Monday, June 30, 2008

Double Fortune

If you're having trouble reading the journaling on the scrapbook page, it reads: 6/29/08 - We went out for lunch today at our neighborhood Chinese restaurant. When the fortune cookies came after our meal, we were very surprised to discover that we had the same fortune!

The fortune reads: Good things are coming to you in due course of time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Story time: "I Wished for You"

Last week Janalee sent me a very special children's book titled "I Wished for You" by Marianne Richmond. It's so beautiful that I wanted to read it to you. I treasure it, and hope that it's special to you too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June pictures (updated cute non-identifying double chin)

Scrapbook journaling reads: "June 25, 2008 - We went to Target tonight to buy you a duplicate of the doll we are sending to you at St. Lucy's. When we arrived home we were overjoyed to find new photos of you in our e-mail. We saw your smile for the first time. Mommy cried tears of joy while Daddy forwarded the pictures to your grandmas and grandpas." Also, "There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved."

I'm in love with that smile. My heart sings. Goodnight, sleep tight. I love you, little one, with all my might.

USCIS returned the check

Ya'll are right. My homestudy agency was wrong. USCIS returned my check and says that the one time fingerprint renewal is free. BUT, THEY DID NOT MAKE US A NEW FINGERPRINT APPOINTMENT AS REQUESTED IN OUR LETTER. Grrr. I'm following KB's lead and made us a Infopass appointment at the Indianapolis USCIS office for Thursday, July 10th. I'll bring my passport, copy of my expiring I-171H, my fingerprints (good thing they're attached!), and a photo of a beautiful double chinned baby as insurance in case I need to cry and plead. My inlaws are visiting for two weeks, and we'll bring them with us so they can watch us jump through hoops to bring home their granddaughter. Now we get to keep the $160 to buy several bowls of Taiwanese beef and noodles, a few dozen tea eggs, stinky tofu on a stick... as well as plenty leftover for a Gymboree shopping spree. YAY!

Our girl's got skillz!

I haven't been able to sleep the last two nights, up worrying about getting this match formally approved... and wondering how our little ray of sunshine is growing and learning.

We received a developmental checklist this morning that was DATED JUST YESTERDAY that makes my heart sing. I already knew that she could hold her head up from the video... but it's so reassuring to have a little list with everything checked off in the 2-3 month old section and half of the items checked off in the 4-6 month section. Pretty good for a preemie peanut with an adjusted age of 2.5 months! Our girl's got skillz!

If you're interested, here's a link with info about using an adjusted age for a preemie.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

can't sleep

I can't sleep. It's 2:26pm in Taiwan. I wonder what she's doing right now... and can't get those lovely eyes, double chin, and fuzzy head out of my mind. Is she playing? Sleeping? Eating? Getting her diaper changed?

Our last pictures are from April 15th. She's most likely grown and changed so much since then, and we're missing it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Notes from Grandma

Today I received a blog comment in a way I never had before. Imagine my suprise when I opened my mail box outside and had a letter from my Grandmother.

I love getting notes from her and I wanted to share this one with you. Her internet connection is still on dial-up and I'm happy she puts up with 56K long enough to read Sarah's blog which is more suited for broadband viewing.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Kevin and Sedona in the tub!

we're still not criminals...

We sent a letter today with a $160 check to the "U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service" requesting to be refingerprinted... well, they call it "biometric scanning," in Indianapolis. Our prints expire in a month. Feels like we were just there! We need updated fingerprints to refile our I600A to extend our I-171H. Most people's fingerprints don't change while waiting for an international adoption... but my left index finger is still sporting a new groove and lingering loss of sensation since a kitchen mishap in January.

I have a feeling this is just the beginning of an onslaught of paperwork to come soon so we can get the ball rolling and get our little peanut home. Bring on the prayers that staff at St. Lucy's will review and approve our family soon. Thank you.

