Thursday, January 29, 2009

No CA yet

Well, we don't have any confirmation of our Consulate Appointment yet because the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou is closed for the Chinese New Year. So, that means if we get the 2/23 date, we'll have just a little over a week to make travel arrangements. This is driving me crazy! I'm trying to be productive and get as much as possible finished (as in her room!), but we've been hit by a huge snowstorm here and the kids have been off school since Monday! I'm beginning to think it's a conspiracy. As you can imagine, with the terrible three around, I'm not getting much done. Oh well, I suppose it can't be worse than Zach's birth. He arrived ten weeks early and we didn't have his room finished or any clothes or a pediatrician, really we didn't have anything, and it all worked out all right. I keep reminding myself this will work out also, but it's not really helping right now...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Karma, or whatever you call it

So I knew this would happen. After my long winded, whiny post yesterday, we just got an email from our adoption agency & we have our Travel Approval!!! No dates yet. We're applying to the US consulate for our consulate date (CA) and hoping for the earliest one - 2/23. The CA is the last step in the adoption process, so if we get the 2/23 CA, we'd probably leave somewhere around 2/10. That gives us 3 weekends to get everything ready (wanna place bets on when I'll have a nervous breakdown?)

Stay tuned for breaking news...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Still waiting...

Another week has passed and still no Travel Approval. I'm starting to get ancy. Steve and I were talking at lunch yesterday (or at least trying to talk around the boys' constant interruptions!) and we both feel like the wait for Sarah is not only longer, but harder. Not only do we have the normal worries about bringing a child into the family, but she knows we're coming and every day we wait, is another day she's waiting. It's extremely frustrating.

Also, there are little things we have to figure out. How do we tell her her new name? Will she even like it? Her Chinese name is JuHua (which I think is beautiful!) so maybe we'll stick with that for a while. It will really be up to her. Then there's school. Should we keep her home with us for a while, at least until she starts to adjust or start school as soon as possible? There are benefits both ways. And of course, my biggest worry, will she like us? We're not talking about a toddler or an infant here, she's twelve. She has her own ideas, own likes and dislikes, maybe we won't be the parents she hoped for (well, I'm sure we won't, no one lives up to someone else's imagination, but I'd sure like to come close.) I know parenting isn't a popularity contest, but liking the people you live with makes it so much easier! So much to think about.

You'll notice I haven't mentioned anything about language. That's on the list of worries of course, but not our biggest concern. It's an issue, but one that can be overcome. Having a child like Grace teaches you exactly how much of communication is non-verbal. We'll make due with the language.

My biggest hope is that when she's grown (and even before then) we will have the type of relationship I had with my mom. Growing up, I knew she was in my corner, no matter what. When I moved out and got married, we transitioned from Mother/daughter to friends and the bond just strengthened when I became a mother. We went to movies with each other that no one else wanted to see. We read the same books, even ones we were supposedly "to old" to like any more. We took care of the kids together. Went to our favorite garden stores every spring. She knew how devastated I was when Grace turned out to have so many problems. When Zach was born and I was on a respirator and couldn't talk, she was the only one who understood what I was trying to say. She knew how much I missed my dad. She loved my kids the same way I did, and understood how hard being a mother is. She was so excited about Sarah, and it hurts to know they will not meet in this world. Obviously, I miss my mom a lot.

Hopefully, this week we'll get our Travel Approval. Until then, it's just more anxiety, more waiting...

Monday, January 12, 2009

No new news...

I am sooo glad last week is over! Between getting the kids settled in school, dealing with snow days & hour delays, plus all of the appointments, I thought I was going to loose my mind (any time your week involves a trip to the Dept. of Family Services, you know it's going to be a bad one!)

So everyone's in school & now it's my turn. My classes start up again tonight. I feel like a major slacker because I'm only taking one class this semester, but with bringing Sarah home and all of the adjustments there, I really didn't think I could handle more than one class. Guess we know who will be in summer school. That's right, me!

News on the China front is that we are still waiting. We got our visas on Friday so all we need now is the official okay from the Chinese government and we're all set to travel. Well, not really all set as we still have to get Sarah's room together, but hey, that's something we can whip up in a weekend, right? We did get started on it. We spent this entire weekend cleaning out closets and throwing away a TON of stuff. Since Sarah's room was our guest room, it had been a dumping ground for anything we didn't have a place for. I'm proud to say that after this weekend, we have most of her room cleared out and should be on to painting this weekend. We also cleaned out every other closet in the house except for the kids, which shouldn't take too long. Am I nesting? I'm guessing the answer is yes!

Hopefully we'll have our Travel Approval (TA) some time this week or next week and then we'll have some exact dates.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

General craziness...

Well, the kids are all back in school - YAY, sort of. Everyone's settling back into the school routine except me. While I am glad that at some point during the day I have at least an hour when the kids are all in school at the same time (yes, it really is only one hour), now that the holidays are over it means that life starts again. For me that means endless rounds of therapy for Grace & Caleb, school appointments, doctor's visits, homework for Zach...it goes on and on.

Here's this week's schedule:
Meet with Grace's home health care case manager,
Take Caleb to speech therapy,
Attend an ARC meeting to go over Grace's IEP (special ed. plan),
Take boys to swim lessons,
Schedule meeting with attorney to finalize Mom's estate
Go to Medicaide office to re-certify Grace's coverage (yes, she is still autistic, no, they haven't yet developed a miracle cure for developmental delays.)
Take Grace to Speech therapy (thanksfully she doesn't have Occ. Therapy this week)

And then of course there are the minor issues of work, getting myself ready to go back to school on Monday, and getting everything ready to travel to China sometime in the next month.

Yikes! It seemed so much more managable before I typed it all out. Maybe I should just delete this post...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2009 is everyone's best year yet! Let's face it, with the economy in the tank for most of 2008, it can't be much worse.

I've looked over my last few posts and noticed that they were mostly about Caleb, so I wanted to update everyone on Zach & Grace.

Zach has been enjoying all of the gifts that Santa brought & hitting up everyone who walks through our door for a donation to Love Without Boundaries. Before Christmas, his class collected money for some needy families and he decided to keep on with the tradition. This was all on his own. So I told him about Love Without Boundaries and the charity work they do for China's orphans and he started collecting money to donate to them. So far I think he has $12. Pretty good for a 5 year old. And, yes, I'm so proud of my sweet little guy I could bust. He's also helping me with my novel. He thought up some names for the bad guys. After much thought, he came up with Meanie & Mrs. Meanie. Stay tuned to see if the names make it to the final version!

As for Grace, she's in a really good spot right now. Even though she still can't talk, she understands most of what we say and actually does what we tell her to about 50% of the time. For her, that's huge! I took her shopping with me today for a little Mommy & daughter time and she carried one of the bags for me (of course she had her hand stuck in the bag feeling the tissue paper the whole time, but hey, it's still progress), and she opened the car door with the key for me. We had a great time. She didn't pull anything off the racks or pinch anyone who walked past her (okay, she tried a few times but I was too fast for her!) You can just tell she wants to do more, but her just gets in the way.

I wish everyone a wonderful year and thanks for following along on our crazy journey!