Tuesday, June 26, 2012


"We're going to China!"

Wanna hear it?  Click here and then click on the speaker symbol inside of the left-hand side box.

Wow. What vowels!

We did it! We received word that we'd gotten Travel Approval (TA!) yesterday, June 25, and I cried all the way through dinner at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. :)  We are winding down fast and I can give you an actual date that we leave to go TO CHINA!!!

The date is... <drum roll, dramatic music, scary screamy sounds, sappy Disney tunes - whatever it takes to get your heart pumping!>

(Just so you know, this date really means one thing more than any other thing, right?

More waiting <ugh!> but this time, we know exactly how much waiting. And, it just ain't that much waiting.)

My personal joke, that I've told myself to keep myself laughing, is that this adoption process has been developed secretly to wean out the crazies. hahahaha If you can do this thing without completely snapping and coming apart then okay, they'll really let you have the kid. Of course, you may have to be a certain amount of crazy to attempt to do this thing in the first place. <wink>

Well, we must be the right amount of crazy 'cause the crazy boat leaves on July 11 and we're on it!

Gotcha Day is July 16, so EXACTLY 20 days from now, that baby girl will be in my arms.

This is the boys' idea of what a "crazy boat" would look like.

All aboard!

(Oh, good grief, I have so much to do - clothes to be washed, bags to be packed,  lists to be made, stuff to do, paperwork to be gathered! I gotta go!)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wealthy Woman

Tuesday Morning:
So, I'm tired and a good bit frustrated.  Looks like, due to money and timing and various other circumstances but mostly money and timing, I will be headed to China by myself.  I am both disappointed and relieved by this turn of events.  I am disappointed because I wanted this to be a family experience, I  really wanted my husband and then my kids to come along and be a part of it. I am relieved because I'm not going to have to deal with a 6yo and 4yo (+ a  grieving 2 yo) on a trip of this magnitude.   (It was my very good friend, "the Keeks," -also known as Best Barn Friend- who suggested this two weekends ago, "What if the kids don't go?"  Isn't it nice to have someone who knows you well enough to be able to pinpoint exactly what you can't see about yourself ... and then loves you enough to say it out loud?)

At this point, I don't want to sight-see, I don't want to immerse myself culturally, I don't want to have this huge learning experience for my kids. I want to go get my daughter, do what is best for her, and come home. Period.

I wish my hubby could come along, I really do, but we have no one to leave the little kids with and we have to do what's best for them, too. Best for them is to spend two weeks in a place and with people that they feel safe and secure with and right now, that's their dad.

I've been pregnant with this adoption, I will be the one who goes to labor and delivery.  I just never planned on it being an "alone" labor and delivery.

Tuesday Evening:
And voila! Life changes.  My very good friend God-given family, Bea, has graciously volunteered to come here and take care of our kids so that K-Man and I can go together to pick up Lyric.

Read: come to my house, sleep in a bed that's not hers, live out of a suitcase, be away from her family, navigate in a city that she's unfamiliar with and take care of my 6yo and 4yo ACTIVE kids for about 2 1/2 weeks.

I feel awful, she was supposed to go with us to China, so now I have promised her China and delivered, instead,  Alabama.  Really, not quite the same.  Or maybe, quite the same without the "exotic" ... plus the accent.  :)
But I also feel very loved that she would do this, that she would so willingly give of herself to make a way so that K-Man and I can go 1/2 way across the world to be where we need to be. She's been there often, when I've needed her - after my divorce, during the awful days and nights of my therapy for childhood abuse (I answered the phone at least once, when she'd called to check on me, sobbing and yelling out "whys,") and she was the friend that I met in Sedona, Arizona so many years ago when I took my LIFE BREAK.

She's one of those friends that you can't believe love you back and you wonder how other people get through life without someone just like her.

