Friday, January 30, 2009

~Happy and Hopeful in Wichita Today~

This post does not have any pictures of Emma-sorry, guys! ; ) I will post some pictures of her riding her big girl bike (w/training wheels) the next time. I promise.

For those of you who have been following Emma's story, you know that we have been searching for answers to our questions. With respect to Emma's privacy I am not going to give a detailed list of what her personal challenges have been or our challenges as a family. If you know us in real life, then you KNOW what I am talking about.

Today we finally met somebody somebody with the RIGHT answer. We have "fired" two Attachment Therapists who did not get it. Dr. "P" is a psychologist and he GETS IT. After a phone consultation with Greg last week and meeting with us today, he diagnosed Emma as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Greg and I had suspected that Emma's condition was trauma based for quite some time and we had actually even discussed PTSD. Emma's prior diagnosis of RAD just never felt "right", we had challenged both Attachment Therapists on the diagnosis. Call it parental intuition. PTSD fits Emma; when Dr. "P" said it...well, it was like a giant light bulb lit up the room. I think that I even said something like "Thank God you get it". He probably thinks that I need therapy, I was talking a mile a minute in his office!! ; )

SO, NOW we can start to help Emma heal. This is a good thing. He sees all of Emma's potential, I like that. Below is a link to PTSD, and the article is LONG. Feel free to read it if you wish. I am including a quote from the article (not my own words, the words of Dr. Bruce Perry). It really sums things up I think!

http://www.childtrauma.org/ctamaterials/ptsd_interdisc.asp

"Typical signs and symptoms of PTSD include impulsivity, distractibility and attention problems (due to hypervigilance), dysphoria, emotional numbing, social avoidance, dissociation, sleep problems, aggressive (often re-enactment) play, school failure and regressed or delayed development".


I'm sharing this information so that family and friends can better understand Emma and our family. I hope that it might also help another family in the same situation as us.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Few Words About Our Chinese New Year Celebration...

The following post contains pictures of us celebrating Chinese New Year this past Saturday. We went to a wonderful party that was hosted by our local Chinese Cultural Center. Emma had a lot of fun and loved the Dragon Dance, she repeatedly asked if she could go on stage...I have no doubt that she would have joined in if we let her! :) Below is an over view of Chinese New Year that I found online. If you are interested it explains the holiday in simple terms. Or, if you choose you may go to the next post to see pictures of Emma! :)


CHINESE NEW YEAR
INFORMATION COURTESY OF: http://www.nickjr.com/parenting/parenting_features/chinese-new-year/about/chinese-ny-info.jhtml

Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is a very important time of the year in most of Asia. It is a time of renewal, and the traditions and festivities associated with the New Year are a way to celebrate a fresh, new beginning.The Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. In 2009, the New Year falls on January 26.

Preparations & Celebrations

The traditional Chinese New Year's greeting is "Gung ho fat choy!" which means, "may prosperity be with you!" Each day of the 15-day celebration has a significant meaning, and there are specific foods to be eaten and prayers to be said on each day. Many of the preparations Chinese families make for the New Year are done to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year. Thoroughly cleaning the house before the New Year Getting a haircut and new clothes to begin the year fresh and clean Decorating house doors with red scrolls and banners for good luck Placing live, blooming plants around the house to symbolize renewal Handing out small red envelopes filled with money, called lai see hong bao, for good luck.

Traditional FoodsThis is a time of family reunions and gatherings and most Chinese families spend New Year's Eve together enjoying huge feasts where many traditional foods are prepared and eaten. Typical foods include: Oranges & tangerines (for good luck) Red dates (for prosperity) Melon seeds (for many babies) Nian gao (a special dish baked for the New Year--the higher it is, the better year it will be) The Tray of Togetherness (a candy tray filled with lichee nut, kumquat, and lotus seed candies, which symbolize good fortune)

The Signs of the Chinese ZodiacThe Chinese observe a 12-year cycle in which each year is named after a particular animal. According to legend, before his death the Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on the New Year. Twelve animals showed up, and as a reward, he named a year after each of them. It is said that people born in a specific animal's year will have characteristics similar to that animal. Find out more about signs of the Chinese Zodiac.

