Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reader’s Digest Condensed Version

I apologize for all of you that have been waiting and waiting for me to post something. I had every intention of maintaining a journal of our trip. I blame it on a combination of exhaustion, bad internet, and making it a priority to meet all the needs of our new daughter. So here is an abbreviated version of what you have been waiting for posted by my sister since I am unable to access blogger.

She is ours! Now I can finally post photos!
Our beautiful daughter Qian Yin.

Here are some photos of our first moments together on July 6 at the healing home she had been living in.

She was shy at first, but then warmed up pretty quickly. Daddy helped her overcome her shyness by being goofy.  Our camera also helped with that and so did the glow sticks we brought for the kids. She took pictures of everything and everyone and enjoyed looking at all the photos already on the camera. She played the video tour of our house that I made for her over and over. We had a wonderful time getting acquainted with each other that day. We had the opportunity to learn more about her and she was able to meet us for the first time in a place that was familiar to her, surrounded by people she knew and loved. We are forever grateful to all the amazing people who cared for our daughter before us. She was well loved and cared for. I certainly could not have asked for more.

Sunday July 9th was our forever family day. We took custody of Qian Yin that afternoon in Nanchang (Jiangxi province) and then the next morning our family was made official at the Civil Affairs office. We thought we were just going out to get passport photos for Qian Yin and then our guide told us to stamp our signatures with a red thumbprint on the official adoption paperwork. A little bit anticlimactic. We had thought the official adoption was taking place in the afternoon. We did not have our cameras or have any gifts prepared for the officials like is customary. 

We spent all last week in a hotel room except for the times we had to go out for adoption related things. Qian Yin is very uneasy and overwhelmed being anywhere besides our hotel room. She told our guide that she would be happy to stay in the hotel room forever. Sightseeing was on the schedule, but we chose to stay put since our priority on this trip is Qian Yin. 

Good food was hard to come by in Nanchang. Qian Yin wouldn’t eat at the hotel breakfast buffet because she was so nervous being out of our room. Travis and I didn’t end up eating much there either since the food was not very good. Our guide brought us to the grocery store once for a few supplies. There were no restaurants around us either. I ate granola bars and crackers most of the week. We were the only Americans staying in our hotel and none of the staff spoke English. One morning I was trying to communicate that I wanted to take an apple from the breakfast buffet because I had a daughter and husband who were not coming down to eat. After telling me no a few times they gave up trying to understand me and let me take the apple. We felt really out of place in that city. At our adoption appointments throughout the week we kept seeing a large group of other adoptive families from a different adoption agency. They were all staying together at a really nice hotel. I think we would have had a much better time in Nanchang if we had had some other families to interact with and to help us get food.

Here are some things we have learned about Qian Yin so far:
-Favorite English words are mommy and no
-Very sweet and affectionate
-Loves to laugh and make us laugh
-Great sense of humor
-Does not like leaving the safety of our hotel room (Walmart and church will probably have to wait for a while once we are home)
-Likes to act and talk like a baby around us
-LOVES taking a bath (Travis watched an entire movie in the time it took her to take a bath one day.)
-LOVES seaweed
-Enjoys getting a reaction out of us whether positive or negative
-Has perfected the fine art of playing with her food and beverage (in other words making messes)
-Likes to test boundaries, but accepts correction well
-Selective with whom she will interact
-Loud and talkative when she is comfortable in her surroundings
-Very quiet when she is nervous
-Generally very happy with a ready smile (in our hotel room)
-Wild sleeper despite her physical limitations
-Can operate an iphone/ipod better than me
-The bravest person I know

Thursday, June 14, 2012

TA, CA, and Travel!

Last Friday we received an unexpected call from our caseworker. The voice mail she left on my phone said "You are never going to believe this. I have your travel notice." We were not expecting to get our TA (travel approval) for another week at the very earliest so it was quite a surprise! After our TA came in we were able to submit our request a CA (consulate appointment) at the US embassy in China. The CA is to obtain our daughter's US visa. We received our first choice out of the five dates we had to give for our CA. Our international flights are now booked! Three weeks until we meet our daughter! A few things checked off my to do list and only about 50 more to go (the reason for my lack of blogging).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Two Years A Family

I can hardly believe this was two years ago.

She sure has grown up since then, but she's still the same feisty little spitfire who's smile can light up the room! We love you Frata!

