Friday, December 17, 2010

Travel Blog Established

Once we travel, we will write about our travel experiences in our Travel Blog. To access this, click on the blue link below the title and above this entry.

Thank you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Trying to keep busy

I am updating
photo albums and scrap books.

I am spending hours on picnik, lunapic, and fotoflexer.

Abigail got her first tree ornament. It changes colors.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day, 2010

Most of another month has flown by since my last update.

Last Sunday our coworkers threw us a shower for Abigail. We got the high chair we really wanted, a lot of dresses, a few warm clothes and blankets, a stroller, some books, a few gift cards (very appreciated), and a small variety of toys. We still need a circle of neglect, I mean, a Baby Einstein Around the World Discovery Center, a gate for the top of the stairs, and a few other things. It was very nice that Larry's mother is in town and was able to come to the shower.

Also, in the past week, our Article 5 (the very LAST piece of paperwork before we are invited to travel) was delivered from one office in China to another. Our invitation to travel will be extended in 2 to 4 weeks. (Everyone, please cross your fingers for 2 weeks! We would love to spend Christmas in China!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quite a Surprise

Today our agency sent us an update on Abigail. She has gained 6 pounds in the past 5 months, is 2 inches taller and they sent a new picture too! In it she is sitting and she is clapping and it looks like she is looking at someone to the side of the camera, like she is copying their movements. The big surprise though, is that her cleft lip has been repaired! (We don't know about her palate.)

This is amazing!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Abigail!

Given the 12 hour time difference, it is currently our daughter's first birthday! To say that I am sad to have missed it isn't quite right: it is more like I am numb to it. I'm a little in shock about it because it was both eons ago and somehow only yesterday that she was 8 months old! I suppose all parents feel that way though.

But eventually all the stars, planets, and piles of paperwork will align just right and we will fly to China and bring her to her new home, celebrate the missed birthday and Christmas (hopefully only 1, not 2 missed Christmases)!


Given the lack of recent posts, I'll give a quick update of what has been happening the past month.
We got our LOA, signed it and returned it promptly. We applied for Abigail's visa and our travel visas. We finalized Abigail's middle name (Zijia). We received some type of immigration approval that I don't quite understand because it needs to go to about 4 or 5 different offices before we
can travel and I am not sure why. We also sent Abigail a birthday care package.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other

Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption is Scott Simon's new book. I read it this morning; it was a quick read.

I loved that Simon is honest about his experience: that it wasn't all perfect but it was worth it. That sometimes people don't know what to say to adopted kids or parents. That adopted kids carry around a loss and that adoptive parents get to help their children through that, and really great parents will let their children grieve that loss and help them grow from it. That adoption isn't about heroics: that a child gets a home, but we get something better: a child.

I really hope that my friends and family and parents read this book before we bring Abigail home into all of our lives.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Travel Info, LOA

Today we received our LOA from the CCAA. Our agency over-nighted it to us and we signed it and over-nighted it back. Other forms and paperwork were sent with it that need to go various places. Our estimated window of when we get to (finally) go to China is around December 4th through January 6th.

We are unsure of how the American holidays may or may not affect our travel. We are desperate to bring her home by Christmas break!

Anyhow, everyone pray to your favorite deity that we get to travel closer to the December 4th part of that window than the January 6th part! We can't get her here soon enough: for her or for us!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Day Older

Dear Zi Jia,
Almost 2 months have passed since we learned of you.
But you still don't know us and likely won't soon.

A few days ago was your 10-month birthday and in a few more days I'll watch your 11-month birthday slip past.
And the months will continue to fall away as you exist half a world away from us.

It breaks my heart into a million pieces to think from when we knew of you until you'll likely know of us, you will double in age.
At an age when each day counts.

Every day is another day you live in an orphanage.
Every day is another day that you are undernourished.
Every day is another day that you are not stimulated enough, held enough.
Every day is another day I worry about you, ache to hold you and take care of your needs.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wo Ai Ni Mommy PBS POV Documentary

This evening, Larry and I watched the PBS Point of View Documentary about a New York family who adopted an 8 year old from China. The video was stressful to watch. Our hearts were breaking for that child: she just wanted to be listened to and understood.

Larry and I will be discussing things from this video for a long time.

Wanting some closure or other information following the viewing, I saw the following facts posted on PBS's website.

In 2001, there were 1.5 million adopted children in the United States, representing 2.5 percent of all U.S. children.

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's 1997 public opinion benchmark survey found that 58 percent of Americans know someone who has been adopted, has adopted a child or has relinquished a child for adoption.

Though U.S. citizens adopted nearly 13,000 children from 106 different countries in 2009, a little more than two-thirds of all children came from only five sending countries: China (23 percent), Ethiopia (18 percent), Russia (12 percent), South Korea (8 percent) and Guatemala (6 percent).

