Friday, September 26, 2008

Dear Sweet Daughter

To: My Dear Emma Kate and Sophia Grace
Love Always, Mommy

Dear Sweet Daughter
Author: Gayle Leubecker

Dear Sweet Daughter,
As a girl I had a common dream, to be a mom someday. My baby would have eyes of blue and hair the hue of hay. But now my dreams have been transformed. New visions fill my head. Now the tresses that I long to stroke are raven black instead. And in my dreams those eyes are not so big or blue or round. Now in my dreams they're almond shaped and colored cocoa brown. And in my dreams my arms can stretch across enormous seas.They reach half-way around the world and hold you close to me. As you grow in your mother's womb, carefully knit together, you're also growing in my heart, where you will stay forever. And in my dreams the moment that your mother says good-bye, I'll be right there to comfort you and hold you as you cry. Our features may not look alike; we're different as can be. But still I know the Father has created you for me. And though I've not yet seen your face, or held your tiny hands, and though we're half a world apart in very different lands. I'll be right there to get you just as soon as God allows. But til He says the time is right I give to you this vow. I'll pray for your protection every night on bended knee. For God will hold you in His arms, until you're here with me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Believe in Miracles- An Update on Sophie!

Our Beautiful Girl! :)
Sophie turned 22 months old on September 19th. The very next day a special family from our Yangxi Yahoo SWI group visited the orphanage. Terri and Joe (and big sister Maddy) adopted their daughter Amelia earlier last week and had the opportunity to return to Yangxi County. Amelia's crib was next to Sophie's so they were "neighbors". :)
Terry volunteered to check in on Sophie for us. She also suggested that we sleep with a blankie so that she could bring it to Sophie with our scent on it. I emailed her a family picture (the only recent one that I had of the 3 of us...go figure that we were all sweaty, oh well....), Terry printed out the picture and glued it to card stock so that it would be sturdy.
Below is the sweet email that accompanied the picture above:
Hey Megan,
Sophie is absolutely gorgeous. She looks very healthy. Some of the kids have open sores on their heads, but she looks great. She's very shy and began to cry after the second picture. I was only able to take a picture of Amelia's crib inside and then a picture of Sophie and of one of the other babies that another mom (Jenn McQuade) asked me about. They didn't want to give Sophie the blanket because they said the other babies would play with it and it would get dirty, etc. so I don't know if she'll get to keep it, but I told them you didn't care if it got dirty so maybe they will. But she did at least get it while I was there. And they told her about Mama and Baba and JieJie in the picture. I attached a picture of Amelia in her crib because she and Sophie were crib mates (side by side) and I was able to get Sophie's in with it. I'll send an extended email to the group later. Enjoy!
Sophie appears to have good muscle tone and was walking well. She seems to be wearing a size 2T. The SWI staff said that "She's the most beautiful girl" and they took time to fuss over her clothing for the pictures. : ) They wanted us to know that they were taking good care of her.
Terri also informed me that the orphanage is new, built around 2002. All of the baby rooms had air conditioning for the summer and heat for the winter! The rooms are spartan with few toys and the babies sleep on wooden boards in the cribs. The Ayi (Auntie/Nanny) ratio is about 10:1-not the worst case scenario.
Our papers are back from the Secretary of State and now at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco for the final "okay"...then our dossier is off to China!!! Depending on who we speak with we are getting different time lines, our best (hopeful) guess is that we will be traveling between January and March???

Friday, September 19, 2008

Celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival (A.K.A. Moon Festival).

*Emma dressed in her traditional Chinese silks.*
*Of course we had matching hair accessories! ; )*
*We made lanterns at school to celebrate the holiday. *
*And, we ate "moon cakes"...Emma DOES like the REAL kind, but I figured that her classmates would prefer ding dongs!!*
"Emma and I brought moon cakes, moon juice, and treat boxes with each child's name written in english and chinese".
Yesterday I spent some time with Emma and her classmates at pre-school. We celebrated The Mid Autumn Festival together and we had so much fun! : ) I opened with a simple over view of the holiday, then we did a lantern craft and each child received a "good fortune" stamp with the Chinese pinyin character on their hand. The children learned how to say hello and good bye in Mandarin. After I left the children ate their "moon cakes" and listened to Chinese festival music. : )
If you are wondering WHAT Mid Autumn Festival/Moon Festival is.....

