Saturday, September 25, 2010

12 More Days!

Wow!  We're getting much closer (12 more days) and this has been a VERRRRY busy past two weeks.  I'm actually glad things have been hectic because it's minimized the time I've had to dwell on things!  Last weekend was our baby shower.  It was a very special day.  I enjoyed having my aunts and cousin visit...some of who have not visited Gainesville before.  It was a great girls weekend.  The only downside was that I was staying up past my normal bedtime and then had to get up early all this week for parent conferences.  I don't think I've ever been so exhausted!

I only have one week of work left before I take off.  I'd debated on whether or not I would plan on working the first couple of days of the following week but I'm glad I chose to leave the option open for me to not work.  Most of next week is going to be spent on parent conferences as well, which means I'll only have Thursday and Friday to spend with my staff.  Therefore, I'm thrilled that I can spend Monday and Tuesday of the week we leave playing catch-up, working from home, popping into work when I want, and tending to last minute getting my hair done.  Hey, a girl has to get her priorities straight!

This weekend I'm collecting documents and updating our packing list...and of course packing more!  We received a lot of items last weekend that we'll want to take with us.  I can't wait to give Sophie her first bath, read to her, and feed her!  We met with Yu Ping over the phone of Thursday and she gave us some ideas of what to bring to China as gifts, as well as how many.  She told us that we should not use white tissue or paper or give clocks as those are both bad luck.  One of our tasks this weekend will be to get red and gold paper or bags and some small gifts.  I'm going to check out TJ Maxx and see if I can find some pretty stationary, not made in China.  Yu Ping wished me much luck on that!  LOL  We'll also be making one last stop at the mall.  Jason is in need of some new shorts and pants and I'd like to get new sneakers.  The Great Wall is calling my name and I don't think I need sneakers with the soles coming loose!  Finally, I need to do one last Target run and pick up a few remaining items.  I need to get child locks for our lever door handles and a thermometer.  I'm sure I'll think of other things too...and probably end up running to Target again next weekend, but one can dream! 

Here are some pictures from last weekend.  I'll post the rest on my FB page.

 My favorite nurse!

 My cute husband is getting into this girly stuff I think!
 Twas' two nights before the shower.  Everyone ate, and laughed, and played.  Not a belly was empty, nor a relative who misbehaved.  We enjoyed ones company, and then off to bed.  We had lots of plans to unfold and a busy weekend ahead.

 All of my aunts!
 We had visitors drop in at the end of the shower.

Okay, off to write thank you notes!  I think I'm going to need a bigger mail box!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CA appointment and travel dates!

So.... we are leaving..... OCTOBER 7TH, 2010!

October 7th, leave from Orlando, change planes in San Fran, and head into Beijing (arriving on the 8th and loosing an entire day).

October 9th, touring Beijing

October 10th, Flying out of Beijing and arriving in Hohhot.  If the theory that your child is waiting for you proves true (which I hope it does) then our gotcha day will be 10-10-10!

October 11th, Scheduled Gotcha day...hopefully not though.

October 12-14, In Hohhot but hopefully visiting the orphanage at some point.

October 15, Provincial processing completed and fly to Guangzhou.

October 16, Sophie's visa medical :(

October 17, Day of rest to let Sophie recover :)

October 18, CA interview with the American Consulate

October 19, Take oath

October 20, Pick up Sophie's visa in the late afternoon, take a train to Hong Kong and spend the night

October 21, Leave Hong Kong, change planes in San Francisco, and arrive in Orlando.  After spending 21 hours traveling, arriving on the same day we're leaving...WEIRD!  Actually...leaving around noon on the 21st and arriving at 9:30 the same evening??!!??  All I can think of is that crazy Stephen King book with the airplane that goes through a worm hole or something.

October 22, Phone will be off the hook!  HA!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Whooo Hooooo! Here comes the sun!

Well, it's official.  We are going to China!  Our travel approval actually came yesterday and we were notified today.  Great Labor Day, right?  I was sitting at my desk and had already told Alison that I didn't think we'd have any TA's today.  Then a little while later the phone rang.  This always makes my heart skip a beat, even though it rings 200 times a day.  I gasped.  Alison turned suddenly to me.  I relaxed when I saw that it was not Washington.  However, it was Jason.  I didn't expect to speak to him about anything specific but he did have something specific to talk to me about.  A message had been left on the answering machine (yes, sometimes he does check the answering machine-LOL) from WACAP.  It was the message we've been waiting for!  Hopefully in the next couple of days we'll actually be able to answer "when are you leaving?"  We are shooting for a CA appointment of either 10/11, 10/12, 10/13, 10/18, or 10/19 (in order of preference) unless there is any way possible for them to get us in sooner.  Remember, this appointment is towards the end of week two, so if we've solidified a 10/11 appointment, we'll have to leave in September.  Also, we have the wonderful events in China to contend with.  Since Yu Ping was out of the office today, Heidi called.  She said that they may try to get us a hotel out of the city if we end up with one of the later CA dates.  I told her that we'd prefer to travel sooner and spend more days than go later and deal with the hotels.  We'll have more information to follow...

Thanks to everyone who has been following, even those who have been following quietly behind the scenes.  Rhonda...that means you too!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Motherbridge of Love

Once there were two women
who never knew each other.

One you do not know.
The other you call Mother.

Two different lives shaped to make you one.

