Monday, July 31, 2006

Referral Day!! Woo Hoo!!

Finally some long-suffering and anxious parents are seeing BABIES today!! Most notably AMY & DARRIN who are friends in real-life and who we could not be happier for. It will be very interesting to see whether their new Adorable Baby is a Scorpio or not... they are being curiously quiet about her birthday..... LOL I actually cried when I saw that their referral had finally arrived.

In cyber life there are so many people, for example Naked Ovary - who I know waited with pain these last months... they, as we, expected a 6 month referral and for those who were made happy today the wait had crept up to 13 months. That is sad. And HARD! I was a basket case by the time we got ours and it was only 9 months! But we are so happy now... and grateful.

Unless you have BTDT you can't imagine what a humbling experience it is to be given a child to raise.... my own feelings of gratitude increase daily. The more I know and love EFP the more I am humbled by the incredible gift of her life. How much I owe the Chinese Government for entrusting her to my care. Today when I was finally able to find out whether my friends had indeed received referrals - I was thinking back to those last anxious days before we saw our daughter for the first time. Would she be healthy? Would she be happy (eventually) to have us for parents? Would everything be ok? Will I be a good mother? Can we really do this? Of course by then it was really too late to have those questions... and once we saw her little face it was all over for both of us. I hear that some folks don't fall in love at first sight of the referral picture. I did - but I admit I had some small part reserved just in case there was a problem or they (meaning the governments) realized they had made a mistake in referring us an utterly gorgeous (and clearly smart and talented!) baby and switched her for another.......... (OK- I was delirious remember!!!) so I did keep some part separate - the part I reserved for that other precious moment when that beautiful child was handed to me with the words "This is your Mama!" I certainly am that... and from that second on I have been utterly lost. DH also has no reservations in his love for his baby.

So today - the joy is being spread all over the world as new parents get this first site of the face they will come to know better than their own... I am sharing in the happiness..... because my own happiness came that way also!!


Saturday, July 29, 2006

When is a car alarm not...................

HELPFUL?? When it totally eliminates the possibility of actually driving the car!!!

This is not a trick post. Today my car alarm actually prevented ME from driving the car. I am still not exactly sure what happened - but when I left the shower event the car was completely dead and although it's possible that the dead battery from leaving the lights on is partly responsible somehow the alarm engaged and refused to let go! So my car is, as we speak, at the service station awaiting repair. I am hoping that the alarm actually gets disconnected and we are through with it. Now - this might have happened on the really hottest day of the year - but I am not sure since if it got any hotter I would be in h*ll! Not to mention I was all the way out somewhere well past what I consider normal LI. I am uber-lucky though because I was not alone and the Fabby Valerie was kind enough to haul me, my baby, and a considerable amount of baby crapola home so I didn't have to hitchhike in 150 degree weather with the world's MOST expensive baby carseat in tow! We did fine and I am aware of exactly how blessed I am. Not just because I have friends and friend's husbands (Rebecca's DH tried really hard to get the alarm to disarm even enlisting some of HIS friends... alas the alarm proved to tricky) So here we are all safe and sound, and aware that even when annoying things happen they are made less annoying when we have people we love - who love us back!!

So while I was expecting a hard day with lots to do and a tight schedule - it just goes to show you that you can only plan so much. EFP was an absolute darling today and had a great time at the baby shower. How could she not be with a ton of honorary Aunties and her absolute fav sitter around to cater to her every whim... she even had a cup full of punch (non-alcoholic of course) alas she slept through the cake! But we all had a great time and love that the Mom being showered had, apparently, no clue she was to be sprinkled on! YAY!!!

I was sorry to miss our other engagement this evening our Waiting Families get together. Unfortunately by the time AAA got to us it was well past five and we were still way out east. We got home close to 7 and EFP still needed dinner... so we were forced to abandon our plan to attend. I doubt we were missed as there were plenty of newly home babies to welcome and if anyone were worried about catching something from EFP - at least our absence alleviated those fears.

When I arrived home and we straightened everything out - got EFP fed and cleaned up DH revealed he had a surprise!! He presented me with a beautiful card that says he is happy with our life and that he never thought he would be this happy (of course H@llm@rk said it more eloquently) and that he loves me even more now than 12 years ago... we had our first date on this day!! So it was an anniversary of sorts. Funny - we had our first date on his youngest sister's birthday (which was also my grandmother's birthday) and she got married on my birthday - so we both have no reason to forget either date! Well - I may not have had a chance to get to the card store - but he should know that I say basically the same thank you every single day.

