Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas is coming

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat...

We are madly scrambling to get everything together for Christmas.  We shipped to Norway & Illinois.  I am still working on Christmas cards & we need to find a photo that we could send to everyone that isn't a little out of focus.  The phone is very convenient for snapping pictures, but they aren't the best quality.  I keep meaning to go to JCPenney's for portraits, but it hasn't happened yet.  Maybe today.

I made sandnotter and sirupsniper (like pepper-gingerbread cookies) for her Dad (he is rejoicing behind me for that), and Sofie actually helped cut out some of the sirupsniper with a star cookie cutter. She didn't quite get it (some funny shapes where she cut with no dough), but she had some fun doing it.

It is raining like cats and dogs here (finally) and it seems like going to the park will be out of the question for the 2nd day in a row.  We might have to visit Gymboree today too.

Sofie continues to amaze me.  Yesterday, she was a little parrot, repeating everything we said.  She is still having problems with "b's", "d's", "p's" and "t's", but she is really coming along with the vowel sounds and combining with m, n, s, th...

We might have been accepted by the Shriners to do all her cleft palate/plastic surgery work for free.  They have booked us for a hearing test next week & said they will pay everything that the insurance doesn't pay.  We are also booked to be evaluated by the team (ENT, plastic surgeon, speech pathologist, etc.) at the end of January.  It would be wonderful if the Shriners would be able to help us out with her recovery for free.

I am a little homesick at the moment but am looking forward to upcoming family visits in the next few months.  I am contemplating making a Christmas tree coffee cake (my mom's speciality) but I am not sure who would eat it... we don't have enough mouths in the house to do it justice.  I can't believe Christmas is already here.

The house is half-@$$ decorated and I think it is going to stay that way.  I just don't have the time to devote to it, and I don't want everything to break.

Ok, she up.  Have a great one!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Adapting to changes

It has been about 2 weeks since we got home, and we continue to adjust to one another.

We have finally got Sofie on Central Time.  It is wonderful.  This morning, she is still sleeping at 8:00.  We went to a fancy park yesterday, and Sofie ran around for more than an hour so I think she was extra tired.

I am feeling much better, though my eyes still have a tinge of pink.  The antibiotic my doctor put me on really packs a punch though, and it knocks me on my butt for the first 4 hours after I take it.

Oh, she is awake.  I will have to post more later.  Take care.  Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The bugs have landed

The 3 flights we took to the US really packed a punch. Her Dad got a bug, and now Sofie and I are suffering. I was diagnosed with pinkeye & a virus and Sofie has stopped eating. He is still sick.

I don't have the words to really talk about being sick. It is extra challenging since Sofie can't tell us what hurts.

Tomorrow will be better

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hello, Kitty

Sofie is all about cats at the moment. We got her some Hello Kitty slippers yesterday because her feet are so cold and there are great big cats on the toes. Before she puts them on, she kisses each cat. Too cute. It makes my heart smile. Also, she has conquered her fear of Pita and she calls to her "hiiiiieeeeyyyy eeeta" because she can't say "p's". And she pets, kisses, squeezes, and loves on Pita all day. Love it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fake it until you make it

When I bought a new Blue Ray player, I received a manual about an inch and a half thick with instructions on how to install it, how to maintain it, and how to troubleshoot it.

When we received Sofie, we got a little card with an email address from the Orphanage where they requested we send updates and some notarized documents confirming that we adopted her.  That's it. No manual.  Even though we spent months preparing for this change, we felt like we were tossed into an alternate universe & were spiraling to a place with no map.

My philosophy in life has tended to be "fake it until you make it".  I carry myself as if I am already the person I want to be in order to catalyze the changes within me and the opportunities manifest in my life.

It has been an ongoing struggle to diagnose what our little girl wants and needs.  It is hard to tell her feelings.  She has trained me into a constant state of awareness at night to be on call at any moment to allay her fears or comfort her sorrow.  In some ways, it is like we have gotten a 26.6 pound newborn.  We are still getting to know each other's personalities and foibles.  She wants to be carried, except when she doesn't. She is potty trained, except when she isn't.  She likes yogurt at the beginning of the week and won't touch it now.  When she eats, she loves making funny faces at me in hopes that I will make them back to her.  She is a baffling enigma, and yet, when she smiles at me she lights up my heart.

This morning, I am feeling the remnants of sleep deprivation.  I was up all night, waiting for one of her episodes to start, and there was a minor one at midnight and then nothing the rest of the night.  She might almost be on our time zone now (thank goodness).

I interpret this success that she might be feeling more secure in this rabbit's hole we have thrust her into without her consent.  She has accepted my vision & I am feeling more like a Mom.  I have made it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Transitions (again)

I know I have used this title before, but it is still apt so I am going to go with it.

Things have been so hectic since we got home.

