Thursday, August 18, 2016

Travel is nearing.....Nesting has set in BIG TIME!

Mom has gone nuts!

Yes, this is a picture of my newly cleaned fridge.....this is only one small example of my Nesting craze!  This has been a very new experience for me, I did NOT have any nesting with either of my Bio kids!  I am wondering if it is because they were both born early at 36 weeks.  The doctor removed the cerclage, I was dilated to 4 or 5cm and then labor came quickly after that.   I don´t think my body had time to register that baby was coming, because me and baby were not ready.  

Essentially, I have nagged hubby to pull out the washer and dryer out so I can clean behind them, pull down the blinds so I can wash them, I have organized closets, cupboards, drawers, and even bought new comforters for the beds.  I have washed walls, baseboards.....yes, it has become a little nuts!!  :-)

I think my Bio kiddos are probably glad they have been busy working this week....otherwise I would have been ¨Mommy Nazi¨ making them pick up every crumb after themselves......

I has been quite an experience for me....for any of you who wonder if adoptive mom´s have nesting instincts I can tell you....YES  absolutely!    

Packing & Travel Tips

In my search of travel tips I have come across some AMAZING tips that I thought I would share for those going on extended International trips or for adoption travel...

  • Unplug all small appliances to save on electricity
  • Rinse out sinks with 1/2 c. vinegar and water or bleach to push through debris and prevent smells
  • Put 1 c. bleach in each toilet to prevent a ring from forming and reduce smells
  • Call post office to stop mail or have a neighbor pick up your mail for you
  • Change thermostat to 5 degrees colder or warmer than normal 
  • Have neighbor or family check front porch for packages
  • Two weeks before travel stop buying produce and make meals around using up all produce in the fridge.
  • Plan to use up all bread, baked goods and perishable food before travel
  • A few days before travel, wash all bedding
  • The night before you leave change the sheets on all the beds so you can come home to fresh clean beds.
  • Three days before travel do all the laundry, pack what you need and put away the rest.  You will have plenty of laundry when you get home you don´t need to have more waiting for you at home

These are my travel tips so far.....I will update it as I go.  I will also post our packing list and then I will do a post to tell you what we used and what we didn´t it would have been so nice for me to see a realistic packing list and know what people used or needed.  Most packing lists for International adoption are for toddlers and so they did not apply to me...

Friday, August 5, 2016

Someone punched me in the stomach and said everything happens for a reason

The journey´ve been trying to get pregnant for awhile and  you sit and wait the 5 minutes to see if that second line appears and after what seems like an eternity.....the second line slowly fades into view.  Your heart begins to race, you are so excited tears start to stream down your face, you are in disbelief, is this for real, am I just seeing things.  How can one little pink line have such a powerful effect on your emotions?  and yet it does, it always does.

You know you have a long journey ahead and yet you can´t wipe that smile off your face, you want to tell all your friends, everyone walking down the street who probably wouldn´t care anyway but you want to tell them because you are bursting with excitement.  Time passes, morning sickness sets in and it is hard.... but then you get to hear that little heart beat and all the sudden you forget how hard it has been every time a smell drifts by and you rush to the bathroom and lose your breakfast or lunch and vow that you will never eat that food again in your is all a distant memory when you hear that sweet miracle inside you.

Time passes slowly but you start to feel better and then you get to see that little baby on ultrasound, so precious, kicking, moving, maybe even sucking on her thumb or crossing her legs and again you are anxious, you are excited, it feels so real to you now, you can´t wait to meet your baby!

Ankles swell, you can´t put your shoes on anymore, you can´t sleep because your back hurts or your hip aches, you don´t recognize the swollen reflection in the mirror and yet your thoughts wander back to that ultrasound, or you get to hear that pounding heart beat and your world stops for a moment, what swollen ankles?  What back pain?  My heart is full of joy and excitement at this little miracle that will be coming ever so soon.  As time draws near you decorate a nursery, buy cute little clothes for her to wear, loving people throw you baby showers and you bring home gifts, clothes, and darling little items that make you realize that this baby is coming soon.  As time draws near you start doing laundry, cleaning the house, preparing everything for this little one to arrive....the excitement and anticipation is almost more than you can bear!

