Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Leaving On A Jet Plane

After a very scary morning with our consulate appointment, we are clear to leave China!!!

Our facilitator received a phone call, when we were ON OUR WAY TO THE CONSULATE, saying that the home study update that we supplied with our passport and visa application was not signed by our social worker and that they needed a signed copy! AAAHHHGGGHHHH! The US Consulate was suppose to review the paperwork yesterday and let us know if there were any issues so we would have time to rectify them before our "swearing in ceremony" this morning. Needless to say, the stress level was beyond measure! Our social worker is currently in Vietnam hosting a homeland tour and I have no way to contact her. I did not have any phone numbers or contact information with me for either or our agencies, because we were told not to take anything with us to the consulate except for the necessities for Willow. Since it is a government office, they do not allow any electronics, video or recording devices. All I had was a baggie with some diapers, wipes and a toy for her.

Once we got to the consulate we had to meet with the "Supervisor of Adoptions" to see what options we had. The first thing this man, Arturo Hines, said to us was "We are not going to hold you up for this". THANK GOD!!! All we ended up having to do was to sign and swear to an affidavit saying that we would fax a copy of the signed home study update when we return home. Can I just say...Mr. Arturo are a SUPERHERO...MY SUPERHERO!!! I had visions of us being stuck in China, for who knows how long because of the holiday and because we are flying on frequent flyer tickets and who knows when we would be able to reschedule our flight.

So, all is good, and now we are leaving for the airport for our wrong way, marathon plane rides home. We leave Guangzhou at 8 PM for Beijing, from Beijing to Madrid, Madrid to Philadelphia and then to Phoenix. After all of those flights, we don't arrive in Phoenix until 9:35 PM January 1st. Crazy, I know...but after all we have been through for this adoption...why would the end be easy?! Let's just hope at this point that Willow is a "good flyer"!

Say a prayer for our safe travels...and we will see some of you soon!
Gotta Go!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Two Days To Go

Well our journey is finally coming to an end. We leave to bring our Precious Package home tomorrow night. Today, Tuesday is our Consulate Appointment well actually we do not go to the appointment our facilitator Peter (not his real Chinese name) goes and presents all of the documents from our four families for processing. We all have to stay in our rooms to await "The Call" to tell us everything is fine or to find out what is needed to complete our adoption for the US Government and get Willow's Visa for her Chinese Passport. We will have to apply for her US Passport when we return to the states. Once we get the call we will be free until 2:50 PM Wednesday when we will board our bus to go to the Consulate for our "Official Swearing In" of Willow as a US Citizen. Once we land in Philidelphia New Year's Day she will be considered a US Citizen. We then will hurry back to the hotel where Judy & I will load our suitcases in a car and head straight to the airport for our 8:00 PM flight to Beijing. We are really cutting it close but these were the only frequent flyer flights available until at least the 6th of January. We were able to find an additional FF business class seat for Willow for our Guangzhou to Beijing, Beijing to Madrid and Madrid to Philidelphia flights so we'll have more roon to be comfortable. Willow will have to ride our laps to Phoenix but that is the shortest leg of the trip.

I hope I have all of this right because Judy knows all of the details better than I do and she usually writes all of this blogging stuff but she is under the weather right now with the whole stomache thing that every one of us has had. She was the last one to get it from our group. We hope it clears up before our flight Wednesday night. A & L from Florida got it first last week, then me on Saturday, S from Wisconsin this morning and Judy this afternoon. Most of us got over it within 24 hours. Our 4th family from Florida came with a Chinese friend and they flew up north to be with her family for Christmas so I don't know if she got sick as well. We all have been reallllly careful about what we ate here but it didn't seem to matter. Let's all hope Judy gets over it really quick.

Willow and I had a Daddy - Daughter Date night for dinner. We went to La Dolce Vita Italian restaurant that we ate at last week. The food is really good and the hostesses and waitresses were enamoured with Miss Willow. She even allowed our waitress to carry her down the stairs while I carried the stroller. She has come so far it's unbelievable. She is such a Sweetheart. More to come......