Friday, July 28, 2006

No News IS Good News!

Yes - although I don't wish to jinx us, it looks like we are dodging the illness bullet for the time being. EFP has been healthy all week and has attended daycare every day! Woo HOO! She is teething so her little nose is going and the drool factory is working overtime! She should have her molars soon. She has been fever-free for the most part, certainly nothing over 99 and I check it a few times each day. We have a very busy weekend coming up and hopefully she will remain healthy - there are a few things I don't want to miss, but obviously if she has a temp or is unwell I will be home with her. I think last weekend it was good we stayed home and remained relatively quiet, especially since I wasn't sure whether she was sick or not - of course now we know she was not really, just a little under the weather.

I suppose it is irritating when people drag their sick kids to events.. I wouldn't do that though, primarily because I DO find it irritating. Like when people come to work sick rather than use sick time. I know some companies have weird policies that penalize employees for taking the sick time they have accrued (Like DH's Co. for example) but honestly - if a person is sick he/she should stay home and not spread the wealth (of germs that is). Of course - I also don't like sending EFP to daycare if she has a temp or seems sick - but then I know that I have plenty of time and occasionally I can even leave her with her g-mom, and I realize that some people are not so lucky. I guess some people don't get sick time or have no one to leave a sick child with and they can't risk their job, I do get that, but it still stinks that sick kids come to daycare to infect otherwise healthy kids. And honestly - why don't daycare's advertise themselves as world class human Petri dishes? I walked into EFP's the other day and some of the kids had this little cough... sounded like kennel cough (really!) but they seem fine otherwise.

I actually have to make an appointment for EFP to get the results of her allergy blood work. I am hoping she is not allergic to the cats or anything - but its possible I suppose. Of course it could also be the plants/trees/grasses here since they are somewhat different than those where she was born. I suppose we will find out shortly at any rate.

Then there is the slowly creeping in panic about our upcoming vacation. I just don't see how we are going to cram all the accessories needed for a two week vacation into our car! And have room for us? This more than anything else - except for the car seat issue is why I am almost (but not quite) settled on a mini-van for our new car... while I still refuse to accept the anti-cool factor associated with mini-vans, I do accept the life-enhancing features of them. To wit: power sliding doors, a bit of cargo room, overhead DVD system (for long car trips) not having to contort oneself to get child into or out of carseat....etc. The more I think about it the more I have no choice... boo hoo.... no mini-convertible for me!!

Here is what I want:

Here is what I am probably getting:

And here is the car I REALLY REALLY want:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Where does an Empress Sleep?

Why in a beautifully decorated Imperial Nursery, where eles? Here are some photos of the nursery where EFP reposes every night.

The beautiful hand-crafted mirror was a gift from my secret pal for our Moonbeam Cyber Shower.... I love that mirror and so does EFP! Our theme was butterflies and blossoms.. but there are a few ladybugs and dragonflies thrown in for luck. There is picket fence all around the room over Laura Ashley English Garden Walllpaper plus coordinated border. The walls are a periwinkle color and there are large puffy clouds on the ceiling.

The window is covered with a room darkening shade covered with lavendar gingham fabric Roman Shades. Sheers are sprinkled with butterflies and the drapes are Lavendar Gingham. The combination creates a softer light when the shade is open. There are little picket fence shelves on the walls and two picket fence bookshelf units already filled with books. The lamp is a combination lamp and nightlight which casts butterfly shaped light on the walls and makes the clouds look like they are floating in the sky. The elephant in the humidifier we recently put in to help EFP when she has a little cold - the Central Air makes it a little dry in here. Actually I bought two and there is one in my room as well.

So this is where an Empress sleeps!! To prove it - here is a sleeping Empress!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

It was the best of caffeine......and the worst of caffeine

I will start with the WORST.....

I am a bad bad mommy! How does this relate to caffeine... well, you may recall about two posts ago I mentioned that my darling girl wanted to play at 3am.. and I couldn't figure out why she was SO WIDE AWAKE at that hour (do you see where this is going?) since normally she sleeps pretty well. Flashback to my kitchen earlier that same evening and there I am entertaining a friend I have not seen in a few months and we are chatting over cups of tea and trying like mad to catch up on everything... okay really its me trying to live vicariously through someone younger and single and smart and going places....and EFP wants what is in my cup.... Vanilla Hazelnut Tea..... so I give her a sip.

