing I need is to be heard, but to hear what you would say.  Word of God speak.  Would you pour down like rain?  Washing my eyes to see your majesty.  To be still and know that you're in this place.  Please let me stay and rest in your holiness.  Word of God speak!" 
     "I'm finding myself in the midst of you, beyond the music, beyond the noise.  All that I need, is to be with you, and in the quiet, hear your voice.  Word of God speak.  Would you pour down like rain?  Washing my eyes to see your majesty.  To be still and know that you're in this place.  Please let me stay and rest in your holiness.  Word of God speak.  Would you pour down like rain?  Washing my eyes to see your majesty.  To be still and know that you're in this place.  Please let me stay and rest in your holiness." 
     "I'm finding myself at a loss for words, and the funny thing is, it's OK."

     It was a cold, winter day, so I had the beach to myself.  I raised my hands in prayer to the Lord... I cried... I begged God to come near!  As I walked along, praying, I noticed a beautiful white feather near the edge of the water.  I had always collected shells and shark's teeth along the ocean, but I'd never seen a feather like this one before.  I picked it up and noticed it's end was shaped like the perfect quill.  "Lord," I prayed, "take this feather and write your will on the tablet of my heart.  I don't want to fight anymore... or weigh the cost... or worry about what's good for me...  I simply want to obey!  Help me to follow wherever that may lead!"
     I decided to take my beautiful feather home to remember my time with the Lord.  I rinsed it and packed in in my suitcase for the flight home the next day.  Later that night, while spending some time with a close friend who knew of my "dreams", she introduced me to a book entitled  "The Dream Giver" by Bruce Wilkinson.  I picked up a copy on our way back to the hotel and tucked it into my carry-on bag for the long flight home.  
     We had barely taken off when I grabbed the book and started to read about a Nobody named "Ordinary" (because... well, he was ordinary).  He lived in the Land of Familiar with all of the other Nobodies.  Ordinary had big dreams... but Nobodies in the Land of Familiar didn't do big things!  One morning, however, Ordinary discovered a long white feather resting on the sill of his window.  The Dream Giver had left it there just for him and beckoned him to follow his dream! 
     There, packed in my suitcase, was my own beautiful white feather!!!...left by my Dream Giver to bid me to follow!  I sobbed like a baby that God would indeed "speak" to me in such a personal way!  Before we even landed in Houston I knew that I would indeed follow my God-given dreams to China!  Little did I know then, what a beautiful tapestry of redemption God had begun to weave in my life!

Immeasurable fears....

                                           Journal Entry - January 9, 2004
Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." 
     Of all the fears I have (and there are plenty of them!), none compare to the fear of missing out on God's best for me.  That I would put my 'Big Dream' off so long... always waiting for the right time, only to get to the end of my life and realize that I had missed it!  Let it never be!
     Surely this dream of mine was planted in my heart by God himself!  But I wonder... why China?  I've walked through the halls of many orphanages in Russia.  The need there is huge! Thousands of children with no hope of a forever family this side of heaven!  I suppose it was a sweet mercy from the Lord that my dreams were in China.  How else could I have ever come home empty handed???
   A close friend and I have been struggling with the idea of "dreams" for 2 years now.  After all, I am a dreamer!  I always have been!  But I've always been embarrassed to talk about my dreams with anyone by my close friends because they all seem to be so much about me... not so much about God and His desire to use me to make a difference.  My dreams would make a difference in my life, but few others!  I even realized a few of those dreams, but was disappointed to find that they left me empty... They didn't satisfy!  The past few months have brought a season of incredible new peace to my life.  I would stop pursuing my dreams and just pursue Him!  What inexpressible joy I have found there!  I suppose that is why I can say with complete honesty that I am happier than I have ever been!  How I have found my own words to groups of women to be true:  God + Nothing = Everything!
     Now the white feather!  Now this childhood, Dream Giver dream of mine!  I have suddenly realized that this dream, unlike so many of my others, isn't about me.  It is, instead, about how God can use me to meet a big need in the world and to be a part of His purpose and plan!  How I don't want to miss out on that!  I just can't walk away!  What a privilege that He would include me in His plan!  And what an irony of ironies -- that He would ask me to take an abandoned child as my own, when I abandoned my own unborn child!  What a beautiful redemption story He is weaving!  I am only beginning to see that our greatest ministry flows from our greatest failure!  What kind of merciful, gracious God we serve!!!
     Words from page 18 of "The Dream Giver" strike me as such a simple truth... "Could it be that maybe the Dream Giver gave every Nobody a Dream, but only some embraced their dream?  And even fewer pursued them?"
     Not this dreamer!!!  I will embrace and pursue my dream!  I refuse to miss God's best for me by staying in the land of comfort and 'familiar'.  I have just begun my own journey, but already I can see myself in Ordinary so clearly.  Moments when I question God's wisdom in giving ME this dream; moments when "I think I want to go back home" or that "I'm not the right Nobody to go after such a big Dream".  But, like Ordinary, in those moments, I hear the gentle voice of my Dream Giver... "yes, you are... You can... I made you to do this!"
     Whatever the cost, whatever the sacrifice... My Dream is waiting for me in the Land of Promise!  I've packed my white feather for the journey... I'm coming Lord!!!