And, I'm repaying her love and kindness by leaving her with my kids for a little over 2 weeks, alone.  :)

 So, if you're in north Alabama in mid-July and just happen to see Bea out chasing my kids somewhere, stop and give her a hug.  She's a "good one" ... and she probably needs it. ;p

(Wait, did I just say that I'd be leaving my 6yo and my 4yo for two WEEKS?  <gulp>)

Also, check out what one of my oldest and dearest friends, LL, sent Lyric all the way from Chicago.  (She also sent Matchbox cars for the boys and a plaque for me- thoughtful!)  I've wanted a bracelet for Lyric for quite a while now, it's important to me to have it to put on her little wrist on Gotcha Day. I don't know why (it's probably something along the lines of  "Today, I became someone's princess. See? I have the jewels to prove it." :) )  The one that I'd found was "no longer available" but I love this one, more. How'd LL know? She knew because she's my friend.

Then, there are the people who have never ceased to do "happy dances" and, alternately groaned with me, during this adoption. The ones who check up on me and ask to see pictures that I know that they've already seen. The ones who meet me for lunch and listen over and over again to my updates. And, yes, even the Facebook friends :) - I can't wait to share any new good news on Facebook because I  know that I can count on them to "show up" en masse to cheer me on. Whoever said that Fb friends aren't "real"  just doesn't  get it, huh? (Fb is a tool, it is what each user makes of it.)

I am a woman rich in friends- and that really is about quality, not quantity.

PS  I am reminded that, although we have tons of adoption books, the only adoption book that Middle Child has really let me read to him on a consistent basis is A Sister for Matthew in which Matthew stays with his grandparents while the parents go to China and then he meets his new sister in the airport.  I kept trying to get him to let me read Waiting for May because in that one the little boy goes to China with his parents and therefore the story was more applicable for our situation. No, he wanted A Sister for Matthew.  I think that all along he was trying to tell me in his sweet, quiet, little Middle Child way, that he was MUCH more comfortable with staying home.  Ain't it great when life works out like it's supposed to, in spite of your best intentions?  :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's Official!

Tuesday, I went out to the front porch and found a package, which is really not that uncommon -  I DETEST real life shopping but online shopping is awesome. It felt like a toddler's board book through the envelope. I don't remember ordering the kids another book.


And, it was addressed to us, from us, with the UPS store's address as the return address.



... so I tore it open - our passports.

I opened up the passports just to make sure that they'd sent us the right ones and there they were!  Chinese Visas on a page in each passport.

(photo via my brother-in-law, JC, I have no idea where he got it. 
He's never been to Spain to run with the bulls, that I know of.  
Also, he still has all of his appendages which would NOT 
seem to be the case of whomever took this shot.
- I have this huge feeling that this is a famous photo from somewhere ... 
oh well, no matter, it sums it up perfectly!)

After nearly 16 months of battling the Paperwork Bull, we have Visas for China!

 ("Paperwork Bull," hahahaha I crack myself up.)

Visas for China.

It's really happening.

Yee Haw!

OH, OH, OH!!!  TODAY, I opened up my email and found this:

the "U.S. Consulate issued your Article 5...our staff confirmed today that they got it last week and sent it to Beijing so the CCCWA can process your travel approval." 


This is the last step before they issue us Travel Approval - the dates that we leave for China.  We should have TA in about 3 weeks and be able to leave 3 to 6 weeks after that.  So, in 6 to 9 weeks we'll be China bound!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Couldn't Have Said It Better, Myself. :)

So, I found this today and wanted to share today, not in a week when I'd normally post. Enjoy.

The quote:

"On the excruciating wait/delays: Oh my, I can speak to this. First, forget whatever timeline you were given at the beginning. Forget you ever heard that. Put that in the trash can. Adoption will change, shift, slow down, hit snags, be weird, be difficult, take longer than you think, take longer than you can stand. This will happen. This is the normal thing. When someone gives you a timeline, say, "Thank you for that cute little sentence. Flush." Potential adopters, let me tell you this: Get your "YES" straight at the very beginning. Decide on it. Roll around in it. Put it on the table and shellack it. Because you cannot let every delay and snag derail your certainty about adoption. When you say YES, you are saying YES to enter the suffering of the orphan, and that suffering includes WAITING FOR YOU TO GET TO THEM. I promise you, their suffering is worse than yours. We say YES to the tears, YES to the longing, YES to the maddening process, YES to the money, YES to hope, YES to the screaming frustration of it all, YES to going the distance through every unforeseen discouragement and delay. Do not imagine that something outside of "your perfect plan" means you heard God wrong. There is NO perfect adoption. Every adoption has snags. We Americans invented the "show me a sign" or "this is a sign" or "this must mean God is closing a door" or "God must not be in this because this is hard," but all that is garbage. You know what's hard? Being an orphan. They need us to be champions and heroes for them, fighting like h*** to get them home. So we will. We may cry and rage and scream and wail in the process, but get them home we will. " -Jen Hatmaker (find her here)  via Five of My Own

A (girl) : As someone who is in the middle of it, YES! You just have to realize that you are as committed to them as if they were growing inside your body. I've been pregnant three times, that wasn't fun either. This has the same surety -  I'm committed, I will see this through, I will not give up on her... because I can't. Not won't. Can't.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Total Stranger Wonderful!

So, I've heard all these crazy stories about these insane people whose mouths move faster than their brains and who say ridiculous things to adoptive parents, I've even met these people a time or two myself. No kidding, they recently struck again at another mom in one of our Families with Chinese Children groups, a cashier actually asked her, "Can't you have any kids of your own?"  And, "Why didn't you get a white baby?"  <Yeah, mouth totally fallen open.>

In fact, this group of people strike so often that K-Man and I had to take an online class on how to deal with them as part of our requirements for the adoption.

This group is, not too affectionately, called ... "Total Strangers" (not to leave out, "Unthinking Friends and Family," but this post is not about them.)

(Actually, I had a lady just this past Friday morning ask me, in a pretty condescending tone,"seeing as how there are kids in need here, why didn't you get a kid from here?"  I think that I'm ready for it ... but I never really am.  It almost always feels like these people are making judgement calls about my decisions - they are, hence the condescending tone -  without really bothering to find out my reasons. The real problem is that there is not a one sentence, easy, answer to these questions and to have someone ask like they are enlightening me or pointing out an error in my judgement -  really?  I have LABORED over this decision, give me some credit  ... or just keep your mouth shut. In fact, Ms Condescension, one of my sisters grew up in the US foster care system, I am well aware of "the kids in need, here." I seriously don't mind answering your real, honest QUESTIONS but we can both live without your negativity. <sigh> No, I didn't say this to her, instead I shared way too much info with a person who really doesn't deserve to know that much about me and my family.  I just feel so side-swiped when it happens that MY mouth runs away while my brain struggles to catch up. And, on a totally negative note - it seems like the ones who have the biggest opinions have never adopted from anywhere. Really? That's sorta like a NASCAR fan telling a race car driver, "I think that you're making all those left-hand turns completely wrong, here's how I'd do it."  Watching just ain't the same thing as driving, just so ya know.)

However, there is another variation of the Total Stranger category - TSWonderful!  Often, I don't think that these people get the recognition that they deserve. These Total Strangers (Wonderful!) shower you with warm fuzzies in those moments when you weren't looking for it but really needed it.

This happened to me Thursday. We were at Tuesday Morning (the one on County Line Rd, it's the BEST) and I'd been literally chasing the boys all over the store, hemming them in to that one aisle where they were allowed to check out the toys, reminding them to pick up their messes, listening to the MANY reasons why I should purchase, for them, whatever toy that they'd picked out at the moment and checking on them repeatedly to be sure that they were still in their allotted spots. All the while trying to find luggage to take with us on the China trip.

Do I like it?
Is it big enough to carry all our crap without being so big that I can't manage it and three kids and a hubby that has a tendency to wander? (I'm only half-joking :) )
Is it cheap enough that I can afford it without being so cheap that it's gonna fall apart in the baggage hold somewhere over the Pacific Ocean?
Is this really a good deal -  did I look this one up on the Internet ... or not?
Is it a cool color but not one that I'm gonna grow to hate later? ( Yes, this IS TOO an important question. It is. <giggle>)

I had FINALLY made my decision and moved the kid-circus up to the front of the store to buy all the stuff. It was a typical outing with my VERY ACTIVE 6 and nearly 5 year old sons - seriously, another Total Stranger (of the "Stating the Obvious" category) had said to Middle Child, earlier in the store, "You have a lot of energy, don't you?"

