Thursday, March 27, 2008

Being Cute Pays Off...

I picked up Xander and his buddy, Evan, from preschool today and they had mysteriously turned in to pachyderms. It was 2 pm and I hadn't had lunch yet. I needed a burrito fix so I dragged them along to this place. They of course insisted to wear their hats into the place and received many stares and snickers. The owner asked them from behind the counter if there were elephants in her store and they shrieked, 'No, we're humans!' and burst into giggles. It was so cute that they walked out of the place with free sodas and chips!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter 2008!

Long post-go grab a Diet Coke....
Right now all of our parents, siblings, nieces and nephews live in S. California and we're the odd family out living in AZ. It was neat to be out there for a visit and see what it would be like to live near our families, especially during a holiday. We had to strategically plan our weekend so as not to miss anyone. On Saturday, we stayed at Matt's parents' house and the cousins (10 in all!) had an egg hunt. One little nephew has some diet restrictions so the eggs were filled with non-candy items. It was tough to think outside of my chocolate box and come up with a variety of things to put in the eggs. In the end, some boys ended up with lipgloss, etc. but otherwise I think they had a good time!

Filling up bubble containers for the boys...

Noah and cousin Maya hanging out together. Audrey with Maya and Madison (who is actually Matt's cousing but is our kids' age).

Cupcake Decorating...
That's Matt's sister, Jennie in the background. She's expecting a boy in July and they have decided to name him 'Mavrik.' We're just glad that they gave up on 'Otto!' ;o) Can't wait to meet him!

Now onto Sunday's events...

The Easter Bunny found us even though we were out of town.

After a delicious breakfast (thanks Grandma Debbie!) we went to church with my parents. I saw some people that I hadn't seen in about 15 years. It made me feel old to find out that the kids I used to babysit are now married and having children of their own! One lady actually asked Matt if I had ever gotten over my Michael Jackson obsession-maybe getting older is a good thing...

After church we went back to my parents' house and met up with all of my brothers and sisters. There are seven of us in all and here's a rare photo of all of us together. From left to right there's James (31), Jared(15), Jeff (19), Julianne (18), me (34), Jason (27), and Janine (23). Notice anything? Yep, my parents gave us all 'J' names. Guess what else? My parents are Jim and Judy and all 9 of us have middles names that start with an 'E!' Here are my parents with the grandkids (-1, We missed you, Anjeline!) From left to right-Taylor, Emilie, Noah, Xander, Audrey, Rebecca and Hailey.
And here's the whole fam damily-

After yet another delicious meal, we all walked up to a park and played tennis (or at least tried to) and watched the kids play. We had a great time and miss everyone already!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Last night, we went out to dinner with my parents and 4 of my siblings. My youngest brother, Jared, ordered a hot dog and LOOK at what he got-

My brother, James, ordered BBQ sausage and ribs and this is what came on his plate-
Humor in my family usually has a 'body function' basis anyway so you can imagine where the dinner conversation went once these arrived. Having 4 brothers, I'm somewhat desensitized to it all. Don't worry, James. I hear they have medication for that now...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2 Year LID Recap

Ok, so I didn't do anything as exciting as Lisa but we did have a good time last night! We took the kids to this place and made a bear for Meili. Our original plan was to do this after referral as a 'welcome home' gift for Meili from her siblings, but we thought it would make for a fun 2 Year LIDversary celebration and, from what I hear, we'll be grateful later on to have one less thing to worry about between referral and travel. We had hoped to make a panda or the 'Year of the Mouse' rat thing that we saw online but our store had neither so we ended up with this.

Meet 'Xiao Fu'-She wasn't the cutest bear there, but was really soft and baby-friendly, we thought. The Hello Kitty outfit was as close to an asian-inspired look that we could find. T did get very excited at one point that he found a Chinese outfit, but it was in fact Mariachi garb-nice try, T.