Then one feel a wave of pressure and then you realize this feels a little different than before and then a release and you go about your daily routine as time passes you notice that this pressure and discomfort continues coming and is getting closer and closer and you realize, this is it, the time has finally come!  You rush to make final preparations pausing as each wave of pressure tightens around you reminding you that this little one is on the way!   After 5 hours of excitement, anticipation, anxiousness, nervousness, heart racing and frantic last preparations someone comes, jabs you with a needle and everything STOPS!

Dazed and confused you look up to find someone has stopped your labor....and says to you....  I know your expected due date has come and gone many times over and yet you finally went into labor and were excited beyond belief to meet your child but I decided that you must must wait another 4 weeks or maybe longer...

Your world is spinning, your emotions are in a tail spin, what just happened?  Everything was full speed ahead, you were rushing to make final preparations, your heart was so full of excitement and anticipation  you thought it would BURST in your chest, you have been running from store to store making last minute purchases in a mad dash to prepare for this baby....labor had begun and now everything is still.....eerily quiet!

What does this story mean?

I am painting a picture for you to help you understand how deeply connected the emotions of adoption are to those of pregnancy.  Let me tell you our story......  

My story didn´t begin with a postive pregnancy, in fact it began with EIGHT YEARS of negative ones!   That same pregnancy test that for you causes excitement, joy, anticipation....for me caused years and years of tears, heartache, pain and at times left me binge watching Gilmore Girls while I sat with a dirty house and a sink full of dishes and a chocolate chip cookie in my hand or 50 pieces of chewed gum in the garbage to keep me from crying.

My excitement came on Oct. 30th 2015 when finally God had opened a door wide for a time I didn´t even know there was a door left to open.  I wanted to shout from the rooftops, we just submitted our application to adopt!   My anticipation, excitement, and joy was no less than you when you are holding that strip with two pink fact, I can tell you with utmost certainty that my excitement far surpassed yours.....because the journey to this little girl had been EIGHT YEARS in the making and more tears shed than you can possibly imagine.

I may not have had morning sickness....but as things progressed I scanned pages of photos thinking I wanted to be a mother to all of these heart ached for these children, I prayed for them, I prayed to know which child God had planned for me.   When I finally scanned passed that little familiar face that stuck in my mind and I finally came to know that God had mercifully and graciously let me know that she was mine!

I cannot describe to you in words what I felt in my heart that day when Dave sat up in bed and we looked at each other knowing she was our daughter.  I thought my heart would burst out of my chest, the joy, excitement, anticipation.....I didn´t have an ultrasound, I didn´t hear a heartbeat....but I saw a face, a face permanently written on my heart, permanently affixed in my mind....I saw my daughter and I would do anything in the world to bring her home.

Dave and I do not do anything slowly.....and when the adoption process was in our hands and the timeline was up to us....we did it at lightening speed.

  • Application Day Oct. 30th 2015
  • Homestudy complete Dec. 8th 2015
  • Dossier ready to send to China February 2016 except for two government documents....

Our first delay happened as soon as everything was out of our outdated document had been sent!    Maybe I didn´t have morning sickness, maybe I didn´t experience the discomfort of every smell sending me into a tailspin of nausea and food aversions but let me tell you this first delay was no walk in the park.  We were ready, documents were complete and then.....a major delay due to an outdated document.
No one is in a hurry, it is just another document sitting on their a government office you are just another faceless, nameless family adopting a child and there is your document sitting on their desk.

They don´t feel your disappointment, they don´t experience the intense feelings of urgency, they don´t know what it is like to see that sweet little face in your mind every moment of every day, they don´t feel that love growing so deep inside your heart, they do not experience the emotions all tied up in that document that they procrastinate to complete so you can move forward.   Your whole world stops, everything in your life feels like it is on hold...........

No it isn´t nausea but it is unrelenting and painful none the less.

Six weeks later...after what seemed like an endless, painful eternity we were back on the road again.....things are moving forward.  That was painful, everyday my thoughts were consumed by this delay, everyday I wondered if someone was working on it or if it was just sitting on someones desk.......