Monday, April 16, 2012


Today we received our LSC, otherwise known as LOA, from China!!! This is our official referral/approval from China to adopt. From this point it will be approximately three months until travel. Three months until our little girl has a family by her side. Three months to get organized...

I know I said previously I could post photos at this point, but our agency encourages us to be extra cautious and recommends that we do not post photos publicly until she is officially our daughter. So in three months be prepared to be inundated with cute six year old girl photos!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Budding Musician

Liya has always been fairly musical. She is always dancing, singing, and listening to music. I'm sure most toddlers are that way. Lately she has been infatuated with a Yanni concert on Netflix. She would watch it all day every day if we let her and chooses it above watching anything else. Of course we are good parents and don't let her watch it all the time, but watching an orchestra performance is educational TV right? She has learned to recognize a trumpet, french horn, cello (or jello), violin, oboe, harp, hammered dulcimer, and duduk by sight and sound. She is fascinated by the musicians playing their instruments. She dances around and pretends to sing or play whatever instrument is being shown. She will also just zone out and be totally engrossed in the concert. Violin is her favorite instrument to imitate. Here are a few clips of some my favorite musical moments.

This is her first time playing a real trumpet. Daddy was a trumpet player in school. We were both shocked that she could actually make a noise.

Improvised violin. She thought of the baton all by herself. 

Playing violin to some music from youtube. I fashioned the less cumbersome violin for her.

Singing to Yanni.

Singing her favorite song from Tangled. I'm not sure why she keeps sticking her tongue out, but this is the best version I have recorded.

The louder the better!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We Are DTC!

Dossier to China that is! Two weeks ago we received the much anticipated USCIS approval, the last document to complete our dossier. After two days of stress, craziness, and hard work getting the Secretary of State authentications and making sure everything was in perfect order I was able to send our dossier to the Chinese consulate for the final authentications. Yesterday our agency received our completed dossier from the consulate. Today it was sent to China!

Next we wait for our LID (Log In Date). It should take 2-4 weeks to hear about that. After we get our LID we will wait 1-4 months to receive our LSC (Letter Seeking Confirmation) which is our official referral :)  Travel is looking like it will be late summer to early fall.                                                                                                        

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's Potty Time

It has been six weeks since I've had to wash a load of dirty diapers. I was beginning to think this day would never come. We had been potty training for over a year with periodic success. Then one day when we least expected it, almost overnight, it happened. Liya went from having virtually no interest in using the potty to being almost potty trained within a couple days.  And, by having no interest, I mean she would prefer to sit in her wet/dirty diaper until I made her lay down to change it while she cried (screamed) and fought (rolled, pinched, hit) me at every step. I got to where I would dread having to change her diaper. Then, just before Christmas, we turned her crib into a big girl bed and got her some training pants and that was it.  No more diapers.

There was one night a few weeks ago I awoke to sounds coming from the bathroom. Unaccustomed to this, I ran in, turned on the light and found Liya had taken her sleeper and diaper off and was sitting on the potty! It hasn't happened since, but I was pretty impressed. Now this week we finally had success using strange big toilets when we were out and about. She would try to use the public restrooms without success, but she would always still be accident free by the time we got home. I'm so proud of her!

Potty training has lent itself to all kinds of entertainment.

We used to give mini marshmallows as a reward for going potty. A few weeks ago after we stopped using them as rewards I gave Liya a couple just for a little treat. This conversation followed-
Liya-  "Can I have some more marshmallows?"
Me- "That's it for now."
Liya- "I have to go poop."
Runs to the bathroom, sits on the potty and starts grunting.
Me- "Are you just trying to go poop so you can get another marshmallow?"
Liya- "It's something I can do, so get up and pray to your God."
Me- hysterical laughter
I don't think she earned another marshmallow.

Then there was the time when I was giving her some requested privacy to do her business. From the bathroom I heard, "Oh no, my ducky is there." I asked her "Where is your duck?" "My ducky is there," she said lifting her butt slightly off the potty. Sure enough, there was rubber ducky sitting on top. I was so mad, yet found it hard to keep from laughing out loud. I had to photograph the incident and sent it to Travis to enjoy. I debated posting it here but decided to spare you.

Another time Travis was holding Liya when she said she had to go potty.  She often says that a little too late. They were both wet by the time the words left her mouth. I laughed pretty hard.

I will try to post an adoption update tomorrow!

And here's a photo of the little stinker. Good photos of this active sassypants are few. I had to tickle her with my feet to get her to look at me and smile.