Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Has it already been 6 Years??

Dec 31 will forever hold a special meaning for me, ever since Dec 31, 2002.

You see in Nov 2001 I had submitted my dossier to China for a little girl. The wait stretched out to a 13 month wait. Which, for the people waiting for babies from China today is a NOTHING wait, but, at the time, it was the start of the "Long" waits. Because Nov 2001 was a large month for applicants (the singles quota was going into effect on Dec 1 & agencies pushed as many singles as they could into those Nov batches), the referrals were coming from China in monthly batches, one week of referrals at a time. I had missed the previous batch of referrals by a day, so when word came that referrals were on their way, I knew mine would be in the batch.

Frantically following along on my various Yahoo adoption groups, I knew my dossier date was included & that my referral was imminent. My agency was in TX & I lived & worked in CA. Historically, referrals came out in the early afternoon. At that time, I was working between two offices. So, around noon PT, I called my agency rep, to see if she'd heard anything. She had not. So, I told her I was going to travel to my second office & would be out of cell range for about an hr. As fate had it, she received my referral 10 min later & had to wait to call me back.

As soon as I walked into the office, my receptionist called out that my agency was on the phone!! I ran to my office & heard the words that made me a mom:

- a girl
- born May 2002......so just 8 months old
- From Fuzhou, Jiangxi
- Then she spelled her name...L..I..N..D..(at that point I thought WAIT..I'm Naming her Lindsi, are they giving me the wrong name??....A...Lin Da.
- And here is the picture that I opened

Hmmmmmm...she honestly looked nothing like I thought she would. Sort of resembled a mini Mr Magoo to me. I even felt a little deflated.

However, the next day I received my FEDEX package & this picture. Immediately I saw her spirit.....I saw personality......I FELT that picture (& at times, I still see THIS baby in her face).....& from then on it was just a 6 week countdown until we traveled to China.

Here's my beautiful girl today.......

Can't believe it's been 6 years.....it has gone fast & yet, it feels like she's been a part of my life forever. Happy Referral Anniversary to my other Nov 2001 Waiters, otherwise known as the QBQs...Quick Before Quotas....

Finally....Christmas Morn

Opening Their Christmas stockings......

Jami's Big present from Santa...her talking baby & a cradle

I had to make a 4 day business trip to Vegas the week before Christmas & it felt like it put me behind by 8 days! Yes, the baking, shopping, wrapping, delivering all was completed BEFORE Christmas...but other things like cards, & blogging went on the back burner. The cards all went out, finally...so now I can catch up here.

We always have enjoyable Christmases. This year Lindsi really wanted to catch Santa at work. She's been thinking on this for awhile. She usually puts her Cochlear up at night, but several weeks ago asked me if it would be OK if she wore it to bed on Christmas Eve.....she doesn't have a hope of catching Santa if she can't hear. So, I told her Yes, she could wear it.

So, after the Christmas Eve rituals of church, putting out reindeer food, milk & cookies for Santa, the girls went off to bed. It was already pretty late (11 PM) because we had been at my parents visiting with my brother & his family who were over for the holidays. I went to bed too.

At about 1230, I got up to check on things & Lindsi was sitting wide eyed in the hall, waiting to hear Santa. I shooed off to bed & went back to bed myself. I got up again at 0230 & found the girls camped out for Santa...but sleeping. So Santa got the all clear but had to be excruciating quiet not to wake anyone. Around 0400, the girls came in to ask if I had heard Santa yet. I told them no, so they climbed into bed & then slept until 0730.

They are allowed to open their stockings as soon as they wake up. So, off they went to do that. Then they were pretty good about waiting until my parents came over at 1000 to tear into the rest of their Santa & Mommy gifts.

In the afternoon, we had a Prime Rib & Salmon dinner at my parents & our family Christmas with my parents, siblings & their families. I love just visiting with everyone.

Lindsi picked out this dress about 6 weeks ago when we were shopping for a Christmas dress. I told her she could have it for Christmas........Fancy Schmancy. I'm sure she'll make plenty of opportunities to wear it.

Lindsi picked out a few things for Jami this year. She knew Jami would like this one!!

An elderly man at church who ADORES the girls (it is very mutual in fact) was very generous to us this year. He bought Lindsi a bike & Jami got this electric keyboard. WOW!!!!!!!!

I actually had this for Jami last year & held it back. This year she's the perfect age for it & LOVES it. She has given everyone & just about everyTHING a very good exam since Christmas.

My Disney connected sister was able to snag Lindsi a bigger Cinderella dress (Lindsi's been wearing the same one since she was 2...& she still wears it!!!) & Jami was gifted with this beautiful Belle dress. Ahhhhh the magic that's Christmas....

I hope your holidays have been as wonderful.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Navigating the Adoption Road

First of all, I know that in terms of adoption angst / grief, I have had it pretty easy. For nearly 6 years it has been pretty much non existent in our house.

Both girls will tell you proudly that they are from China. We talk about how I met Lindsi at the hotel & she laughed & smiled the entire time. We talk about how I actually missed Jami's "Family Day" because of an airline delay & that when I got her, she screamed & cried & would hardly let me hold her for 3 days.

At 3, Jami is just coming to terms with some of her story. In her mind, there was no life "BEFORE" Jami. She has always been here...even though she will also tell you that I flew on a plane to get her in China. These days she references back to pictures she seen...Remember Mom...when I was in China with my Strawberry Shortcake Dress???"