She likes it.. of course she likes it! So I pour about half of my tea into her sippy cup - thinking "OK, its herbal tea and it's caffeine-free" and she walks away drinking. She ultimately didn't drink the whole cup - only about 1/4 of it. It wasn't until late last night I read the package - when I was finally able to sit and relax last night and was fixing my tea - and realized that I had given her Vanilla Hazelnut BLACK TEA which most certainly DOES have caffeine in it! I was horrified! I was so upset! In China I saw plenty of babies with tea in their bottles actually - and we have given her Jasmine tea a few times, which I believe does not have caffeine, but I do not now, nor have I ever advocated giving caffeine of any kind to any child! Mystery solved. I will be more careful and read the package more carefully - and stock up on Jasmine tea.

Now, for the BEST...........

We GOT STARB>CKS!!!! Yes that is right! Inside the New Targette there is Coffee from heaven! This is a good thing! Delicious good coffee right across the street.

We strolled over to the new shopping center today and what to my wondering eyes I see... frapp-o-chinos staring at me!
This pic---------->
A fellow China 129 Mom and I enjoying much deserved coffee beverages in the Forbidden City - Beijing PR China! That was great! I am still on the hunt for the elusive size 3 water shoes. Sis was right the new store started out with all fall merchandise and I know that the other two do not have size 3 but I have not tried the one near work, so that will have to be my next stop. I tried online - no luck! I did find cute little sneaks though and I will try to get her teacher to allow her to go in the sprinkler with them. So that is my new shopping news.

On a more serious note... I am starting to wonder about whether adopting actually does affect your hormones or something. I think ever since we came back I have been close to tears (when not actually crying) nearly all the time! I am sitting up here in my office... lullabies of the world softly playing through the baby monitor. Baby is happy, ravioli stuffed, clean from fabby bath and sleeping soundly.. and I am doing this and I turn on the TV to watch Tonight's Episode of Extreme Home Makeover and SURPRISE the family on tonight's episode has a daughter adopted from US and a son adopted from CHINA! I start crying... I mean the families always have stories that make you cry - but I am thinking how wonderful this family is... the dad is a PO and the Mom a teacher... and they have really been through it. The whole house is being demolished and I am sure will be a wonderful house when its finished and they are in the happiest place on earth...

Sometimes I think that having become a Mom and having handed my heart over to a person who is bound and determined to leap off the couch with it... I am just raw all the time. I mean my emotions are all on the surface these days. Out there... I am just a weepy mess much of the time. I read a blog... I cry. I watch a tissue commercial... I cry. I look at my amazing child... I try not to cry.. til later. She is going like gangbusters. In the space of a few days.. she has added freeze dancing to her list of fun things. I made her a shaker toy out of an old plastic container and filled it with different sized macaroni and she loves it. She shakes it I dance, she stops I freeze. She cracks up!!!!!! She can say 'sit' and sort of say 'stand' and she knows what both words mean. She prefers 'stand'...LOL
In fact we are 'working on' NOT standing on the couch, the barney chair, boxes, toys...... etc. it's adorable... but exhausting.

Friday, July 21, 2006

You know it's a bad day when...................

Your kid is up till 3am for no explicable reason… and you know she was not sick/in pain because every time you went in there she wanted to play peek-a-boo and the nose beeping game! Indeed – when your DH went in there was immediate quieting and calming till DH was back under the covers – then the screaming would begin in earnest – along with cries for MAMA! Hmm… she has figured out our little alternating scheme! Now what????

You are having major dilemma’s about traveling on your annual family vacation in a few weeks because maybe it is just too soon to go so far away and disrupt your usual routine……. What to do? What to do?

You get to the daycare and there is a sign announcing that a kid (or two) has
Coxsackie Virus and since it’s the other toddler room, the chances of EFP contracting it are 100%. In fact… since you are expecting company the first weekend in August and then you leave for Maine… guess when she will come down with the Virus? Yup, you guessed it!! August 5th! ERGH!

You get to work and there is no Hazelnut Coffee… just stupid chocolate flavor! Who ever heard of such a thing! I do not do chocolate and I do not like doing mornings without Hazelnut coffee… it’s a must an actual life requirement! Also there were no bagels or muffins available either…… jeez!

You are getting your coffee and an colleague and acquaintance that you really admire and like seeing every day may get ‘called up’ to active duty ………………… for the Israeli Army. I mean she is a MOM for heaven’s sake and it’s just not fair, not to mention it is really dangerous thereabouts right now! Well – I suppose it is actually fair – since the Israeli Army has mandatory service requirements for both Jewish men and women- now that IS gender equality – but I am not sure I can be for that kind of equality where young children are involved! In fact – I am pretty sure I am totally against all and every act of aggression and that armies themselves should become superfluous (Yes, that is a real word!) and obsolete – so there!