Updated at 6:15pm:
We have to be refingerprinted because the fingerprints expire after 15 months, not because of the kitchen mishap. :) I talked to my homestudy agency today before I wrote the letter for the fingerprint appointment. They told me that yes, we'd have to pay again to be fingerprinted, but wouldn't have to pay for the one time extension. My homestudy agency said they didn't know if you could make an infopass appointment online for refingerprinting. I've read online that some USCIS offices let you make fingerprinting appointments online and some don't. Of course, the USCIS website isn't helpful enough to clarify things like this. We'd rather not drive hours to Indianapolis and then find out that they won't fingerprint us and send us home. We'll just write a letter nice letter. I know someone who wrote to the Indianapolis office this month and got a letter back one week later with their fingerprint appointment. I'm not worried. There's plenty of time. It's all good. Cindy, I know several families in-process that were given referral information before they had formal approval.

Updated 7:17pm
I already sent the letter with the check. The homestudy agency swears that we'll have to pay for the fingerprinting only but not the huge renewal fee. Oh well. I don't care about $160 as long as we get to bring our daughter home. If USCIS doesn't want the money, maybe they'll just give me my check back. Maybe I'll show them a cutie patootie picture of a double chinned baby in Taiwan and they'll say, "Here's your check... and let's all ditch work early here at USCIS and hit the mall with that money instead because this baby girl looks like she needs some bargains at the Semi-Annual Big Red Balloon sale going on now at Gymboree." Sure... that could happen, right? We're still choosing not to share photos online until after formal orphanage approval. Ya'll will just have to start praying with us to be approved SOON for this little one who's already ours in our hearts.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

I cried big ugly tears in the store while picking out Kevins' first Father's Day card. I think he liked it from the grin on his face. I took Kevin stroller shopping for Father's Day. I'm not liking the Peg P3 as much as I hoped because it's hard for me to fold and unfold. For a lightweight umbrella, I really like the quick and easy fold of the Combi Cosmo EX. The Maclarens come in all sorts of pretty colors and are so lightweight, but the Combi just seems so easy, light, and snaps right into place. One swift move and you're ready to roll.

We went out for dinner with my side of the family to celebrate Father's Day. It was fun to share video of our little one with my sister. Our little girl is on her tummy holding up her head watching and listening to a rattle. Then she scrunches up her face and lays her head down. It's tough being a baby and holding your chin up! Um... how many times do you think I've watched that video? Let's just say it's well over a hundred.

We've been geekin' it up this weekend. Kevin downloaded the first season of CBS's "The Big Bang Theory," a new CBS comedy that aired on Monday nights this past year. Lots of sci-fi, fantasy, and role playing game humor. Very cute little show. Reminds me a lot of "Friends" except the characters are geeks.

No word on approval yet from St. Lucy's. I'm not freaking out yet, thanks so many people that messaged me and reassured me that it took about a month for them. I'm not really looking forward to the point where the ball is our court to get contracts notarized, authenticated... sent to TECO, and back to the agency all just right and as quickly as possible.

This week I need to figure out how to make another USCIS fingerprint appointment in Indianapolis as our immigration fingerprints expire in a little over a month. Fun fun fun.

Friday, June 13, 2008

"You want one of those?"

Hey everyone, I just got back from the Florida visit with my parents. I had a good time while I was there and Sedona is very happy to see that I came back. (Warning: I'm not Sarah. I don't have fancy photos or scrapbooking in my posts!)

Yesterday we decided it would be fun to end the visit on a fun trip to the beach. We went to a very nice beach near Tampa, slathered on the sunscreen and went for a swim in the warm salty waters of the bay.

My niece was overjoyed to show off her new swimming moves to anyone who would watch. On one occasion I lifted her up on my shoulders to get a better view. She promptly started telling me "Go THAT way Uncle Kevin! THAT way!" I asked her what had her so worked up and she said, "Fish! Don't you see the fish?" I looked and I could barely see the little brown fish lazily swimming near the surface. My niece then started yelling, "Go get it.... Faster! Faster! Get the fish!" I tried to wade to the fish but he was much faster in the water than I was. She had a mixed emotion of disappointment and wonder. She really wanted me to catch a fish for her.

