I will let Sherri fill in all the details later, but I wanted to help her post photos since she is having computer issues. Sherri is doing her best to keep everyone updated, but her time is obviously short. The girls are keeping her on her toes and of course there is also all the red tape to deal over the next few days. I am sure she will post very soon, but until then please know that she appreciates all the love and support she is receiving from you. Everyone is doing great, but as anyone that has done this knows, there are simply not enough hours in the day to post, parent or simply breathe. Best wishes, Kim C
It is Sunday morning here in China. We were awake at 4am and the sun was shining by 5am. But I think we are feeling much less of the jet lag burn today.
Today is Delilah Day! Unbelievable! At 3pm we will meet her in a conference room here at the hotel. I wanted to write a little bit about how I feel in these final hours before our family is made richer by the spirit of Dang Nan.
I'm not nearly as stressed as I was when we adopted Cami. I remember waking up that morning feeling like I really didn't know how I would get through the day. I felt exhausted and unsure I was really the one for the job! On the day we met Cami we spent the morning at Walmart...... nothing like a morning at the five story Nanchang Walmart to make one feel strung out! When we traveld to Civil Affairs to meet Cami, she was sitting on a little bench, swinging her legs, looking so scared. I loved her at first sight. I think we all did.
What will be the same on this day? And what will be different. First of all, no Walmart! We will head down to breakfast as soon as the buffet opens. Then maybe we'll take Cami swimming this morning. Just a relaxing day.
I have matching backpacks that I'll pack with identical toys and let Cami give on to Delilah, so I need to work on that. I packed all the little items in nooks and crannies of the suitcases!
I'm sure as the hours pass and the time grows closer, the butterflies will start, but for now, I feel simply peace.
Last night we ate dinner at a local and authentic noodle house. This neighborhood restaurant is where all the local people eat and that is the best way to find good food. Our guide ordered a variety of food for us and it was all wonderful. We had pork and tofu stirfry, egg drop soup, noodles (the best I've ever had!), dumplings, spicy eggplant, tea, and the most amazing dessert, some kind of fried milk with sprinkles on top, which was served in the middle of the meal to the delight of children and adults alike. We did not partake of the sheep's head, but I couldn't resist taking a picture.
I feel more adventurous in trying new foods this time.....and I have not been disappointed. Our guide is just a delight! Cami and the guide's daughter have formed a fast friendship, along with the 5yo daughter of our travel partners. In spite of jet lag and not speaking the same language, these girls are such buddies and it warms my heart to watch, and my hope is that Delilah will enter into this sisterhood with ease.
I love this area of China. It is a different pace from Nanchang. The traffic is not insane, the sidewalks are wide and there are plenty of places to walk to. The people are beautiful and friendly. Many have amazing English in spite of never having left their country. Hohhot is like a lovely valley at the foot of the mountains and there is a simple, joyful pace of life that I hope to soak up and take home with me!
Enjoy the photos from yesterday. The next post will tell the story of meeting Delilah. She is likely waking up now, enjoying a bowl of congee, and getting ready to board the train that will bring her here.
We had a great start to our trip. Lauren (dd 22yo) drove us to the airport which was such a luxury compared to parking in the long term lot and dragging our heavy luggage onto a shuttle.
First five minutes inside though, and I'm in trouble. When they say the bags can weigh 50 pounds each at United, they mean EACH. They don't give you credit for having one bag weigh 35 pounds and one weigh 55.
So there I am, in the middle of the airport check in desk trying to transfer items to different bags to balance out the weight. Wouldn't you know it, the first thing I pull out is my VS panties. (these things are legendary on Facebook). Luckily they are all space bagged up so no one but me knows what they are. Otherwise I'm switching around my jelly belly's since someone told me they were heavy. The tough part was that the only bag with any real room in it was the one we brought to donate in China to China Little Flower.....and I did not want my panties going that direction. Note to self.....no matter what, don't forget to get panties back.