September 8, 2004 - Kate's Referral

     It is with inexpressible joy that I am writing to announce the referral of our new daughter - Katherine Grace MengHua McCary!  "The Call" came today that news had finally arrived from China.  A little girl by the name of Yi Meng Hua, born on September 8, 2003 (one year old today!!), had been matched with our family!  She is waiting for us at the YiYang Children's Welfare Institute in Hunan, China.  On September 19, 2003, our 11 day old baby girl was found next to the roadside, packed in red carpet with a bottle and some formula- no doubt, left to be found by someone who would love and care for her.  We are thrilled to have been chosen as the lucky family to do just that!  Moments after the call, a picture of her would arrive on our computer.  We all gathered around to finally see the little face I had spent a lifetime dreaming about!  With the click of a button, there she was!!!...

     No one could have ever prepared me for the overwhelming emotion I would feel upon finally seeing her!  It was much like the moment I first saw my other three children at their deliveries, and one I will forever treasure.  As you can imagine, I stared at her picture for hours- memorizing every detail of her mouth, her eyes... and those cheeks!!!  Finally, at 3AM, I turned out the light to end this most special day, but couldn't resist turning it back on for just one more glance!
     I have been praying since the beginning of this journey that God would confirm the baby chosen for us as His choice.  I offered a few ideas as to how He might do this... A dream about her, so that I would know her face, or maybe a birthday of Dec. 18th - the day I found the white feather on the beach and felt certain that this was God's plan for us.  I was disappointed that He'd chosen neither of those options...  But He had an even better idea!  When our baby was brought to the orphanage, she was given the first name of "Meng".  Translated into English- that name is "DREAM".  That God would fulfill my lifelong dream with a little girl by that very name, is the sweetest confirmation from the Dream Giver Himself that this is, indeed, His perfect choice for us!  And His blessings go on and on!  As if the first name of "Dream" wasn't enough...  the middle name given her was "Hua" - meaning  "FLOWER" in English!  God's tender mercies overflowing in my life through a precious baby girl named "Dream Flower"!  Could His intimate love be more obvious to an "Ordinary", "Much-Afraid" Mom like me?  I am in awe of such a great God!

 "God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on Him"  Hudson Taylor

A Letter to my daughter in China...

September 6, 2004- We expect Kate's referral from China tomorrow!  How appropriate that this should occur the day after "Labor" Day!  I decided to write a letter to Kate to tell her the thoughts of my heart and my prayers for her precious life...