So, yesterday we went to the doctor for a look & physical.  First, my doctor is the best doctor in the world. I had never seen her with kids, and she totally soothed our Sofie.  When she took out the scope they use for eyes/ears/throat/nose (forget the name), she did an amazing demo to show Sofie that she wouldn't hurt her with it.  It was amazing and almost made me cry.  Sofie was totally open to having the doctor check her out.  Good news - besides the tiny hole in her mouth & her nostril being slightly droopy, We have one healthy kid.  Her lungs are good. Her heart is good.  Her ears & sinuses & throat looked good. The organ check was good.  Her height/weight for a 2 year old was also great.  We did start our vaccinations (poor baby - 4 shots), and the doctor requested some blood drawn (she was such a trooper & the nurse practitioner did the blood draw quick & accurately on the first go. Yay).  All in all, our Sofie is in great condition.  I am still waiting for her to be put on our medical insurance so we can get moving on the surgery.  We also need to contact the Shriners with her updated birth certificate & certificate of adoption to get moving on that front.  But all in all, we are so lucky that she had someone loving her in China & helping her to develop & grow.  Also, good news - her Dad doesn't have strep. We thought he might because he has been sick since Friday & his throat has been getting worse and worse.  However, the test came back negative at the Dr. so he will just have to get better already.

I mentioned jet lag previously (we're still struggling with it),  and last night was a doozy.  Sofie's legs were in big pain, so much that she was limping, from the vaccinations.  She fell asleep at 10:30 pm, and she woke up at 1:45 this morning.  She felt terrible.  She was weeping from the pain, missing her foster granny, and just generally out of sorts.  She almost fell asleep 3 times but kept waking up right as her body relaxed and started the crying over again.  She probably fell asleep again at 4.  My heart was breaking that she was so sad.  I know these transitions take time, and I wish she wasn't suffering so.  She is a sweet little girl, and I wish I could fix it.  Time will fix this.  Think good thoughts that her transition will be as painless as possible from here on out.

So, I woke up this morning at 8:30 today, and I decided not to wake her yet.  I went downstairs to make my kale & egg omelette (I have been missing them), and her Dad was already down.  It was lovely to have a nice breakfast just the two of us.  We haven't had a lot of together time since Sofie because she ALWAYS has to be with me.  I know sooner or later she will convert fully to a daddy's girl, so I am relishing this time.  There could be some drama later today because I need to go get a reflexology treatment for my neck/back, and she will miss me while I am gone.  I am hoping they will figure out a truce.

So - in my lost post, I wrote about a funny situation I experienced in China before I left.  I just thought I should include it (for chuckle worthiness) as an end to the story.  It is a bit of potty humor for those weak at the thought of bowel movements.

When we first arrived in Taiyuan (where she is from), her Dad and I went on a walk around town.  We were walking back to the hotel when we passed a little tyke (probably 1 year old), whipping off her pants and squatting next to a light post at a bus stop.  The mom was standing next to her, giggling as the little child did her business.  Her Dad and I were a little shocked and appalled at that point and shook our heads a bit.

Fast forward to a week later when we were in Guangzhou at the 4th floor children's play center at the hotel.  Sofie was playing on the slides, and we thought we might have heard the chinese word for potty as she was climbing up the slide.  We gestured to go for a walk to the potty, but she shook her head and kept playing on the slide.  We thought we misheard.  However, 20 minutes later, while we were playing tag, she ran to the side of the play area next to the trees, whipper her pants off, and proceeded to take a pee before we could do anything.  She went A LOT.  On padded tiles that were outside.  In front of other parents.  It was cringeworthy.  They laughed.  Now, I take her every hour on the dot whether she wants to go or not.  LOL.

We had another incident a couple days later at the hotel.  I was in the bathroom doing #2 and she heard me fart.  She ran into the room, brought down her pants, and squatted quickly over a pile of used towels in front of the shower.  I stood up real fast, said "no", lifted her up, put her on the pot, and she proceeded to go #2 too, with a gigantic pile of poop.  I was thankful I moved so fast because THAT would have been a mess.  Can't even contemplate.

Since we got home, we bought her a princess potty so she can go when she is ready.  She has mastered that one for during the day for sure.  How do you sterilize it?  Bleach?  Blech.

Anyway, I hope you are having a wonderful day. I am going to wake the princess soon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

At home

When my sister said it had been a week already since I posted, I told her she was crazy, but I realize she is right. I had written another entry, and I thought it sent, but it looks like it was lost in the ether forever (on the Chinese network)...

Our time in Guangzhou went fast. The Marriott felt like paradise after Taiyuan. You could see across the street. It was warm. The room was bigger. There was an outside playground for 1-6 year olds on the 4th floor. It was good. We completed her medical exam and consolate appointment with no problems (but lots of crying).

The 26 hour journey home (not counting drive to airport/wait to leave/baggage claim) was long and arduous. Sofie was a trooper for the first and last flight. The middle one was hell (12 hour leg). She cried off and on for 12 hours. Within 10 minutes of boarding the plane, the flight attendants wanted to gag her. It only got worse.