You have your usual weekly KNIT-NIGHT and one of your favorite people of all time makes a stunning announcement about a permanent change of home-venue and well… I guess my bad day started last night. This on top of an earlier revelation that some other one of us would be living in another part of the globe altogether! Who said anyone could move? I do not recall (nor did I get a memo) that this was a permissible activity nor did we ALL agree that it was ok to move will-nilly all over the country or WORLD for that matter… and you all know who you are……! I have a few words for you: MEOW........MEOW..........MEOW............MEOW!!!!!!!

You discover your darling child just loves being in the water and pool fun is optimal….. so of course the weather has been just stinky for swimming and it appears we will not get to swim today either – what with the storms crossing the island!

SO.........Phooey I say PHOOEY!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Finally!! And now I know I am off the deep end!

It has finally happened. I am happier than I can say - and so depressed that THIS is what makes me happy these day.............. TA DA.. Drum Roll please.........................

The new TARGETTE is FINALLY opening across the street-ish!! No more crossing the tracks or driving on Accident-Rise highway ..... no more trying to figure out whether the north or south store is actually closer (we live dead center between North and South Shores of the Lawn Guyland) and no more putting off the shopping for necessaries.. because now I can go after EFP is asleep because it's not too far and if there is an emergency DH can call me and I will be home before he can hang up the phone! WOO HOO!

Now on another note: how pathetic is it that getting that little announcement card in the mail (almost - but not quite) brought tears to me eyes? Tears of joy... how sad that something so mundane would be the object of celebration here at the ALL-Year-Round-Palace.... (though we have the Empress we can not justify separate summer and winter palaces). Though I can hark back to those simple days (pre-marriage and child) and remember when another grand opening caused glee throughout the land... okay it was a shoe store..... but nothing like last night's whooping it up! Even DH was thrilled and believe me he DREADS shopping! But being able to go across the street (more like diagonally and we still have to leave the compound) for a gallon of milk (which is like three times a week - because both DH and EFP are milk guzzlers!!) or a pack of diapies.... well once again I am just Vaklempt!

Now if only I could find the darn pool shoes for EFP!! I am tired of getting into trouble with the Center teacher(aka She Who Must BE Obeyed) because I am unprepared. EFP's dainty little tootsies just don't fit into shoes well - except for her squeaky shoes. I have tried to find size 3 pool shoes in every store I could think of and even went online - but alas 3s are very hard to find. Whatsup with that????? I wonder if the new Targette will have them?? Or will they as my sis thinks start out stocked with only fall merchandise? That won't help! What am I gonna do?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Motherhood Angst

I have been trying for days now to figure out how to write about what has been going on in my head but it’s so hard – that most of the time I give up. Motherhood and its attendant mysteries are my topic du jour.

How does anyone know when they are doing a good job? I like to think I am doing a good job…my baby is happy though not always healthy – thanks to the germ incubator I also fondly call our childcare center. She is more than on target developmentally – she is actually a little ahead – in spite of my efforts to keep her a baby a while longer. She will insist on feeding herself and eating off my plate if she can possibly manage it. She is walking – more like running – everywhere and she mastered the ride-on Zebra shortly after walking. She has gained 4 lbs and grown 2in since we returned home from China. Her teeth are growing like crazy (she has 8 fully in) and her first-year molars are about to break the surface – so there has been some pain there. Her sunny disposition has not changed much – though she grows increasingly more independent and yet, she will look to me before doing anything. I take this as healthy sign of her growing attachment to me. She is also much happier to see her daddy these days, after concerted efforts to encourage them to spend some quality time together as well as insisting that he put her to bed sometimes AND occasionally get up in the middle of the night if she cries, this has paid off and she is genuinely happy to see him when he gets home from work.

All in all – I would say things are about as good as they get. SO what’s up with the angst? Well – I would rather not get into particulars at this point, but on a few occasions lately people have (both solicited and unsolicited) described my mothering style as “not laid back” “a little overprotective” “rather perfectionistic” done with “your usual attention to detail” and in one notable instance… “probably good considering the kid” Now, some of that hurt my feelings and others – well I take the source into consideration before leaping to any feelings.