The Lantern Festival. The arrival of the full moon signals the end of the celebrations, which means it's time for the Lantern Festival. Elaborate lanterns are decorated and hung in temples and homes. On the full moon, the lanterns are carried to a moonlit parade where the dragon dance is performed and fireworks are lit to chase away evil spirits and bad luck. Make paper lanterns for your own festival.

Chinese New Year Celebration! (The Pictures)!
















Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Changing Daddy's Diaper

Emma's VERY BEST friend right now is her Daddy! She loves to play with him and she thinks that everything that he does is just so funny. Greg is very good about playing with her and as you will see by the pictures below he will go along with just about anything. :)

Emma's favorite book right now is "My Mei Mei". (Mei Mei means "little sister" in Chinese). We bought it for her to help explain Sophie's adoption into our family. It is an adorable story with the cutest pictures! Last night she decided that it was time to reenact a page from the book and it involved Greg wearing a Pull Up! :P Poor Greg, Emma REALLY does need Sophie to come home so that she can change her little sister's diapers instead.









Friday, January 16, 2009

Whoo-Hoo!!! Our LOA is IN CHINA!!!!

As you can see by the bold print below our LOA is in BEIJING! I expect that it will be received by the CCAA tomorrow morning or afternoon! Yeahhhh!!! :)

Package Progress
Location
Date
Local Time
Description
*BEIJING,CN*
*01/16/2009*
*11:11 P.M.*
*IMPORT SCAN*

01/16/2009
11:10 P.M.
IMPORT SCAN
INCHEON,KR
01/16/2009
7:47 P.M.
DEPARTURE SCAN
01/16/2009
2:42 P.M.
THE PACKAGE WAS MISSORTED AT THE HUB. IT HAS BEEN REROUTED TO THE CORRECT DESTINATION SITE
01/16/2009
12:22 P.M.
ARRIVAL SCAN
ANCHORAGE,AK, US
01/15/2009
9:47 A.M.
DEPARTURE SCAN
01/15/2009
9:47 A.M.
DEPARTURE SCAN
01/15/2009
5:50 A.M.
ARRIVAL SCAN
ONTARIO,CA, US
01/15/2009
1:48 A.M.
DEPARTURE SCAN
ONTARIO,CA, US
01/14/2009
10:22 P.M.
ARRIVAL SCAN
SEATTLE,WA, US
01/14/2009
8:10 P.M.
DEPARTURE SCAN
BREMERTON,WA, US
01/14/2009
6:10 P.M.
ARRIVAL SCAN
PORT ANGELES,WA, US
01/14/2009
5:10 P.M.
DEPARTURE SCAN
01/14/2009
4:54 P.M.
ORIGIN SCAN
01/14/2009
4:43 P.M.
PICKUP SCAN
01/14/2009
4:34 P.M.
PICKUP SCAN
US
01/14/2009
10:07 P.M.
BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Our LOA is Enroute Back to Beijing, China!

Our adoption agency mailed our signed LOA back to the CCAA yesterday. Courtesy of technology I can "follow" the package until it arrives in Beijing, China. Once it arrives at the CCAA then we can officially begin to wait for Travel Approval! It is not as if I have time to sit and follow the UPS website all day long....but, I will be checking it often! It is something new for me to be obsessive-compulsive about. ;)

Package Progress
Location
Date
Local Time
Description
ONTARIO,CA, US
01/15/2009
1:48 A.M.
DEPARTURE SCAN
ONTARIO,CA, US
01/14/2009
10:22 P.M.
ARRIVAL SCAN
SEATTLE,WA, US
01/14/2009
8:10 P.M.
DEPARTURE SCAN
BREMERTON,WA, US
01/14/2009
6:10 P.M.
ARRIVAL SCAN
PORT ANGELES,WA, US
01/14/2009
5:10 P.M.
DEPARTURE SCAN
01/14/2009
4:54 P.M.
ORIGIN SCAN
01/14/2009
4:43 P.M.
PICKUP SCAN
01/14/2009
4:34 P.M.
PICKUP SCAN
US
01/14/2009
10:07 P.M.
BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED Tracking results provided by UPS: 01/15/2009 8:16 A.M. ET

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Emma's First Trip to the Dentist!

