Friday, November 1, 2013

Lets try this again...and again.

I keep losing posts, so lets try this again.
I'll keep it brief since I am sick of rewriting everything. The short version is we have now hzd our boy for 5 days now, and each day is a little better than the one before.  In many ways, Eli is like nora was, but at hyper speed ans without the super hard grieving. He loves his daddy, but is slowly warming up to me. I'm sure it would be faster if we didnt have nora here pushing him away everytime he tries to touch me.  We're finding ways of working it out, though.  Today he took the initiative to sit on my lap for a minute and smile at me.  It was amazing.
Yesterday we visited his orphanage. It was a great, but very tough experience. So many babies. So many older kids.  Thie good thing is that when the nannys tried to hold him he reached for kevin and was not interested in being with them.  It also seemed to help him stop bunching me with all the other female caretakers he has had, and he is rejecting me less.
in addition to that, yesterday was also a day where I was sicker than I have been in years.  Thanks McDonald's.  I was in bed after the visit flucuating between worry that I might die, and worry that I might live.  I was too weak to open a pack of crackers and got very dehydrated.  Im feeling better, though still very weak.
Tomorrow we leave for Guangzhou,  thank goodness.  I wish ihad better feelings for ZZ, since its where we met our kids, but I always get sick here, and this time its jbeen rainy which makez it hard to get outside the hotel.  Also they're doing construction on the hotel and the playroom is gone.  Once agzin we are left to let our kids run the hallways ans bug the businessmen.  Oh well.
Before I finish, I'll write about Eki, since that is what people want to hear about.  He is a solid tank of a boy.  I never expected our son to have a belly and thighs, but he has both in abundance.  He definiteky has a strong temper, but is usually quite good about sharing and not touching thi gs he shouldn't.   For now, he hates baths more than death, so we have the smelly kid.  He has almost all his teeth and give ux great smiles.  He sleeps very soundly and easily (hallelujah!!) In his crib (double hallelujah!!).  He loves his jiejie, but doesnt like her trying to climb on Kevin.  Hes kind of a linebacker and just powers through things.  I keep wqiting for the other shoe to drop, but it seems like he is just dealing with all this new stuff in stride.  Im afraid we have gotten the two cutest kids in china. 
More pictures and some video soon, I hope.  They're waking up, so its time to play uteruses before duderuses with Nora.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Back in Beijing

Jen here. We arrived safe and sound at about 12 am last night. Nora did surprisingly well on the flight, sleeping for over half of the 12 hour trip. I, unfortunately, did not get much of any sleep. In fact,  I have only gotten about 3 hours of sleep since Wednesday and its starting to affect me more than a little bit.
Things feel so much different this time.  We returned to places we came last time and they haven't really changed.  It's odd being in a city that we know so little about and be able to recognize where you are while driving down the road.
I'm too tired for detailed stories,  so will say that today was a great day. We got stuck for hours in holiday traffic, saw the changing leaves at the great wall, helped Nora use a sqatty potty, and finaly met the woman who helped take care of nora while she was here. can't believe we're in beijing again! Tomorrow we fly to Henan and get ready to meet our babies.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Off We Go Again: Good Dry Run, Everybody

Kevin post!  Huzzah.

Sorry for any errors. I'm trying out the Blogger app for our new tablet.

We were there. Bags packed, final moments of hours of panic starting to fade, we had everything we needed (we hoped) packed into two large suitcases and three smaller bags. Oh, and our daughter.  Our hurried last-minute cramming session was starting to seem like we could almost call it a happy memory when we got to the airport and were gently informed that our flight doesn't leave until tomorrow.

A brief moment of frustration gave way to the realization that by our own stupidity we were given the gift of an extra 24 hours to, you know, breathe. It also then dawned on me that I would have to call my dad and tell him to come right back to the airport and pick us up. Oops.

I'm going to just keep repeating to myself that according to our social worker and the government of China, I am supposedly a competent parent that poses no danger to my children. 

Oh well, we're packed well ahead of time, this time at least. :-)

More later. 

Monday, July 22, 2013


Remember how I asked people to stop talking to us about the adoption until we get LOA?  Well you all did perfectly at that task, which is now over!

WE HAVE LOA!!!!!!!

I got the email about an hour after that last post.

The Sound of Silence

Remember how upset I was in the last post?  How hard a time I was having with us being at day 57 of our LOA wait and no news?  Well, today is now day 123.

