Thursday, March 26, 2009

Four years ago....

Four years ago today was the last time I took a relaxing shower.

And four years ago tomorrow was the day that my life totally changed. And I do mean totally!

Four years ago Adam and I were in a hotel room in Nanchang, China when our guide came to the door and said to meet in the elevator area in 5 minutes. "Holy guacamole", I thought, and seriously considered using the fire escape....
Sure glad I didn’t.

Four years ago I was handed the most incredible gift ever. Sure, the "gift" wasn't too keen on participating in the day's events and was so scared and so miserable that it almost broke my heart. But through all of the tears- hers and mine- I knew this was one of the most magical and awesome moments that I would experience in my life.

Because you see this gift that day four years ago was my beautiful daughter.

Simone QingLu, my daughter. How many times had I dreamt of this moment. How long had I been waiting to hold her, smell her, feel her in my arms- my baby. But even with all of my prior mental preparation, all of my dreaming and imagining, I had no idea what to expect or how to act or how to be a Mama! Boy was I terrified.
But my precious baby was even more terrified. We were told that she had cried the entire four hour bus ride to Nanchang. She was very scared, very tired and very good at letting us know exactly how she felt. After peeling the four or five layers of clothing off of her sweaty little body and cuddling in the bed for what seemed like hours she fell asleep on Adam.
She still had a very hard time adjusting to us, it definitely took a few days to feel safe with us, and even longer to like us... and eventually to love us. We spent two amazing weeks in China with her and saw so many incredible sights.
Everywhere we went she had to hold something in each hand. Stacking cups, peeka-blocks or balls.

She cried a lot the first week or so, and I rocked her so much I had aches in every inch of my torso! But we would see these wonderful glimpses of her quirky personality and her very funny sense of humor. And she loved to ride in the bus or airplane, wherever she could look out the windows. She grew very fond of me in particular, and I carried her everywhere and held her constantly. And I fell totally and madly in love with her!

We had a fantastic guide and we saw many sights in China that I will remember always. We did more than just bring our daughter home when we went to China, we experienced her birth culture. We can honestly tell her of our love for that culture that is hers, and we have the story our journey to meet her that we will be able to share with her as she grows.

She was even blessed in a Buddhist Temple. She slept through the whole thing, but I was pretty awed by the ceremony.

She was becoming such joy and was just an easy baby, always smiling and happy...well, as long as I was either holding her or within two inches of her.

She still was a bit scared of others though. I'm sure any of you China Mama's and Dad's have a beautiful "red couch photo" taken at the White Swan. Well, we do not. You see we tried but it was a disaster. Simone Did Not wish to be put there without me, and she started crying immediately, which caused one of the other girls to cry which, yes, caused tears from all of the girls! What a mess...but she knew she wanted Mama sitting with her and nothing less would do!

So four years ago was a day that gave me memories that I will always have to cherish. It was the day the most precious of life's gifts was granted to me, the day I became a Mama. I have had four wonderful years to get to know and love my sweet daughter, for us to become this incredible family. Each day I wake up and am so thankful for her in my life, so grateful to be given this gift of motherhood.

But I also mourn for her first mother - for her loss- and I hope she feels in her soul that QingLu is safe, happy and very loved. And I hope she knows we will always be grateful for the gift of our daughter. Often when I hear Simone's deep & earnest laughter or see that sparkle light up her beautiful eyes or spot those dimples high up on her cheeks, I wonder if these come from her birth mom. I hope they do...

Happy Forever Family Day my dear, sweet Simone Qinglu! I love you forever and for always!


Side note...I had to write this a day early because I will not have access to a computer tomorrow, and just couldn't go through the day without sharing the joy of the day!

Monday, March 23, 2009

So, what happens now...

Well, I stay on this cloud for as long as possible! I look at Wei-Che's pictures and video, oh say 1 million times a day and smile huge and sigh big...

Oh, but what happens now as far as the process to actually bring him home. OK, I copied some info from other blogs as far as the process, but I had to "dummy it down" for my brain. So the process is a bit more complicated and involved than I have below, but it goes something like this.

1. Adam & I get our Dossier together. These are the documents that need to be notarized and then "authenticated" through the State and then brought to the TECO office in Atlanta. Once we get that done and all of the paperwork is sent to JOH, we get logged into the courts.

2. The 1st Hearing. 1-3 months after we are logged in. This provides the Judge (in Taiwan) with all of the information provided by us and the birth family that he/she will need to make a final decision on the adoption.

