Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Last week when we made the plan to visit Chicago again to see the Dragon Boat Festival I purchased a GARMIN nüvi 200W to assist me in my travel. This thing is worth every cent I paid for it! It is large enough to see clearly from anywhere in the car and small enough to take with you when walking thanks to the internal battery.
Sarah posted about our trip to Giordano's Pizza... What she didn't tell you was the location we had planned to visit on South Wabash Avenue was closed for refurbishment. We had just parked the car nearby for a $12.00 fee and we wern't happy that pizza wasn't on the menu. I had the nüvi in my pocket so I looked up Giordano's and it was able to direct me to another location in walking distance right in the shadow of the Sears Tower.
Before we went to Giordano's, we visited Millenium Park. On the way there Sarah found a Poster Plus store. Inside she purchased a "Midsummer Light" but we were unable to carry it with us so the store held it for us until sunday morning. Sunday morning, a large section of Michigan Avenue was closed to traffic for a bicycle race so the nüvi was able to route us around the congestion and find an alternate route to the Museum of Science and Industry since most of the traffic that normally occupied Michigan Avenue was using Lake Shore Drive.
Upon returning home I got the chance to hook the nüvi up to my computer and I downloaded both English and Mandarin labeled maps of Taiwan to the unit. Now when we hit Taiwan we'll know if our taxi driver is taking us on an undocumented scenic route! The unit can even be configured to speak in Mandarin!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Friday afternoon we packed up and headed out, spending Saturday night at my grandparents' lake home along the way. Saturday morning we arrived in Chinatown and headed to Ping Tom Memorial park along the Chicago River. There were multiple teams sponsored by businesses and civic groups. One of the most enthusiastic groups I watched were the Chicago firefighters. Groups wore matching t-shirts and seemed like they were having a lot of fun. There were four boats, and two boats raced in each heat while the other two boats were being unloaded and reloaded with racing teams. The boats looked like large long wooden canoes and were decorated in bright colors with dragons on front. A person in back of the boat beat a drum to keep the rowers together. A person at the front stretched out over the front of the boat to grab the finish flag at the end of the race. There was also a pavilion with entertainment. I listened to some signers including a group of children from a Chinese Language School. They were pretty cute, and I knew one of the songs about two tigers!
We went shopping and bought three small embroidered art pieces for the nursery, a little light and dark pink Chinese outfit for Hannah, and some other miscellaneous items.
After a little napping in the air conditioned hotel room, we drove downtown to wander around Millennium Park and see the Cloud Gate sculpture. It's amazing! We have the neatest photographs of ourselves and the Chicago skyline.
Our hungry bellies took us to Giordano's for their famous stuffed Chicago style pizza. Oh my! That's a pizza pie!
We spent today at the Science and Industry museum. My feet are blistered and sore. We had a great time!
In adoption news, we got an e-mail from the adoption agency Friday night. They have all of our documents and are translating our dossier and state adoption laws. Everything will be sent to St. Lucy's on Monday or Tuesday. St. Lucy's takes about a week to review the documents and then they are filed in court. From here on, we most likely won't hear any news about any progress unless something is wrong. No news is good news. Never fear, we've got plenty of baby prep things to keep us busy (and blog about).
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Kevin called me at work today. He said, "You'll never believe what just happened. Your old computer just died." It displayed the Windows blue screen of death and everything. Man, oh man. I was a little worried for awhile. I knew my Outlook and our photos were moved to the new computer and backed up. Kevin had just finished transferring all of my digital scrapbooking kits and saved projects to the new computer yesterday. "What about all of my Microsoft Word documents?" My resume, important letters I've written, and my college work I'd really like to save was all on there. Kevin replied that he just finished moving all of that to the new computer last night. Wow. Wow, oh wow. My old computer bit the dust less than one day after we'd moved everything to the new computer. I still can't believe it.
In the above photo you can see my latest eBay auction item, a beautiful Baby Nay outfit for Hannah, gently used, size 9 months (designer runs small). I've been eBaying for some new favorite designers: Baby Nay, Mad Sky, and Oilily, in 6-12 month sizes. You can google these names if you want to see what they look like. I never dared to buy anything under 12-18 months before. These lines all have soft cotton outfits with Asian inspired designs. I've read that the babies at St. Lucy's are used to wearing very baggy soft cotton clothing, and some get really upset when you suddenly put them in rougher stiff fabrics like denim. Interestingly, I'm finding gently used designer clothes on eBay for less than what I've been paying for new Gymboree on sale, and when Hannah's done with these I can turn around and resell the ones in good condition right back on eBay. Oh well. The bidding is fun and it keeps me happy and busy as we wait... once again... some more.
