Friday, January 30, 2009

We're coming to China, BABY!

Received from agency this morning:

We received confirmation of our request for appointments on the 24th! You can now purchase plane tickets, put in requests for time off, and make any other arrangements you need.

And then I got this e-mail from my travelmate:

"... He said we would be flying into Nanchang the morning of Feb. 15 arriving about noon and that we might get the babies the same day! Oh my goodness."

I am working on securing flights right now, but it looks like we will leave for China on February 10th...a week and a half away--aaaaaaah!...and arrive in Beijing on February 11th. Fly from Beijing to Nanchang on February 15th and have Kennedy in our arms that very afternoon! (Are you crying yet, Cory?) :) Our Consulate appointment is February 24th. We pick up her visa and take our oath on February 25th and then head home on February 26th!

Whooooo hooo! :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

No Consulate appointment for you.

I know I said we would have our Consulate appointments (and plane tickets) by today.

I lied. Not on purpose or anything, but our agency did not get our Consulate appointments today as expected. As a result, no firm dates. No airline tickets. Nothing. As I understand it, the appointments *may* be available tomorrow.

Yes, I am going a little crazy. Yes, I am getting a tad (HA!) impatient. Yes, I did call Asiana Airlines and ask them to hold tickets for us with the dates I am hoping will work... Yes, it is all guesswork and the tickets on hold may not work at all, but at least I feel like I did something. DRAMA.

This song from Sunday School back in the day keeps running through my head:

Have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry. When you get impatient you only start to worry. Remember, remember that God is patient, too, and think of all the times when others have had to wait for you.

Dude, just for the record, that song is pissing me off right now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Grandpa made Kennedy's crib!

While us girls were busy at the shower Saturday, Dan's Dad brought over the crib he made for Kennedy and set it up in her room. What a fun thing to come home and see after the shower! Isn't it BEAUTIFUL?!? Her room is pretty much set...except for needing to rearrange her art...tomorrow's project. I think it's so neat that her room is full of handmade heirlooms from people who loved her well before they knew her.

Baby Shower!

YAY! I am finally getting around to posting a few photos from Kennedy's shower on Saturday. It was such a great time; my friend Elisabeth summed it up well with an e-mail to me Monday morning about what an "incredible circle of women" I am surrounded by...and that is soooooo true. Kennedy's "village" is full of phenomenal gals and I am so very grateful for that. Cory, Holly, Jenny and Janell put so much love (and hard work!) into making the day so amazing--THANKS GUYS! I love you tons.

The food was a super yummy spread of mostly vegetarian fare--except for that amazing polish ham (thanks Pat!) in tune with the 'Golden Pig' theme--HA! (Thanks for allowing pork in your oven, Cor and 48.) Between learning 'baby' in Chinese, Pig Latin and Greek, Patricia drawing a "boogie getter" (a.k.a. nasal aspirator) in a rousing game of Pictionary, Aleece joining us Max Headroom style and blowing our minds with an amazing quilt crafted by her own very busy hands, Mr. T and bacon appearing on Holly Original Onesies, and being surrounded by the laughter and well wishes of so many ladies I love, it was an AWESOME day.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Look at what my friend E e-mailed me this morning. Cool, eh?! BTW, no new news yet. Hoping for Thursday. (I had an AWESOME baby shower this weekend thrown by some absolutely amazing coming once I can get my act together.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The GREAT news? Our TA (Travel Approval from China) was received by our agency this morning! The slightly (okay, more than slightly) annoying news? Ummm...the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou is closed from 1/23-1/28 for Spring Festival (a.k.a. Chinese New Year). So, our agency has the document that allows us to travel to China for Kennedy, but the office that our finalization appointment needs to be scheduled through is closed until next Thursday...which I believe could be the end of the day Wednesday here if I'm not mistaken...but in any event, means we will not have firm dates until Thursday, 1/29. BUT, our agency has requested--and seems confident that we'll get--Consulate appointments for 2/24, meaning we would be united with Kennedy (goosebumps) on or about 2/15 - 2/16ish...meaning we could be on a bird headed across the pond as soon as 2/10. Like, in 2.5 weeks. Yep, 2.5 weeks. HOLY MACKEREL!!!

As we say around here, BRING ON THE BABY. Whoooo hooo!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sink-washable underpants and one small, padded envelope of love.

Time is doing that thing again. You know, where it just keeps right on moving and makes you feel at the end of each day as though there really should be more than 24 hours...or at least that there should be an ability to put sleep on hold for a while. I mean, I guess I know the sleep part is somewhat discretionary, though given what I've heard about the typical adjustment period we're approximately a month away from, sleep hardly seems something to be messed with right now. So I say all that to say that I'm behind on blogging. Sigh.

Anyway, where we are. Our visas arrived via FedEx on December 31st. Our agency sent the signed referral acceptance documents for our travel group back to China that same week. Our dining room table is a mass of sink-washable clothing (even Kennedy has crap from REI already...), medications, a variety of small and/or collapsible items, a few carefully selected toys, paperwork, and more sink-washable clothing. (Don't even get me going about Dan's new underpants. Okay, I'll get myself going a bit by giving you their big selling point--the line in a BIG font on the front of the package--17 countries. 6 weeks. And 1 pair of underwear. Makes you just wanna go out and buy a pair, doesn't it?!)