Anyway, we made it home. When Sofie saw her room on Thursday night (12:00 am ish), her reaction was fantastic. The mural was so worth it. She knew the room was hers. She played with all her toys. She had the biggest grin on her face I have ever seen.

Since we got home, we are dealing with jet lag. Not only ours, but hers too. It is awful. She is wide awake at midnight, dead tired at 10 am, and kind of fuzzy until 5 pm. I grossly underestimated how long it would take for her to adjust - and, when she wakes up, she has to have Mama, so I am on call. Before my nap at 10:30 today, I think I grossed 10 hours of sleep between wednesday and Sunday. She needed a nap bad this afternoon and I slept too and added another 4 hours to my tally. Bliss.

She had a real big homesick moment this morning before her nap because I played some Chinese children songs (in Chinese) and she wanted to go home & wanted here foster mommy.

I'm hoping that she will start calling for Papa some of the time so I can go to the bathroom alone, but I know that is a lot to ask of a 2 year old... Maybe someday.

We see the doctor tomorrow to start working on the medical plan.

I had funny stories in my lost post, and I will try to write it again soon.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Travel to Guangzhou Day

It's another day in paradise. This morning we awoke to smoke pouring under the door from errant smokers who I believe were blowing smoke at our room. Sofie still has a cough. I am all stuffy and her Dad says his lungs/throat hurt like he is getting sick. I really hope Guangzhou has a true non-smoking room and is less polluted than here. Also, I am hoping all our symptoms are caused by pollution and not a bug.
We will be meeting up with the other 4 families who adopted children in Guangzhou, and it should be nice to potentially have some distractions for Sofie. I am hoping the flight will be smooth. She keeps holding her ears and really really hope they are ok.
This morning I made up a song "mama ai ni" which means mama loves you. When we turned on the Chinese kiddie tv, they were singing a very similar song. It made me smile.
Sofie loves her jammies. There are little monkey feet on the bottom, and she spends a few minutes each hour staring at them or touching them. Also, I don't think they have polar fleece here and she loves stroking it.
What else? She is saying mama a lot. She is definitely potty trained during the day. She isn't sure about kisses from us still although she LOVES her bear. We are working on packing, but it is challenging because every time she sees something she likes she takes it out and plays with it. Our room looks like a disaster. I think we need to leave a huge tip.
That's all I can think of now. Happy Black Friday!
After lunch.
I love my Sofie and the way she looks at me while she drinks her bottle. I love her weight and warmth. I love the way she holds my hand and strokes my leg. I love the way she is fighting sleep and succumbs nevertheless. I love her lower lip, ripe, protruding, perfect. She uses it frequently. I love her happy dance. She does it when she is eating something she likes and we are eating too. She dances in her chair and bobs her head from side to side and laughs. I love that her head looks like Stewie's from family guy. I know. I know. I shouldnt say it, but it really does.
I love the way her eyes crinkle up when she smiles. I love the sound of her laugh. I love the way her voice sounds, a little raspy considering she is only 2. I love that she carries around her shoes and winter coat, always wanting to go outside. I love that she smells everything new first, before she feels it, plays with it, or accepts it. I love that she calls me mama and that she will snuggle with me. I love kissing her tummy and giving her zerberts. She giggles all along. I love that every time she touches her bear, Sofie kisses its nose and makes kissing sounds for the bear before hugging it fiercely. I love that when she is having fun, that she collapses on the ground giggling. It is pretty dirty, but I love it that she is happy.
I am still at the point where I find it almost charming that she is a path of destruction wherever she goes. I do admit, we are rethinking Christmas decorations this year because the few things that the cats haven't destroyed are precious and she can take them out in one go in less than 30 seconds. And, it is embarrassing what a huge mess we make at just about any place. But, she is experiencing the world at her fullest, right? And we still don't speak the same language... Though, he says that she understands my tone. I love it that I can get her to calm down by speaking softly and making eye contact.
I am falling in love with this little girl.
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Day ... I lost count due to sleep deprivation

Sofie is a nut. I have been sleeping with her because her foster mommy slept with her. Somehow through the night we went from parallel to her perpendicular across the top of the bed, head to head. Her dad got the biggest laugh this morning when we woke up.
Also, our Sofie is a big mimic, and she utilized my low tech technique of opening foil sealed bottles by stabbing them with a pen or spoon this afternoon. She is a clever girl. He blames me. She also discovered chocolate today because her dad shared, and she immediately confiscated every bar in the room and tried to put them in here backpack to indicate to us that they were hers from now on. She is so funny.
We had been told that she liked noodles, and we tried and tried to get her to eat them but she wouldn't touch them. Then today, we went to a noodle place outside the hotel and she ate them with gusto. The hotel's food sucks. Might have to eat it tonight again though.
Her energy is AMAZING. I have no idea how we will subdue her for 26 hours to get home. She has temper tantrums when we try to calm her down for 5 minutes. We will do a dry run tomorrow on the flight to Guangzhou.
It will be wonderful to get out of Taiyuan. Today the visibility was less than 20 yards. When I breathe in, I have pain in my lungs. I am not sure what the altitude is, but wow. Bad news. I am so glad we are rescuing this little girl from this environment.
Anyway, I should probably get the room cleaned up for when her dad comes back. Happy turkey day.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 3 - rocky road

