Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I met with a Chinese friend yesterday to help me with some translations. I had her look over Lia's paperwork, just to see if she could tell me anything new that the official translation didn't tell us. There are some funny lines in there such as

"she can shake her bonbon to dance when music, very comical and lovely"


"she has brilliant show in different games and shot"

Not sure what sort of shooting games they are having her try...

Nothing that she read off was very different from the translation we already had, except for a statement that Lia likes dolls, which our paperwork had translated as "baby toys".

So I'm so glad that this little friend just arrived from this store- waiting for a little dancing, doll loving girl with a thick head of black hair just like her

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nora update

So I was going to write a post about travel- but I thought should write about Nora here for a bit- I used to put so many pictures of her on this blog. So here's an update on what my 4 and a half year old delightful girl has been up to.

 She's 45 inches tall and 41 lbs. She loves gymnastics.  She asks to take ballet again frequently but gymnastics is crazy expensive so we're sticking to just one thing right now for the most part. She did take an ice skating class this winter and liked that as well.

She continues to have quite the imagination. She still has her imaginary friend named "Chicken" (Chicken is not really an actual Chicken- a lot of people get hung up on that part- and ask her questions about how he clucks, etc, and she just tends to ignore them. :)  and then there's Chicken's sister, Susan and Chicken's brother Curzey, (who was adopted from South America) and multiple friends beyond that. Chicken is very 'into' robots right now, she informed me the other day.

She also periodically plays with a friend named "my daughter"- as in "Mama, what does your daughter like to play?" and "Mama, me and your daughter are going to have a sleepover tonight!" and "Today is your daughter's birthday and she is five!" I guess maybe that could be called an alter-ego rather than an imaginary friend?!? 

Nora and "my daughter" watching a movie during their 'sleepover' together

She isn't going to go to kindergarten this fall as she will turn five just two weeks from the cut-off date and she's just so into play right now that we feel it would be better for her just to have another year of PLAY, especially with a new sibling coming. I capitalize 'play' as it seems that so few people care about letting their kids have time to play anymore; the hunt for a local preschool that does not do endless worksheets, structured lesson plans, etc, has been totally frustrating to me. I don't get the point of putting her in a pre-K program that just does the same work they do in kindergarten! We absolutely love our preschool now where she has been going three days a week but it is 30 minutes away and only offers an afternoon program for pre-K which I feel would be too difficult for me with two kids.
 At water play day at preschool

"Super Kitties only drink from a dish on the floor"

We recently got this book out of the library and had to buy a copy for our shelves as she loves it so much. She has it memorized and spends a lot of time pretending she is a "super kitty" herself who drinks out of a bowl on the floor.

 She loves having my parents come and stay at their house nearby and she loves going over there and playing with the same dollhouse I had when I was a little girl and all it's 70s era furniture.

She is very excited about becoming a big sister and ever the nurturer, she has great plans for how she will help take care of Lia. I know it will be a major shift in her life and I am glad she's a little older- she seems to understand much of what is happening and she is emotionally more mature to handle Lia's responses to the adoption than she would have been a year ago. I think it will be a hard road in many ways but I am praying that God will bring peace, compassion and understanding to their relationship and also that He will grant them a great lifelong friendship.

She's going to spend this weekend and part of next week with my parents up in the mountains- it will be longest I've ever been apart from her- I will miss her but am glad for a little time to get things done before I have two girls!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I love to travel internationally.  I mean, I really, really LOVE to travel. It's an incomparable rush to me to get off a plane somewhere totally new and different and take in all the sights and sounds. I even like the 'bad' parts of travel- the unintended detours, the times where you have terrible culture shock, feel completely disorientated and as if your world has been turned upside down. I suspect that I might very feel this way in China and I am excited for this in a strange way. I should clarify that I like and appreciate those moments more in retrospect than when I am actually going through them! But there is nothing like it for impacting the way that you view your own life.