     Today is "Labor" Day- literally!  We expect word about you from China tomorrow!... Your name, your birthday, where you are... pictures of you... I absolutely cannot wait to finally "meet" this little girl that has long captured my heart and consumed nearly every thought for 9 months!  How I love you already and how I have prayed for you!  Surely God formed you and knew you would be ours since the beginning of time!  Words can't express how grateful I am to know that is true. God planted the seed of you in my heart when I was just a young girl myself.  All these years I've dreamed of you more times than I can tell.  You are God's gift to me!  Tomorrow that gift will finally have a name and a face!  I so wanted to sit down and write you a letter before the excitement of tomorrow to tell you how very much I love you!... to tell you how very wanted you are!  You are the fulfillment of my lifelong dream... A gift I never imagined myself worthy of!
     I have so many dreams for you too, Kate!  First and most importantly, that you would love the Lord with all of your heart and that you would live for Him.  I have prayed for you so often over the last several months while we've been waiting... I've asked one thing from the Lord~ that you would have a tender, tender heart for Jesus... even now, before you fully understand His deep love for you!  I pray, too, that He would burden your heart for your homeland of China and especially for you own mother.  What an incredible lady she must be Kate, to have given you the gift of life and then for reasons I don't understand, to have had the unbelievable grief in leaving you so that you could have a life she couldn't provide.  How she must have adored you!  My heart breaks that she had to let go of you in order for me to embrace you.  I pray that you would know above everything that God knew your name before you were even born and He had a beautiful plan for your life!  Know, too, that this "mommy" is so, so very glad that part of God's plan for you included me!!!
     I love you Katherine Grace and am counting the moments until I can hold you in my arms and bring you home to your "forever family".

                                                                                        Your Mommy

November 21, 2004 - I love you tomorrow! You're only a day away!

     We're here!... and tomorrow is so close and yet so far, I can hardly breathe!  It was a short 2 and 1/2 hour flight to Changsha.  The air was smoggy and you couldn't see much shortly after takeoff from Beijing, but my heart almost skipped a beat as we started our descent into Hunan Province.  I studied the landscape and tried to imagine the people's lives that lived below.  I wondered again and again if Kate's parents lived somewhere very much like this.  All the houses appeared the same- white cinder block walls with some finished, but many unfinished interiors.  Lush, green fields surrounded many of the homes.  I could even see some workers on primitive vehicles out in the fields.  It was mostly quiet and surreal on this early Sunday morning though.
Today - an orphan... Tomorrow - a daughter!
     I imagined what Kate was doing that very moment.  She had no idea that this would be the last day she'd spend at Yiyang CWI, or that her forever family was finally arriving to take her home...   Almost every thought of this day included the counting down of minutes until I'd have Kate in my arms.  Just thinking about it brings unimaginable butterflies to my stomach!  She is already asleep by now at Yiyang for her last night there.  Tomorrow's sunrise will bring with it a whole new world for our little girl!  We could not be more thrilled to be a part of it!  Good night my precious Kate, I will finally hold you in my arms tomorrow morning!

"Tomorrow, tomorrow... I love you, tomorrow!... You're only a day away!"

November 22, 2004 - Kate's Gotcha Day!

     I was actually able to sleep until about 5:30 or 6 this morning.  I laid in bed and soaked up the moment- almost exactly the way I had the morning that I was in labor with Sarah- knowing that the events of today would change my life forever.  Doug finally woke up and interrupted my thoughts.  We talked until the sun came up.  We'd waited so long for this day.  It was finally here and yet it still seemed like an impossible dream that should be happening to someone else.  I had spent hour upon hour over the last few months reading adoption stories on the internet.  It felt a bit strange to now suddenly be the main character in the unfolding, life-changing drama that today was sure to hold.  My stomach felt as if a million butterflies have taken up residence there...  the thought of eating breakfast made me nauseas.  Just before leaving our hotel room for the bus, Doug and I knelt beside our bed and prayed for this special day.  Doug, of course, did most of the praying, as I sobbed uncontrollably.  I could not help but look back and remember when the dream to adopt from China was born in my heart almost 30 years ago.  Now I was less than an hour away from the realization of that lifelong dream.  I marvel at the beautiful way God weaves the events of our lives, creating something that we could not have envisioned in our wildest imagination.  We see small glimpses of His hand at different times in our lives, but days like today seemed almost like an unveiling of a lifetime of His work in my heart!
     Doug and I were the first off the bus at the Civil Affairs Office and up the elevator to the third floor.  When we got off the elevator there were families and babies everywhere.  My eyes wildly searched every little face to see if I could find our Kate.  None of them looked like her, but the picture we had was already 7 months old, so I wondered if maybe she had just changed so much that I didn't recognize her.  Within only a few moments, the workers from Kate's orphanage filed into the room, each holding one of our girls.  I scanned back and forth, trying to figure out which was Kate.  But before I knew what was happening, our names were being called!  My heart nearly jumped from my chest and the butterflies in my stomach all fluttered in unison.  We practically ran to the middle of the room.  A young woman from the Civil Affairs Office was now holding Kate, ready to hand her to me as soon as we proved to be her new parents.  I felt numb seeing Kate in real life for the first time!  I leaned down, took her hand, and tried to talk softly to her so that she wouldn't be afraid.  The lady did not have much patience for this and simply said... "This is your daughter!  You may take her!"  She thrust her into my arms and the transaction of a lifetime was complete!  I could not see Kate's face at that moment, as she had her cheek pressed against my chest.  I remember distinctly, though, the feeling of having her precious little head under my chin.  I kissed the top of her head and felt the wonderful warmth of her body against mine.  She was so tiny...so beautiful...so vulnerable and afraid... and mine!!!  I wanted to freeze time at that very moment!!!  I could not hold back the tears as the reality of it all hit me ~ All of my dreams...born in the middle of a Civil Affairs Office in China!
     This delivery room had not been as much unlike the delivery rooms of my other three children as I had expected.  Our fourth child was delivered to us in this most unusual way, and yet she is as much ours as Russ, Sarah, or Ryan.  I feel an intensity of love for her that words cannot describe.  All of my fears and questions melted away in an instant... God's weaving hand was more evident then ever before in my life and I had never felt happier than I did at that moment!