One became your guiding start;
the other became your sun.

The first one gave you life;
the second taught you to live it.

The first gave you a need for love;
the second was there to give it.

One gave you a body, the other taught you games.

One gave you a talent.  The other taught you aims.

One gave you emotions;
the other calmed your fears.

One saw your first sweet smile;
the other dried your tears.

One found a home for you
that she could not provide.

The other prayed for a child;
her hope was not denied.

And now you ask, of course you do,
the question others ask me too:

This place or your birth place-
which are you a daughter of?

Both of them, my darling-

and two different kinds of love.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Testing the Ergo Baby

I had the chance to test out the Ergo on one of my students today. He
is four but very petite and weighs the same as Sophie. He nuzzled
right in and I knew this would be a great investment. It was very
comfy for me also. I appreciate my model but can't wait for the real
thing.  We also received a call from the courier service in D.C. letting us
know our visas are on the way. They should be here just in time for
our travel approval since we are officially chart toppers (along with
a few other families). Of course Monday is a holiday and Yu Ping is
out of the office Tuesday.....which is when I've decided my TA should
be arriving. Hopefully another case manager will give me a prompt call!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wo Ai Ni Mommy

PBS is airing a great POV (Point of View) series right now.  There are going to be a few documentaries about adoptees and how they've coped.  Right now there is one called Wo Ai Ni Mommy (I love you Mommy).  You can watch in online at or on PBS.  I watched it online last night and thought it was amazing.  It is about an eight year-old little girl adopted from the Guangdong province (this is the province where Guangzhou is located).  It followed both the little girl and her mom through the adoption process as well as life afterwards.  It was a bit sad at times but there were also some very happy and funny moments.  I would encourage anyone to watch this, adopting or not. 

P.S.  No TA today.  On to day 8 and crossing my fingers that I don't have to go through the long weekend thinking about this!  Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Going crazy, wanna come?

First of all, I just want to point out that at this moment it has been a full week since our Article 5 was picked.  I'd also like to point out that the two families on the China Adopt Talk group that got their Article 5 picked up last Monday got their travel approval on Monday of this week.  (((Side note:  Article 5's can only be picked up on Monday's and Thursday's)))  Now then, knowing that the last families to receive Article 5 before us only waited a week is MAKING ME CRAZY because technically we could receive notice tomorrow.  I know, you're probably wondering how likely that is, right?  Well, the average wait on China Adopt Talk right now is 14 days.  Yu Ping from our agency also told us that TA can take from 2-5 weeks.  Here's the other catch though.  When I printed out a calendar of September, October and November and marked all of the holidays and events down...I mistakenly wrote that the earliest we could receive TA would be tomorrow.  I wrote this instead of the 9th which is the two week mark and before I knew that the other families received their TA in a week.  Could this be a sign?  I suppose it could, but now if I don't get TA tomorrow I'll be EVEN CRAZIER!  Thank goodness Jason isn't crazy!

Last week after receiving Article 5 I found out that if we don't receive TA in less than three weeks we're going to have to contend with both the Trade Fair and/or Asian Games in Guangzhou as well as the crazy hotel expenses and possible full hotels.  That would also put us in October or November travel.  If we can score TA in less than three weeks we may be able around October 11th or even end of September if the province is able to work during the weekend.  Obviously this is what we're hoping.  Also, because there are two major holidays we need to be prepared to work around them or stay extra days.  Here are all of the events:

Sept. 22-24, Mid Autumn Festival-China closed
Oct. 1-7, National Day (oxymoron?)-China closed
Oct. 15-19,  Oct. 23-27, Oct. 31-Nov. 4, Trade fair = good luck finding a hotel
Nov.12-27, Asian Games = People in China laugh at silly Americans who try to find a hotel! 

Both the Canton Trade Fair and Asian Games are held in Guangzhou where we are going to spend the second half of the trip.  I'm sure it would be a blast to be there, IF we could find a room!  However, we want Sophie home NOW so can you all please cross your fingers?  Thanks!

As for this wait...once again a China Adopt Talk reference...on the "waiting for TA list" there are only 3 families who are still waiting for TA ahead of us and they received Article 5 on 8/19 just a week before us.  There are also three other families with Article 5 the same day as us.  I remember getting super anxious and crazy when our LOA was looming closer.  The bad news here is that I don't think I'm going to chill out until after we return...if I'm able to chill then!  There is just SOOOOO much to do! 

I started packing last weekend and Jason and I have several projects we're hoping to complete this week.  I'm thankful for the three day weekend but also nervous that it may be my last free weekend to make a dent our to-do's.  Next weekend I have a work party Friday night, an all day education conference on Saturday, and a friend's baby shower on Sunday.  Hopefully I'll accomplish everything this weekend so I can stop stressing.  I'm sure Jason hopes the same thing (that I'll stop stressing and driving him batty).

Last thought for now...

I'm VERY excited for all of my fellow Inner Mongolia friends who are traveling now or getting ready to travel.  I'm living vicariously through you all.  Thanks for sharing your stories so that I can feel closer to our baby.  Also, I hope to meet several of you in the upcoming weeks.  Millie (are you out there?) I think our families are following very similar time lines.  Kim, please catch up so you can come when we're there!  I think you catching up is better than me slowing down, don't you think? 

Whoooooooooo  ALL DONE!  Crazy is going to bed!