The kiddos picked out her body and outfit-

Then they took her over to be stuffed-
But first, they each picked out a heart and the B-a-B girl made them do all sorts of silly things with it-warm it up, kiss it, make a wish, etc. Poor T played along but it about killed him-
Once stuffed, the boys gave Xiao Fu an air 'bath'-
Dressing her was quite a challenge-
But processing her birth certificate was even worse-
Finally, she was done and we headed out for some dinner-

Earlier in the day, we had a LIDversary miracle of sorts. First, some background... There is not much that I enjoy more than home improvement projects. (I should clarify that it is not so much the process of doing them, but the finished product that is so great.) The paver project in the front yard has really been a highlight of 2008, so far. Matt has just about finished the other side of the driveway and things are looking great, which makes the 10 foot section of cracked and crumbled sidewalk that has been in front of our house for 3+ years look even worse now than it ever did before. For the last few days, it has really been bothering me and I've been trying to figure out how we were going to be able to afford to fix it. Combine this with the news that the orphanage 'donation' in China will likely be increasing by $2000 by the time we travel...
Imagine my surprise yesterday morning when several large trucks pulled up in front of our house and a worker from the county knocked on my door and announced that they were here to fix our sidewalk!!!
For those of you not experiencing this yourself: When you set out to adopt a child and expect that it will take 6-8 months, the day that marks 2 years since you began waiting can be a weird one at best. I felt like this news was just the distraction that I needed yesterday. What a blessing.
I don't have a before picture because I was caught so off guard but here is what it looked like at the end of the day yesterday. The workers should be coming back today or tomorrow to pour the concrete. It's going to be great to be able to walk out to the mailbox everyday and not be reminded of the eyesore in front of our house.!

Monday, March 10, 2008


I woke up this morning with an interesting thought. There are 65 LIDs ahead of us and roughly 730 LIDs behind us. We really are getting somewhere and from where most people stand, we really are near the front of the line, albeit a slow one.

Another thought...If good things come to those who wait, think about what awesome things are in store for folks who have waited as long as we have!!!

So, the ladybug mystery is solved. The ticker just doesn't impress me anymore. I have no intention of making it to the end of the 10 years since LID path that it now has charted out. I've got a blog makeover in the works anyway so I think the ticker has served its purpose and will be retired.

Of course, I can't fail to formally mention that today marks 2 years since we were logged in. I thought I'd be a mess but it is what it is. We have a fun family 'celebration' of sorts planned for this evening. I'll recap and post pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Where We Stand

It's been a while since I've given a run down about where exactly we are in this crazy line and I thought it about time, especially to update the folks who are not living and breathing China adoption and particularly for those who are now too afraid to ask about it anymore.

Our dossier (adoption paperwork) was registered or logged in at the China Center of Adoption Affairs in Beijing on March 10, 2006-two years tomorrow! Our place in line is determined by this date. While we don't know exactly when we may see a referral, we know that we won't be surprised out of the blue by a phone call say, tomorrow. It just ain't gonna happen. Waiting families receive their referrals in a neat and orderly fashion. Once they get through most of the dates ahead of us, then we'll have a better idea but it will be impossible to predict until the event is just about upon us because what was the most stable and predictable international adoption program is now anything but predictable.

Last week, families logged in between December 28th, 2005 and January 4, 2006 recieved thier referrals. That means that there are now 65 log in dates ahead of us at this point. For the last two months, we have seen 8 days worth of LIDs referred. This is nothing like back in the good old days (before we began paperchasing) when 26-33 days were referred each month. It's also not quite as bad as the 2-5 days that made up the recents norms. So if very recent trends hold, we could see a referral in 8 or 9 months. Reality check tells me that there are some pretty meaty LIDs coming up and the 8 day batch trend may not hold.