At this point, let´s say the nausea, vomiting, food aversions and horrid sense of smell is finally over and the second trimester begins.  Whew...that was hard but it´s smooth sailing from here right?

Our dossier was sent to China around March 12th......this is the really HARD wait....two months of hearing absolutely nothing and praying they complete it in that two months.   We were supposed to hear that we had a log in date to know it had been received...we never received a log in date.......and so we waited.

I may not have had an ultrasound but we received pictures many times, we saw photos of her on her orphanages facebook page frequently and our hearts ached to hold her, to see her, to be with her, to bring her home.....

Watching your Child Grow up in Pictures is HARD!!
She had a birthday....she turned six years old and you see her eating cake in pictures, she lost a tooth, she went horseback riding, she is jumping on a watch her grow up in pictures your heart aching...longing to be there and yet you wait........

We celebrated when we received the email that we had received LSC or LOA...the big kahuna...we were in the home stretch we could see the end in sight....or so we thought!

Generally speaking LOA to travel is about 60 days on average....  

I may not have swollen ankles, a belly so large I can´t tie my shoes, but I have many sleepless nights...not because my hip hurts or my back hurts but because my heart hurts!   

Article 5 the one thing I thought would be smooth sailing....

I kept saying...I am not worried about the Article 5...they drop it off.....two weeks later they pick it up.  Simple, straight forward.....nothing to worry about.  Boy did I get a RUDE awakening.  We waited the two email from the consulate saying it was picked up.  No news, we were in a sea of confusion and stress.

When you are in the adoption process your life revolves around it, all you can talk about is your child, your mind is consumed with thoughts of your child, the adoption, the world around you does not exist...half the time that pile of laundry, load of dirty dishes....they don´t exist either...your world revolves around one thing...adoption.....your mind is fixed on one thing....that beautiful child you so desperately long to have in your arms....that is it!!!!

After three weeks we find out that her abandonment certificate was missing and so we are delayed yet again......

For those who see adoption documents cross their desk day in and day out it is a faceless, emotionless piece of paper....they will get to it when they get to it.

It is NOT a faceless, emotionless piece of paper......inextricably linked to that document sitting on your desk while you laugh and joke around with your collegues and play candy crush on your cell phone is a family desperately waiting to hear news that they are one step closer to being able to hold their child in their arms.....inextricably linked to that document is a mother whose heart is aching, who is painfully, anxiously waiting to see her child and her heart is literally sitting on your desk with that piece of paper......

5 painful, heart wrenching weeks later.....Article 5 pick up

The finish line is in sight, the end is I am not experiencing braxton hicks contractions...what I am experiencing is FAR, FAR more painful!  I have waited five emotionally draining, painful weeks for something that should have taken two weeks....delaying my ´labor´ and ability to hold my child.  You think going two days or two weeks past when you expected to go into labor is dear you have no idea!

We enter the unknown wait of TA or Travel Approval

This is the wait I feared....I had heard many women complain of being caught in ´payment purgatory´  where they made payment but it did not show up in the Chinese system and so 2, 3, and even 7 weeks had gone by with NO approval to travel.  A mothers worst nightmare!!!  I cannot even imagine living my life at that point...I would be a drooling mess of chocolate, ice cream, cookies, a house so dirty it should be condemned by the health department, me 500 lbs. laying on my bed in a pool of tears, melted ice cream and cookie crumbs with sappy Gilmore Girls shows on the t.v.

Article 5 pickup on 7/28/16.....come on Travel Approval.  

I was under the impression from dozens and dozens of families we had seen travel in the last 5 months on various China adoption facebook groups that once you get that coveted TA you are golden...everyone left within two weeks of TA......and so we waited.  

Life is on hold.....Church family BBQ sign up sheet...pass I don´t know if I will be here....

Facebook wedding reception invitation.....can RSVP don´t know if I will be here
Mother Daughter Camp out....can´t RSVP don´t know if I will be here.....