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday December 26th

After breakfast, Tom and Willow had some quality "Daddy/Daughter time" while Mommy rested. I was just wore out and needed some extra sleep, so Tom and Willow went out for a walk to the park. He said one of the parks they went to they watched locals doing Tai Chi and Ballroom Dancing. They then met up with another family in our group at the playground and "the girls" spent some time playing together. This is where Tom discovered that Willow LOVES to slide! He said she was quite upset when it was time to leave. It is so wonderful to see her enjoy herself!

They came back to the room and it was Willows naptime. After Willow took a nap, we all got ready and went over to the White Swan for a very nice dinner at the Silk Road Restaurant. It is a pretty fancy restaurant, candlelight, piano & violin player, etc...and Willow did great! She did not want to sit in the high chair, so I put her in a regular chair at the table and she sat right there and was quiet and ate her dinner like a big girl. I was very impressed. She got to experience what I am sure was her first taste of steak and seemed to like it. We were careful not to give her too much, as I do not want to overwhelm her system and get her stomach upset. She really does not hesitate to try anything and really the only thing I have found that she won't eat is watermelon, but she does love other fruits. She does have quite a sweet tooth though and loves her puffs and cookies.

After dinner we took a walk along the river for awhile and headed back to the hotel. We played in the room for awhile until bedtime. Willow is now pretty much refusing to take a bottle, even of her Chinese formula. She is old enough to start drinking whole milk, but don't want to try to start her until we get back to the US, so we will continue to try with the formula while here. She is drinking water though, so no worries about her being dehydrated.

This sweet, funny wonderful girl is opening up more and more each day...and it is wonderful!

Christmas Day

We spent most of Christmas Day walking around the island and doing some shopping. Christmas evening we went on a dinner cruise on the Pearl River with 2 other families. The boat we went on was very nice, we had a wonderful table right by the window directly in the bow of the boat and they had a good buffet for dinner. The night skyline and scenery was wonderful with all the lights. We went outside on the top deck of the boat for awhile, it was cool and pretty windy, but beautiful!

Willow seemed to enjoy herself, taking all the new sights in. She is really beginning to open up and show her true personality. Shes starting to interact with the other kids and seems to be enjoying playing with them.
I really can't think of much of a better Christmas present than seeing her smile!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve here in China. I have changed the time/date stamp on Blogger, so I think it will give the accurate time on my postings now...if I did it right!

The streets here on Shamian Island are bustling with activity. There is a very festive attitude, but an unusual interpretation of how to celebrate Christmas Eve for an American. It is more like a sense of New Years Eve than Christmas Eve, with street vendors on every corner selling light up necklaces and wands for kids and for some reason, the big thing is to wear this headband with light up horns on the top, like devil horns. Not sure what that is all about, but everyone seems to be in a very good mood. It would be interesting to know how many people out celebrating are actually of the Christian religion and really celebrate Christmas.

Speaking of the Christian religion, Tom, Willow and I attempted to go to a Christian Church here on the island for a Christmas Eve service. The church was a mad house! We got there about 15 minutes prior to when the service started and there were literally hundreds of people waiting outside that could not fit in the church! We stayed and listened to some of the service and had a lot of very nice conversations with people in the crowd. Everyone was very nice and welcoming and interested in where we were from and about our adoption of Willow. We spoke to a man out in the crowd who is with the church and he says about 5-10 percent of China population is Christian, with only about 5 percent actively participating. According to him about half of the people who where at the church tonight were first timers. The actual sanctuary holds approximately 300 people and there is an "overflow room" that holds another 100 and both of them were completely full as well as us and a couple hundred of our closest friends outside on the grounds. It got so crowded that they had to close the gates to the grounds of the church because they were worried about crowd control. Even though we didn't get to participate in the service, it was nice to be there. We got to hear many Christmas carols in English and in Chinese and they had a wonderful choir. We got the opportunity to speak to a lot of locals as well.

