Monday, October 31, 2011

The Best Halloween!

No, we do not have our LOA yet. Today is day 70, so it probably wont be for another couple weeks. Hopefully sooner.

First, allow me to thank those who offered kind words after my last post, it really means a lot and does help. Like I said, some days are good, some are bad.

Today looked like it was going to be bad. I follow a chinese adoption forum and several people got their LOA's today. When this happens I am torn between being happy that SOMEONE got something and jealous that it wasn't us. I'm only human, after all.

Then, I opened my email to get a link to the best Halloween present of all time! Talk about treat!

Looks like she got her care package :)

Is she making her ducky give kisses to the photos? Let's say yes.

I need to switch places with that ducky right now!

We needed this. We needed it very badly, myself especially. Then, just when I thought I could keep it together, I see there is a little video included (I hope I can make this work):

She is walking! Taking her first hesitant steps and we haven't missed it, not really. We get to cheer her on and see the joy on her face when she does it. Go baby girl, go! Not too many more months before we get to see her in person. I just hope we can keep up!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

And still we wait...

We've been asked a bunch over the last few weeks if we have any news or have heard anything. Unfortunately, no. The wait for LOA can take 3-4 months and sometimes longer. We have now been waiting just over two months (63 days for those who are counting). I assure you, we have felt every moment of those two months.

We've also been asked how we are doing. We appreciate so much that people care how we are holding up during this time. Honestly, some days are good and some days are bad. Nora's birthday was both. We'll post about the birthday soon, but tonight I just needed to write about other things.

So what sort of day was today? The day itself was quite good, but emotionally it was very hard. At church there was a program put on by the children. These have been hard for me for about 4 years, so it's not surprising that my emotions were on edge by the end of it. It's so hard seeing so many cute children waving to their moms and dads and knowing that our girl is still so far from us. Each week my mind obsesses over numbers and average wait times and holidays that affect the process and I see our hopes of traveling get pushed back and back until the idea that I once thought January or early February was possible is laughable. Now, I'm simply hoping it's not March, but it looks more likely.

There are plenty of people who have waited longer than us, and I feel awful for complaining when they have no LOA after over 4 months. It's just so messed up on all sides. They say adoption isn't for the fainthearted and, oh boy, that is an understatement and a half!

I got to hold Nora in my dreams again the other night. She warmed up to me quickly and wanted to play bouncy games on my knees. I heard her giggle for the first time. Sometimes the dreams are short, only a few minutes. Other times, like this one, it seems like I get to hold her for a few hours. of course, when I wake up she isn't there and the months of waiting we still have ahead of us seem to be shoved in my face. I worry that something will go wrong and we wont be allowed to adopt her, I worry that our paperwork will get lost and we'll be waiting even longer, I worry that on days when she is being particularly hard to deal with I will forget how much I ached for her to be with us. I know I'm being melodramatic, it's just been a hard few days (months, years, whatever).

In happier news, she has received the care package we sent to her and the home had a birthday party for her and a couple other kids with October birthdays and they even took some pictures (no, we don't have them yet). She may not be playing bouncy games with me, but she is being loved and played with and cared for by people who will probably never know how much it means to us. We'll get through this and someday it will only be a memory. In the meantime, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, as well as those families who make our wait look like a joke. Here's hoping for some good news this week.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Care Package and Donations

Let the record show that we are not the best parents ever. After almost 2 months of having permission to send a care package, we finally got it sent today. Yay!

We managed to get all this into a shoebox sized box and sent on it's merry way to central China. We sent:
-Soft ducky #2 (#1 was discovered by Curry and he was most happy to believe that it was a squeaky toy for him. Sorry, Nora...I'm sure this is something you'll have to get used to)
-Photo album with a few labeled pictures of us, the dogs, our house, etc.
-Noisy toy to help Nora's roommate have some motivation to walk (he is blind and they are thinking a noisy toy will make him want to work at being mobile).
-4 pairs of warm jammies in various sizes for the kids. The monster one is our favorite :)
-A letter to the nannies thanking them for being magical unicorns (or something to that affect, it's in Chinese, after all)
-Disposable camera

Lets talk about care packages a bit. Nora's birthday is on Wednesday and I was a bit bummed out that we weren't going to be there for it. It was suggested to me to send her a cake through a third party. This is a fairly common practice with China adoptions, but one we chose not to follow. Many orphanages don't really like someone coming in with a cake, etc. for the kids. Why? Well, you see, sending a cake and small care package costs about $100. It's not a matter of not wanting to spend the money, but it raises an interesting dillema. $100 can sponsor the care of a child for a month! You see now why I have a hard time spending that kind of money on a cake when it can do so much more good. Also, the orphanage environment is one of haves and have-nots. Not only does this child have a cake and toys while others do not, they have a family who is coming to get them in a few months, while many children will live out their lives in the orphanage.

This brings me to donations. We have had many people ask how they can help or express a desire to send Nora something during this wait. The best thing we can give to her is the help continue the amazing care she has been getting. She is being cared for by the COAT foundation and living in their Eagle's Wings #5 home (#5 is for the fragile babies). They are always in need of donations. You can send a one time donation or sponsor a child or nanny. Click this link to check out the website or make a donation (donation link is on the right side of the homepage).

Allow me to talk about how amazing COAT/Eagle's Wings is. They are an Australian run home that takes in kids from the SWIs ( social welfare institutes. Basically, a state-run orphanage). At EW5, Nora is one of about 8 kids (as opposed to the ~600 at her former SWI) who get the attention they need to thrive and get ready for surgeries, etc. When Nora was taken to EW5 she was about 3 months old and weighed about 7 1/2 pounds. It is very common for cleft lip/palate babies to be severely under weight since it taked so much time for them to eat. It is not uncommon for children of 18 months-2 years to only weigh less than 20 pounds. In the space of about 3 months, they got her weight up to 15 pounds and were able to get her an operation on her lip through Operation Smile. She is being given attention and love and amazing care, which I can't tell you how much that means to us.

Rather than sending a birthday cake, we are trying to get enough money together to help make a difference to the orphanage and those kids who will never know any other home. They need new cribs, diapers, warm clothes, and other things that are easy to take for granted here. Because of the cost of shipping, as well as customs regulations, it doesn't make much sense to ship those things to them. Instead, we are encouraging people to make financial contributions so that they can buy the items they need. We will also be setting up a paypal account specifically for orphanage donations if that is easier for people. This link will take you to the page where you can sponsor a child in Nora's home (or Nora herself).

Seriously, how can you say no to these kids?? (back left is Nora)

Oh, and don't feel too bad for Nora, they are throwing a party to celebrate her birthday as well as the other two October birthdays. Did I mention that they are supremely awesome?