On to a quick bagel breakfast and it's time to head to our gate.. Now things start to get interesting. The main difference in this trip and the trip to adopt Cami is that this time we have a three year old with us. Why did that small detail fail to register with me. LOL! What is hard to endure as an adult becomes the far reaches of hell for a child.
I'm going to explain our 24 hours of travel with numbers.......You can play along and guess if you want. Some of you will know the answers.
How many minutes on the runway before the captain came on to say there was a mechanical problem with the plane................57
How many mechanics banging around under our seats before the captain came back to say everything was fine..............3
How many times on a twelve hour flight does the seatbelt have to come on due to turbulence?.....................24
And how do I know that?
Because that's how often traveling 3yo has to go potty.....as soon as the instructions are given to stay in our seats. By the end, the flight attendants just looked right through me because they knew they couldn't stop me.
What are the chances that a single family could be assigned the very last seat in the plane, the one by the bathroom, the one that doesn't recline, on every single flight......................100% in our case, though I'm not complaining about the bathroom being near.
In 24 hours of traveling, how many hours do you think our dear 3yo slept?........about 3 and not in one stretch. And yes, she is sleeping now, probably actually better on China time than I am. I keep wondering why it's dark at noon~
I wish I had taken a picture of the government workers who came into the airplane to take everyone's temperature. But I couldn't get to my camera because Cami was climbing onto my head, screaming in terror, because of the person dressed in nuclear whites waving a ray gun at her head. Her non-cooperation was slowing down the whole plane and everyone knew it. I was trying to just hold her in range of the ray gun lady. I think I forgot to tell her what was going to happen. I didn't realized the people would be masked and have head gear.
We were a little lost in the Beijing airport (biggest airport in the world now with their addition made to prepare for the US Olympics) We had to go through three checkpoints where we showed our passports and passed by some medical tents and had our bodies scanned for fever. I also read in the China Daily that the Swine Flu has been officially named a pandemic. If this is true, it will only get harder to get in here.
We also had to lug our luggage up and down stairs a few times, trying to check in for our domestic flight onto Inner Mongolia. It was .....um.....trying...... so how many Chinese men do you think stopped and stared and pointed when Cami had a meltdown and refused to move from the middle of the concourse. They would look at her and then look at us and then talk to each other. Would love to know what they were saying! We finally just picked Cammi up, along with our other hundreds of pounds of luggage and traveled on down the road. We were rewarded with a hot mutton biscuit when we finally got on the plane.
That biscuit came right after I spilt my water bottle all over the nice Chinese man sitting beside me. By bottle kind of bounced a few times and sprayed water on his pants, his paper, his phone. he didn't know it was me. He kept looking up at the vent thinking the plane was leaking. I hid my water bottle and ate my mutton.
Arriving in Hohhot, we met our guide, Susan Long who has her mother and 3yo daughter with her. The interesting thing is that beautiful little Yeng Yeng was adopted from GuangDong. I love that! We also met the couple from ASIA that are from NC and adopting a little boy from Inner Mongolia with cleft lip and palate. They also have a 5 year old daughter, so just the bus ride to the hotel was little girl play land!!!! What a different sort of trip this is going to be!
We have a beautiful room in a 5 star hotel. All the special touches China is known for, like the glass walled bathroom!!!! I'm enjoying a cup of boiled water coffee and Nestle 2 + 3, or something like that.
A few pics from our day of travel and arrival in Hohhot....
Today was important because it was the last day I planned to do errands. I started at Old Navy where I found great new markdowns on clothes to take to Serena at China Little Flower.
Being the mom of a micro preemie, I'm glad to have found this way to support those who are caring for the youngest and smallest babies in China. I have a huge duffel bag ready to go to them. Someone from the organization is meeting us outside customs in Beijing and we will hand over the big wheeled suitcase full of toys, diapers, and medicines.
My second and final stop was Walgreens. I found some good deals on Fish Oil capsules and Multi-vitamins which seem to be the gift of choice these days.
I spent way too much money and time engaged in the gift buying. People say not to worry. I don't know why I can't help myself. I keep thinking of something more or better. Is this Traveler's OCD?