Willow did amazingly well with the crowd. She was much more relaxed than she would have been just a few days ago. So many people were interested and making a fuss over her, it would have been easy for her to get overwhelmed, but she did really well taking it all in stride. When it did get to be too much, she quickly looked to me for refuge and once in my arms, quickly settled down and relaxed. All of these are very positive signs. Little by little she is coming around. This afternoon we went out with another mother and daughter from our travel group. Her adopted daughter is 1 month younger than Willow and from the same orphanage, so they have likely been together their whole lives. But today was the first day that Willow interacted with her. They were playing together and not only did it get some smiles out of Willow, but a whole hearted laugh! Nothing could possibly be a better present than seeing her begin to relax and be comfortable. Everyday we see a little more of her true personality...and it is beautiful!

Tomorrow for Christmas we are going on the Pearl River cruise for dinner with 2 other adoptive families in our group. Hopefully the babies do well on the boat! We miss being with the rest of our family for Christmas, but this one will certainly hold many memories that no other ever will!

Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas......
.....Love, Tom, Judy & Willow

Monday, December 22, 2008

The First Smile!

She fought it...she tried really hard not to...but eventually she had to give in! Just for a few moments...but they were a few glorious moments!

Tom had just changed Willow's diaper and put her pants back on and he was playing with her feet and suddenly she broke...and cracked this little smile! Even gave a little bit of a giggle! YOU GO DADDY!!!!!!

Tuesday Update

Yesterday, Monday here, Willow had her medical examination. I found out one new thing about our daughter...she is very strong for the little thing she is...and not hesitant to use that strength if she deems it necessary! She was not at all happy with anyone who wanted to try to examine any part of her and very actively tried to get away. We are in for quite an adventure when we get back to the US for her ped. appointments, because this medical exam was basically a formality, not at all what anyone from the US would consider a through exam. Anyway, her exam findings were fine and she was given clearance for us to proceed with our adoption process with the American Consulate.

All of our paperwork and appointments are finished with the Chinese Government, as far as they are concerned, Willow is legally our child. Now we just have to work with the US Consulate for the US part of the legal process. Our first consulate appointment is on the 30th, we do not have to go our facilitator just drops off our paperwork and they review it. As long as everything is in order (which it better be, as I did paperwork for 2 hours yesterday for the consulate!), we go back to the Consulate on the 31st at 4:00 PM and have our swearing in ceremony and receive Willow's passport and visa. After this we can leave for the US! Our flight out of Guangzhou is at 8:00 PM on the 31st, so we are cutting it close. Hopefully there aren't any problems at our appointment on the 31st!

It got very cold here on Monday and is suppose to be for the next couple of days, so while they are free days, I don't think we will be doing much other than hanging out at the hotel. Willow still hasn't "come out of her shell" much, so she is not all that active and does not seem to mind being in the room. There is also a playroom in the hotel that we will spend some time in with other children who are staying in the hotel.

More soon...stay tuned!
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Back One Day to the Orphanage Visit

Yesterday, Saturday, took a bus to Yangjiang to visit the orphanage where Willow has spent the first 21 months of her life.
We were able to tour the orphanage and had lunch with the orphanage director.
While we were in Yangjiang, we were also able to see where Willow's "finding place" was.

To be perfectly honest, I was quite apprehensive about going there, since Willow is having such a difficult adjustment, I was worried that as soon as she saw the orphanage and the orphanage caretakers, that she would be happy and want to stay. I was afraid we were going to have to take her back out of there kicking and screaming! What a nightmare! But that was not at all the case. She seemed quite indifferent to the orphanage and the caregivers while we were there. Pretty much the same indifference she seems to have for Tom and I right now. The only thing that I really noticed while we were there was that as I was holding her, I was interacting with many of the other children who were still there in the orphanage, telling them hello, stroking their hair and faces. And the closer the other children got, the more distressed she got. Not distressed as in jealous over me giving others attention, because both Tom and I have given attention to the other girls in our travel group and gotten no reaction at all from her, it was more a distress like she was afraid of them. It leads me to wonder if she was picked on in the orphanage and these kids were mean to her. The reality is that we will never know and she will never remember, but it would be nice to know.