So far this is the happier end of the wait. On this side of the referral, we know things are moving. We know that the agency and the orphanage are working for us to make us a family. It's all going to be just fine. People keep asking me how long? Dunno. I'm telling myself the long end of the spectrum. If we get to travel before Christmas, I'll be overjoyed.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
It's from Sherry! Sherry sent two packages inside the box, one for Hannah Claire and one for the older sister... the babydog Sedona. Heehee, yes... Sedona got a big sister gift as well.
Sherry wrote that Kobi helped her pick out this yellow halter style dress with pink trim and a matching raspberry colored shrug. Hannah Claire now has her first Dr. Seuss book titled "Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?" Sedona's little package contained a pink sequined collar with a raspberry colored flower with sparkly crystals in the center. It matches perfectly with Hannah's little outfit. I'm blown away from all that cuteness. Thank you so much, Sherry. It was a beautiful sunny day, so of course we had to go outside for a little photo session.
The babydog had a summer cut last week, so she looks a little different than some of her previous fluffy photos. Mama just hasn't had so much time for brushing lately. I have a feeling that this is a trend that will continue. As you can see, Kevin is just thrilled (yeah, right) about putting pink sequins and flowers on his dog. Get used to it, Kevin. You're gonna be an expert at piggy tails and barrettes pretty soon.
Monday, July 21, 2008
name = characters (click on link to hear it spoken) = pinyin = Chinese restaurant meaning?
So... this post is meant to ask our readers who know Mandarin to help us out. Did we figure out the pinyin correctly with the tone numbers? What do you think about these translations? I really don't understand how my characters that mean "a kind of sedge grass use anciently for raincoats" and "pull, drag; seize, hold; lengthen" can possibly translate into sweetheart... but what do I know?
Sorry... three posts in one day is a lot. We've just got lots of things to think about these days. Maybe my Chinese name should be "woman who blogs too much." Kevin says, "Maybe it is." We'll see.
Added 7/22/08 at 12:10pm: I'm learning now that our "Chinese names" were just transliterated names. They aren't meant to have meaning, but to sound like our names in English. Oh, and my name might mean salad! Oh well. There's worse things to be called than a salad!
Added 7/23/08 at 11:46am: Confirmed with another source, our names aren't meant to have meaning. And if you tried to make a meaning out of mine, I'm a grass salad. Oh well! There are worse things to have your transliterated Chinese name look like. My name could look like something like "rotten fish." Now that would be horrible.
I love this photo. The above photo is of Kevin and his mother behind my grandpa's speed boat. Aren't they cute? New knees put a lot of pep back into Hannah's grandma!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
We received this video May 29th, but we don't know what day it was filmed on. I'm assuming that it was filmed a week or two before May 29th.
Ohhh, it's tough being a baby! She's trying so hard to keep her head up in this video. Pretty good for a baby with an adjusted age of about two months, isn't it??? I'm very proud of our little bug's skills!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
And if you just have to have a chop for yourself after reading this post, here's a link where you can design and purchase your very own chop.
I can't resist. "Chop, chop! Let's get these documents back to Taiwan and logged into court!"
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Midday I checked on our FedEx package. It arrived at the Chicago TECO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office) at 10:40am, right on time. Yes!
I checked our e-mail before dinner. My heart skipped a beat when I read that I had a message from "teco chicago." Oh no. What now?
We just received your adoption documents today. However, we can't process your application due to the following reason: lack of copies of Kevin and Sarah's passport. Please e-mail or fax to us. Our fax number: (xxx) xxx-xxxx. Thanks.
(name removed), TECO in Chicago
ARG! This wasn't in our directions from our agency, and it wasn't on the TECO Chicago website. But... this is good. 1) They opened their mail and they're processing us quickly. 2) They'll have this information in their e-mail in box when they arrive at work tomorrow morning. 3) This means that the ONLY thing we're missing is copies of our passports, and everything else is okay. YAY! No big deal. But, to other Taiwan PAPs... make a note to send a copy of your passports to TECO with your documents. Oh, remember to put the check in the TECO mailer too... and try be nice to your husband when you're nervous about important adoption paperwork. (cheesy smile for Kevin)
KB and I will have to declare this documents race a tie. We both got our documents in and out at pretty much the exact same time. Way to go! High five to you, KB! Woohoo!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
We used their phone book to find a FedEx/Kinkos. Nearest one was on Monument Circle, the heart of Indianapolis. It was a beautiful but really warm day. We took some photos in front of the monument with our big pink folder that contains all of our precious adoption documents. We spent at least an hour at FedEx/Kinkos making copies, writing a cover letter to TECO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office) in Chicago, and mailing off the precious package next day air. We left the store at 3:30pm and it's supposed to arrive at TECO Chicago before 11am tomorrow. Amazing! There's a prepaid mailer inside, so hopefully TECO Chicago processes our paperwork quickly and FedExes it back to our agency ASAP so we can get going and get our case logged into court in Taiwan.