So now we wait for Travel Approval from China. Hopefully that will come in before Spring Festival (a.k.a. Chinese New Year) because the CCAA closes for a week during the Festival. We are still hoping, hoping, hoping to be on a plane by mid-February. (You'd think we'd be used to waiting by now, but once we saw her face, any bit of patience we had before was gone. Totally gone. Patient people no more. All zen, go with the flow, all things in their time, BLAH BLAH BLAH...gone.)

We spent some time this week putting together a small package that we mailed to Kennedy Yu An's orphanage on Saturday. I've been collecting some things here and there for this package for a long time, but when the instructions came from our agency, it seemed my idea of a "small package" well exceeded the actual definition. Basically, in order to increase the likelihood of the package actually being delivered to the orphanage, it is best to send it in a padded envelope. Given that Kennedy's orphanage is rural and most postal workers in rural China deliver packages by bicycle, it makes perfect sense. So we decided to keep our package very simple--and small--in the hopes of its successful delivery. Our agency gave us typed letters translated in Chinese and personalized to us to include with the package. One letter thanked the orphanage staff for caring for Yu An, the other included several pages of questions about Yu An that we hope they will answer and give to us when we meet in China. These letters were great and very thorough, but I just couldn't get it out of my head that I wanted us to write them a thank you card ourselves. It's hard to explain, but these are the people who have made it possible for us to be Yu An's parents, and she to be our daughter. They are the ones caring for her now. I wanted to send them a handwritten card--a card that would express in our words how much we love Yu An already and how much we appreciate their loving and caring for her. So we went out and picked out a blank thank you card and wrote our message on the left side in English. And then on Thursday I met with a translator named Chen who translated and hand wrote our message in characters on the right side of the card. I had such a great time meeting her and talking with her. She was so excited to see Kennedy Yu An's pictures and, after pondering her face a moment, said that Chinese beliefs say that her high forehead is a sign of great intelligence, that her generous ear lobes (ha!) are a sign of good fortune, and that because she is born in the year of the Golden Pig she will have "GREAT fortune!" We talked for a while about adoption, about today's China, and about language. (The company Chen works for is a Chinese language institute where we hope to take family classes.) I left feeling like I had made a great connection. And the card was so beautiful. I sat in my car and stared at it for a minute--with its English on the left and Chinese on the right--and thought about these 2 languages, so completely different, looking so beautiful together on one card.

In addition to the handwritten card and typed letters, we included 2 disposable cameras with a sheet of instructions for their use. The letter asked that photos be taken of her, her friends, caregivers, the building, her crib, and anything else that those who know her best think she should have for later. We hope these cameras will be returned to us--full of pictures--when we meet Kennedy in China. We took the cameras out of their packages and taped tiny pictures of Kennedy's head to the top of them for easy identification. (Yes, we are dorks.) We also included a baby photo album with pictures of us, her grandparents, Hank (yes, it's a nice, cuddly kitten type photo--no hissing face or anything), and her cousins. Dan even hand-wrote the descriptor characters on little tags that I bordered in red paper and glued to the photos. (Remember above when I asked where the time went?! It's all coming back to me...) Anyway, we made 2 identical albums and will take one with us to China, too. And we included some 'made in Milwaukee' caramels for the caregivers all wrapped up in red tissue and ribbons. And that's it. Envelope stuffed. It seemed like such a tiny envelope for all the time that went into it, but it felt great to take it to the Post Office Saturday and send it on its way. And now we pray that it gets there.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hank has an announcement.

Hank appears to be in remission from his diabetes! We had a house full of people on New Year's Eve when I found Hank unable to stand or walk, drooling, glassy-eyed and overall pretty lifeless in the hallway--the classic signs of insulin shock we've read about over the past 4 months. Dan immediately grabbed the Karo Syrup and started rubbing it on his gums trying to boost his blood sugar. Insulin shock is very serious and can result in death within minutes. (Dan is great under pressure like this. I tend to flail around in a panic, but Dan is ever-calm. I love that about him.) After a few minutes Hank's eyes improved (meaning they seemed to be focusing), though he still had no use of his legs. Dan held him while I put a plate of wet cat food under his nose. He doesn't get wet food regularly--but loves that stinky stuff--so he started licking it and within a minute or so was taking bites. He ate for 15 minutes straight (that's a lot for him--he's more of a grazer type) and was then able to use his legs again. What a way to ring in the new year, eh?!

Anyway, he had our regular (every 2 weeks) vet appointment scheduled for Friday, 1/2, already, so we decided to withhold insulin shots (he's been getting them twice a day since September) until then. (High blood sugar is much less immediately dangerous than low blood sugar.) I fully expected to see the symptoms of high blood sugar reappear pretty quickly without the insulin, but they didn't. And when the vet tested his sugar yesterday, it was in the fully normal range (94) with no insulin in his system. The vet thinks Hank is in remission! He is testing another blood sugar called fructosamine for more information about his levels over the past 2 weeks. He'll call me with those results on Monday. But for now, we're off insulin! HOORAY!!! (Some cats are on- again, off-again diabetics, so there is no telling if his remission is permament or temporary or how long it will last. But for now, we'll take it--with the hope it lasts at least until we return from China!)