Despite my fears over Willow's reaction not remotely coming true, it was a very difficult trip. To see where and how your child lived without you for nearly the first 2 years of her life is hard enough just because it is not with you, but to add institutionalization to the issue is just heartbreaking. To stand on a dirty street and look at a spot that your child was left, wrapped only in a baby blanket, when she was only days old is almost incomprehensible.

The orphanage director told us that there are currently approximately 100 children at the orphanage. I do not know how many of those are special needs or older children. We saw probably about 40-50 kids while we were there in the 2 rooms we were allowed to visit. We saw the Toddler Room, where Willow was prior to her adoption, and the Baby Room. We saw about 10 or so special needs children outside prior to our tour. We stopped prior to going to the orphanage and bought candy for all the children and they were distributing it while we were there, so they all had visitors and candy...they were VERY excited! It was heartbreaking to leave them behind. They were all so very starved for attention and just a little stroke on the hair or across the cheek brought out some of the biggest grins and certainly some of the deepest "wanting" stares that I have ever seen.

The bus ride back was miserable. I think everyone was relieved to have the visit over with, but know everyone had this "pit" in their stomach. Between seeing a glimpse of what your child endured for the beginning, most formidable time, of their lives and seeing all the other children that are left, it is almost too much to take. It left my heart broken and sick to my stomach. I know we, and I'm sure others, held our daughter even tighter when we left. Told her that she NEVER would have to go back there (unless she wanted to visit, when she is older), nor would she ever have to live like that EVER again!
Beyond all the emotional impact, the traffic on the way back has horrible and while it took us 3 hours to get to the orphanage, it took us almost 5 hours to get back. Everyone was mentally, physically and emotionally spent and very quick to "hunker down" in each of our individual rooms and hold our families tight.

Sunday--Finally A Day Off

Today was Sunday here in China and we did not have any "adoption business" to do today, so the day was free to do as we please.

Willow, Tom and I slept in and got up around 9:30 AM and went down for breakfast. After breakfast we walked over the bridge to Guangzhou from Shamian Island (where we are staying). We went to the Guangzhou Pedestrian Street, which is sort of like an outdoor mall. There are blocks and blocks of stores all up and down the street and the street is blocked off to traffic, except on foot...thus "pedestrian" street. The place was an ABSOLUTE zoo! I don't know if it was because it was a weekend day, or if it is like that all the time, but I don't think I have ever seen so many people in one place! It was quite overwhelming and we did not last for long. We did buy some items for Willow and found a McDonald's for lunch, which after being in China for a week, tasted very good to have something "from home". At lunch we found out that Willow really likes french fries!

We returned to the island late afternoon, relaxed for a bit in the room and then took a cab back over to Guangzhou to the Carrefour (actually a French owned store, but very similar to WalMart), to get supplies (formula, diapers, snacks, etc...) The mall where Carrefour is had a Papa John's Pizza on the corner, so we ate there for dinner. So, all around, today was a pretty "americanized" day as far a food goes.

Willow really has made very little progress and is still pretty shut-down. Tonight at the Carrefour, she seemed to show an interest in where she was for the first time and afterwards at dinner, there were a few brief moments of "almost" interaction with me. Hey...I'll take what I can get at this point. We'll keep of these days she is going to come out of her shell and she is going to be even more beautiful!

Tomorrow afternoon is her medical examination and then we go back to the government offices to pick up her official paperwork. After those appointments, we return to the hotel to start working on the mountain of forms for required for the US Consulate. Our consulate appointment is December 30th.

Stay tuned....more to come soon!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Quick Update

Yesterday we went to the Chinese Province Government Offices and were officially made Willow's parents!
We spent the evening exploring local shops and went out to dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant.

Today, Saturday, we took a long bus ride out to Yangjiang. This is where Willow is from. We had lunch with the orphanage staff and director and then toured the orphanage. It was a tough day emotionally, but I am glad we got the opportunity to see where our daughter has spent nearly the first two years of her life.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is a free day and we plan to go off the island and into the city of Guanghzou to do some exploring and shopping.