The day started off so good. Sofie woke up at 7:30, she was a bit befuddled and watched us for awhile. Her teddy bear got some serious LOVE (.. Bum chicka bow wow... Lots of kisses) and giggles.
She did her business, we gave her some milk, we got her dressed, we remembered to take a bottle with us, we put the blasted pink backpack on her, we got her breakfast, and she lost patience after she had consumed 2 oranges, a sausage, a steamed dumpling, and the rest of her milk. We ran around, she was wild and wanted to ride the luggage carts real bad. They spelled danger to me, so I redirected her to breakfast where she started the "I want my grandma" (foster grandma) wail. Nothing would distract her. I took her upstairs and she had a beautiful, full on temper tantrum. It probably didn't help that I laughed at her.
Her dad came up 20 minutes later and she was still really putting her heart into it. We came downstairs to go shopping, and as soon as we approached the doors, she turned it off. We had a lovely time at Walmart shopping. She loved riding around on the cart, and we let her pick a few items. Her favorite is chocolate Oreos. She got a triple pack and was dying to eat them. She repeated "bless you" after I said it when she sneezed. She also was calling us mama and papain front of the guide. It was amazing.
In the car back, she sang a little song and was real happy, munching on her oreos. The guide was impressed that she knew all the words and said she did a nice job. We forgot to buy a stroller at Walmart and went to a really fun market to fix it. Sofie was so happy there, and when we left with her in the stroll, she was singing at the top of here lungs. All the locals were laughing at her and twittering a bit as we merrily went down the street.
We headed back to the hotel and stopped in the room before we went to lunch. She sure hates our room and started crying again. We were more clever today and brought her lunch with us. There was like at least half the mess as there was yesterday (had 2 spilled glasses yesterday plus about 40 napkins worth of the mess)... I feel like this is progress. Though, I still cringe when she wipes her face and neck and then tosses the napkin behind her on the floor ... Though, napkins are better than berry pits, saucers, spoons, chewed oranges, etc...
We have turned into "those people"... LOL
So, we went back to the room and she started crying again. I rocked her to sleep and escaped for a bit. We we headed to the park after the nap. I probably should go back. Yes. Really should go back... ;)
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Day 2 - it's official! We are now Sofie's parents

Sofie slept fitfully throughout the night. She woke up early and. Wanted her bottle immediately. We thought she would have a little patience for breakfast once she drank her milk, but she wanted oranges and gooseberries immediately. She ate so much I thought there would be no room for breakfast! However, she was able to chow down some steamed dumplings, cantaloupe, and sausages. Sausages are her favorite, apparently. Sofie is really into throwing things when she is finished with them and although it is a terrible habit, it is hysterically funny to see her daintily wipe her mouth and neck and then toss the napkin behind her.
After breakfast, we went back to the room to get cleaned up for our adoption appointment. Sofie is still hoping that we will take here home and insisted on carrying her fully loaded pink backpack, teddy bear, and dolly. We headed down the elevators on time (!). This time in the car was much more pleasant with no crying. We went back to the building where we were on Monday and completed all the final paperwork.
When we came back to the hotel, the guide mentioned that here foster parents wanted to meet us very much. We took turns meeting them in the afternoon so that Sofie wouldn't get false hope that she was going home. They were very nice, and heartbroken that she had left. They really wanted a better life for her. Our little girl is a lucky girl to be loved by so many people.
We went to the park yesterday as well, and Sofie and her Dad did some much needed bonding, chasing one another around. Sofie caught him every time, and the laughter was fantastic.
Well, it's time to get her up and head to breakfast where I will get to post this. Hope you are having a wonderful day.
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The handoff was pretty traumatic for Sofie. She was at her foster family's house until this morning, and we picked her up at 9:45. She was waiting in the lobby of a sky rise office building. I saw her in the window from the car, and my heart skipped a beat. As soon as she saw us, she started to cry. With their equivalent of the child protective services, we went up to a room in the building where they did the paperwork. She was subdued for a moment, and I gave her the play cell phone we brought her. She handled it for a second and when we relaxed, she made a run for an open door to freedom. We caught her and she started screaming.

We signed paperwork and brought her down to the lobby again. She continued to kick and scream while we took a family photo for CCCWA. She bawled in the car on the way back to the hotel. She roared through the lobby, up the elevator, and into our room. She was nuclear for about 2 hours. Eventually I had the bright idea of giving her a bottle of milk. We found silence and it was golden, but temporary. After the bottle, she started weeping again, eventually, she fell asleep and we got her down for a 35 min nap. Unfortunately we had to wake her to go to the bank with the guide.