I suppose some of it is that I am by no means a laid back person – so nothing I do is laid back. Rather, I research, study, practice (if applicable) and then weigh my options before deciding on an approach. I suppose that I am only able to do this in relation to motherhood because I think quickly, retain a lot of information (from the thousands of books I read) and can rapidly follow some actions to a logical conclusion - though these days a few of my brain cells are definitely still sleeping while I am out and about. This worked pretty well in determining our adoption options and seems to be working pretty well now, as far as I can tell. Am I invested in being the best Mom I can be for MY CHILD – absolutely! Oh, to say I take being my daughter’s mother seriously is an understatement. I mean, two whole governments decided I should be THIS child’s Mom – of course I want to be a good Mom to her.

People who have only bio kids (or no kids at all) may not understand the differences required in parenting a child that was raised in a different home (try country, language, culture, foster home/orphanage etc) for the almost first year of life….. who may have been traumatized by the abrupt (from China at least) changes in their lives… My daughter had been living with a foster family (or at least a foster Mom near as we can tell) for 10 months, possibly brought back to the Children’s Welfare Institute (CWI) a week or so before being bussed about 4 hours to the Civil Affairs office in NanChang where she was (from her perspective anyway) unceremoniously handed over to weird looking/smelling/sounding people then manhandled from place to place for two weeks – then carried on to a huge plane where upon disembarking she was in a place that not only looked and smelled different – but was far colder and snowier than she ever had experienced. No familiar sights, smells and sounds and crazy food… not to mention a person who she had never seen until 2 weeks prior – performing all the intimate tasks her Foster-Mama had been doing. Anyone who thinks that you can parent this kid the same as a kid who grew in his/her mom’s belly for 9 months then has spent nearly all his/her time with that same person… really doesn’t get parenting. Indeed – even two bio kids in the same family may require different parenting skills – since temperament, birth order as well as a host of other variables (including age of parents etc.) can effect the style a parent chooses or MUST use. I know this but most people do not get this. They see a child and think – this is how you treat children…. My insistence that my child needs are different (for now) falls on deaf ears.

I know that I do not feel comfortable yet leaving her with anyone for lengthy periods of time. I am not feeling good about the amount of time she will have to spend in daycare. Neither do I want to hear from anyone that if I just give up my car – I can stay home with her. If it were that simple don’t you think I would have done that? Nor do I feel guilty about daycare per se, just that I wish she wasn’t going to have to go from 6 hours a day to 8 in September when the semester starts and I must return to full time work. I resent others trying to put that guilt on me… particularly since people rarely bother to ask the essential questions before leaping to conclusions about my decision to become a mother – knowing I must work. Sure in a perfect world any mother who wanted to stay home to raise her child(ren) would be able to – but this isn’t it.

At the moment though – I have a multitude of issues that are causing me to lose sleep. Only some of which are the words of friends or relatives about my parenting skills. See I already come to the table with a DVD player of my own god-awful childhood playing on perpetual repeat. I came to motherhood convinced it would take Herculean efforts on my part to be a good (forget great or perfect) mother – but confident that I had moved beyond some of the issues that I thought might interfere. I don’t mind. If you think it was easy to get where I am – well it wasn’t, if I make it look so, well then kudos to me. Every single day I decide to be the best Mom I can for this child. Just like every other day I make the decision every day that I would be the best wife, friend, sister, employee, volunteer, social worker, teacher, mentor, daughter (till 2003) and daughter-in-law. Now – I recognize that I can not do all that all at the same time – so sometimes I am much better in one area than another but it balances out – since I am rarely called on to play all roles at any one time.

Since I entered the motherhood phase though, it seems like doing justice to ANY of the other roles I inhabit is more like wishful thinking.... assuming I have the energy to wish or think! I feel like just getting through the day at work is enough and I know I am not doing what I was before and even having a conversation with my DH is harder than it used to be. I have been reading that I am NOT the only wife/mother going through this so I know it to be the normal period of adjustment - but it is harder than I thought it would be to maintain a marriage and worklife and friendships etc. I find myself getting more defensive about it all the time. Especially since some of the people in my life just assumed that once the adoption itself was over that I would just go back to status quo plus child. In some ways though I think I created a bit of that because I used to think that would happen. It is not that way at all. I worry about keeping her safe - I worry about how she is doing attachment-wise, is the daycare really as good as I seem to think it is, can I leave her for an evening out with DH and have her not feel like she is being abandoned all over again? Though I have no idea where we would go or what we would do - since I really would rather be with her and DH at home playing or swimming or just watching her grow!!

I have tried to surround myself with people who would be supportive of this journey and to some extent I think I have. I have a few mothers whose style I trust and I do turn to them for advice and support... my sister has been very honest and supportive so I can count on her and there are a few more...... I count myself lucky in this. But it doesn't chase the doubt away at all. I wonder if there is anything that will?