The world goes on.....but my little world is on perpetual hold...I can hardly even breathe....I am checking my email every every minute....okay fine...forget dirty dishes I am just going to keep refreshing my email...come on can wait....

All I want is to Go get my little girl....nothing else matters to me!!

If you have never been through the adoption process, you have NO idea how hard this is go, stop, wait, delay.....don´t worry that my heart is in your procrastinating hands.....I will wait while I feel like my heart is half way around the world and I could die at any worries just procrastinate a little more while my heart and that document on your desk wait.....

Celebration Time........TA 8/1/16

We made it....TA took only two days!!!  We are in shock...we are is all over!  The sense of relief, joy, excitement, anticipation.....I think my heart is going to jump out of my chest...I can´t catch my breath....all the work, the tears, the delays, the sleepless nights, the hours in the car, several trips to the passport office because I forgot my drivers license, the fingerprinting, fingerprinting again...oh fingerprinting again....the paper chase, finger nail biting, refreshing my email 500 times a day.....the heart wrenching is all over!!

No I did not go into labor, but all the emotions of realizing that my little one is heart is racing.

The phone call.....Travel is Imminent!!!

I cannot believe my ears.....we could travel NEXT WEEK!!! WHAT?!?!!?!?!?!

Joy, happiness, excitement, my heart is racing......When we hung up from that phone call....the race began!  We were me to the airport and stick my on the next plane...WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!!!  We spent the entire day looking for the perfect carry on bag for me, we bought all kinds of travel items, we looked up suggested packing lists from other families, we downloaded VPNs so we could facebook family and friends on our journey.....

Our whole world was making lists, running around getting all the things we needed, we went to the bank and had a very kind but confused teller counting out a sum of money searching for CRISP, CLEAN, UNFOLDED, NEW bills we are supposed to take with us.....rushing, rushing, to get everything ready.

There is no way I could possibly explain to you the emotions I was feeling.....the joy, the happiness the anticipation, I was nervous, I was excited, I was anxious, I was so fully of emotion I could hardly contain it.  I would have danced around Walmart telling every stranger who walked by I am going to China, I am going to China, I am going to pick up my sweet little girl.....the only reason I didn´t is because they probably would have hauled me down to the local head shrinking psyciatrists office thinking I had gone absolutely mad....when in reality I was just so happy.

No, I didn´t go into labor.....but it was nothing short of excitement and anticipation....and yes, I was overdue...not by two days...not by a week...but nearly four months of delays!!!  Top that pregnant momma!

Someone Punched me in the Stomach and told me everything happens for a reason....

We were waiting by the phone on Wednesday morning not very patiently waiting for the phone to ring to get the go ahead to book our flights.  We did not know if we would get the ´gotcha day´ and consulate appointments so we could leave Aug. 11th or if we would have to wait until Aug. 18th but we couldn´t wait for that phone call......

I couldn´t sleep....I woke up and read my scriptures.....even though I could hardly focus....I dreamed about traveling to China ALL NIGHT LONG!!!  My mind, my heart, my life revolved around going to China......the rest of the world did not exist to track mind...I am going to China to get my little girl!!!   I could scream it from the roof tops with exuberance!  

The phone was the heart was racing, I was picking at my fingernails in nervous anticipation....the computer ready to buy those plane tickets...what day would it be...Aug. 11th or the 18th....Oh my, I think I am going to explode........

I have some bad news........

okay, is Aug. 18th....take a´s okay we knew this could happen........

The next moment my jaw dropped, my heart sank, my entire world came to a screeching halt!!!!!

The orphanage would not confirm gotcha fact, they are requiring you to wait THREE FULL WEEKS....before they will schedule gotcha day!  I imagine whoever made this heart wrenching decision looks just like the cartoon man in the picture above.....staunch, unfeeling, uncaring...I am just a piece of paper on a desk.....forced to wait.....

Dave and I sat at the kitchen table in disbelief, in shock....Dave quietly responded and we hung up the phone.  I jumped on the computer as fast as my hands could type and asked the question in EVERY Facebook China adoption group I could find....had this happened to anyone the last four months or so of following people in these groups I had never seen this.....much to my heart wrenching one, no one had ever heard of this.....