I can't concentrate on much of anything when the kids are around, other than:

Come here! 
Don't touch that. Seriously, you're gonna break it!
Come here!
Get up out of the floor, stopping rolling over your brother, don't kick him!
Come here!
Sit right here! No, right here! Against the counter. Do NOT move! 

You've either got little kids or were one, at some point in your life. You know the drill.

(Shew. I'm tired just thinking about it.)

Anyway, in the middle of all this, the cashier checks out my luggage and asks Middle Child, "Are you going on a trip? Where are you going on your trip?"  I looked at him and waited to hear what he would say.  He looked up at her and said, in the sweetest voice, "China."  Her eyes almost bugged out of her head and then she looked at me, "Wow, I was expecting him to say 'Grandma's or Disney' but not 'China!' "

(Yes, this WOULD BE a whole lot easier ... 

... but, somehow, I don't think 
that Homeland Security would go for it.)
So, this led to the explanations -we're adopting a little girl from China and yes,the boys are going with us and yes, it's going to be a big trip- Middle Child, you're in a store, do NOT do cartwheels (he was really doing this, he only tries it when we're in stores - we have a BIG yard but nope, cartwheels, only inside public places) and sit BACK DOWN against the counter! -and yep, I'm sure it'll be fine. I felt like I should have been saying to her, "I know! I know! I've already got two that are barely under control and I'm going in for a third. I know."

<Big breath.>  Everybody out to the truck!

In the parking lot, this older Total Stranger lady approached me very tentatively. It was obvious that she was almost overcome with emotion and didn't want to bother me.  "Excuse me, but did I hear you say that you're adopting a little girl from China?  I think that's just wonderful. Oh, just really wonderful." She was BEAMING at me in a "the world IS a good place," kinda way.

I said "yes," I showed her our pictures, she asked about Q-Boo's  name, we discussed it some more, we said good-bye.  I went back to heaving the kids and the luggage into my vehicle.  She came back, "Excuse me? But, did you say you were gonna name her 'Lyric?' Oh, that's just wonderful ... like, this is a high-note in your life and so her name is 'Lyric.' That's just wonderful."

Yes ma'am, it really is. And, thank you, Ms TSW. I think, you're pretty wonderful.

Well, this takes care of me.
Now, what about K-Man and the kids?
Lyric may need a steamer trunk, just so you know. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Don't Ever...

So far, this week:
I've gotten down on my hand and knees and SCRUBBED
(well, I used one of those Sonic Scrubbers-that's "scrubbing," right? )
Lyric's bathroom floor.
Left side -"after"
Right side- "befo

I've gotten a new 'do!

I also, actually, bought and put on make-up. 
This is significant because 
I haven't worn make-up in so long that, well ...
Middle Child, who is 6 1/2 yso, looked at my face 
and his mouth suddenly fell open in disgust, 
he took a step backwards and exclaimed, 
"WHAT is on your face? Is that lipstick?"
"Yes, it's lipstick."
"Don't kiss me with that stuff on you!"

I even bought toenail polish  
but (Holy Mess, Batman!) 
it's been so long since I've actually used this stuff that
I can't get up the guts to try it. 

I've even been checking out tattoos.
This one is really cool.
Let me be clear: I got this picture of this tattoo off of Pinterest.
 It is NOT my back. Nor my tattoo.
But I am wondering if
I might like one similar to it.

... Let Anyone Tell You 
That Adoption Hormones Aren't Real.
They Are. They Definitely Are.

(PS Chinese Visa Applications: Done & Sent!
New GUESStimation for travel is early August.
Still, we're closer than we've ever been before. Right? Right! Right.)