On top of all this is the pressure I am feeling regarding a second child. Realizing that there are days when one is about all I (barely) feel capable of taking care of. But feeling as if I owe her a sister and wanting to divide myself... as if having one baby is like putting all one's eggs in the proverbial one basket! So there are several (hundred) pressures... not the least of which is being a good mother and not making any horrible (and avoidable) mistakes. I have one other thing to say - but this post has gotten so long I think no one will bother reading it and I am still not sure I managed to say what I wanted to say properly so I am ending here.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Summertime and the living is easy......

Well, if you are EFP that is! Saturday we attended the block party at the Fabby Dani's and boy did we have fun! Here is what the EFP was doing.. she is a true water baby! I was really happy to be out and about.. it is sometimes hard to be out because of the schedule. Dani made the most awesome carrot cake cupcakes - here is how that went. I was not originally going to post this because I am in it... but EFP really loves carrot cake!

Today we headed over to the folks for the usual Sunday family day... it was a little tough because EFP is getting 2 molars and she is not sleeping without waking. Tonight she was ready for bed at about 6pm and I probably should have gone to bed then myself.

We had a lot of fun with Aunt M and Uncle T - she seems to really like Uncle T since he is a very silly grown up. We spent some time in the heat outside playing with our auto bubble maker. That was a ton of fun!

Monday, July 10, 2006

How did I get there?

Posted by specific request! Enjoy!!

Gosh the only thing I like better than BEING EFP's Mommy - is talking about how I became EFP's Mommy - so here goes!!

As you know we expected to get our referral in September 05 and travel beginning of Nov. Well - that didn't happen and the intervening months were terrible. By the time it was clear we were next ........... most of us (but me most of all) were watching the boards like a hawk! Every piece of news was like manna from heaven - or worthy of a plunge into the abyss - depending on what it was! THE AGENCY - in their usual tight-lipped fashion said nothing to us about our pending referrals... everything was so unsure and they had been wrong twice before. So we had no news from the agency...

Then on Dec 2 - the news that the stork was in flight came and it was pins/needles time all over! We were so excited. We figured it would be Thursday when the call came and we were right! 12/08/05! I was in my office and had been surreptitiously watching the boards all morning.. I was nearly in a state of panic..... what if ours wasn't in there...........what if she looked like Miss Potato Head......... what if what if what if! Then - someone posted that a referral had been posted it was about 11:45 am. Then...... another family using our Agency - posted theirs and it was about noon...might have been someone else because I knew our Province was going to be JiangXi........ and I knew that ours had to be coming..... I burst into tears!! Went out into the lobby of our office suite and collapsed into someone’s arms...... we had been waiting so long (btw - if you think I am not crying as I write this.................)

Then the phone rang.. and I looked at the caller ID and it was THE AGENCY!!! This was it!!!! The call got transferred..........I was a mess! I couldn't find a pen.......there were people outside my office and there I was without a pen! (I work at a university - talk about ironic!) Well someone handed me a pen and started taking pictures......I got the information from the local SW and wrote it down. My DH, was waiting for me to call him as we are prearranged… but I was so overwhelmed I couldn't really talk yet.

We have a GIRL!
Name: Du, Xin Ying
SWI - DuChang, JiangXi
DOB - 3/20/05 Weight & Height (as of 6 months) 17lbs 21"

After I got hugs from everyone in my office (then people from the building started coming in) I finally remembered to call my husband and sister! More pictures........etc. I never got anything else done that day - between the phone calls I made and received. I heard from our friends who we traveled with - their referral of a baby girl...born a day before ours and in the same SWI! Then came the new agony of waiting for the picture......... I won't get into that here but we had to wait extra days and that stunk! But finally the day arrived and I met my DH at the agency to get the medical and photos......... 12/15/05. I was happy but having a rough time (my two beloved kitties succumbed to two different illnesses on the same day - 12/10/05) by the time I got to Oyster Bay - I was in a state. Then the moment came and they handed us three pictures of simply the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. I am not joking! I had sort of prepared myself (as well as everyone else) that her picture might not be great - since sometimes they are not. But I also knew that literally no matter what the picture looked like - the babies themselves are ALWAYS beautiful! SO I was not prepared for how incredibly gorgeous Du, Xin Ying's little face was (and is!). DH and I looked at each other and we both started to cry. Then I saw her medical - and it was great! A beautiful healthy baby girl. and she had been in foster care! I was overwhelmed with happiness... finally!