We got out of the water and went to a concession stand to get a little lunch and while we were eating the weather changed and it was just about ready to rain. We decided it was time to go home before the rain soaked our beach.

My niece wasn't pleased in the slightest. She was bound and determined that she was going to go for another swim and started a little commotion. She cried for Grandma and told her Mommy that Grandma would let her swim. I could see the embarrassment in my Sister's face as she took my niece by the hand and promptly started to escort the unhappy girl back to the car.

At this point my younger brother's girlfriend looked at me and joked "You want one of those?"

Yes, I do.

The good the bad and the ugly. Bring it on. Parenting won't always be roses, but I know I'll get my share of "Daddy! Catch that fish!" moments that will make it worth enduring the "I don't want too!" moments.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

honeymooning and the first care package

I think I'm still in the honeymoon phase with all of this. It's been so fun to tell people these past few weeks about getting matched with our little girl! There's still some acquaintances that don't know yet... and it's been exciting to tell them a piece of good news when they ask "Do you have your baby yet?" again for the zillionth time.

This little one is so loved by so many already... it makes me cry just thinking about it. Here's an example.
An adoptive mother I know through work has been a cheerleader for me. It was so sweet when I got to tell her the news... she was so excited. Her little child about age five was with her, and was puzzled when mama started crying when talking to this lady. Mama explained, "Miss Sarah is adopting a baby girl. She hasn't seen her yet but she loves her very much already." And the little child's eyes opened wide, "Her baby is being adopted just like me?" We explained that's right... that Miss Sarah is going to be this baby's forever mommy just like you are to your forever mommy... and the child broke out this huge smile! The whole conversation was so touching. A few days later... she came in again with the child and brought a baby blanket and one of the most touching notes I've ever received. (Gotta take a tissue break... tears are flowing again.) Okay. If you can't read the photo... it says, "Baby Hannah Claire, What a lucky girl you are. You have floated like a feather from heaven to earth into the arms of your parents. You were loved before you were even born - both by your family and by God. Welcome!"
I put together our first little care package. The peacock toy has crinkled textures, a squeaky, taggies, and a mirror. There's a pink and brown lovey blanket with lots of textured taggie ribbon. I sent two onesie, one from Daddy and one from Mommy. Daddy's says, "pretty girl. clever girl. daddy's girl." It's especially meaningful to me because one of her characters directly translates to mean clever. Mommy's onesie has a ruffle butt.
My peonies have just finished blooming. I love peonies... just wish they bloomed a little longer.
Thanks again for all of the sweet comments and personal e-mails!

P.S. Who woulda thunkit... there's such a thing as a KATE SPADE DESIGNER STROLLER?!?!? Crazy!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Shopping for a stroller is more difficult than buying a car.

Until Thursday, I had no idea that shopping for a stroller is more difficult than buying a car.

Buying a car is pretty easy. You can read reviews online, then go test drive one at dealerships located very closet to home. There's always very friendly staff and the dealership that would be more than happy to show you all of the bells and whistles on every vehicle in the lot and even treat you to a Coke while you shop. Once you find the car you want, just pick your color or have the dealership order the color you want.

Strollers. (Sigh.) There's no place that sells a lot of strollers close to my house. I can read reviews about them online but have problems finding an actual store where I can do a test drive. There's rarely anyone at the store to help you figure out how to fold them. If two college educated women can't figure out how to fold a stroller after trying for ten minutes, I don't want to buy that one. The stores that sell strollers don't let you take them outside to check for road noise or to see if they fit nicely in your trunk.

I'm going to have to refer the stroller selection to Kevin for his technical advice.