I had no idea we would ever be waiting so long.  The government office that issues approvals over there switched computer systems.  In typical fashion, there were no plans on how to keep things moving if the new system had any glitches.  In typical fashion, there were many glitches.  Approvals all but ceased for almost 2 months.  I don't even want to know how far behind this has put them.  That's a lie, I want to know something... anything about what is going on with our paperwork.

Last month we had a lovely scare in the form of a fellow adoptive parent who was at PeiSong's orphanage and had to show proof of MMR vaccination since there was an outbreak of measles there.  We got worried, and tried to find out what was going on. I kept telling myself that it was ok.  That our boy had been vaccinated, certainly.  I looked at his paperwork (I rarely look at anything about him that we have since it just makes the wait harder) and broke down in sobs when I saw the box for MMR was blank.  He hadn't been vaccinated and he was in the same building as the highly contagious disease.  We had to talk about things like mortality rates and how much higher they were in his situation (in the double digits vs. the .5% here).  We waited for almost a week for our agency to find out what was going on.  They told us that it was only 1 child and our boy was not the affected child.  Of course, that conflicts with the information we had gotten from the mom who was there, but there was nothing we could do.  There is still nothing we can do.

Our agency requested an update over a month ago.  We still haven't gotten one.  We are still left with those 4 little pictures as our only connection to our son.

All we have is unanswered questions.  I want to believe that there is a reason for all this, but I don't know that I will ever know what it is.  With silence surrounding us on all sides I have lost all hope of answers anytime soon...or ever, really.

I know it sounds melodramatic and I know people want to cheer me up.  I realize that comments like, "Man, you should just go over there and get him!" are said with good intentions, but the only thing that will help right now is getting our approval.

When we accepted this little boy I was quite certain we would be traveling in August.  It was a conservative time frame and LOAs were coming in relatively fast.  We would now be lucky to go in October.  Realistically, since we are moving and have to update our information with immigration, it is not out the the range of possibilities for us to have to wait until November or December to travel.  It makes me sick.  It makes me angry.  It makes we want to scream.  We are missing another 2 months of our son's life all because of red tape.  It's like the hospital keeping your newborn from coming home for 2 months because the doctor hasn't signed the birth certificate.  One signature.  One.  That is what we are waiting for.

To those who would wish to know what they could do or say to help, please know I love you and appreciate you, but I can't handle talking about the adoption anymore.  I can't keep saying we have heard nothing.  I can't keep nodding when you say how unfair it is.  I can't repeat the process we need to go through before we can actually get on a plane .  I can't force a smile when you assure me it will all be worth it.  I especially can't stay in the room when you talk about your pregnancy or how you understand because you were a week overdue and it was terrible.  Despite the waiting factor, this is not like pregnancy. 

I assure you, when we actually have anything to share, we will.  For now, just assume my silence mirrors China's and let's talk about something, anything else.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Another month

The short version is that we have at least another month before we get our LOA. 

The longer version is that we are still not out of translation, at least that our agency has heard, and it takes around 4 weeks to get LOA after the translation is complete.  Many who are a month behind us in this wait are now passing us by, completing their translation and looking forward to their LOA arriving any day.  There is a chance that we have completed translation and our agency just hasn't been notified.  I really don't think that's the case though.

You see, we are not short line people.  We had to wait 3 years to even start the paperwork for Nora's adoption, we had an 89 day wait for her LOA when the averages were in the 60 day range.  Some people are lucky and get things quickly.  We are not those people.

The short line people like to remind you that things will get better and to keep your chin up.  They tell you it will all be worth it once you are holding your child in your arms.  That you will forget the wait.  That you will surely hear something very soon.  Long line people know that the intention is good, but the words sting.  It is very easy to tell someone a wait will be over once you are through it.  It's easy to tell someone to keep their chin up and stay positive when the numbers have been on your side.  I do realize that the waiting is not forever, but I also know from personal experience that the wait is not forgotten.  It's worth it, but I felt every one of those 89 days, and I still do.  I am now feeling the addition of these 47.

It's easy to spout of trite things like "Just breathe" and joke about a child being in "long distance daycare" when it's not you in the middle of it.  I learned many years ago that all feelings are valid and are allowed to be felt.  My feelings are ok, even if they aren't happy or positive.  Most of the time they are, but right now I feel very like the weather outside my window.  Cloudy, stormy, and angry.