After a 4 1/2 hour bus ride back from the orphanage tonight, we are all exhausted. Physically and mentally exhausted. So that's all for tonight. Tomorrow I should have time to load some more pictures and comment more on our orphanage visit.

Stay tuned......

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Family Day

Today we held our sweet baby girl in our arms for the first time and it was AWESOME!!
She is just as cute as can be and of course we are crazy in love!

As if the whole issue of being handed over to these strangers who look or talk like no one I have ever seen was not enough of a shocker for her, after the families in our group received their children, our facilitator took us to the grocery store to get any items we needed. After our trip to the store, we decided to go back to our room and have some good quality family time, just the three of us.

Willow never cried when she was handed over to me. I think she is kind of in shock. Sort of a sensory overload. She has been very subdued, just taking everything in. I really haven't had a chance to really check her all out physically yet as she fell asleep while I was feeding her, so that will wait until bath time in the morning.

Even without her true personality showing yet...she is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

We have to go sign paperwork for the China Government tomorrow morning, and then she will be officially ours forever! If she is adjusting okay, maybe tomorrow we will go out and do some shopping. Saturday we are planning a trip to visit the orphanage that she is from. It is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Guangzhou, but with traffic, it took them 4 hours today to get the babies here! So Saturday could prove to be a long day, but well worth it, as we will get to she the only home that Willow has known since she was 5 days old.

More to come tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We're In China!

We're here...we're here...we're really here!! After approximately 26 hours from the time we left our house for the airport until we arrived to our hotel in Guangzhou, we have made it!

All the travel was relatively uneventful, just VERY LONG!

Our facilitator, Peter, picked us up at the airport and told us to meet him in the lobby tomorrow afternoon at 1:50 PM to go pick up Willow. Holy crap, after all this time, after such a long wait, everything is going so fast. I can't believe that we are actually going to finally see, hold, kiss, hug and love Willow in just over 12 hours from now. My emotions are all over the place!

For now, I am going to have a snack and try to get some sleep. May be the last night I have that option for awhile! But somehow even knowing that, I doubt there will be much sleeping.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas In China!

After a nearly 3 year wait, we finally have our travel dates to go get Willow! And, only a weeks notice to be in China! Holy Crap!! Needless to say things have been quite crazy around here and there has been little to no sleep this week.

So far, here is what I know about our itinerary:
12/16 depart 8:40 AM, Phoenix for Guangzhou
12/17 arrive in Guangzhou 9:35 PM
12/18 meet and take physical custody of Willow! Our Family Day!!
12/31 depart 8:00 PM Guangzhou for a very convoluted route.
But I will talk about that later.
01/01 arrive 9:37 PM in Phoenix

Home and a complete last! I can't begin to think of a better way to start 2009!

There are a lot of things in between the 16th and the 31st, government appointments, medicals, consulate appointments, orphanage visit, and of course sightseeing and shopping! I plan to take our laptop and blog from China, as time allows, adding pics, etc. So stay tuned...I'm sure it is going to be a wild ride!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Updated Photos

We received these 3 "more" current pictures of Willow on 11/18/08. she is growing right before our eyes! She looks like so much more of a "little girl" than a "baby" like she did in the first pictures. One thing for sure though...she doesn't stop getting any more beautiful!

Now we just need to hurry up and get her home, so we can experience all the changes and growing everyday, in person, as it happens!

Arrival Of The Stork

WHO KNEW THAT "THE STORK" WOULD BE SO TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME?! Our "stork" arrived with the official package with all of Willows information, Tuesday November 11 at approximately 10:30 A.M. (not that I was waiting and watching for him or anything). Typically, the FedEx man just rings the bell and leaves the package at the front door. But on this day, he was greeted by a note stating "FEDEX, Please ring bell and WAIT with your delivery". I am sure he must have been wondering what was up when he came to the door. I knew he was here before he rang the bell and was running around screaming like a crazy woman..."He's here, he's here!" I wasn't dressed yet, so Tom had to answer the door. Tom stepped out and explained to the young man what the package contained and "the storks" first comment was "OH...I heard the screaming and was wondering what that was about"...Uh...sorry Mr. FedEx...just the Mama Bear coming out! He then explained that he thought it was "really cool" that we were adopting from China and was happy to be photographed as part of "the experience".
He's right...we are "REALLY COOL"!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Synonyms: charmed, delighted, deliriously happy, elated, euphoric, happy as a clam, happy as a lark, joyful, jubilant, on cloud nine*, only too happy, over the moon, rapturous, ravished, thrilled, tickled pink*, transported.