In 2006, the Chinese government proposed a new set of rules requiring that adoptive parents must meet certain educational and financial requirements, be married, be under 50, not be clinically obese, not have taken antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication in the previous two years and not have any facial deformities.

Domestically, the percentage of infants given up for adoption has declined from 9 percent of those born before 1973 to 1 percent of those born between 1996 and 2002.

Same-sex couples raising adopted children are older, more educated and have more economic resources than other adoptive parents. An estimated 65,500 adopted American children are living with a lesbian or gay parent.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"I can't believe we have a baby's room!" --Larry

This weekend Lar and I won the Craig's List Jackpot when we scored a crib, a tall dresser, and a short dresser/bookshelf hutch/changing table. We have been religiously checking Craig's List for a month (has it only been a month since we were matched with Abigail?!?!?!) and were never the first couple to respond to a set for sale.

But this time I played the "adoption card" and the seller called us back first! It is like being on your honeymoon and playing the "honeymoon card" at the airport, car-rental place, B&B, etc., only this time you are trying to get very different things for your life!

Our friend Betty bought the cutest crib bedding set for Abigail and after some help from our neighbor, we got everything set up and the crib bedding and bumper installed.

(Notice the one lone toy from our colleague Norma. It is a panda.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Going Public and LID

This past Friday we officially "went public" with our adoption. Since we thought this process would take another whole year, we hadn't told most of the people that we know about the adoption. So not only did we get to say "Hey, we are adopting" but also "We have a daughter already." This was pretty fun, since we are teachers and all of our colleagues asked "What did you do this summer" we got to reply "We adopted a beautiful baby girl from China!"

Also, we found out on Friday that our Log In Date (LID) is Thursday, August 12. But since our match day was Wednesday, July 21, I think that Log In Day was not as big of a deal for us as it usually is for some people. What we are eagerly waiting for is our letter that will allow us to travel to China and bring home our beautiful little girl with her penetrating onyx eyes.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lar and I recently visited day cares to select one to care for our daughter when we return to work. (I must say that I already can't bear the thought or fathom the idea that we are going to take our precious little human and entrust her to strangers for 6 hours each day!)

Anyhow, we were incredibly impressed with the second daycare we saw. It smelled of clean and of baby and of content. A few babies were napping in their individual cribs. A worker was rocking another. A teacher was changing a bulletin board. It was soothing. We were impressed that they use baby signs to communicate and feel that is a good choice for our daughter who was born with a cleft lip and palate and may have speech problems.

As Larry and I exited the facility and walked to the car, I declared that it was so peaceful and wonderful there that I just wanted to quit my job teaching high school students and work there, holding babies all day.

Shocked (because I have never really liked babies and have never wanted to hold one), Larry turned to me and exclaimed "Who are you and what have you done with my wife!?!?!"

Friday, August 6, 2010

Can you love someone before you meet her?

As Lar and I sat in our hotel room 2 weeks ago and looked at the tiny pictures of the girl who might be our daughter, I asked him "Are we supposed to feel something?" He said "I don't know."

Two weeks later, I get more excited by the day about her arrival. I feel so attached to her. I told Lar "I didn't know I could love someone so much without even knowing her." He admitted that he didn't think I could either, since I am not exactly the warm and fuzzy one in the family.

But I do. I love her so much already. I never thought I had a "maternal instinct" but apparently I do.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The beginning happened very fast

"We learn, not for school, but for life."

A little more than a year ago, full of spit and fire I decided to start a blog about eduction in America. I posted one entry, included one of my favorite quotes ("Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works."- Carl Sagan) and then I got distracted by another idea.

I decided that I did not feel the need to carry and give birth to a child, but that I wanted to raise a child. To educate a child (not home-school, but expose to many ideas and places in this world). My husband Larry and I spent 5 or 6 months researching all types of adoption. By January 2010, we decided to pursue a special needs adoption in China.

We were prepared to wait a year or two, save some more money, live it up as DINKs a while longer.

During the second week of July, while visiting my brother Jim in Virginia, Lar and I made a trip to the State Department and to the Chinese Embassy to finalize our dossier. Later that day, we missed a call from our agency, called back and left a message and figured if it was something important, they'd call back.

On July 18th, along with my Dad, Jim, and Steph (Jim's wife), Lar and I left for a week-long bicycle trip from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. On July 20th, our dossier arrived at our agency in Georgia. On July 21st, while eating pizza in a hotel room in Harper's Ferry, WV we got another call from our agency in Colorado wondering why we hadn't accepted the little girl with the cleft lip.

The rest of the evening is a blur of Dad, Jim, Steph, Lar and I passing around an ipod with her picture, calling doctors, and trying to keep the pizza down!

Could this big-eyed little girl be our daughter?
We were expecting a 2-year-old.
She was not quite 9-months.

In the two weeks since then, we accepted this child, CCAA "pre-approved" us, our dossier was sent for translation, and we began to buy baby furniture and rearrange our perfect, organized house!