The rest of the day was spent repacking a suitcase and not really accomplishing much else. I'm afraid the next two days will be equally as lame. But I have all my children home and sometimes running interference with a house full of teenagers/young adults and a three year old who is very sensitive to mood changes is enough to fill a day!
So another day done. Before I know it, I'll be counting in hours, not days.
Cami is sleeping with pigtails in her hair tonight because....... she says that is what Delilah does.
Seems like time is moving so fast these days. Hope it still feels this way when we get on that long, long flight to China!
Today was a good day. The girls' suitcase is completely packed and zipped up, ready to go. My suitcase is about half ready. The rest of the packing should be easy. The hard part of deciding what to take has been done.
I need to spend a few hours tomorrow going over the paperwork and making sure we have copies of everything we might need while in China. I'll try to organize the documents so they are easy to find and light to carry. They have to go with us everywhere, if my memory is correct.
Delilah has moved away from her foster parents home. She is required to spend seven days in the orphanage who has outlined her care while her adoption paperwork is processed. I'm so sorry she had to leave the family that obviously loved her very much. I'm sad for them, wondering if they have seen her for the last time. I hope we will be able to continue a relationship and stay in touch. It's hard at such a great distance, but I will do whatever I can to help Delilah retain this hugely important life history.
Four days until we leave. Our travel clothes are hanging in anticipation. Tomorrow there will be more jobs and more moments of panic when I think I've forgotten something important. But this day is complete and I'm tired and looking forward to Hibachi steak for dinner and an early night in bed reading "The Hour I First Believed" by Wally Lamb. This is a such a large book.....not something I can take on the trip. So I'm trying to finish it this week.
Today is Friday, less than a week until we board the plane for China. I'm trying to stay focused, to keep life as normal as possible here, and try to also accomplish lots of errands and packing everyday.
A couple friends sent packages of dresses for "my girls" and I got some shots of Cami trying a few on. I had to bribe her with a pack of gum though, so enjoy the modeling....LOL.
Today I found out that now there will be three families from our agency meeting up in Guanghzhou. That is really exciting for us since we traveled alone for Cami.
I also received updated measurements for Delilah. If they are to be believed, Cami will be getting a BIG sister, not a little sister. According to the information, Delilah weighs 39 pounds and she is 38 inches tall. And she isn't yet three years old. I'm hoping these are old numbers, her weight in a winter coat, perhaps? And I only care because I don't want to take a suitcase of clothes that are too small. I guess that is just one of the joyful surprises we will experience. I remember the first time I held Cami and thought, "She's so tiny, but so heavy".
My plan to update daily was a good plan. But somehow I lost a few days since my last update. Time is traveling at warp speed.
On Sunday I packed the large duffle bag of donations we are taking. This bag will be picked up in Beijing by someone from China Little Flower. This group has a home in Beijing where they care for babies born prematurely or with club feet. They also serve as a hospice home for terminally ill babies. My family had donated many packs of preemie size diapers at Christmas and I think I've found the perfect home for them!
Yesterday I took Cami for a haircut. I love her new style.
Today I'm heading out for what I hope is the last shopping venture before our trip. I need to buy a few more gifts, snacks, and I have a list of other little things, such as a hairbrush, shampoo, gum, duct tap...... Seriously, if we let it..... the list could continue to grow and never be completed. But come what may, we will board a plane in eight more days. We will find our daughter, Delilah, at our destination. And we will be forever changed.
We were happy to learn that we will be traveling with another family. They have a five year old daughter and I think they are adopting a two year old little boy. It will be so nice to share the experience with another family this time!
Last night I stayed up later than usual reading "The Hour I First Believed" by Wally Lamb. Then Cami woke up about 3:30 and said she couldn't sleep and she was thirsty. She was awake for about an hour. I still popped out of bed close to 6am, but I'm feeling tired and I'm reminded how important it will continue to be for me to get all the sleep I can in order to be a happy and energetic mom!