Some people had to wait to travel in a group, but they knew this ahead of time.....response after one had heard of this.... of all the people in the groups and all the people they knew, no one had heard of this.

To someone on the outside looking seems like no big what?  You were going to travel and now you are traveling sometime in the future...big deal!

NO....I am not going on a vacation!  I was going to travel to pick up my daughter who I have been waiting for for NINE long, grueling, pain staking months!!  This is not a vacation, this is not some fantasy wedding anniversary trip......

When you are on cloud nine thinking you are on your way to your child and someone stands in the way and says for no good reason I am going to delay you for 4 to 5 weeks or longer at my leisure I cannot in all the eloquent words in my vocabulary convey to you how heart wrenching, how painful that is!!!   Not only is this not normal EVERY OTHER FAMILY waits IN PROVINCE for their childs passport.....they do not have to wait to travel for it.....why do we have to...I have NO idea!!!!

In fact, we have heard of families whose child´s passport wasn´t done before they had to fly to Guangzhou and the paid a fine, flew to Guangzhou and had the passport overnighted to them when it was done....but us....NO we can´t even travel until it is reason.....I know it isn´t necessary because no one else I have ever heard of has had to wait....and yet here I sit....perpetually on hold.....

I described it as someone stopping a woman in labor and telling her she had to wait another 4 or 5 weeks to illustrate how terribly difficult this is for us.

I spent the following day doing absolutely nothing....I tried to read my scriptures like I do every morning but in my foggy, depressed, despondent mind...I couldn´t focus.  Dave and I went to the temple the morning after we heard the devastating news seeking some comfort.

I felt peace as I sat in the temple, the only place I could possibly seek any refuge from the emotionally painful world....but when I walked through those doors to leave I thought my legs would buckle underneath me as the weight of the world came crashing down upon my shoulders.  Dave and I were both solemn and sat in silence much of the drive home which is rare because I am usually a chatter box and anyone who knows me from elementary school with my desk sitting in the corner separated from all the other students can testify to the truth of that, I must be absolutely on my death bad or heart broken to not be chattering away..

I went home and talked with my 16 year old and scrolled through facebook seeing all these families taking pictures of their packed suitcases the night before leaving for China....posting pictures that they just booked their flights and I quickly got off my phone and realized I was in no emotional condition to be on social media.  I dragged myself up to my room with all the energy I could muster, grabbed a crocheted blanket 1/3 crocheted by my grandma before she passed away and 2/3 crocheted my me after she passed away....I wrapped myself in that cozy blanket and tried to watch Gilmore Girls to numb my didn´t work.  I soon fell asleep and dreamed that I was held captive....this is exactly how I felt....someone is holding me captive in my own home.....

Captive in my own daughter is half a world a way and some stranger is holding me captive so I cannot get to her....

I dream that I am held captive.....although not a reality when I awake, in a strange sense it is real.  I am home, thousands of miles away from my daughter and I cannot get to her....I am held captive.  My heart aches.  Wednesday evening we Skype with Little M.....

I am hoping for some solace in skyping with her.....but it only deepens the pain and heartache...I see her sweet face, listen to her exuberantly say NO over and over...her favorite word and I cannot describe to you how much I wanted to jump through that computer took all the strength I had left not to sit on the floor and cry and cry and cry....she is right there and I can´t get to her

Final word.....We do NOT know when we will be traveling......

This is the post I did not want to write......I type those words and I want to throw myself on the floor like a two year old and kick, scream, cry, yell, throw things like a two year old tantrum like you have never seen.... but I am not two years old.....I am an adult and so I sit with my heart aching, holding back tears, trying not to show any emotion while inside I can hardly think straight...the house isn´t clean, the dishes aren´t done, laundry is piling up.....but my world is perpetually on hold!

My emotions are in a tailspin, my heart is aching, I am held captive in my own home until some individual thousands of miles away decides to let me free.  

Warning: In my emotional state right now....any comment including but not limited to:

  • Everything happens for a reason
  • All in God´s timing
  • God has a plan
or any other insensitive, callous remark such as these I cannot promise that I will not drive myself to your doorstep and punch you in the face with every ounce of strength I can muster!  I am NOT In that place right now and don´t try to push me there!