Erik and I traveled a lot before we met. I had been to much of Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, Thailand, Africa and Mexico. He had spent extended periods of time in Norway and India. And we met while we were both traveling in Spain. I was there for a trip to celebrate the end of nursing school and he had been backpacking around Europe that summer.

Together we have gone to Thailand, Nepal, Bali, Belize and we took Nora to Argentina two years ago. We haven't gone anywhere 'exotic' since that Argentina trip, as saving for this adoption has been our financial priority.

Erik and I in Spain with friends, 2003
In Nepal with some Nepali friends, 2005

In Belize, 2006

Nora and Erik feeding pigeons in Buenos Aires, 2010

So, needless to say, I am excited for our upcoming trip to China, but also completely aware that it wont be a grand tour of all the hidden treasures of China. Having a potentially terrified 3 year old meeting her new family for the first time and a 4 year old adjusting to a new sibling is not the time when you explore the exotic. But I will be filing away all the sights and sounds, taking lots of pictures, and making plans for a future trip so that Lia can come back and see her homeland.

Here are some beautiful areas in Lia's province that I can't wait to go see one day-

Bridge of the Immortals, Yellow Mountain, China (image from here)

Rocks in HuangShan Mountains (image from here)

Wouldn't it be fun to take two preschoolers hiking here!?! (image here)

Since I have no adoption news to share for the next week and half as the cogs of bureaucracy turn to bring Lia home, tomorrow I'll blog about the travel 'rules' we always follow when we go overseas.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

No adoption news- we're still just waiting. But this part of the wait is somehow a bit easier as it is a defined time period of two weeks.

I am trying to get organized in the meantime and I've been shopping a bit too. I love spring and I always get the itch for bright spring clothes- here are two new outfits that I just bought for my girls. (It always feels vaguely pathetic to post a picture of clothes with no one wearing them- but what can I do without Lia here- Nora is almost twice her size!)

 I found a ton of barely worn name brand girls' clothes at Goodwill- and as I was checking out the cashier asked me if I had girls- and I said I did- it was nice to use that plural term.

(And Nora does not have to use the bathroom here- not sure why she was posing that way!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NVC pdf!

This post is just alphabet soup for those not in the adoption world- but my heart sang this morning when I opened my email to read that our immigration case file for Lia has been forwarded to the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China. One more step in the process completed. Now we wait two weeks for the consulate to issue our Article 5 and then this will be sent to the Chinese officials so that they can issue our Travel Approval! We're getting so close now- finally!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hello again after a long absence from this blog! I think there were maybe three people including my mom who regularly read my blog when I was posting more often in 2010 so I am sure my absence from the 'world wide interwebs' (name that movie :) hasn't been noticed by many.  But I decided to get my blog up and running again so that I can chronicle our preparations and trip to China to pick our up new daughter- Lia-  who is waiting for us in Hefei, the capital of Anhui province, in red below.

We received our referral for her on December 2011. Here are her referral pictures-- which weren't dated but I suspect were taken summer of 2011.

and here are pictures of her from an update we got in December.

She just turned three in January. She and Nora will be 16 months apart and Nora couldn't be more excited about "having a little sister who is not a baby".

We hope to possibly get one more set of photos before we travel in late May/early June but I am not sure if this will happen or not. I can't tell you how hard it is to only have about 4 photos total of your child's entire life and not know more than just a couple paragraphs about them. We have heard that her orphanage will give us more photos and a memory book when we go to pick her up and I hope this is the case.

We've heard only positive things about the orphanage where she is living now and I think she looks very well taken care of in these pictures so my Mama heart is happy. You can even see that she has her nails painted in the top photo.

Currently we are waiting to hear that the NVC (National Visa Center) has cabled our file to the US Embassy in Guangzhou, China, which is one of the final steps in the whole process. Hoping that we'll get word of that early this week.

In the meantime I have been starting to get organized for our trip- I spent part of this weekend going through some of Nora's outgrown clothes:

It's so hard to know what will fit best when I haven't met little Lia yet. And I decided that either way she'll probably need a few more summer dresses- so I have an excuse to do some shopping. :)