Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We received our referral packet from HFS!!

I waited for the DHL and made a run for the door when I saw the truck! I opened the door with a big Hello! and asked if I could take his picture. He hmm'd a little then said "ok" I explained to him that he was delivering my baby. When he looked at the sender, Harrah's Adoptions, he got a big smile and said "sure" --thanks Mike the DHL guy!!!

The actual pix of Baby G look even better than the emailed ones did! Interestingly, the mugshot one that I wasn't too pleased with yesterday, now looks adorable! The info we received is mostly in chinese but some can be figured out. Her stats at birth were:
weight: 3.2 kg --a little over 7 lbs!
length: 49.70 cm --19-1/2"

Things she can do:

~Hold her head up while lying on the stomach
~Roll from supine to prone position by herself
~Sit alone quite steadily
~Tear paper!!
~Grasp toy near hand
~Crawl on hands and knees
~Locate the direction of sound/voice
~Hold blocks in each hand at the same time
~Look for a dropped toy
~Visually follow moving toys
~Reach and grasp a toy beyond
~Follow someone by moving head from side to side
~Laugh out loud!!!
~Eat biscuits without help
~Distinguish between strangers and acquaintances
~Turn head when name is called

Under personality they checked: active, restless, has a ready smile, fond of toys and music, obstinate sometimes, fond of games, quick in reaction. She sounds like quite the little firecracker!! I notice they did not check: quiet or fond of quietness!

It is said that she is closest to her caretaker and then there are several characters written in chinese. Not sure if that's a name or what at this point.
Harrahs sent this little bracelet as a gift to Baby G. The card has the chinese symbol for "love" stamped on it. The card reads:

"The Chinese symbol of Love brings our warm welcome to your precious little one. We are blessed to be a part of such a beautiful miracle!

Your Harrah's AIM Family"
One day later...
and another picture! I'm sitting here waiting for DHL to bring my referral package. The office in our house, thankfully, faces the street. Every time a car drives past I look quickly to see if its the truck delivering my baby. I'm not quite sure why I'm so excited. My understanding is that everything we get today is in chinese. But I want to snap the delivery person's pic like I've seen in so many people's blogs, so cute!!

So, while I'm waiting, I'm going to record yesterday morning's events and the "Referral Call":

I had to work... I was so bugged. If I would have been more sure on friday that the referrals had been sent, I would have made arrangements to not have to work. By saturday, I was pretty sure we'd be getting our call on monday morning.

Sunday night I stayed up way too late snacking and watching the new shows on TV. This was done to keep my mind calm for monday. It worked pretty well.

Monday morning I woke up early and went right downstairs to check RQ blog. It said referrals were arriving in Europe and they'd be hitting the mid west agencies that morning as well. I was thrilled and NERVOUS!!! Called Bobbyat work and gave him the update. Ran upstairs and got ready for work as fast as I could go. Back down to check RQ, referrals were arriving on the east coast!!!! Called Bobby again. Called my mom said "its happening today, I've gotta go, I'll call you later"

At 8am I really had to leave the house. While driving, I called Bobby again then my secretary at work and asked her to check the Harrah's yahoo group for me. She told me HFS posted at 8:05am that referrals had arrived!! they were sorting through them!! and would be making calls that afternoon!! They're in Texas so that's 2 hours ahead of us. I figured they'd be calling my around 10am. By this time I was so nervous, I don't even think I could see straight.

I showed up at my appearance a complete and utter wreck, explained to my concerned opponent that I needed a continuance due to a "family issue" --Hello??? I'm having a baby here, I definitely think this qualified for a continuance, don't you?? Drove to the office, dropped off files, made some arrangements for my afternoon and next morning conferences to be covered and darted out the door. The plan being to go home, get the call, and then wait for Bobby to open emailed picture.

At 9:40am I was talking to Bobby while getting into the car when their was another call coming through. My heart stopped as I looked at the number... it was my AGENCY!!!! I told Bobby, hold on a second, its them!!!

Me: Hello.

Her: Susan??

Me: Yes.

Her: This is _____ from HFS, I...

Me: (interrupting) I know who it is!!!

Her: I have some news for you. You have a baby girl.

Me: (unintelligible utterance)

Her: She's just beautiful!! She's a beautiful baby girl and her hair (giggle) her hair is kind of sticking up on her head. She was born January 7th.

Me: What year??

Her: 2008.

Me: (crying) Can you hold on a sec? I want to write this down.

(it was only at this point that I realized I was not writing any of the info down, my pretty ladybug paper I had planned to create for documenting this moment had not been created--I'm not really sure why that was in that I had 3 yrs to do so... anyway. So then I start rummaging in my car for a pen and I do mean rummaging. I opened the glove box and started flicking things out onto the floorboard. Napkins, calculator, restaraunt coupons go flying. Aha!! A pen!!! Now paper... hmmm search, search. Aha again!! a post it!!!