     Less than an hour after arriving, we were walking out the doors and loading back onto our bus with our new daughters.  Nine new families formed in less than an hour's time... What an odd, yet wonderful way to watch the birth of a family.  I will never forget the way I felt holding Kate on that bus.  I stared at her, I kissed her, I whispered "I love you" in her ear, I decided that she was one of the most precious babies I'd ever laid eyes on... Nothing mattered at that moment, except that I was her mother!

     We would return to the Civil Affairs Office this afternoon.  The bus ride could not have been more different than the one this morning.  Everything had changed and now we had only to make it "final".  It was already final in my heart though!  I was anxious to have the Chinese government officially agree with what I already knew~  She was our daughter!  What God had ordained...man made official!  A forever family was born!

The princess in her red "slippers"!

Katherine Grace MengHua McCary

One less orphan in the world tonight...


Enough said...

November 26, 2004 - Tears for her mother...

     The orphanage director drove his car and led the bus to the place Kate had been found that September morning, bundled in a piece of red carpet.  In those few moments I had one thought-  Kate's mother was somewhere nearby!  My heart broke for her.  Her incredible loss had become my unspeakable gain.  She is part of one of the world's saddest statistics.  But she was no longer a statistic to me!  She was a human being... the woman who had carried the precious baby that I now held in my arms, and then somewhere nearby had secretly given birth to her.
     It would be easier somehow to just push such thoughts from my mind.  But I refuse to dishonor her gift to me that easily.  Instead, I chose to let myself go there fully.  As the bus made it's way away from Kate's finding site and past the apartments and small cinderblock homes back to the capital city, I allowed my mind to drift back to what might have been 14 months earlier...