The "Moms Gone Wild" shopping extravaganza started off with a blast at Babies R Us. Amy and I checked out every stroller, picked out infant toys to send in the first AND second care packages to my little ray of sunshine, and I burst into tears when I saw a little white top in the Independence Day section for $4 that said "I love the USA" in red sequins. My little girl also got some onesies with ruffles on the butt that make me smile. We went out for Chinese, of course. Had to build up our energy to Gymboree, Baby Gap, and Target. I found the cutest white eyelet dress on the sale rack that would be beautiful for photos taken barefoot in the grass or on a beach.

Updated 11:53am for the stroller experts:
Right now I have my eyes on a Peg Perego P3... in Revi Orange for Kevin of course. Kevin buys everything orange... shirts, hats, shorts, etc. I wouldn't let him buy his Honda Element in orange, so maybe he could have a orange stroller instead. I'm liking the construction of the wheels and I like the idea of a harness that allows for more movement. I've read many don't like the basket on the bottom, and the cupholder is dinky. I figure there's got to be bigger cupholder attachments out there, right?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

blessed by blogging buddies

Thank you for all of the sweet comments and e-mails we have received this week. Kevin's away in Florida going to Disney, Universal, seeing Blue Man Group... and I'm here at home with the babydog enjoying all of your messages. Never fear, I have my own fun planned too. I have a "Moms Gone Wild" baby shopping extravaganza planned for tomorrow with my friend Amy. When she learned that Kevin planned to stay in Florida two weeks she wrote, "I think that it is only fair that you take out your frustrations on your credit cards - specifically on Thursday with oh-so cute baby clothes =). That will teach him !!!"

We've also received some very special little packages in the mail. This one is from fellow Hoosier Vonne. I've never met her or even talked to her on the phone, but Vonne has been a sweet source of encouragement this past year. She sent a pink and brown hand knit baby blanket, hat, and booties for our baby girl. She also sent a watercolor painted by Tisra, a fellow Taiwan PAP, titled "Bond of Perfection." You can buy a print of the painting here on Etsy.

Last Friday before Kevin left for Florida, he arrived at my place of work with a huge box. I jokingly gasped, "Oh no, it might be a pipe bomb! Get it out of here!" The girls at work all know the story about Rebecca thinking that the Pocky package I sent her from Japan was a pipe bomb... and thought it was pretty funny. I opened the box to discover the sweetest little pink and brown outfit with booties! BOOTIES!!! These are Hannah Claire's first pair of booties! There's also a beautiful dressy outfit, a book about Taiwanese cooking, as well as a feeding set.

Bloggy friend KB sent a hand made bib, plush rattle block, and a luggage tag for Hannah Claire's suitcase. No pipe bomb in that package either. Just sweet baby goodness!

And this is a handmade taggie blanket that I bought to send in our little one's first care package. I think it's sweet. I hope she likes it and finds it as comforting as I did my "night night" blanket I had as a child.

pay it foward blogging gift exchange

The week before our referral came I signed up on Kelli's blog for a fun little online gift exchange called "pay it forward." Kelli's a fellow Hoosier that is anticipating a referral of a baby boy in Vietnam that could come any time now. I love sending little gifts and thought this would be fun. What's really neat is that Kelli's package arrived at our house the day of our referral. We were trying to decide what frame to put our little ladybug's photo in when the package arrived. She sent this photo frame that says "believe" that is just perfect for my nightstand. Sorry, still had to blur the photo with a ladybug. Kelli also sent a mix CD with inspiring music for adopting parents. This CD was our boat ride music out on the water with the family Memorial Day weekend. Thanks, Kelli!

Now it's my turn to send out some goodies, so here are the rules. I will send a gift (of my choosing!) to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this exchange. You must make the same pledge on your blog. So, if you'd like something fun from me and you are willing to do the same on your blog, let me know! Please make sure you leave your blog address and email in the comment. Because I will need your snail mail address to send you your gift, I will use the comment to e-mail you and get your snail mail address!