I was very nervous making copies, worrying that we'd forget something. I don't think I was so nice to my husband. I'm sorry, sweetie. I was just so nervous that we'd mess this up. Thanks for not being overly grouchy with me. I "loveada" you.
Well, we almost did mess up. We had the envelope all sealed and ready to ship out when Kevin remembered, "Wait! Did you put the check to TECO in there?" TECO charges fifteen dollars a document to authenticate them. Whoops. I forgot. Good thing we're a team.
No pictures tonight. Of course I'll post more later. We're away from home, spending tomorrow at the lake before Kevin's mom, dad, and grandma go back home to Florida. Hope to spend some good quality time on a floating raft in the lake tomorrow with an adult beverage in hand.
Contracts in, and now contracts out. Big sigh of relief tonight. Just hope that we did it all correctly.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
We have encountered a little problem with our documents. Our homestudy cover sheet and update sheet has an incorrect birth year for me. It says I'm seven years older than I am. Apparently adopting has aged me seven years, in addition to turning Kevin's hair "gray and brown" instead of just brown.
Tomorrow we're calling the homestudy agency first thing to see who to proceed before we head to the Indiana Secretary of State's office for authentication. The homestudy agency and secretary of state's office are both in Indianapolis, so hopefully we can take seven years off my age AND get the homestudy authenticated TOMORROW, so we can ship everything off to TECO in Chicago.
My homegirl KB got her documents today too, so we're neck to neck in our race to see who can get their documents back to our agency first. Kevin got our oil changed today, and we're ready to zoooooooom down to Indy!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Kevin's family came home Sunday with a border collie puppy. The little girl still doesn't have a name, but "Bell" and "Jordan" are in the running. She's quite cute and has had make "good potty" several times, but she isn't used to being alone and cries if she's in her crate all alone and can't see a person. It breaks my heart to hear the puppy cry, but we're quick to reassure her and down next to her crate when she fusses.
Our next door neighbors' house is nicknamed the zoo because they have multiple dogs, two cats, and a guinea pig. Sedona is scared of their wiener dogs, but she looooooves to watch the guinea pig. The guinea pig and her momma came over to play with the doggies tonight in our yard, and we discovered that the border collie puppy loves the guinea pig as well. She's only eight weeks old, but you can see her instincts to herd the guinea pig and Sedona. The cat "Cookie" didn't like the idea of being herded by a border collie puppy, and very quickly put the puppy in her place!
We still don't have any July updates for little Ching-Ling. Contracts are being worked on by the agency, but no word yet when they'll be in the mail. The nursery is getting painted PINK when the family heads home. I'm excited to start that project. Surely outfitting the nursery will keep us busy while our adoption case heads into court.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Washing and drying babysocks in my washer and dryer for the first time was quite an experience. I'm so glad that I put them in a delicate bag to keep them from getting lost!
(photo of message on the doll has been edited, removing family names for privacy)
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I had written immigration a letter explaining that we couldn't come at the time of our scheduled appointment, and requested that we be fingerprinted at the time of our INFOPASS appointment. I had sent the photo of Hannah Claire with my request to USCIS as a cute extra encouragement to allow us to be fingerprinted at this time. If they didn't want to fingerprint us today, the backup plan was for Mommy to start crying over cute baby photos. Luckily no tears were needed, we got in for fingerprinting without a hitch, and we turned in our request for the free renewal of our I171-H along with our updated homestudy.
The funny story about the experience came when Kevin was getting fingerprinted. The woman looked at his application, and looked at him, and said that there was one problem with the information we filled out. She said that his hair was checked brown, when it was really GRAY and brown, and that she'd have to check both boxes to describe his hair color. Apparently the last 18 months of waiting for Hannah Claire have turned Daddy's hair GRAY and brown instead of just brown. I laughed and laughed! Kevin says that the story gets better each time I tell it, but maybe he just gets grumpier each time I tell it. We won't comment on Mommy's current hair color. Only her hairdresser knows those secrets.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
I refer to the photo to the left above as Hannah's "Tai Chi" photo.