What's really exciting is that I've been tracking where our travel group (those who were logged in on the same day as us and are with our agency-12 or so to begin with but only 2 families left that I am aware of) is on our agency's list. When I first printed out the list, there were several pages ahead of us; now there are only 6 groups (8 lines but two of them are duplicates.) Looking at the list doesn't give me any idea about when we will get our referral but when I cross off a line or two almost every month, it does remind me about how far we have come.

About a year and a half ago I started to put together a chain of paperclips, each one representing a LID that was ahead of us, to be removed when the dates were matched with referrals. I soon gave up though, when I realized at that point that the chain would have been about 45 feet long! After next month's referral batch, I think I'll try again! We really are getting closer, not close but closer.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Chinese New Year is Over With, Right?

Can somebody please tell me why there are no families in China right now? Well, I know that there are plenty of families in China but you know what I mean. I'm used to clicking over to The Story of You and My Adoption Website and getting my 'Gotcha Day' fix but for the past week there are no families in the In China Now sections. What is the deal?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I Surrender.

Something has happened in the last week or two. Something good. I feel a peace that I almost can't describe about this adoption, including the wait. It's a peace that I haven't felt for a long time, probably since before we started paperchasing. It comes at a good time-Monday will mark 2 years since our dossier was logged into China and I've been worried that it would be a particularly tough day.

For much of the past two years, I have been anxious, angry, and frustrated with the adoption process. If patience was something that you could buy from a store, I would have emptied my pockets. I am a person who likes to get things done. If there are obstacles, I like to find ways around them. However, getting Meili home sooner than later is a problem I can't solve. I think that subconsciously I really thought that if I just did the secret pal swaps, bought the furniture, filled the closet, read the books, finished the 100 good wishes quilt, revised packing lists, etc. like a good pre-adoptive parent, that it would somehow bring us closer to meeting our daughter. I was emotionally spinning my wheels and it was exhausting.

And that's why the peace I feel is such a welcome change. I know that we have a daughter waiting for us in China. I've known that for a very long time. I know that the timeframe is out of my control and I'm ok with that. I guess that is what faith is...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

On Edge

I'm a bit worried about the ladybug on the ticker at the top of my blog. What happens on Monday when we hit the 2 YEARS SINCE LID mark? Will she fall over the edge and meet her doom? Will the ticker 'expire'? Or will it just start to track years instead of months?

Hen Hao Chi!

LiGen and Felix demonstrate the art of dumpling making.

I did say "bu hao yi si" (excuse me) before I reached for the pork filling...

Mark and Matt in the kitchen.

We just finished session 3 of our Mandarin class! For our final day, our lao shi (teacher) invited our two native Chinese buddies, LiGen and Felix, to come and teach us how to make jiao zi (dumplings.) These were delicious and I was so glad to come home with the recipe. I'll post it later if I get a chance. We are very fortunate here to have a Chinese Cultural Center about 10 minutes from our home and access to a lot of educational opportunites there. We told our teacher that we would not be signing up for the next class because our kiddos are starting team sports and our time will be tight but I'm regretting that decision and will probably email her today. We've come a long way (with a significantly longer way to go to become functional in the language) but I'd hate to backslide at this point. I have a crazy dream of being able to actually converse with the people we will meet in China particularly those who may have played an important role in Meili's early life. Zai Jian!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Referrals have begun to arrive in the US today. We can be fairly certain that the cutoff is 1/4/06. That's right! We are finally starting to see referrals in our LID year!!! To give you an idea about what goes on inside the mind of a waiting parent when referrals arrive- We have already calculated that with our LID of 3/10/06, there are only 65 LIDs ahead of us at this point. We have seen 8 days referred in each of the last two months. If (and that's a BIG if) current trends hold, we could see a referral in 9 months which would be December. If I REALLY want to hope big, I think about the fact that there are some odd 8 days in February of 2006 where nobody was logged in so that may mean one month less than the initial extrapolation. So, my hope and best case scenario right now is a referral in November or December and travel in December or January. It could happen, folks!!!