Cami slept in and Jillian was home with her so I could head out alone to do a few errands in the morning. I picked up our passports at the post office. We used a wonderful visa and document courier! Denise Hope of There's Always Hope came highly recommended and I couldn't have been more pleased with her service. She answered my questions quickly and everything on her end was like clockwork. If you are going to be needing your visas soon, you should contact Denise. She has an unbeatable deal for adopting families! You can also call Denise at (815)-690-7035.
After the post office, I had to visit two banks. Then I stopped at our salon to pick up the shampoo I had paid for and left sitting on the counter! Yes, I am slightly distracted these days. After that side trip, I trekked down to the public library and returned all our (overdue) library books and did not check anymore out!
While at the post office I purchased some of the new Simpson's stamps to add to the gift bags we are making up for the foster family, nannies, notary, etc. in China. I continued my run with a trip to Old Navy where I found matching swimsuits for the little girls. I also found two pairs of pants for myself so I have everything I need for packing my clothes.
This day passed quickly. I accomplish a few little things. There is still much to do.
I can hardly believe we will leave for China in 13 days. Mark says we could leave tomorrow and be fine. I say we have a thousand things still to be done!!!!
Yesterday I got my China hair cut. I shopped for gifts for the orphanage director, foster family, and other people we will meet along the way.
I bought cute little assortment boxes of Jelly Belly Beans from Target. For the notary, I bought sticky notes, white out pens, and a smaller bag of jelly beans. I also bought a bag of Thor-Lo socks that will be tucked into the gift bags. They are made locally and my friends from China rave about them so maybe they don't have such comfortable socks in China.....? I still want to order some American Ginseng to add to gift bags.
Our visas and passports are being returned today. I think that is the last of the document work we need to do.
13 days. Every one of them will be busy. We have several more appointments on the calendar. And poor Mark is working long hours everyday, trying to get everything wrapped up so he can be gone for two weeks.
I wish I could just spend my days shopping for cute dresses like the ones below. The flowers are hair clips! I can't wait to take the picture again with two girls inside the dresses.
Our oldest daughter graduated from college this weekend. I treasure the rare photos we have of the entire family all together. We had hoped Delilah would be with us for the graduation. I remember thinking that it might be our first big outing. But she was missing and she was missed. Here is the whole big family waiting to bring Delilah home for good!
It has been a long wait but the days are suddenly fewer than I need to make all the arrangements to travel.
Of course, you won't hear me complaining about that! Our Travel Approval arrived on Friday, May 8th.
We had heard that with the pandemic threat of the Swine Flu China might not be sending travel approvals out for a month or two. Then when ours arrived we had to wait and see if Inner Mongolia would allow us in (again because of the flu)
As of this afternoon, Inner Mongolia granted us entrance,
We are waiting for our travel approval to be sent from China. When that happens, we can request a consulate appointment. From the confirmed date of our consulate appointment, we will count back two weeks and that will be our departure date.
There is still so much to do that I get overwhelmed by thinking about it all. I'm trying to break it up into manageable groups.
This week we will mail our application for Entry Visas into China and read the stack of important papers from our agency and begin to put together the notebook of important documents that will travel with us.
For fun and a reward after paperwork, I'm collecting identical items to put in backpacks for the girls. Here is my plan: We have two Dora the Explorer backpacks (the backpacks I posted a picture of earlier are too big) Cami's backpack will be initially packed with travel toys, paper, pencils, crayons, small animals, etc.
Delilah's backpack will travel empty, in the suitcase. On the day we meet Delilah, I will pack both the backpacks with new items Cami hasn't see before. We will take these backpacks with us and Cami's job will be to give one of them to her new sister! They will be filled with identical toys..... light up ball, sunglasses, candy, animal crackers, etc Hope this is a good ice-breaker and that is helps Cami to feel connected to Delilah, and Delilah to all of us.
It finally happened! After 146 days Our LOA came!!!!!!