I can not begin to think of enough adjectives to describe our feelings!

With overflowing hearts and deep gratitude, we are very proud to announce the referral of our Daughter:

Jiang Ye Yang (first, middle, last)

D.O.B. 03/01/07

Currently resides at the Yangjiang Social Welfare Institue in Guangdong Province, CN.

There are no words that can possibly adequeately describe how we feel!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Murphy's Law

Murphy's law is an adage in Western culture that broadly states, "if anything can go wrong, it will." It is also cited as: "If there's more than one possible outcome of a job or task, and one of those outcomes will result in disaster or an undesirable consequence, then somebody will do it that way"; "Anything that can go wrong, will," the similar "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong"; or, "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way".

Such is the way of my life!!

Referrals from China began arriving on Monday, September 29th! Hey...they are early, awesome, if even just a couple of days! Then slowly as the 29th and 30th came and went, we found that the cut-off dates for referrals this time was February 15, 2006. Yes...that's right...ONE day before our LID!! AAARRRGGGHHH

So, one could look on the bright side and think, well, at least you know your next now...which is true...and I do take comfort in this. BUT...when is "next"????? And are the families who get referrals "next" going to be able to get to China and get their children before the end of 2008? When will we be traveling? Will we be in China for Christmas?...New Years?
Still SO many questions...and so few answers.

So for the next month, I will be reviewing packing lists from families who BTDT. When I sit and think about packing for this trip, it just seems so completely overwhelming, I don't know where to begin! You'd think after all this time I would have all this figured out!

ONE MORE MONTH...and we will finally see Willow's face for the first time. Funny thing about that though...a friend of mine just recently expressed to me how excited she is to see the see what Willow looks like. This made me stop and think about that, and you know, of course I want to see her picture, but really all I want is for someone to tell me where she is and that I can go get her...that's all I really need. I've seen Willow in my dreams for years now...and I'm sure no matter what her picture looks like, she will be exactly the daughter from my dreams!

ONE MORE MONTH...that's nothing....should fly by...right?!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

September Not Looking Good

Referrals came out this week and the CCAA has matched families with a log in date through January 31, 2006. On one hand, FINALLY...THANK GOD THEY ARE FINISHED WITH JANUARY!!! On the other hand, WTH, last month they matched through January 25th and back in January of 2006, Chinese New Year celebration was from January 28th through February 5th. The CCAA was closed for these dates, therefore, were not any families with log in dates during that time. So basically they did 2 days of LID's this month! January 26th & 27th...because the rest of the time no one was logged in. As usual, the CCAA's choice of "published" cut off date is causing all kinds of speculation. Because usually they use the last day there were actually any log in dates...and if they were just going up until they have another log in date, why did they not make the cut-off date February 5th????? What does this mean for the September referrals???? Did the Olympic have any impact on this month, or next months, referrals???? Again, as usual LOTS of speculation, no concrete information. More "wait and see". Anyway, I think it is safe to say that they are not going to get through February 16th, our LID, next month. Damn, damn, damn...I was SO sure! After all this time, I should know better to get my hopes up...what was I thinking?

So now when??? Maybe, October, probably more likely November...hopefully we will still travel this year!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hurry Up and Wait....and Hurry Up???

My current prediction for us to receive our referral of Willow is September 2008. This would have us traveling in approximately November 2008. Of course this is only my prediction, and if you go back through the history of this blog, you will see my past predictions that have not remotely come true. But, I beleive this one has a resonably good chance of being true. I mean, it has already been 2 years and 4 months of waiting, it has to end sometime....right?!