She cried all the way to the bank, calling for her grandma. At the bank, we got her to calm down for awhile. When we got back to the room again, she cried some more. Eventually, I gave her another bottle of milk. She lay down awhile, didn't sleep and suddenly recovered. It was like her brain reset. We fed her some oranges and gooseberry like things and she had a few good hours. We played. She laughed. It was beautiful.

Eventually, we gave her the last bottle of milk and she crashed to sleep.

Overall, things are a-changing.
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Today is the day!

Oh, how I have longed to say those words for the last few years. The day is finally here!
I slept fitfully last night, waking up, and thinking of all the things I want to do with our Sofie and wondering how today and this week was going to go.
I finally gave up at 6 am. My hubby was more determined and managed to stay in bed until 7...
I know that whatever happens, it will work out. We will have sunny days and cloudy days, wind rain and shine. Welcome to the family, Baby.
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The day before Sofie

The day started at 4:36 am.  It was early. We slept walked through the motions to get our stuff together, get checked out, and get on the bus by 5:30. Upon successful checkout, we received a bag lunch with white bread, mayo, cheese and white lunch, meat, cookies, a banana and water.  I choked down the sandwich and a banana. My hubby ventured only to the banana,

We were the first to be dropped off, and our guide Michael took us all the way through security.  It was good he did because there was a problem with our reservations and we almost didn't make the plane.  Once inside the airport proper, we picked up a coke zero and 2 little cafe lattes to feed our caffeine addiction and wake up.

We arrived in Taiyuan, and it was like a scene from a post-apocalyptic war movie.  The pollution here is extreme. As the plane descended from the sky, the smell of chemicals filtered through the plane.  A haze of smoke is everywhere,  the view from the plane was power plants smoke plumes and chemical plumes churning out of smokestacks every block or two.  The first breath of air as we debarked burned my lungs and made my eyes water.  It didn't improve within the airport, in the car ride with ac, or at the hotel.  The city seems to be filled with smokers which masks the chemicals but adds a whole new dimension to them pollution.

We arrived at the hotel and the air is the same here. We had lunch at the hotel restaurant and the smoke was thick like a nightclub in the early 90's - or the Ace for you Coloradoans.  

I am relieved we are saving this one little girl. I wish we could save more.

I finally got an Internet connection so was able to post more info.  Hopefully it will work tomorrow too.

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The day of being tourists - Nov 19

We woke up at 7 after a fitful night.  We crashed last night at nine, and mad the requisite wake ups at midnight and three.  For awhile, it looked like we wouldnt make it back to sleep after the 3am wake up, but eventually we dozed ... Falling into good sleep after 6.

I had a particularly successful session with dr. Neilmed this morning, and yes, China is much more polluted than Texas. We went down for a delicious buffet breakfast this morning and it surpassed expectations. They had steamed bread, steamed dumplings, smoked fish, eggs, bacon, salads, dragon fruit, and the list goes on and on.  The coffee was good. The tea was good.  We left full and satisfied.

Our bus tour kicked off at 8:30 and we headed to Tianamen square. It was a clear, cold, windy day.  We were completely unprepared for the heavy gusts of wind but enjoyed the deep, blue cloudless sky.

Then we went to the forbidden city which had layer upon layer of defenses to shield the emperor. The artwork was spectacular at every turn. It reminded me of the kind of work done in Egypt. There was also a crush of people like I never imagined. I fancied myself to be a bit of a tourist attraction. Groups of people stood near me to take a picture.

We went to lunch at a jade factory and learned all about how they make jade objects. We also purchased a necklace for me and my hubby showed his negotiation prowess. 

Last, we headed to the great wall. It was incredibly tall, and the steps were quite steep. I chickened out about halfway up to the first guardhouse because I was afraid my knee would give out. My hubby kept going but wished he had turned around earlier once he got back down - but he did go high enough to get a "all I got was a great wall tshirt"...

On the ride back to the hotel, we received our official travel approval from the Chinese government. It made me teary and the magnitude of what we are doing hit for a moment,

We came back to the hotel around six, and took a break, warming up briefly before we went to dinner with Carla and Ryan, a couple from Michigan who are adopting their second child from china -a seven year old little boy.

Another adventurous day. We have to wake up at 4:30 for a 5:30 departure... Eek!

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Finally arrived in China - Nov 18