This document from China, which is more correctly called "Letter of Seeking Confirmation" asks for our signature on a statement declaring that after all this time and effort we do indeed still want to adopt Our Sweet Delilah.
The LOA has been signed, sealed, and delivered back.
It should be winging it's way back to China today.
And now, again we wait, one last time, for TA, which means Travel Approval.
So I still can't say when we will travel. But what I can say, is that in the eyes of China, Delilah belongs to us, officially and forever more. And we remain honored and thankful for the trust extended to us.
As I have written, the time we have been waiting for our Letter of Acceptance from China has grown long and we are weary of waiting. I have had many emotional responses to the seeming unfairness of our long wait and I've even stooped so low as to wonder if this delay will continue forever and that Delilah was just a dream that will never be realized in our family.
Ah, me of little faith! Let me tell you a story, weave a tale of impossibilities, that has convinced me that God laughs when we start to think WE are in charge.
Just after Christmas I went shopping at the winter sale at Old Navy. A friend of mine in Florida was planning to go on a mission trip to China. She has started a Shoe Mission for children in orphanages who often do not have properly fitting shoes, or even shoes at all.
I purchased some shoes and socks to send her, along with a few items of clothing. One item specifically stayed in my memory because it was so cute that I bought one to send to China an done to keep for Cami to wear.
This was a yellow and gray fleece lined long top with a hood. I bought a 2T and and 4T, meaning to keep the 4T for Cami. I "accidentally" sent the larger top off to my friend and so the one I had for Cami was really too small.
As my friend made her final preparations for her trip, I was interested that she would be visiting the China Care office in Beijing. China Care is the organization that provided funds for Delilah's surgery last year. They work in Inner Mongolia, but their main office is in Beijing. There is at least 700 miles between there offices and they care for hundreds of children, if not thousands.
My friend has been home less than two weeks now. As my agency has continued to unravel the puzzle of our long wait for our LOA, they requested an health update and the orphanage sent some photos for me.
When I opened the photos I was amazed that Delilah was wearing a shirt like Cami had in her closet. There aren't any Old Navy stores in China. Mostly I was just thrilled as always to see her shining happy face.
But something tugged at my memory. I kept going back in my mind to try and remember when and where I had sent the matching shirt I had bought.(During the winter I sent several care packages to organizations in China) When I remembered that I had mailed it to Beth, I emailed her and asked if she could possibly remember if this shirt had been donated to China Care. (She had visited several orphanages and organizations on her trip).
I sent her the picture and she wrote me back to tell me that she was certain that shirt had been left at China Care because the shiny new shoes Delilah was wearing were sent to her by a woman in Iowa and they were in the same bundle of donations.
So I bought a shirt in NC, sent it to a friend in FL, who flew to China and dropped it off at a charity,nearly 700 miles from where Delilah lives and the next week I receive a photo of my own daughter and she is wearing the shirt!!!!!
This is one of those things that I have to keep thinking about because it's almost more than my brain can accept. It's much to big to be a coincidence. I call these God Winks. What do you call it?
To Learn More about Beth's Shoe Mission in China, visit Destiny's House by clicking on the name.
This post is part of "Hi/Lo Thursday" on the Riggs Family Blog. Check out their blog to read everyone else's "Hi/Lo" posts and get your link on their site.
This is my first time participating in Hi-Lo Thursday. The idea is to get people sharing the best and the worst of their weeks as we celebrate and comfort one another.
My low for this Thursday is that we are still waiting on our Letter of Acceptance to arrive. For 135 days our adoption of Delilah has been at a stand still that we can do nothing about. I don't know what happen with our paperwork. But such a long wait is the exception, not the rule right now. So we continue to wait. And we hope we will be able to travel at the end of May if there isn't to much longer of a delay.
The High news to report for this Thursday is that Mark and Kegan celebrated their birthdays this week. We are all healthy and happy, and our hearts are prepared to bring home a new sister and daughter.