The funny thing is that now, after this excruciating long wait, I suddenly feel this pending sense of urgency! Something like..."holy crap...only a couple of months until our referral???....I'm not ready....I have so much to do to prepare!" How funny is that? After all this time!

Lets see, I do have to finalize arrangements for "things" to be taken care of at home while we are gone. We need to finish painting Willows room...which we started 2years ago...and clean out the closet in her room...hmmmm...where am I going to store all of that junk now?! Hmmmm....and I need to pack. So, okay, I guess it is not that much to do. Heck, we could probably leave next week if they'd let us! But for now, I will be incredibly happy with September and traveling and home with Willow before the end of 2008. I can't possibly think of a better way to end this wonderful year!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Earthquake History I can't sleep and have been on-line trying to catch up on the latest on what is going on in China. I truly can say that some of my late night searches on the net have brought up a vast variety of topics. I have volumes and volumes of useless information stored in my head from my "research".

So, with that explanation, here we go: On the subject of earthquakes....just not necessarily this specific earthquake in China.

The largest earthquake ever in the US was on 03/27/64 and registered a 9.2!! But, I don't really know that this one should count in all fairness, because it happened at Prince William Sound. But it caused a tsunami, which in turn did to damage to land in Alaska. The records say that a total of 128 lives were lost, 15 due to the earthquake and 113 due to the tsunami. Which really leads to another question of how they know the earthquake or the tsunami killed they specific people. Maybe the 15 who the earthquake killed were on the water in Prince Wm Sound at the time?! I probably can research that specifically on-line and find out exactly how each of the 128 died, but I think I will save that for another sleepless night maybe. What in the world did we ever do without the internet?!

Okay...back to the earthquake trivia:
The largest death toll in the US from an earthquake was an earthquake in San Francisco, CA on 4/18/1906. There were approximately 3000 deaths. But again...I believe these to be somewhat "skewed" numbers...because the earthquake caused the fires that most all of us have heard many people parished due to the fire. But there would not be a fire for the earthquake.....hmmmm....point taken....why/how do people die from an earthquake? It is not like they just get shaken to death. The earthquake must cause another act that causes the death...building collapse, fire, etc....

Anyway, now I am starting to feel guilty that I am making fun of earthquakes...which I am not! It was just one thing let to another...and so on....and so on......and I ended up here:
Go ahead...type it in your will find everything you never thought you wanted to know about earthquakes.
This is what happens to a girl who grew up in the Midwest and now lives in the desert and thank God has never experienced, nor even really heard much about earthquakes.

One of my points of looking at the history of the US was trying to wrap my head around how devastating the China earthquake is. There is really no comparison of the tragedy though. But during all of this late night "surfing" I did find something that I will strongly support and recommend to anyone reading to consider supporting as well. Half the Sky, which I have brought up in other posts, you can go to their website if you are unfamiliar with the organization, has created the HTS Children's Earthquake Fund, in cooperation with government officials.

From HTS Website:
"Your donations to the fund will be used to provide emergency and long-term relief to children in Sichuan and Chongqing affected by the quake."

I encourage any of you who are able to and wish to help to consider a donation to this fund. You can find more information about Half the Sky and donate through their website or Global Giving @

Earthquake News

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know there was a devastating earthquake in China on Monday, May 12th (US time). The quakes epicenter was in Eastern Sichuan. Sichuan is a province in south central China. The quake was a 7.9 and following, there have been no less than 40 aftershocks registering 4.4 to 6.0.

I know the devastation has to be more than most if not all of us reading this can imagine. The last I heard the "state run" official death toll was 12,000 with an estimate of 18,000 still unaccounted for assumed to be trapped in rubble. According to some information that I have read the "non-official" death toll at this point is already closer to 20,000.

At this point, I do not believe the soldiers/rescuers have been able to even begin efforts in the hardest hit areas due the inaccessibility from damage to roads. Tragically, those areas likely have a very high death rate versus survival rate.

