Sunday, June 14, 2009

D-Day Finally Arrives

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

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Hours....

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.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Reaching Hohhot; Our First Day of Travel

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 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

And how do I know that?

Because that's how often traveling 3yo has to go 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
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

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....

Cami leaving home with apple in hand

anxiously awaiting to get on the plane

Cami and her travel buddy


another view

Relaxing in the hotel room

Monday, June 8, 2009

3 More Sleeps

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
she says that is what Delilah does.

So we shall see.......

Saturday, June 6, 2009 - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

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.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Less Than a 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".

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

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!