3. Part I of Final Decree(First Ruling). 1-3 months after first hearing. This is a statement signed by the judge that is forwarded to all of the parties involved in the adoption process. It serves as notice of his/her decision to finalize the adoption. Now there is a 10 day waiting period before any further court action can occur, and this also allows 10 days for the birth family to be certain of their decision regarding the adoption.

4. Part II of Final Decree (Second Ruling). 2-6 weeks after the 1st ruling. Well, that's when Wei-Che officially becomes our son.

5. We then wait for our AIT immigrant visa appointment, which will take place in Taiwan. The wait time for this has been varying, as there is a lot of paperwork that needs to get filed and changed in Taiwan in order for us to bring him home. Once we have our Final Decree it's possible we'll have a more accurate time frame.

So that is the process as far as I understand it. We really just have to wait for the legal work to be completed in Taiwan. And yes, the wait will be very hard, but he will be in very good hands and very well taken care of until we can go get him.

But it's so different from the process with Simone! We didn't know her, or know of her, until 2 months prior to traveling, and then we only got two little photos and some brief medical information. Now we have a longer wait, but we'll get monthly photo & video updates until we get there. So, I had less "wait" time for Simone, but less information about her prior to meeting her. Either way, I know the moment I held her was the start of my life as a Mama... and when I get to hold him that same rush of Mama Love will come.
And our family will be complete!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Our first video of Wei-Che

Here's our first video of our little boy! He is so alert and bright eyed and well, I think he is just darling! I am so glad to be home with Adam & Simone to be able to enjoy this with them finally!

Daddy & Pappa see a baseball player in the future, look at those hands! I see a bundle of sweetness and I am just so in love... I think we all are! Simone is very excited about her baby brother and has been carrying a photo of him around with her. We are all so thrilled and feel so blessed that this moment has come!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

And Wei-Che makes four

Introducing our son, Wei-Che!!!!!!!

He was born February 9, 2009 and weighed 7.4 pounds! Isn't he just so precious!!!!! I've decided he has my chin & Daddy's hair! Gosh, he is so tiny and perfect, I just cannot believe it!

So, as we know, I am in Florida this weekend visiting friends and Adam & Simone stayed in TN. So the sad part is I was not with them to see our beautiful sons first picture and video. We had speaker phones on though and opened the attachment on the count of three... Wow!!!! How amazing, that first wonderful glimpse!
The funny part was just happened to be visiting some of my old co-workers and had some of my other old coworkers with me, so almost the whole gang was there, the same gang that was there when we got the call for Simone. It was so crazy! Boy were the tears flowing!!!
So I have more pictures and a video to post, but since I am borrowing Tammi's computer I will keep this short!
Wow, we have a son!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How did this happen?

Sometimes I am just amazed at the fact that I am actually a Mama.
No really, how did this happen?

When did I grow up and become responsible enough, not only for myself, but to be a mom to some body else? Who made the decision that I could do this huge job? I am still, almost four years after traveling 1/2 way across the world for her, astounded that I have a daughter, and another baby"on the way" (did you all try to look at my tummy?). How did I get to be so lucky, to be granted this wonderful gift of being a Mom, and not just mom to anyone- but to this fantastic child?! Not only is this a true gift, but also a huge life-long & life altering journey, this being a mom stuff!

Last night I was watching my little/big girl twirling around and singing in the front yard and it just struck me! I was just in shock that this was my little girl. I had to stop and think about that - that I am her mom and she is my child...Wow! And it seems like she was a baby just yesterday! And now she is this beautiful girl who can talk up a storm, reason with me when needed and even pour her own juice! Ah, the simple moments in life that can shake you and make realize/wonder at something bigger being at play here.

But my mind goes back to wondering how this all happened?

So I thought about it, a lot. Why do we choose to become Moms? Why did I? And do we really even have a choice here? She is so obviously my daughter (and I know all of you are nodding your heads thinking of your own little ones, and how they are soooo your kids) so was she coming into my life no matter what I wanted, one way or another? Did I need to go through all I did to have her in my life because she was destined to be mine (or I was destined to be hers maybe) and there's just no way around it and no buts about it? Is that why the process for #2 is going the way it is, do we again have to wait for the right time, wait for our baby to be born?
Is it all just fate? Maybe it's that invisible red thread? Or God? Perhaps it's all of the above? And if so, are these really just the same thing... one superior will, just called by different names depending on your faith?

And what makes a mom? Is it simply having a child, through birth or adoption? Is that really all it takes, or is it more? Is it having a child you love so deeply and truly that it sometimes aches, that it keeps you up at night, wondering over all of the choices you make and if they are right, wondering what your child's future holds, and wondering if you'll do the right things to help make them strong, honest and good adults? How is it that we as adoptive moms do not give birth to our children, yet love them like they are a part of our very soul and pieces of our hearts? Because we just do and they are part of our very being... I don't know how, it just is that way.