     Her pregnancy for Kate was probably her first.  Chances are that she was at least 10 years younger than I, with hopes and dreams much like my own.  Her culture demands that she produce a boy!  Her husband and her in-laws probably demand it too.  Her pregnancy would have to be hidden from the authorities until it produced the boy they all hoped for.  
     I wonder what it would be like to carry a baby for nine months with such expectations, mixed with fear.  She must have emotionally rehearsed the birth a million times in those months of waiting.  The birth of a son would be welcomed and celebrated and life could go on as planned.  But should she birth a daughter instead... the grave consequences must have haunted her thoughts...
     And then the moment finally arrived -  sometime around the first of September 2003, Kate's mom went into labor and realized what was possibly her greatest fear- the birth of a baby girl.  The three most beautiful words to my ears were probably the three most terrifying ones to hers...  
     Her baby girl was absolutely perfect and healthy!  Certainly she marveled at her ten fingers and ten toes and rose bud lips the same way I would have, had I been there!  And while those around her bristled with disappointment and even dared to suggest that they could "rid" her of this most unwanted baby girl, she chose instead, to draw her near... nurse her and give her life.  I cried tears of joy at the birth of my precious Sarah-  I wonder if Kate's mother cried-  were they tears of joy or tears that revealed her broken heart for all the uncertainty that lay ahead for an unwanted daughter in a country that prizes sons?  
     I see a tender heart in Kate, and I wonder if she inherited that from her mother.  Did she lay awake all night trying to memorize her beautiful almond eyes, her chubby cheeks, and those rosebud lips.  Memorizing every detail so that she could remember them in the days and years ahead, after she was long gone.  For 11 days she nurtured her, she cared for her, she kept her quiet so that no one would know a baby had been born to their home, and she must have wondered just how long she could keep such news concealed.  Surely she begged her husband to find another way... to be satisfied with a girl... to somehow come up with the exhorbitant amount of money they needed to try again and pay, should the 'gods' award them with a son next time.   And when she knew that he could not be persuaded, how did she begin the process of letting her go?...
     She'd been pushing her luck for 11 days and probably allowed herself to get more attached to her beautiful baby girl than she should have.  Now she must force herself to do the unthinkable.  Abandoning baby girls may well be an accepted, cultural thing in China... but a mother's heart can't be taught such things... and I am certain that hers ached in a way I'll never have to know.  My own heart aches for her as I think of her unimaginable grief in saying "good-bye" to her infant girl.  How did she feel when she dressed her daughter in a light blue button shirt, wrapped her snuggly in a red blanket, and tucked in a feeding bottle and some powdered milk for after she was gone?...  I can only imagine the last kiss, the last caress... before she laid her against the brick building and scurried away so that she would not be seen...  As a mom, I am convinced that she stayed nearby to make certain that nothing terrible happened to her baby, as if this weren't terrible enough.  And when her baby was found, surely she followed at a distance to be certain she was delivered safely to the local orphanage.  
     What a long walk home it must have been for Kate's mommy.... Her arms were empty now.  She carried her for nine months, she hid her and cared for her for 11 days, and now she returned home with nothing...  Nothing that is, except an empty, broken heart that yearns for the little girl she will never know.  
     If only she knew!  If only she knew about the way I instantly fell in love with her little girl and took her in as if she were my own.  If only she could see the beautiful smile on her face last night as she played with her new Daddy.  If only she could know what hope lies ahead for her future in a family full of love and dreams.  If only she knew that the life she chose to bless her daughter with, now blesses mine!  If she knows only one thing... I pray that she knows the sweet tender grace of the God who loves that little girl more than either of us could and can give healing to her heartache.  If only...  

June 2, 2006 - I had no idea the day I wrote these words for Kate's mom that I would return to adopt another daughter from Hunan a year and 1/2 later.  Since we could not visit Ellie's orphanage in another part of Hunan, we requested to return to Yiyang to revisit her finding spot and try to leave a message of hope for her mother to see.  We hung a poster there on the wall above where Kate had been found that showed her precious, happy smiles with her forever family in America.  I prayed and begged God to somehow carry this special message to Kate's mommy.  My life has been forever changed because of the incredible gift of life she gave.  I pray that we have an eternity to enjoy the overflowing blessing of our precious daughtertogether...

"Forever After"

In an attempt to document Kate's story in a format she might understand, I wrote it in the form of a child's book entitled "Forever After".  Following is that story with my favorite photos from Kate's adoption journey attached~

Forever After

Once upon a time, (September 8, 2003)
in a land far, far away...

...a beautiful princess was born.

Her rosy cheeks and dark almond eyes
made her the fairest princess in all the land.

Her mommy had never been so happy...
nor had she ever been so sad.
She knew that she could not take care of the princess 
the way one needs to care for such a princess.

So early one morning before the sun rose over the village,
she awoke the princess, 
dressed her in a clean, blue shirt,
and wrapped her in a red blanket fit for royalty.

After tearfully kissing her on both cheeks 
and in that special place between her almond eyes
one last time,
she placed the princess near the center of the village,
where she was sure to be found at sunrise.

She hid nearby, 
not taking her eyes off her beautiful princess.
She would stay
and make sure that someone kind and good found her.