We spent the next few months getting ready... six baby showers later.........our travel meeting was January 17 in Waltham - we had to come the night before and spend the night in a hotel. We arranged to meet some of the families after the meeting for lunch - before we all headed back home. What a great time we had! Plus when we traveled it was like we were already friends!

On February 16th we were packed and left for China! I was nervous about the trip - certainly. I get a little claustrophobic..... but I decided to do everything I could to minimize the anxiety. We bought an extra ticket so I would have an empty seat next to me if I needed it. It turned out that a few families were on our flight (we didn't go with the THE AGENCY choice of flights over - preferring a direct flight instead) and it was like a party plane... with us all visiting back and forth. Actually the flight went by so quickly.............

The next few days are a blur - thankfully we have a ton of pics and I blogged the whole time, so I can try to remember all the sights we saw. Our group was amazing. I do remember distinctly standing on the GREAT (freakin) Wall of CHINA and a few of us were saying "I can't believe we are finally here - on the GWC! and THIS ISN'T EVEN THE BEST PART!" After the whirlwind days in Beijing we finally flew to NanChang where our babies were waiting for us. We had hoped they would be there Sunday - but they were not.

We were slated to receive our babies at the Civil Affairs Office on Monday morning 2/20/06. I don't that if we hadn't been so exhausted from the previous days sightseeing.......... we would have been able to sleep at all!! But we did - at breakfast that morning we hardly spoke to each other - all of us just looking at each other with these big giant smiles........ today's the day!! Its all over... we will finally have our baby!!!! It was the most amazing feeling.... no one ate....... we discussed what to bring to the office.... made video camera arrangements... you take mine I'll take yours..... it was incredible. On the bus at 11:00 it was silent except for the 3.5 yo that was with her parents for her mei mei....... and she was saying over and over... I am going to get my baby sister... I'm going to get my baby sister!! Then we were there at the civil affairs office.

We saw a group of babies.. but Helen (guide from heaven!) said "Not your babies! Your babies are inside" Which was good because the weather was disgusting! Cold and rainy. We got into the building and were shown into a large waiting room.

What happened next - is well so miraculous that I don't think I can adequately describe the moment. Have been an active participant in our March DTC we were prepared with lanyards that held EFP's pictures. When we walked in the room - there was a nanny holding a baby, the nanny held the baby up showing us and saying her name over and over "Xin Ying, Xin Ying" it took me a few minutes to realize she was holding MY BABY!! I promptly burst into tears and went into the other room to compose myself. Some moments later they began calling the parents' names and handing over the babies.

It took a few seconds to register that they had called us - I threw my video camera to the teenaged son of one of our families and then proceeded to meet my daughter. We handed over our passports - they verified them and then the nanny handed me EFP. I wanted not to cry so much......... there were tears... but she looked up at me through all 9 of the layers of clothes and she patted my face and smiled. She leaned in so I could hug her and then Greg looked into her face and she looked up hesitantly. It was magic. We went off to a quiet corner of the room and started the process of becoming her adoring servants! I had brought the plastic keys and some cheerios. She was smiling and laughing in no time. It seems like seconds later we were all together again - admiring each others' babies - then it was time to get back on the bus. We were told we would have a half hour private time then lunch - then back to civil affairs to complete the adoption.

What followed still ranks at the best moments of my (and DHs) life! We took our precious daughter back to the Jin Feng and carefully uncovered only one body part at a time to inspect her and see how she was doing. She was perfectly clean and healthy. We kept her clothes on her the rest of that day and night - so she would feel something familiar. I fed my baby rice congee and attempted to get her to drink a bottle. It was just amazing. MY BABY! I was feeding and caring for MY BABY! It still takes my breath away! She takes my breath away. The rest of the day is again a blur. I know we were interviewed by the provincial authority and I am pretty sure we promised to send her to Harvard and get her a pony.............. but we finished the adoption and were once again on our way back to the hotel. the next day we went shopping and bought the few things we needed.... formula and stroller etc.

My words do not do justice to this most profound event. Nor do they adequately convey both my gratitude and wonder at being allowed to call this child my own. It is simply that for whatever reason - and however it happened this child was and is meant to be ours. This is a bit how it happened. I know it is the same and yet different for each parent.... though I think we all feel that our children are exactly the children we were meant to have. Perfect for us.... and loved beyond measure! We have been home 4 months - and every minute is better than the best minute before she came into our lives. I can't think of anything that has effected me so deeply. While our journey was not with bumps - it is what it is. We will go back again in a few years.... probably for another little girl and I know that the trip will be magical and that all will be well - whatever happens!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The more things change............