And so my mind wanders back again to how did this happen? What have I gotten myself into and how in the world will I pull this off?

I don't think I'll find any answers, I know just have to believe it is all how it's meant to be and leave it at that. I am a Mama and will be again (soon?). And as amazing and awe-inspiring as becoming a Mama is, it's also one of the simplest and purest of blessings we can ever hope to have in our lives. No matter how it happened...

Monday, March 9, 2009

parks, princess's and mud pies

Yep, we had glorious weather here this past weekend (hope it was for you too, wherever you are!)
We had a great weekend of fun, most of it outdoors. We just love the parks near our house... there is a mixture of water, sand, playgrounds and walking paths, plus all of the ducks & geese and people with their dogs. Our friends joined us Saturday for an afternoon at "The Cove", along with their sweet little girl, whom Simone just adores!
Here the two girls are, all independent, heading to the sand to play!
I think she is getting used to me testing out my new camera. She poses on cue now!

OK, so it's not quite the real beach...but it is sand and water, two elements irresistible to Simone, and to her pal too! They dug and made castles with the wind blowing and the sun shining on them! It was just a beautiful day and the parents got to sit and enjoy a bit!

And well, my darling couldn't resist getting in the water too...
I couldn't take pictures of that, I was too busy telling her to get out... It was freezing!
Notice the wardrobe change below....I obviously didn't tell her "no water, Missy" fast enough- or loud enough, and Daddy kindly gave up his shirt...

Well, after a fun filled afternoon at the park we decided to head Downtown for a bite to eat.
Of course a girl can't go out in just any old thing...They had to princess it up a bit. Thanks J for letting Simone borrow the snazzy clothes.

Yep, they love to chatter. This in depth conversation was all about Max & Ruby. Very important stuff.

And we finished the evening with ice cream. Goofy girl...
Yesterday it was all about the garden and yard. Simone made some lovely mud pies while we worked in the yard...Icky, but hey, she was content and we got a lot done!

So that was our super fun weekend. What an amazing blessing family is, and how wonderful it is to have such a great time just "hanging out".

Of course we're still waiting on some good adoption news, like a phone call with the caller saying "hello Jennifer, I have a referral for you". I think now that the nursery is painted, I feel a bit more calm. OK, not really- but I feel like I've made some forward movement, and after such a busy and fun weekend I do feel a bit calm (read-I am exhausted...). Plus, I have plans to fly to Florida this Thursday for the weekend (Yep, just'll be Daddy & daughter weekend back home) to see all my "girls" and some sweet new babies, so this really is not a good week to get the news, therefore I am able to put it out of my head.

Until I get back anyway...


Monday, March 2, 2009

3 months and counting...still

Yep, we have officially hit the 3 month mark. You know, where we originally thought it would be 1-3 months, so we'd be at the max now, but in reality its just the start of our wait, again.

Yep, 3-6 months, more. Do I sound a bit sad, blue or maybe disappointed? Well, I am. I know, I know...what is meant to be will be, things happen the way they do for a reason. Heard it, know it and get it. Still...

Anyway, to celebrate our big three months, or maybe to cheer me up, Adam suggested we start on the nursery. What a surprise for me, and a pleasant one at that.
We spent half the weekend moving the guest bedroom furniture out and then pulling out the changing table, dresser and bookshelves and figuring out where everything will go and what else we need.
I also painted, a very soothing pale green. Well actually, Simone and I painted-she was my big helper! She really did a great job and truly helped to move things along. And best of all she is thrilled to know she helped get the room ready for the baby and she is very impressed with her own hard work.
But... now she thinks her baby brother (or sister we keep reminding her...) will be coming home any day, or any moment. She wanted to get diapers and bottles at the store yesterday so we'd be ready for him! First thing she wanted to do this morning was to go in there and just look at the room.
So once all the paint is dry we'll start setting up the actual nursery and getting curtains and new crib sheets and any other baby stuff we find we need. Very exciting, and as my one friends said "if you paint it, he will come". So come on already!

I'm truly not holding any hope that we'll hear anything any time soon. (but some time in March would be quite nice) I know once the room is put together it will be hard to not have a snuggly little baby to put in there, but I think it will give us all hope that the day will come! .

And after finding a ladybug last week (considered good luck or a sign of good things to come) I had thought maybe we'd hear soon, and my very sweet friend helped put it into a great perspective by saying in an email "perhaps Friday was the day your beautiful baby's paperwork arrived at TWCA or his/her birthday?" Thanks Lisa, that was a great boost that was much needed!

So, 3 months and counting...