We arrived in China finally after 19 hours.The flight was really long. My hubby was still real uncomfortable in spite of being in 1st/business class. We watched dumb movies and had ok food.
China has a lot of pollution. As we approached Beijing, there was a ring of black as far as the eye could see. On the ground, there is a haze of smog,. everywhere, the smell of smoke is in the air. people say that Houston or the US is polluted, and it is a joke. We don't have pollution .
Traffic was heavy. It took about 90 minutes to get for the airport to the Poly Plaza hotel. The hotel is basic and we have twin beds.
We are sitting in a tea room, with me drinking ginger milk tea & my hubby having earl grey. A piano is playing Auld Lang Syne even though it isn't the new year. He is pretty tired. He didn't get to sleep on the plane like I did. I am real glad I packed because he has been saying some funny stuff - asking about conserving energy because of no converters, power cords, etc. I guess he forgot his brush (I brought mine plus a comb and purse brush/comb combo). Who knows what else is missing. It makes me giggle a little.
The magnitude of what we are doing hit me hard on the plane. lots of anxiety is floating around in my brain, but I have to believe we will be great parents and make it work. It could be a really long flight in coach on the way home (all 26.5 hours of flying goodness). We will be making 2 stops instead of 1... Maybe the extra stop will let Sofie get some of her energy out before we confine her to a seat.
Ah, the piano players is playing "moon river" now. Feels old school.
Went to dinner down the street, past the recommendations our guide Michaal gave us. We found the busiest restaurant we could find. From the outside, it looked like a cafeteria. The place was hopping. No one spoke a word of English, but luckily they had a visual menu. We ended up ordering dumplings, a beautiful salad with rice noodles, peanuts, chilies, cabbage, and rice vinegar, and a hot pot with beef, potatoes and chilies. It tasted fantastic, and the service was fast. He was complaining about the prices during the meal, but when all was said and done, it cost a whopping ten bucks and was a phenomenal meal.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Here we go!

All the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed. We are sitting on the plane and waiting to go.

The contentment and joy I am feeling supercede the lack of sleep.

Took some fun pictures for posterity of us in bus class looking sleepy and happy.

We head to New York and the Beijing. 19 hours of traveling goodness. It will be cosmic.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


This week is going to be an exciting one.  We spent our last weekend at home as "single" people ...
We had a Thanksgiving celebration last night since we are traveling on the big day.  It was wonderful.  E has been watching football and loving every minute today.  I downloaded some books for the trip and have been reading up on Chinese culture to help make sure I don't make any big faux pas while I am there.

Since we got the update about Sofie's size, I have been shopping like crazy, and her mural is completed.  We have a car seat, booster seat, step stool, mattress set, clothes in 3T, headbands with bows, books, toys for the trip, medicine, shampoo, little tooth brushes & baby toothpaste.  It is wonderful.  Also, my mom has been sending baby showers in a box every couple of weeks and it helps to supplement the booty.

I sent her updated stats (Height: 35.8 inches   Weight: 26.5 lbs   Head size: 18.1 inches   Chest size: 20.1 inches   Foot length:  5.5 inches   Teeth number: 14) to my doctor when we got the updates, and the doctor was really impressed with her development & how healthy she looks.  In one of the pictures, it looks like she might have a prosthetic in her mouth that is helping with her development.  Maybe her cleft palate isn't going to be as bad as I feared.  I can't wait to welcome this little person into our lives.  We got a bunch of new pictures, and she is so beautiful.  And her smile is amazing.  I had worried a little in my heart that she didn't smile in any of the pictures (hoped she could smile), and of course they just hadn't captured her in a magic moment.  Apparently, her passion at the moment is balls & she will fit right in with E.  Soccer could be in her future, and it makes me happy to think about it.  I know it could change at any time, but it warms my heart to know they they having something in common already.  :)

Work is wrapping up for awhile.  It is weird to be handing over my duties and going through the motions while waiting for the travel date to come.

I am glad we will have some time with Sofie in China before we fly home.  Our schedule calls for us to be away for 2 weeks.  Luckily, a good friend recently moved to Houston and will be available to housesit for us & help take care of the cats.  I also have the best neighbor ever who is acting as a backup plan for cat-care as well as an assembler for a bunch of furniture that was going to take forever to get here.  We have the best friends.

Our trip will have us visit to Beijing, Taiyuan (Shanxi Province), and Guangzhou.  We spend about 2 days in Beijing,  5 days in Taiyuan, and 6 days in Guangzhou.  We get her on the 21st and she will be a US citizen on the 29th.

I ordered some Chinese language CDs and I am finding them hard to get into.  They claimed I could be doing something else while listening & still learning, so I tried to make my pies yesterday & clean while doing the language lesson.  It needed my full attention for sure.  I don't know if my motivation is lower since I know Sofie doesn't speak Mandarin anyway.  It could be.

So, somehow I will need to get through the next week of adventure before the next one starts.  I will take one day at a time and keep on going. :)

Happy Days.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's really happening

Everything came together last week.  Our tickets are purchased.  The dates are set.  The grandmas and great-grandmas have been notified.

We are so excited that this is finally happening.  I do have some doubts going forward about how things are going to proceed, what we will call her, how much Chinese influence will be in her life, and how American our little girl will be.  I found out that her name means literary musician, and it is beautiful.  I would be so pleased if she could be either.  It seems like it would be a shame to take the names away from her.  They are just as much a part of her as we will be.  It could be a long plane ride home while we talk about it.

I am worried that she will always have a chip on her shoulder because her parents left her on the steps of the police station.  I don't know that the love that we have for her and that we chose her out of all the children in the world will be enough.  I hope we can provide her with all the opportunities in the world.  I hope that she will have a wonderful life filled with happiness, joy, adventure, and love.  I am hoping she will free, confident, fun loving, laughing, and care free for much of her childhood.  I pray that we can give her these things.

