Monday, June 22, 2009
Meanwhile, I wanted to wish my adorable husband a happy 1st Father's Day. Annabelle has a great dad who loves her more than she could possibly know.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Here is Annabelle doing her baby bird impression. Girlfriend loves her some noodles and is a champion noodle slurper.
Finally, gratuitous, random cute kid pic.
Those will have to hold you until we're home, which barring natural disaster or international incident, will be Thursday afternoon. See you then!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
We're having a really hard day today. Annabelle's grieving. Really deeply grieving. I'm pretty sure she was recently removed from her foster home and the loss of that family, whoever they are, is hitting her hard. And there is nothing we can do to ease her hurt except meet her basic physical needs, babble to her in our very limited Mandarin and a language she doesn't understand, hold her close and pat her, and try to get her through this period.
The kicker to all of this is that we were prepared for it (we thought.) We read all the books, talked with a hugely supportive no sugarcoating type of BTDT crowd, and made a plan as to how we were going to help her should she be upset. I even hoped she would grieve as that it is a very good sign that the babies have learned to form attachments before and can learn to do it again. Pffft. We've walked, we've rocked, we've strollered, we've fed, we've changed, we've had skin to skin contact, we've sang, we've played Chinese lullabies, we've given oragel and Motrin and done every damn thing we can do. The one thing she wants most right now is the one thing we are unable to do anything about for her. It's absolutely breaking my heart to hear her scream for her mama for hours and to know that she is only reluctantly accepting my comforting because she is exhausted and I am all that is available. Intellectually, I knew it would be hard, but my heart had no idea how much pain her pain would cause.
We'll get through this, most likely in a day or two and the girl I know is in there will emerge. I know she's there because once every couple of hours we have had a smiling, laughing baby for about 10 minutes when she forgets to be sad. Then she remembers and the inconsolable crying starts again. But those few moments have been little pockets of joy and I know there are many many more of them in our futures.
I want to end this by saying that I don't think we're having a much rougher of a time than most new families and I don't think Annabelle's feelings right now are especially different than most babies in her situation. It just not a part of adoption that most people (in and out of the adoption community) want to know about. I guess my point is that no matter how well you plan and prepare, they may times that the emotional stuff is going to hit you like a ton of bricks and it's going to hurt more than you imagined. I just thought you should know.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
We were determined not to sleep right away so as to try and adjust to the time change, so we freshened up a bit and headed off to the local Carrefours (think Super Mega Walmart on steroids) and browsed their overwhelming array of everything. We picked up some potables and snacks before heading to the hotel health club for a full body massage. Tip #3- do this. Being pummeled into bonelessness for 45 minutes was just what we needed to relieve the travel knots and went a long way towards making us feel human again. After a quick drink in the hotel bar, we joined M. and H. for a lovely meal and then headed up to our rooms...
Where I promptly freaked out because I realized I hadn't packed a two dollar piece of plastic that was supposed to allow me to connect to the rest of the world during this trip. Once that problem was solved (the plastic bit turned out not to even be necessary) I made a couple of quick calls home, and we fell into bed, utterly exhausted, but excited about the days to come.
I have no idea why we woke up at 4:30, but I popped out of bed bright-eyed and raring to go. For those of you who know me personally, try to pick your jaws up off the floor. After a nice breakfast with M. and H. we met with our local guide, Cindy and one other family, D. and D., and headed out into the big city (17M people). Tip #4 - Beijing traffic is every bit as crazy as everyone says it is. See example A below which was taken just outside our hotel, on a not typically busy intersection.
We headed straight for the Temple of Heaven, which is located in a large park full of folks dancing, practicing tai chi and sidewalk calligraphy. The temple and surrounding buildings had some of the most beautiful architecture and porcelain tiles I've ever seen. The colors were especially vibrant as this area was recently restored in anticipation of the 2008 Olympics.
After the temple, our guide Cindy, took us to a restaurant for a delicious lunch. It was served family style on a lazy susan and the staff just kept bringing dish after tasty dish. Everything was good and I even ate and enjoyed the fish! After lunch it was off the the bell tower, which apparently is the training ground for the Great Wall. Then a new guide and a brave rickshaw driver took us on a tour of a local neighborhood called a hutong. We learned about this type of traditional community, visited with a family, and pet their sweet dogs. (Hi Ollie and Greta. We miss you!) Next, we visited a local kindergarten and played with the kids, who were mostly a little shy because they had just woken up from a nap. After dinner (Tip #5 - skip the KFC), we ended the evening with the Chinese Acrobats show. It was loud, colorful and amazing. I had no ideas bodies could bend those ways.
Blogger is giving me trouble uploading photos but you should be able to see the whole day's worth here.
More later tonight!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
But all craziness aside, the day has finally come to head off into the wide blue yonder to meet our daughter. We leave today. We meet Annabelle on March 22, less than a week from this moment. Surreal doesn't begin to cover it.
Here's our schedule:
03/17 - Leave St. Louis
03/19 - Arrive Beijing
03/20-3/21 - Tour Beijing
03/22 - Fly to Nanchang, meet Annabelle
03/23 - Complete adoption
03/24-03/26 - Sightseeing in Nanchang
03/27 - pick up passport, do paperwork
03/28 - Fly to Guangzhou
03/29 - Free day
03/30 - Medical appointment
03/31 - Consulate appointment
04/01 - Pick up Visa, leave Guangzhou
04/02 - Arrive St. Louis
We are both a huge tangled knot of excitement and nerves. I feel like we are as prepared as we can be, and yet I know we can't possibly anticipate what's to come.
I can't wait to find out.