Thursday, August 31, 2006

OH MY! Travel Dates!

What an unbelievable turn of events today! I started the day hearing about people who couldn't get consulate appointments the last week in September, which was when our agency requested them. Because of the time difference, I knew I would be wandering in the unknown all day and if we didn't hear tonight, possibly all weekend (and then some because the US consulate honors Labor Day!) I was trying to wrap my head around October travel and all the what-ifs (there are holidays and trade fairs that muck up adoption travel.) My throat hurts so much I can barely swallow or see straight, Jason is heading off to England and worst of all, these were the last days that I spent with my mom a year ago before she passed away. All in all, a very tough day. I wish I was more graceful at waiting, but I seem to be riding through life on a dirt bike instead of relaxing in the back of a limousine.

Then tonight the call came...Harrah's was hard at work trying to figure out how to get us to China before October and they have! We leave in a week! 7 days!! We will have that sweet baby girl in our arms the afternoon of September 12! On my birthday, September 22nd, we will be at the US consulate swearing in ceremony and we can come home the next day. Did I mention leaving in 7 days?

I think I'll keep driving the dirt bike a few more days. Hopefully the loooong plane ride will give us some time to finally calm down and reflect on the changes about to happen to our family. My heart goes out to my daughter-to-be who is now spending her last days in her homeland. As excited as we are about her joining our family, a bit of me always remembers how much she lost in order to become a cherished family member. We are truly embarking on an incredible journey.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Finally our TA arrived at Harrah's! I couldn't believe it for awhile, but now it is sinking in that we should be able to leave for China in two weeks. Hopefully this week will end with confirmed travel dates. I'm sure Gi would like to know when she needs to come take care of her grandchildren. Speaking of, it is going to be really hard being away from my kids for so long. At least I know they will be well loved and cared for while we are gone.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I shall be called by a new name
embraced by a new set of arms
but I shall come and go,
the eternal me.

(attributed to) Rabindranath Tagore

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

TA update

Well, I couldn't resist putting a ticker up for my TA countdown, but then all these agencies started getting TAs just two weeks after their acceptance letters were sent! I was preparing for 4 weeks, but hoping for three and now they are coming in at two weeks?? Crazy! Does this calm me down and make me feel any better? No. I still don't have the thing. As happy as I am for all these families, this part is a bit tough because the sooner you get TA then the sooner your agency can request a U.S. consulate appointment. I was once a nanny for an American Ambassador. Maybe it is time to call in a favor!

So, the race to our children is on between all these different agencies. Honestly, it is probably just on between all the different families and we can only hope our agencies are as anxious to get us the earliest appointment as we are.

We SOOOO need to travel before October because of holidays and trade fairs that can mucky with our travel plans.

At the moment the TA ticker says 17 days, but tomorrow I hope to get the TA and every day after that I may spiral into the adoption abyss.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Weighing In

In spite of those yummy cheeks and pumpkin-like picture, I doubted that Xinshi weighed the 13.6 pounds they said she did at almost 3 months of age. Wearing fifteen layers can add some around the waist. I don't think they would bother taking all those clothes off to weigh her. If it was cold, I am glad they didn't!

So, what a joy to get more information on the little girl whose information only went up to March 28th, 2006. This updated medical, taken in the weeks just after referral, say she weighs 14 pounds. That is about what my peanut Lindsay weighed at 6 months. She seems to be a smidge shorter and smaller than Lindsay (here I am already comparing children!), but their 6 month weights aren't too far off. At nine months, about when we will get Miss Pumpkin, Lindsay had only gained two pounds. So, I feel pretty good as I start shopping for clothes to take. I'll know what weights to consider! For Carter's, that would be their 6 month size.

Birth stats
3.2 k (7.04 pounds)
41 cm (16")
Head and chest 34 cm

March 25, 2006 stats (almost 3 months)
6.2 k (13.6 pounds) -- very dubious!
56.5 cm (22")
Head and chest 38 cm

Latest update (about 6.5 months)
6.4K (14 pounds)
65cm (25 in)
Head and chest 41 cm and 41.5
head 41cm

They also told us that her feet were 10 cm long and that she has no teeth - at this point I'm drooling over these details!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Right back at you!

So, now our agency has sent our acceptance letters BACK to China! This is super exciting!!! There are 10 families in our group and we will be traveling together. We had to all sign a form to accept our babies and they send them back as a group so we can start yet ANOTHER wait! I'm not sure what they are doing with these acceptances in China, but somehow it takes about 4 weeks for them to send our agency our travel approval. We have to have travel approval from China before the US consulate will let us schedule a consulate appointment. Once that is all sorted out, we will get the go ahead to get plane tickets and our travel dates!

I'll list this our for all the newbies to China adoption.
1) sign acceptance letter and send back to agency (easy -- have you seen this sweet girl??)
2) agency waits for everyone's acceptance then sends them to China
3) China eventually sends our agency our travel approval
4) our agency calls the US consulate in Guangzhou and gets us a consulate appointment
5) once we have that appointment, we will get our travel dates and buy plane tickets!

Friday, August 04, 2006

How About You?

From reading many, many stories of referral day during our long wait, I know that parents have different reactions to receiving their child's information and photos. Days before we got her information, when we assumed that referrals were coming but weren't sure, and even minutes before we finally got the call (mine from our superb dossier consultant), I felt like that moment would never come. Of course, it finally did!

I feel SO much better knowing about our next daughter. Being able to daydream about the actual child has been a huge relief. Knowing her age, her whereabouts and her Chinese name should be able to sustain and strengthen my adoption nerves for awhile. The wait for families right now is downright painful! It is gut-wrenching and while you wait, you feel like you are in the trenches! I'm so thankful that it is now like a whiteboard wiped clean - tabula rasa! A whole new journey is beginning for our family.

Today we got Xinshi's translated referral and one paragraph keeps me buoyant!

"Shi Shi is a pretty little sweetie. She has a head of thick, black hear and a radiant smile. When she smiles, it's such a sweet, cheerful sight. To summarize, Shi Shi is a lovable little girl."

I loved her the minute they told me I had a daughter! I recognized her face an hour later when her first photo materialized on our computer. It really felt like this is the child our family had been waiting for. Lindsay couldn't wait long before she wanted her little sister's pictures printed, framed and hung in her room. She wanted it low enough so she could see it (and I keep catching her kissing it!)

I was prepared for a lot of different emotions, but this has really been beyond my wildest expectations. Imagine, we don't even has this child in our arms! I'm guessing the best is still yet to come for our family. Of course, with adoption, I can't help but think of her birth mother and foster family this week, too. This little "sweetie" will be loved in many ways, many languages and for many years.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why do we do this?

I have no idea why some of us must torture the Fed Ex delivery person when they bring us our pictures and referral information, but I couldn't resist! She was a good sport and said she has posed for other adoptive parents in the past. I love having the referral information in my hands even though most of it is in Chinese. Friends summarized it all for us, but I look forward to the translation our agency will send that I can read over and over again. We have lots of things to do in order to travel so I hope to be working on that the next 6 (hopefully not more than 8) weeks.

According to the information in English, she is a deep sleeper (I'll believe it when I see it), smiles a lot and thank goodness "enjoys quiet" was not checked. Some things we will keep private because when she is older she might not want all her information spilled. It is her story to tell as she wants so we want to be able to respect that.

So many families waiting for a referral from China are having to deal with this extra long wait. I am sure it will be different for everyone, but for me I am just so thankful to have this referral that the wait has melted away for the moment -- ask me in a couple of weeks while we wait to travel and I may have a different attitude! I'm enjoying the moment though!

Thanks to EVERYONE who took the time to wish us well!