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.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Officially, it's called a Letter Of Seeking Confirmation From Adopter. It our confirmation to the CCAA that we wish to accept our referral. Unofficially, I think we'll call it the "Abso-freakin'-lutely Letter."
Many thanks to my dearest hubby Greg for happily volunteering to be the one to head out into the continued sleet and snow today to deliver our acceptance documents to our agency. Already he's risking life and limb for his little girl. Awww...
In spite of dropping temps, freezing rain, sleet and snow we happily marched ourselves out to dinner at a wonderful Chinese restaurant tonight with agency staff and friends. I'd show you pictures from the event, but someone (I'm not naming names) forgot to bring the camera and the restaurant's website won't let me steal their pictures. We both tried some new dishes and I gotta give a big thumbs up to the Walnut Shrimp. It totally rocked. And it was pretty. If only we'd had a camera...
It was great to see some of the friends we've met over the years of waiting. I know they are hurting right now, and I continue to hope that the coming months will see them united with their children in China. Some new friends, still in that so close but yet so far stage (an April 06 LID), were even kind enough to bring Annabelle a few gifts, including an awesome bib that says "My daddy is a HOTTIE!" Mommy thinks so too. Daddy continues to insist that Mommy is insane.
After dinner, we skedaddled (isn't that a great word? I just love it!) on home and tried (successfully) not to crash into anything on the increasingly slippery streets.
On that note, I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy new year. May this year bring your families closer in every way.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Her name is Ling Cha Tao (we have no idea what that means) and she was born February 14, 2008 in the Jiangxi Province. She's currently living at the Shangrao SWI in the city of Shangrao. All of medical info checks and well and she looks like a firecracker!
Did I mention she is possibly the cutest baby on the planet with the most munchable toes I've ever seen? See for yourself!
According to the referral packet we received she laughs a lot, is very active, and is sometimes obstinate. She sounds just like her dad.
We couldn't be happier!
RING PHONE RING!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
A certain upcoming trip and all the quirks of international travel have been a bit on my mind of late (oh, say, for the last 1,084 days since DTC). I've looked at baggage weight limits for both domestic travel, international travel, and in-China travel (all different), linear size baggage limits for way too many different airlines, and various packing lists which vary from BRING EVERYTHING! to Pfft! Why Would You Need More Than a Carry-on, You Silly Girl? from those who've gone before. When I try to smoosh all of that together in my brain, I end of with a lot less hair than I used to have.
What it boils down to is this: we get one 44lb bag each and an 11lb carry-on each to pack for two adults and one baby of unknown size for two weeks in up to three cities with possibly wildly different climates in a foreign country whose language we don't speak (oh, and brain bleed from that run on sentence). Obviously, it's been done before and so is do-able. But not by me. And not with the current luggage that we own. What's a girl to do?
I found a great deal on Christmas day at http://www.ebags.com/ and took full advantage and scored the following, which arrived this week:
We got two 30" drop bottom rolling duffel bags and two 19" rolling backpacks. For the price I paid, I don't expect them to be the highest quality luggage in all the land, but if they'll get us to China and back, I'll be tickled all the same.
Now, internets, share your best packing tips. Just 'cause I have the luggage doesn't mean I know how to use it. Must haves? Neato tricks? Don't bothers? Let me know.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
This is the first writing I've done in a very long while. After so many months of having nothing new to say, or at least thinking I had nothing new to say, it feels good to share again. It feels good to want to share again.
It's the first day of the first month of a brand new year. Everything is possible all over again. Especially hope. As we endured this unforeseeable wait, I almost forgot that hope was possible.
It's the first day of the month that will most likely bring us our daughter's face. That day will be the best first yet.