My heart is aching, I am still trying to pull myself together as I sit here looking at dry crumbs of bread on a floor that needs to be vacuumed, I haven´t eaten breakfast yet, my hair is a mess, dishes are still in the sink and I am trying to pull myself together and keep going through the daily motions perpetually on hold waiting to hear when I can go get my little girl......If you don´t have compassion keep your positive, insensitive thoughts to yourself!!!!

Monday, August 1, 2016

We Are Going to China......Travel Approval!!!

Travel Approval 8/1/16
We are Going to China!

I can hardly put into words the emotions that we are feeling right now!  This morning I was studying Mandarin on Rosetta Stone and Dave was on a Conference call for work.  He saw the adoption agency calling on his phone...he hesitated because he was supposed to talk on the conference call next...but he decided to answer the call anyway.  He came running upstairs to me and unfortunately I was in the middle of the speaking section so I put my finger up to tell him hold on a second....... Ooops!!  

I had NO idea what he wanted....he finally said it is the adoption agency on the phone and I immediately took my headphones off and listened.  I could not believe what I heard....we had TRAVEL APPROVAL!    

Article 5 Pick up:  7/28/16
Travel Approval:   8/1/16

That is EXTREMELY fast!   People have been asking me if I had started packing yet, I thought they were nuts.  I handle things as they come, I don´t usually plan ahead unless I KNOW what is happening.  Well, obviously they were smarter than me because this is all happening SO very fast!

** If you would like to follow our travels through China please take note.....

**I will NOT be posting on this blog until we return home from China!

If you would like to follow our adventure as we travel to China we will be posting pictures, videos, and updates on a Private Blog.    You are welcome to request access to the private blog so that you can follow along.  I will NOT be posting updates on Facebook while we are in China either due to Privacy issues.

Emotions are All over the place....

Up until today everything has seemed so far off.....we were going to travel to China..... someday.  It was like a far off dream that would happen sometime in the future.  It is easy to think about how excited you will be when you finally get Travel Approval before it happens!  I never realized that excitement was not the only emotion that comes along on this journey.

We began this journey submitting our application to adopt on October, 30th 2015.  We were matched with this sweet girl on Nov. 17th 2015.  The majority of this long, nine month journey was mounds of paperwork, running around town getting marriage licenses, fingerprinting at three different government offices, birth certificates, passports, mailing documents, homestudy, collecting reference letters and lots and lots of waiting....

In all the hustle and bustle of paperwork and then waiting, waiting and waiting some more...I never thought much about how I would feel when it was all over.  It took me a little by surprise that I was so nervous, anxious, excited, happy, all at one time, it was a bit overwhelming to say the least.   There is SO much to be done before we leave....I don´t feel ready and yet if they offered, I would still hop on a plane tomorrow if I could. 

I am often told that I am somehow ´lucky´ because I didn´t have to be pregnant.  Pregnancy to me is a beautiful experience..knowing that a little baby is being created inside of you, that you are a part of creating life and bringing that little life into this world is absolutely amazing.  Sure it is hard, nausea, swollen feet, back aches, but I would take it all because there is SO MUCH more about pregnancy that is beautiful, miraculous and amazing.   Unfortunately in our society we don´t celebrate the miraculous creation of life like we should.

Adoption is different than pregnancy but I wouldn´t call it easier by any stretch of the imagination.  It is another absolutely amazing, miraculous experience but at the same time it tugs and pulls at your heart in every way possible, there are triumphs, set backs, struggles and is not an easy process but at the same time it is a beautiful experience.  I don´t think anything in life worth doing is ever easy or a walk in the park but then if it were, would it really be so miraculous?

I am nervous, I am happy, I am anxious, I am thrilled, my heart is racing, my hands are shaking, I am excited.....I don´t know what the future holds but I believe it will be much of the same.....full of love, joy, triumphs, set backs, delays, heart ache, happiness, excitement...all the emotions bundled into one amazing journey led by the hand of God.