You see, all the positive affirmations in the world don't change the fact that I am missing days, weeks, months of my child's life because someone with my paperwork took a day off, or just didn't feel motivated enough to get around to my work.  I will miss first steps and first words because to that person I am just another stack of papers.  I will have to survive on 2 pages of info and 4 pictures of my boy for another month or more rather than holding him because I got lost in the shuffle of bureaucracy.

I realize people just want to say something to make it better, anything to make the load a little lighter, and I appreciate the intent.  I just wish that people would take a minute before telling me to "just smile through it" and imagine having a month with your child taken from you.  All their smiles, all their tears, all the hugs and silly things they do gone.  To be told to be happy and stay positive while you are missing so much.  Yes, there will be other days and eventually he will be ours and we will be his, but even when we are brought together, I will occasionally grieve the time we have lost. It just sucks, and that's really all you can say.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Waiting, waiting.

When we adopted Nora, there was so much waiting that it almost drove me nuts!  Particularly rough was our Letter of Approval (LOA) wait.  At the time, the waits were reaching 100+ days for some, and 30 days for others.  We ended up with LOA on day 89.  By that point there is no real celebration, just relief coupled with anger.  Anger that it took so long, anger that there is no way of knowing why you weren't one of the lucky ones with a short wait, anger that your child had to wait another month for their family, and anger that another month of your child's life is lost to you.  There really is no rhyme or reason to the LOA wait.  Some people have short waits, some have long and there is no way of knowing if you will get the email tomorrow or a month from now.

We are now on day 40 of our LOA wait.  A couple weeks ago there were loads of people getting LOA after only 30 or so days, and the average wait had gone down to about 60 days.  I had hoped that we would be one of the lucky ones this time around.  That we would have a shorter wait since we had such a long one last time.  That the universe would see that after all the stress we had to endure just to lock our boy's file we deserved to get in the short line.  I had hoped, but deep down I know that is not for us.  For whatever reason, we are not short-line people.  I really don't expect that we will get our approval until mid/late May at the earliest.

The wait is easier and harder this time.  Easier because I have a (mostly) sweet little girl to occupy my time with and remind me that the end of this paperwork is completely worth it.  It's easy to fill my days and not spend too much time torturing myself about how long this is all taking.

It's also so much harder.  Harder because I have a hilarious little spitfire who learns so many new things each day and reminds me how much I am missing by not having our boy with us.  Harder because there are new parents all around me with their beautiful little babies reminding me that I can never experience the birth and first 16 months of my own children.  And so much harder because, while we got an update and new pictures of Nora a couple weeks after getting PA, we still have only the pictures and information from PeiSong's file that we received 2 months ago.  4 pictures.  2 pages.  All of which are 6 months old.  That is the extent of the knowledge I have of my son.  He turned 1 last month and I have no idea whether the day was acknowledged in any way or not.  I don't know if he is standing or taking his first steps, I don't know what his first word was.  I don't know if he has a full head of hair or if he is still covered in peach fuzz.  I don't know if or when we will get any update on him, but if we do I will have to deal with the shock of picture proof that I have missed a year.  I also don't know how his health is and if he is having any issues.  It's a lot to not know.

What I do know is that eventually that approval will come and eventually we will get on a plane and go get our son.  This time we know better about how the process works.  I know where I can push, and I will most certainly be visiting Eagle's Wings so that Nora's other family can see how well she is doing.  Perhaps her Ayis will see her silliness and nod to each other saying that she was always a bit of a show-off.  Perhaps we will learn more about her time there and be able to answer her questions better as she grows up.  At the very least I can hug the wonderful women who helped raise my sweet girl, if only for a short time, and tell them what it means to me to have her in my life.  I also know that I will insist upon these same things with PeiSong's orphanage.  Someday I will be able to tell him from my own memories what his caretakers were like and how they loved him.

I know that eventually I will be back to those early panicky days of not knowing anything about what my child likes and needs and I will mess up, and I will eventually cling to the few things I get right and build on it until we can come to an understanding of each other.  I will always look back on those months I didn't get to spend with my children with regret, but I will have the days together to sweeten their bitterness and make me appreciate it all the more.  Until then, I'll just keep staring at those 4 pictures and re-reading those 2 pages and hoping.