I hope that the pain she will go through with the surgery(ies) will be minimal and that she understands we love her through it all.  Some people who adopt read a lot of books, analyze how things are going, have a specific plan to address the concerns, and get concerned if the other parties don't react the way they think they should.  I want to see how things pan out, react to the feelings, and get help if we need to do it.  Having read some of the accounts that are documented, I think many of the responses are skewed to problem scenarios.  I can't believe that every child is the same.

I look at how my friends are coping with their Chinese children, and I hope we can have a semblance of the joy they have in their households in ours as well.

This child is so loved.  I can't believe the responses from my community.  She has so many more aunts and uncles than just our family.  She has an amazing support system, and it boggles my mind.  The joy that I am feeling seems to be quite infectious with everyone I meet.  I am thankful for all the support and look forward to the future.

She is my joy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy day


Today is a happy day (and birthday for me).  We got our travel approval!  Leaving November 17, which is a special day. Feel like E's grandma is smiling down on us today.  It is her birthday.  So lucky to have everything come together today. Not sure I will have a better birthday than this year, but here's hoping!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I have spent the last week working on the mural for Sofie's room.  The castle is finally coming along! I am so excited about it.

Also, this is the week that we could find out when we are traveling to China. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Talking about updates

When things go so slowly, it is exasperating how everyone wants to know when we are leaving.  Now that we got the Article 5, I am more comfortable saying "hey, yeah, we could be picking her up in 6-8 weeks but who knows"... I wonder if it is like this being pregnant.  I suspect it is.  Thank goodness no one rubs my tummy!  I do get some excellent looks though when I tell people I am expecting a new child in a couple months.  LOL.

Colleagues and friends are asking about baby shower items, and I am completely at a loss as to what to put in a registry.  We don't know a lot about where Sofie is today, and it feels overwhelming.  I am thinking maybe I will just say your favorite kid book & favorite kid toy and see what happens.  I guess it could be total chaos with lots of duplicates.  I am really not used to registering for anything.  It is a weird feeling knowing that people are going to be giving gifts at all.  Don't get me wrong, I like it, but we eloped. There were no gifts.  I haven't gotten regular gifts for anything in years except for immediate family members, and even then... it isn't regular.  I will just have to cope with all the new virtual family (aunts, uncles, cousins) of this amazing person coming into our life.  Children seem to bring out humanity & love in even the crustiest of people.  Amazing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Article 5 received

We received our Article 5 yesterday which means that theoretically we could be bringing home Sofie by early/mid December.  I am so excited and know it is going to keep moving.

I had a bit of a paranoid moment on Monday night where everything seemed very stacked against us, and I started worrying about the Special Need our little girl has.  I have faith that she will be the perfect little girl for us, and we will get what we need to be able to take care of her every day.  This was meant to be.

I need to finish her bedroom.  The mural has been going slow.  This weekend could be the one.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts & prayers for this little girl.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The rain is finally here

Today it rained - and not only a little misting but a nice, good, all day rain.  The kind that wipes the earth clean and lets us start over.  New growth will be coming up in my garden, and the grass will turn green again.  It has been 8 months since this last happened here, and I am taking it as an omen that all my pain and frustration with the last year is going to fade away.  

The rain was exceptionally cleansing for my soul.  It washed away the leaves and debris in my heart.  I feel pure and light and love for the world today... I find it amazing that the world is such an interconnected universe where we think of each other & love one another from so far away.  There have been many events taking place in the last month, which lead me to believe in the power of the universe and the unity of all of us.  I am blessed that I have love in my life.

In Norway, they have different expressions for love – it isn’t only romantic love and the love you have for your children and friends, but also the love you have for the people in your life.  I feel that love when I interact with my friends, some colleagues (LOL… some just make me swear a little), my hairdresser, the people who are MY people.  I have people everywhere, and I am so blessed to have their good thoughts in my life.  When I least expect it, I get a message of love from the universe, and I appreciate it so much.  Jeg er saa glad i deg.

It has been incredibly hard doing a foreign adoption - adoption of any kind is going to have the same type of waiting involved - and I am SO ready to bring Sofie home.  The mural is about done, and things are coming into place.  Work has calmed down, and we are ready to bring her into the new environment and take these next steps.  We are in the final race to the end – Article 5 should be coming this week and Travel Approval 3-8 (please not 8) weeks later.  Then we book the tickets and go.  I am going to have many things to be thankful for at Thanksgiving hopefully.

We hope that her foster parents are preparing her a bit for the transition.  I wrote a note last week thanking them for her care (how do you express gratitude & acknowledge the sacrifice that they have made in actual words?  Especially with a culture that is so uncomfortable with the expression of love?), and I know they will probably be getting it this week.  I did my best to try to sum it up, but I will be eternally in debt to these people I will never know who have been kind to my daughter and helped her thrive and develop.  This is more proof that there is love in the world – whether they can express it or not.