Zhōng qīu jié 中秋節Mid-Autumn Festival (Provided by Robin B.)
The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar cycle and the moon is important to the Chinese. Autumn Moon Festival, literally ‘Mid-Autumn Festival’, or the Birthday of the Moon is on 8/15 of the lunar calendar, a full moon night. It is a time to have the family together, eat a festive meal including moon cakes, and enjoy the moonlight. Children & adults carry paper lanterns and climb hills to get a good view of the full moon. They give thanks to the bright, silvery moon of the eighth lunar month. Some call it a “Chinese Thanksgiving”. Moon cakes are round like the moon. The round shape is a symbol for togetherness and harmony. Made of flaked pastry, they often have egg yolks in the center, to represent the moon, and sweet fillings of red bean paste, lotus seed paste, coconut or nuts. The sweetness of them represents good fortune or good harvest. Traditional red bean paste filling takes days to make. Special molds are used which press special designs in the top. Now “everyone” buys moon cakes instead of making them at home.
On the evening of the Autumn Moon Festival, people carrying paper lanterns climb hills and mountains to get a good view of the full moon. They give thanks to the bright, silvery moon of the eighth lunar month. The Mid-Autumn Festival is also partially a Festival of Lights. The lanterns they carry all have candles in them. Before electricity, people were more aware of the length of the days and the stars, and what happened in the night sky.
Zhong qui jie everybody!!!!! : )

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Punk Rock Chic

I really have a lot of fun dressing Emma for preschool every day. : )

Sure she has her own opinions about a LOT of things, but we still share the same taste as far as hair styles and clothing goes. (Although she would wear her tennis shoes with everything if I allowed it)!

One day last week I decided to go with a "Punk Rock Chic" look. Even though we were running a few minutes late this day I snapped the above pictures because she just looked SO CUTE-and grown up! : D The belt that she was wearing was actually pink and sparkly although it looks white in the pictures.

Emma is doing well in her new preschool. We are very pleased with her team of educators this year. Her teacher is very in tune with Emma's needs, her Occupational Therapist is trying different techniques with her, and her Speech Therapist already has Emma conversing more! Emma has been saying some new phrases that of course make us proud, but crack us up too! ; )

Here is a sampling for your enjoyment...

"How's everyone doing"? (Asked at the dinner table one night).
"I lub (love) you". (My favorite).
"That's mine, that's not yours"! (Hmmm... practice for Sophie's arrival)?
"I'm done".
"Here we go again".
"Time to get ready to go"!
"First it's Emma's turn, then it's _________". (Insert Mommy, Daddy, Jack, Mikey...).


Here it is...our I-171H Approval! After waiting for 29 weeks (instead of the standard 8-12) we FINALLY received our I 171-H Approval from USCIS to adopt Sophie!! Basically this means that our adoption agency needs to have this form approved by the Chinese Consulate in Washington State and then our dossier is on it's way to China for translation! Our next big hurdle to cross will be to receive a LID (Log in Date) from the CCAA (Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs). THEN we wait for TA (Travel Approval). We will update the blog as we hit these milestones so stay tuned. : )

I was SHOCKED to find this in our mail box this morning, I think that I asked Greg 3 or 4 times: "Are you SURE that this it"??!! After regaining my senses and calling my Mom I was off to FED EX to overnight the approval to our adoption agency. We have had some minor flooding here and I drove through 8-12 inches in some areas to get there, I was just glad that I did not have to get out and wade to the building....of course I would have. ; )

When we told Emma that the special paper came that we have been waiting for and that Sophie can come home now Emma replied: "SISTER"!!!

I guess that this means that I can start to get Sophie's room ready! Even if we do not travel for 4, 5, or 6 more months...those of you who know me understand that I need to be organized. : )
In the closing of this rambling post I want to take note that it is September 13th, but in China it is September 14th...the first day of The Moon Festival. This is a very important family oriented holiday in China. So, what a fitting day this was to receive our approval for Sophie!

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