Lindsi's never really talked much about China at all. Except to tell me that we should go back to China for another sister or two.

So, it was even more surprising to me when I went into the family room last night & Lindsi was looking through our China photo albumns & crying. She was looking at the various pictures & Chinese woman (the asst dir who brought her to me, her fostermom, & our Nanchang guide) & asking which one was her mother. She wanted to go to China right now & find her mother.

It's hard not having any information. The best you can do is love them through it & answer whatever questions come up. There is a lot going on in her head these days centered around adoption & who her birth parents are. She's very private, so I'm not sure, even if I ask, if she will talk much more about it.

We'll see.........

Monday, December 15, 2008

2nd Fun Filled December Weekend

We are super busy this whole month. This past weekend was no exception.

On Friday after school & work, we headed down to my sister's place in Winter Garden. We attended their Winter Festival at the school. Pam & I make & sell fleece blankets & the cool weather that evening really helped. I think we sold 7 blankets. We usually average about 4, so that was a great night for us.

On Sat, Pam hosted her annual Christmas Party. We have great things to eat, a craft, gift exchange for the kids & a visit from Mr Claus. This is probably the 5th or 6th annual one she's done. We have a lot of fun, although the upper age group (8 & 9) are starting to feel a little old for such parties.

We came home after lunch on Sun, just in time to race to a dual birthday party for some of Lindsi's classmates.

The cousins & Santa....

Lindsi in her face painting

Gavin & his shark eating his hand

Emma & Jami

Party Santa Claus....

Wow! A picture of me twice in one week!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

December Weekends...Fun & Full

We had a very busy & fun weekend.

Friday night was the Frosty Festival at the Lindsi's school. They even blow snow for the kids to play in...a pretty big deal when the temp outside is grazing 65. I was happy because both girls managed to win a book of their choice in the "Book Walk"...run like a cake walk.

Lindsi's grade was doing the Face Painting Booth & they practiced on the kids prior to the night event. Lindsi came home with a tree & a snowman adorning her cheeks. She did opt for the hair color though & had a nice "do" of pink & black striped hair for the weekend.

On Sat, travelmates of ours from Lindsi's adoption came through town. The girls had a blast & we all went together to our local Christmas Parade. It was small town & fun.

Sun after church & our dear friends left, we went to visit Santa & then came home & decorated our tree.

Enjoy our pictures........

At the Parade.......

Before Bed.....

Church on Sunday....

Visit with Santa....
Pure Cuteness...

Lindsi as the photographer...

Big Smiles...

Tree Decorating....

Who needs an angel when you have a cat??

Friday, December 5, 2008

Raffles and A Little (Chop Chop) Vent

Please check out the raffles on the RT side of my Blog. My friend Kris is (hopefully) getting very close to hearing about her new daughter from China. She is raising funds for the last portion of her adoption. If you have some extra moola & want a chance to win a WII, please check her Blog out. Even if you already have a WII...go check out her Blog anyways. But hurry, because her raffle ends this week. It's not too late!!

There is also a link for a very nice Canon camera package. They are raising funds to be split among a couple of things. Click on that one as well & check out how you might win. That raffle goes until Dec 14.

And now for a little vent. My first grader has a very good teacher. A strict teacher, but good. One of the weekly homework assignments is to write each spelling word in a sentence. They have to use a mixture of statements, questions, & exclamations. This is due on Thu, but we always start working on them Mon night. It is, for Lindsi, the hardest assignment of the week. She is getting better at sentence structure every week. I see her steady improvement.

So, this week one of her words is "CHOP". Her original sentence was:
I like to use chop sticks to eat.
I told her that was a good sentence, but the word CHOP in this instance was connected to the word STICK. It was a compound word, two separate words, joined together to make a whole. She has had some exposure to compound words, but not a lot yet. We looked it up in the dictionary, so that I could show her.

For grins, we looked up the definition for the word CHOP. It has three listed definitions. 1. To cut finely, as in dice. 2. To swing broadly, as in using an axe. 3. A stamp or signature on documents. Notes authenticity or good quality.

I told Lindsi that all of my papers from China were signed with a chop. I told her that people use a chop in China for business & to sign their names on documents. Lindsi loves to hear about & share things she learns about China.

She wrote a new sentence:

I can use a CHOP to sign my name.

That's a good sentence I thought. The teacher didn't think so & underlined the word & wrote a big NO across it. Lindsi couldn't wait to show it to me when she got home. I was a little mad. I know the teacher has 19 papers to grade...BUT....we had really worked on that sentence. Referenced it, looked it up, explored the meaning of the word & the teacher effectively negated the whole exercise with her big pen. Doesn't she realize the influential power she has on these young minds?

I ended up telling Lindsi that many words have more than one meaning. Everyone can't be expected to know them all. That's why we use a dictionary...we look things up when we're not sure.

It would have been so much better to write something like..."interesting use of the word CHOP"....not NO! I did write a note back to the teacher, telling her that while I realize this is an exercise, we had done a lot of work exploring the meanings of the words. The word CHOP, in a noun form had meaning for Lindsi. And, that I was disappointed in her easy dismissal of the work.

In many ways, I know it's petty. Lindsi still learned the value of looking things up. She still learned how to spell CHOP (the real & only goal). I think I need to do as Lindsi & just move on. But it still(apparently)irks me.