Who knows, we could have her in 6 weeks from now, and that would be a WONDERFUL thing.  The adventure is going to really be starting soon, and I can’t wait for you to get here, Sofie. 

We love you and are awaiting your arrival with light in our hearts and rainbows in our eyes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Slowly but surely

Change has been in the air again.

The paperwork came back from the US Govt and all the I's are dotted and the t's are crossed with the USA.

Now the next phase of the process staters and we are waiting for the article 5. It could take 2-4 weeks. Then we will get our travel approval and book the flights. I have 300,000 miles to burn for upgrades on the flights. It is going to happen. Let's think positive and hope before the end of November. Can't wait for Christmas.

Really can't wait for Sofie to come. hate waiting. Regret that the process getting her was so messed up. Wish I had realized we could renew our i800a before we did so we would have had her by now.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Still waiting

I an trying to be patient. I am trying to think positive. It is taking forever. We were
Delayed another 2 months because of government paperwork. It is completely exasperating. Exhausted of the process completely.

It could be another 2-6 months.


It will come eventually. Ready for it now. Tired of colleagues waiting for me to go on maternity. Tired of the "when is it happening" inquiries. Ready for some action.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Golfing Expedition

Today is the day that I get to go scramble with the boys.  The international visitor golf extraordinaire and the hubby are taking me out for the course.  It should be non-stop excitement.  Temperature expected to be above 100.  *sigh*  HOT. Hopefully I will survive this one.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Home alone

It is an unusual day, and an out-of-town visitor prompted the hubby to take a trip without me.  I will be meeting up with them tomorrow but I have the unprecedented event of being home alone tonight.  Usually it is me leaving him for the occasional business trip.

I am beside myself for what I should be doing.  I already took a walk and now I am blogging.  I have infinite time (ok, some time) to myself to do as I please.  I was thinking about it on my walk, and it is rare that I can say my time is my own.  I taped a bunch of movies the other night on HBO and was thinking about watching them.  I am tempted to some wine, eat my chicken breast and gorge on fruit.  I also know that the hubby has a secret stash of the best potato chips in the world in a closet.

I am reading a fun murder mystery at the moment and could read the whole thing tonight.  I need to pack but that can wait.  I need to reorient myself to a new time zone anyway.  Fun fun fun.

Oh, the possibilities.

I had an interesting discussion with one of the a friend, and it led me to believe that I have a hard time with limits.  I know it sounds preposterous at first thought since I am such an anal retentive rule-follower, but when I think about myself, I tend to think that I control my own destiny and can achieve anything.  I think it has a lot to do with the Christian Science/metaphysical beliefs that my parents taught us & the way that life has turned out.  Even with children, although we couldn't procreate, we found a way to arrange them to be in our lives because we thought it.  Deep thought for a Thursday night.

I will go work on having some glorious free time, all to myself.  I had a huge to-do list, but I think I am going to toss it out the window and relax.  Have an excellent weekend!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another day

On a positive note it looks like things are moving forward for getting our home study updated (appt tomorrow) and I hope that we can file our USCIS paperwork next week.  Seems like we will need to have background checks (again) and get finger printed (again).  It would also seem like they could just run our checks with the existing paperwork & prints, but that would be too logical.

Today is officially the start of week #3 since match day.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


There never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.  I have a moment to muse today, so I am going to give an update to the journey.

We were matched with our little girl on the very day that we planned to put our application for adoption locally.  We had been doing research galore, redoing applications, getting birth certificates, marriage certificates, and had everything ready to go.  It was definitely kismet. Our little girl, let's call her Sofie, is from China, is 2 years old and has a level 3 cleft palate on her left side.  She is small, energetic, musical, stubborn, and potty trained. The hubby and I are going through a range of emotions (me joy & fear of rejection; he just fears change).  We haven't started the baby's room yet because the Norwegian invasion starts tomorrow and ends at the end of July.

We received Pre-Approval from China that she will be ours.  Now comes the paperwork.  We are waiting for something called the Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC) from China which basically says that she is ours.  We also have to update our registration with the USCIS that we are approved for a Special Needs (SN) baby.  It also turns out that our approval expires in August anyway, so we need to renew and the timing is right.  We are working with our social worker to get our homestudy updated which will in turn allow us to submit the update paperwork and get moving with the US govt at the same time we wait for China.  Once we get the LSC from China, then we will have to file more forms with the US govt confirming that yes, this is the child we plan on bringing home, and yes, this is ok.  Once we get all the approvals, then we get moving on the travel plans.  Timing is 4-6 months from May 31st (the day we got preapproved)... I want to count the week before that because that is when we were matched.

I also have been practicing the guitar like crazy and have yet to get a nice "F" chord out consistently.  It will happen.

So, we are still waiting, but changes are afoot.

Oh, and we got a nice backyard patio that is a pleasure to sit out on when it is less than 98 degrees outside.

So there you go.  This is where I am today.