Of course everyone in the adoption community is following the story with a great interest. Some of you already have children from the area. There are numerous SWI's(orphanages) in the areas damaged. Some of us who are waiting families, wait, wondering, the one who is suppose to be our daughter in this she her birth family okay? The most difficult position would be for those who currently are holding referrals for a child in one of the orphanages in the areas devastated. I can't imagine the anguish, the grief, the stress those are going through. Information from China on a good day about adoption is limited. I have to imagine those families who are trying to get specific information on their children are having a even more difficult time, if not completely impossible now, due to all the communication outages.

Half the Sky and Love Without Borders have been trying their best to keep the adoption community up to date with what information that can obtain. The good news is that there are many SWI's(orphanages) in the area that are fine. Well, maybe the orphanages are not fine, but the children are well. There are 4 specific SWI's that are in very devastated areas that no one has been able to report on yet. These are: Aba, Deyang, Zitong and Mianyang. "Official reports" are that there are approximately 100 children housed in each of these locations. I am holding out hope and faith that all are well.

Ultimately, NO, this earthquake is not adoption news! It would be incredibly selfish for me or anyone else to see it that way...and I don't think they do. It is news of a tragic natural disaster. Several have occurred lately...the cyclone in Myanmar, recent tornadoes that have taken lives in the US. But this China earthquake hits our hearts deeply. It's our child's birth country, it's her people, it will be part of her history. Years from now what stories will we be telling about where Willow was when the "Great Quake" hit China?! Will we have a story to tell?

My heart goes out to any an all of you that are impacted by this tragedy. My heart breaks for the 1000's of mothers and fathers who have lost children (probably their only child, due to China's law)in the disaster. I have no words of wisdom...just know as your heart hopes, so does your heart aches...mine does as well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Another Mother's Day

Well...another Mother's Day has come and gone. While it was a good day, it was a day with sadness around the edges. Not anger or frustration as it has been in the past years...just sadness. If anyone had ever told me, when we started the process, that I would be celebrating Mother's Day 2008 without Willow being home with us, I would have told them they were crazy!

I would like to be able to positively say that this is absolutely the last Mother's Day without Willow...but we all know by now that there is nothing positive in international adoption. I believe it will be the last one...I believe we will bring Willow home in 2008. Obviously I hope and pray that it will be sooner than later. But ultimately...we just don't know.

Willow has thrived in my heart for years. She is this person, who already has such an important place in our family, who is already taken into consideration when making decisions that will impact our lives as a family. She is already included in plans for the future...not only by Tom and I but by extended family and friends. It is all so matter of fact. I can't began to estimate the number of times the phrase "when Willow comes home" has crossed my lips.

It was a beautiful Mother's Day....just a little sad around the edges...because I missed my hug and kiss from this beautiful little girl who lives in my heart.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Year.....2 Year Anniversary....New Hope??????

Well, here we are into yet another new year! The Chinese Year of the Rat.
Here is some information that I found regarding the "Rat Year":

A Rat Year is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal. This is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product or make a fresh start. Ventures begun now may not yield fast returns, but opportunities will come for people who are well prepared and resourceful. The best way for you to succeed is to be patient, let things develop slowly, and make the most of every opening you can find.

In Chinese, the Rat is respected and considered a courageous, enterprising person. People born in the Year of Rat are clever and bright, sociable and family-minded. They have broad interests and strong ability in adapting to the environment and able to react adequately to any changes.

So I guess the "Year of the Rat" isn't really bad, or disgusting, as we here in the Western world would imagine. Funny how there can be such drastically different interpretations of an animal based on geography. Just one more way our way of thinking is going to continue to expand with the addition of our Chinese-American princess!

On another note, along with the New Year, comes our 2 year anniversary of our LID! Definately not an anniversary I expected to come and obviously not an anniversary to celebrate! I suppose I could look on the bright side and say that now that we are past our 2 year LID anniversary....we are closer to our referral. I do believe we will finally get to see our darling Willow in 2008. My prediction is that we will get our referral in September, but all any of you need to do is cruise back through my past posts to see how well my past predicitions have turned out!
I have surrendered to "whatever will be will be" on this matter. Que Sera, sera..............

Hang on our sweet Willow, you already live in our hearts, are part of our thoughts everyday, and when it is time will be forever in our arms!