This morning had her very first dental visit! While she has accompanied Greg and I to the dentist in the past for our teeth cleanings she has never had her very own appointment. We decided that it was time to change that. Our dental office has the nicest staff EVER-seriously! The hygienist was very calm and patient with Emma. She explained what all of the instruments were for in toddler terms and allowed Emma to sit on my lap facing me while she cleaned her teeth. :) Emma was nervous but she was also very brave! I was proud of her, this was a very big deal given Emma's sensory issues. By the time the dentist came by to check out Emma's teeth she was less than compliant and made it clear that she was finished with the visit. Oh well, maybe the next time we will have better luck! Emma has no cavities or decay...check out the pictures below to see her nice clean teeth!!


Monday, January 12, 2009

We Have LOA!

We received our LOA today after waiting for 89 days! For those of you who are adoption challenged; that means that we received our Letter of Approval to adopt Sophia Grace from the CCAA. (That is the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs). Our adoption agency is overnighting it to us today and we will sign it tomorrow and overnight it back to them; then it is on it's way back to China! We should have Travel Approval from the CCAA in 3-4 weeks. Sometimes families receive it earlier than that, but with Chinese New Year starting on January 26 and running through February 9th nothing will be happening on China's end. I can't believe that I am typing this; we will be going to bring Sophie HOME soon! I am still sticking to my guesstimation that we will be traveling at the end of February. Three years ago we were saying the same thing about Emma, it is pretty neat that we are traveling at the same time to bring Sophie home. :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We Can Breathe Again...

DAY NUMBER EIGHTY THREE AND GOOD NEWS...

Our agency heard back from our coordinator in China. There is nothing wrong with our paperwork and we should be receiving our LOA "very soon". : ) I get the feeling that we might be traveling at the same time that we did three years ago; late February/early March.

Yesterday Greg and Emma were discussing sharing her things with Sophie. She agreed that Sophie could have some of her baby toys and certain books. Greg asked her if Sophie could have her (stuffed) Teletubbies and she said "No"! ; ) I think that Sophie might be hearing that word alot from her big sister. *lol*!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day Number 82 and No LOA-yet.

WHEN ARE WE GOING TO CHINA?!

Welcome to my pity party!

Today mark day number 82 for our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) wait. Two families that were logged in about a week after us just recieved their LOA's. Ugh. I am happy for them, but completely annoyed that ours has not come. Our coordinatior is checking with the CCAA to make sure that there are no snags, but we will not have any news for another day or two. I am sure that everything is fine, sometimes LOA's piggy back one another. It just seems SO unfair that we are experiencing another delay.

We are getting excited to return to China! I am starting to make "To Do" lists and today I bought a new diaper bag & travel size Clorox wipes. (If you know me, you will see the humor about me buying wipes). :-) We talk about China and Sophie every day. Emma recieved a book for Christmas called "My Mei Mei" and she LOVES it! She wants to hear it every day and I think that she understands that the book is about her and Sophie. :- )

So please cross your fingers or say a prayer if you are the praying type that I will have GOOD NEWS to post soon! :-)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Three Years Ago Today...

Three years ago today we received a call from Emma's Adoption Agency; Children's Hope International. "You have a daughter"! The woman on the other end of the line told us. THEN they faxed her picture to us and we saw Emma's face for the very first time. We learned that her name was Dong Can Ni. She was 20 months old and waiting for us at Yang Dong SWI in Guangdong Province. She was THE MOST BEAUTIFUL baby that we had ever seen. We were FINALLY parents! Emma still looks the same today. Just a little bit older and with hair. :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

*HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009 EVERYBODY*! :)

We took a short trip to Kansas City, MO last weekend. Emma was excited about going and repeatedly said "Going on vacation in Daddy's vehicle to Kansas City, stay in the hotel. Go to China on the big airplane in two months"! I think that we might have a future world traveler on our hands. ; )

Over all Emma did well on the trip, minimal anxiety in the car and only one gargantuan meltdown. The meltdown was partially our fault; Emma loves carousel rides but lately has not done well with leaving the mall when the fun is over. We should NOT have attempted it. Oh well. She DID however enjoy visiting the WWI museum the next day, go figure. : )

Below area few pictures from our little trip....


~Riding the Carousel~ ~Driving a Car~


~Eating a Donut in Bed~ (Did I really allow THIS?!). ;)

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