.....the more things stay the same. Dust is settling and things are finally (sort of) trying to seem like normal. What approaches normal these days anyway. I mean - I've been through this profound life-altering experience and yet, the dishes still have to be done... there is a sour milk smell in the living room where EFP puked up a whole bottle (we have since treated the carpet and the smell is nearly gone, thankfully) of milk with cereal. There are toys - little minutia of little people. Tiny teddy bears (that she has yet to express an interest in) and books (ok there were a ton of books before... but they were mine or DHs and usually did not contain an entire forest of cardboard for one word: ball) everywhere. Balls are rolling freely in the house and I am sure there is an noticeable odor - sort of milk, pooh, sweet potatos and baby shampoo......and laughter. A lot of laughter...

There is something else, a sort of 'now what' feeling. We went through all this and had a most amazing time but my life is still my life. I still have to figure out the big stuff... where to live, where to work, what to work at, how to keep a marriage healthy, family stuff, social stuff, money stuff, political stuff... local stuff.......... and now baby stuff.

It is absolutely true that bringing a baby home changes everything. All this stuff is still so important - and I think about it constantly. Making these decisions... weighing all the factors......... endless circling options and trying to remain in touch with the values I hold important. That is particularly hard sometimes - as a child who knew want, I don't always think clearly about stuff like that. I covet the security a lovely 5br/3.5bth ranch in a good neighborhood will represent. Just like I want the 900 stroller......not because I need it or even like it particularly well - but because having it means I at least LOOK secure. No one needs to know there is something else going on in my head. I don't actually have a 900 stroller and there is every reason to believe we will not move into a 5br/3.5bth anytime soon....... but my sudden yearning to live closer to work. It is a completely rational thought, no, it really is. If I live closer to work - I can spend more time with my darling and less on the (very dangerous in this case) roads.

Of course - there are stipulations to that. It is a very good neighborhood - with excellent schools and a good mix of people...... naturally being so close to the campus. It is a very expensive neighborhood. We can afford the worst houses in the neighborhood (okay they are still pretty good houses) and we would be toward the bottom economically. See, it doesn't make any sense though - to buy further from work.. so we are pretty limited where we can go.

Sure there are other neighborhoods - and then there is the possibility of moving completely away. DH wants to search for an Academic Librarian position - he would consider do that upstate. If he found the right job - we would be in the position of my only having to work part time and being able to be with EFP more. Oddly enough someone asked me the other day if I would move back to where we lived before - where I mostly grew up. I suppose we could - but I don't think too much about that. I can't explain that - since I was so upset to leave there, but I just don't know. It much less diverse than where we are considering and I would hate for EFP to have to bear that. It used to be a pretty intolerant town as well - so there is that. But it is darn convenient - close to everything etc.

Switching subjects - but not really. I have finally made the (oh so painful) decision to stop getting my nails done. I am giving up my saturday standing appointment - the end of an era, really. See what I mean it changes everything. For the last 20 or so years I have had my nails done every other week no matter what. Recession- schmesession! Sick as a dog - reschedule at will! I really looked forward to this - it helped keep me sane during periods of insanity. No matter what else was going on - the nail ladies were there and could be counted on. It was my own little indulgence. I went with out food and/or meds before giving that up. Now - its not a question of money, its a question of time. I have been traveling 25 miles each way - roughly 35 minutes at that hour on a Saturday morning and I am there for about an hour and a half. So its alost 3 hours - and here is the real problem, my nails are a wreck before the day is out, thanks to all the hand washing and baby cleaning up! So its a practical matter - but its also a sea change in my life. What will I do with all my free time? HA!!

Now if this seems like I am whining - well, maybe I am a little. I have a very happy life - and all is well. But if you think you can prepare for all the myriad changes being a mother brings by reading a bit - or even taking some one's words for it, well - then you have not been paying attention! There are profound changes (no, not the nail thing) a head that you can not be warned about. Its only when you experience it yourself - and have the evaluative ability to wade through all the various configurations your life will take - that you can really see what the changes are and I will be darned if I know how to prepare

Friday, July 07, 2006

New Blog - Sorry for the Confusion

Well - I set up a temporary new blog till I figure out how to set up a server to have my own website with picture gallery! I just found the other site - easy, but limiting! Especially in not being able to post pictures directly into blog journal. Then there are the cheesy little photos you have to clik on to see. So this will have to do for now!


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