Only moments had passed before a kind villager
noticed the beautiful princess lying there.

"Why," she said, 
"this is no place for a princess!
I will take you to a special place where they
will care for you until your new royal
family can be found!"

When the nannies there saw how incredibly
delicate and beautiful the princess was,
they named her Meng Hua~
Dream Flower.

Somehow they knew that this precious flower
would be a dream come true for a 
very lucky royal family.

The princess lived there for fourteen months.
She had many friends
 and the nannies were very kind.

But the princess wanted one thing
more than any other thing...
She wanted a mommy and daddy of her own!

Every night the little "Dream Flower" drifted off 
to a dreamy sleep and dreamed of the day
when they would come and take her
to a new castle far away.

Across the ocean,
in a land far, far away lived a Mommy and Daddy.
They also dreamed in their dreamy sleep every night.

They, too, wanted one thing 
more than any other thing...
They wanted a baby princess to call their own.

After many long years of dreaming and waiting, 
happy news finally arrived from China!
A princess had been born and was waiting for her
new royal family to be found.

They wrote letters to the King of the land
where the princess lived and begged him...
"Please, please, Sir!"
"May we adopt Princess Meng Hua as our own?"
"We promise to love her and care for her
the way one needs to care for such a princess!"

On the tenth day of the tenth month, 
in the year 2004,
an edict was issued and permission granted
to that mommy and daddy far away to come and
adopt Princess Meng Hua as their own.

That mommy had never been so happy...
nor had she ever been so sad.
The journey to China was long.
She could hardly bear another moment without 
holding her new princess in her arms.

Finally, after many long, long weeks,
they arrived in China to take their princess home.

When the princess awoke that majestic morning,
she had no idea what awaited her!

The nannies bathed her and dressed her in a clean,
new outfit and beautiful red shoes fit for royalty.
After tearfully kissing her on both cheeks
and in that special place between her almond eyes,
they said "Goodbye"...

One of the King's finest men was sent to escort her
to the Office of Royal Affairs,
where her new family was waiting ever so
impatiently to meet her.

The day they had all waited a lifetime for
had finally arrived!

Before the Princess even knew what was happening,
she was being placed into the arms of her waiting mommy.

She was not nearly as afraid as she expected 
she might be at this moment...

...maybe because she had dreamed of this moment
every dreamy night she could remember

...or maybe it was the way her new mommy
kissed her on both cheeks and in that special place
between her almond eyes for the first time and said
"I love you, little princess!"
"You are forever mine!"

She was not sure why, but she didn't care.
The beautiful princess was happy...
happier than she ever remembered being before!

She had a forever mommy and daddy at last!
Together, the three began their long journey 
to her new royal home.

On the day of her arrival,
many friends gathered for this most royal occasion,
to welcome the princess home.

Everyone was bursting with excitement,
but no one as much as the princess herself.

This was even better than her dreamy dreams...
She had brothers and a sister in her new royal family!
She could not contain herself 
from letting out the most joyful laughter
ever heard in the Kingdom!

Never has there been,
nor will there ever be,
a happier celebration than on that day!

Late that night, 
after all of the day's celebrations ended,
the princess was rocked to sleep by her new mommy.

Just before laying her down to her dreamy sleep,
she kissed her on both of her cheeks
and in that special place between her almond eyes.

"We love you, little princess," she said.
"You, our little flower, are a dream come true!"
"You are home at last!"

And, as you might imagine,
the little Chinese princess lived with her family~
happily, forever after!

The End

March 8, 2005 - Happy "Half" Birthday Kate!

     We saw Kate's face for the very first time on her 1st birthday... but we didn't get to celebrate it with her!  So in keeping with the McCary tradition, we celebrated together on her half birthday!  Here's to the first of MANY ~ "Happy Half Birthday Kate"!  We're crazy about you!!

Even Zoe gives Birthday kisses!

2005 - There's a baby in our house!

It took some adjusting, but what a joy to have a baby in the house again!  Here's to some of our favorite memories of our first year together...


This is where it all began - 
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida!


Big Brothers are the best!

101 :


               Too much lovin' = a dirty dog!  Bath time!

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