My friend KB (private blog) and I have had referrals and approvals in the same batch. She's started calling me her future mother-in-law as well. I know, my girl's so cute and will have such great parents that the boys are circling already. (joke) Anyway, KB has challenged us to a race to see who can get their contracts notarized, authenticated by the secretary of state, TECOed, and back to the agency first. I asked Kevin tonight if he's up for a race, and he says we can take 'em. The race is on!
Kevin's parents, maternal grandmother, and brother arrived yesterday and are visiting us from Florida for the next week and a half. It's really neat that they got to be here for the big news! I work up this morning to find this news in my in-box and screamed a little. Kevin's brother was in the computer room and looked at me kinda funny, and asked if that was good news. YES! I wandered through the house wondering where everyone was. Kevin, his mother, and grandmother were sitting out on the back porch hanging out in the morning sun. I came up behind him, kissed his cheek, and whispered into his ear, "We're approved!" Kevin started crying. Mom and Grandma are like, "What??? What???" Then I told them what was happening and there was all kinds of shrieking and hugs. Kevin's brother gave Kevin two thumbs up through the window. Hee hee! Grandpa is all smiles this morning as well.
I called my sister with the news. My parents are away fishing this week... and I can't reach them on the cell, and left a message at the cabin rental place. I hope they deliver the two word message: WE'RE APPROVED.
I'll be posting more pics most likely later today. I don't have much time and have to get ready for work... but of course I had to share this photo with you. We're in love with that sweet little face.
I'm hearing off all sorts of other good news that has come out of St. Lucy's this week as well, with more approvals and rulings. Congratulations to all of these families as they overcome hurdles to bring them together.
What's the next step? Getting contracts notarized, authenticated, and back to Taiwan ASAP so we can get our court case underway in Taiwan to make us her legal parents. But... from this point on... we know that everything's gonna be okay, and it feels like this HUGE weight has been lifted off our shoulders.
Monday, July 7, 2008
One first class postage stamp: 42 cents
Any news of our little one in Taiwan: Priceless!
Today Marina writes, "Lora and I did see ________ today! She was darling sleeping. I swear she grew this week a little. She kinda woke up and did a big stretch yawn with her whole body and her arms went up over her head and then went back to sleep and Lora and I both said, Awwww..."
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Monday Marina wrote that she saw our family's photos and homestudy folder sitting right on top of a desk in the office and it looked like someone was working on our file. This made me feel so great to know that something's happening. Marina got to play with a lot of the older babies, but our sweet little thing is still in the little baby area and not out playing with the older babies.
Tuesday Marina tells me that she got to see her though a window. Marina writes, "Oh my goodness what an angel. She kinda looks like you - weird isn't it? These babies are meant to be ours - I truely believe that. Sarah - I'm almost certain that I did see her. She was lying on her tummy and lifting her head to look at me. She was the only one doing that."
Wednesday Marina writes, "Guess what? I saw your baby today! We went to the little baby room but she was sleeping - and they didn't want me to hold her then. BUMMER! I looked at her through the window though! Oh my goodness she is more teeny tiny than you can imagine. I mean really - she is SO little! I stood and stared for maybe five minutes watching her sleep - they must think I'm crazy. She is about 5,000 times cuter in real life than in the pictures - and she is darn cute in the pictures!!! But in real life she seems like a little sleeping angel. It looked like she was wearing a size 3-6 month clothes and the sleeves were all rolled up so to not cover her hands. It was way too big for her. That is how small she is. I asked how much she weighs and they said about 5 kilos. Her little crib was yellow and way over on the left hand of the nursery. She is lovely. I'm going to take a peek at her again tomorrow."
Thursday Marina writes, "I got to go downstairs again and asked if they would hold her up to the window. She was not in her crib. They went and got her and held her up to the window. She was awake!! She looked more like the picture when she is awake, but still so incredibly small. Her feet are half the size of my thumb. They opened the door and I touched her foot and said, "Mommy and Daddy love you so much - they can't wait to come and bring you home." And she was listening to me and then kicked her legs. Her eyes are BEAUTIFUL. She is darling. So tiny."
Since our referral, I've been having problems sleeping. Really strange because I NEVER used to have sleeping problems. My mind races thinking about her and I can't lay down. I especially worry about our little preemie growing and eating like she should. Guess I never had anything really important to worry about before! It's so so so late. Tonight I know our little one is safe, happy, GROWING, and surrounded by love. Now I can sleep, for tonight at least.