For the month of February, we were able to send a donation of $40 to Annabelle's Wish . I feel an affinity to this organization because it was started by a family following the adoption of their daughter. I think about the children left behind in China everyday. So many of them will not have a chance for a family of their own. I am constantly looking for ways to help eliminate the suffering of children who are hungry or cold, or who need medical care.
Annabelle's Wish has several different programs and a variety of opportunities for offering care to the children in China. You can sponsor a child in foster care. For just $25 a month, a child will be given housing, clothing, education and medical care.
Other specific ways you can help are to sponsor a baby for cleft lip repair surgery. There are educational sponsorships for orphan children who can have a chance at a future if they learn a skill or trade before leaving the orphanage.
The newest program at Annabelle's Wish is providing clean drinking water for the orphanage. For only $10, a child can have clean water to drink for an entire year!
Let this be my challenge to you! If you are reading this post and feel your heart is heavy when you think of the children waiting in China, please go right now and donate $10 for clean drinking water! I can't think of anything more amazing that can be done for $10! www.annabelleswish.info www.annabelleswish.blogspot.com
Annabelle's Wish, Inc PO Box 210003 Nashville TN 37221
Of course this is a 501c3 organization and your donation is tax deductible.
I hope you will visit the website, take a look around, and find a way you think you can help.
And please, if you donate $10 for clean water, or anything else....leave me a COMMENT and let me know!!!! I'd love to hear from you.
Along with many other waiting families, we were hoping to receive word of the arrival of our Letter of Seeking Confirmation (LOSC aka LOA) before the Chinese Spring Festival or New Year of the Ox celebrations began because the Chinese Adoption government office (CCAA) closes for a week or two during this time.
We watched. We waited. But no news came. Now I suddenly find that soon the CCAA will be back at work and we can begin again waiting for that magical letter to arrive, and it should be soon for us. You can view our counter in the right hand column to see how many days we've been waiting since our dossier was logged.
Meanwhile, I have found a unique way to pass the time and to actually enter into a time warp so as to bypass the disappointment of not receiving our LOA before CNY. I've been quite under the weather with fever and infection. Not feeling up to much at all. After trying several medications, I finally ended up in the hospital and they had some tricks up their sleeves, which finally have me on the way to recovery.
Poof! A couple weeks have passed. What is this waiting people complain about! LOL! The same thing happened to me during our wait for Cami. It must be my "labor". A friend who was adopting at the same time commented that I never seemed to be bothered by the wait. I confessed that being sick has a way of putting me into survival mode and time moves differently.
I'm sure someone out there understands what I'm talking about. Today I'm happy to be healthy and looking forward, into the days of Delilah dancing into our home. Good health is such a gift and I will spend my life helping it be the birthright of as many children as possible. I hate to think of anyone suffering ongoing pain and sickness if there is something that can be done to help them. I know there are limits to how many children I can help by finding funding for surgery or nutritional formula, but I will do as much as I can, and for someone, I hope, it will make a difference.
I ordered matching backpacks from Hanna Andersson for Cami and Delilah to have in China. They turned out to be even nicer than I imagined. The fabric is soft and slick. It appears to be waterproof and easy to wipe clean. Lots of room inside too. Cami is taking her job as big sister seriously here. She arranged the backpacks on the floor for the photograph. I also found these cute dotted velour hoodies at Hanna Andersson. You can see from the sizes that I'm still counting on Delilah being just a wee bit smaller than Cami.
Married to my best friend and discovering the joys and challenges of parenting toddlers and teens. This is our story, beginning with our plans to return to China, humbled and grateful to be part of the Waiting Child International Adoption program.
03/27/2008- CIS Application 04/25/2008- Began Homestudy 07/17/2008- Requested file 08/06/2008- Letter of Intent 08/18/2008 -Received PA 08/27/2008- Cami's passport 08/29/2008-171-H Approval 10/23/2008- Dossier to China 11/04/2008 -Logged In Date 03/30/2009- LOSC 05/08/2009-Travel Approval 06/23/2009-Consulate Appt. 06/11/2009-Trip Begins 06/14/2009-Meet Dang Nan