Her: Her name is Zhang Nian Sheng. She's at the Zhangshu SWI in Jiangxi province. She weighs 7 kgs (I had no idea at the time but apparantly that's about 15 lbs) She said some other stuff too but I don't remember what it was. My mind went a little blank. She did say that the pix would be emailed within the hour and the referral packet would be sent to us by DHL the following day. Then that was it.

I called Bobby and told him: We have a little girl, almost 9 mos old!!! I told him about the orphanage and stuff too but Bobby says he couldn't understand a word I was saying!!! Since I was still in the parking lot of work, I ran back inside to share my good news with my co-workers. Hugs, hugs!!! I must have looked a little crazed because my boss actually asked if I needed someone to drive me home LOL!!

On the way home I called everyone to tell them "its a girl, its a girl, I have a baby!!!" I called Casey and caught him between classes "you have a sister!!" he seemed pretty happy!! I kept calling Brett at school but couldn't get ahold of him. Bobby couldn't leave work until 11am. He didn't think I could but I promised to wait to open the pix til he got home. I finally got Brett on the phone and told him. He was excited said "wow! this isn't just paperwork anymore, there's a real person now!"

I talked to Bobby from the time he left work and kept telling him "come on, drive, drive" Finally, he was home and we opened the email together...

First pic: mugshot. I've seen tons of these by now. Not usually the best shot. Totally understood the giggle about the hair. There's tons of it, coal black!!! She has very fair skin, cute as a button nose and lovely symmetrical features.

Second pic: sitting in the office chair. I was so excited because usually referral pix have the kids totally bundled up and you can't see their little bodies. Our little girl is wearing a short sleeved onesie (I think the pix were taken in July, when it is hot!!!). You can see her sweet little toes, squishy little arms, and chubby thighs!! First thought: she looks so healthy! She seems to be sitting up on her own too so it seems she's physically fairly well developed.

Third pic: in the waker. She's making a little smile. Its the one showing the most personality and was, at first blush, my favorite. Again, she looks healthy and well taken care of.

Then, more calls, posts to RQ and assorted yahoo groups!! Emails galore. A very happy day. Bobby printed out the pix. Bobby and I decided to do lunch (for some reason we didn't do chinese food as planned and did Olive Garden instead). We did take our printed picture with us to look at. Also put "her" in the cart at Costco, just for fun!

Since then, I can't stop looking at her pix. My baby. Finally, after all these years, I have a baby girl!!! I feel a ssnse of peace and calm I haven't felt in an awfully long time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Where is Baby G???

We have been told she is currently residing at the Zhangshu Social Welfare Institute in Jiangxi Province.

Jiangxi is shown on the map below in pink in the south east section of the country. It is said to be a beautiful area with tall mountains and fresh water lakes. The climate is warm and humid in summer and cold in spring and winter (I checked out the temps on weather.com, I think we'll get lucky at the beginning of December, not too hot, not too cold) Jiangxi is home to Poyang Lake which is the largest fresh water lake in China and has a large habitat of white cranes. The province is best known for porcelain **I think there's some serious shopping potential here!!!**

Zhangshu City is in the center of Jiangxi Province. The area where the orphanage is located is quite poor with many families involved in the farming of rice. The entire city has a population of 536,000 (which seems like a lot to me!). The orphanage is said to be a rather small one with a very small IA program. One family who traveled in 3/08 said there were only about 20 children there at that time. It seems, and I could be wrong, that they only place a few children per year. The families that have adopted from the orphanage have said that the director cares a great deal for the children and that they are generally very well cared for (what a relief!!). The nannies live with the children with 3 cribs and one nanny per room. I have a feeling she is going to be very attached to her nanny. This is great for attachment to the adoptive parents but very, very hard at first for the grieving child.

Here is a picture I found of the Zhangshu SWI on the net:

It seems that children are received in Nanchang which is a large city about 1 to 1-1/2 hrs to the north. Some families have been able to visit the orphanage and others have not. I would like to do this if at all possible. Even if aren't able to go into the orphanage, I'd like to at least see the area where Baby G spent her first mos of life. We'll have to see if this will be possible.

Here she is!!!

I'm in LOVE!!!! She looks healthy and well taken care of! Her hair isn't really sticking up so much as there's just a lot of it!!! Ooooh, I need hairbows, great big floppy ones!!!
Bobby says no but who cares????!!!!

Name: Zhang Nian Sheng
Orphanage: Zhangshu, Jangxi Province
DOB: 1/7/2008
weight 2 mos ago: 7kg (not sure what that is in pounds!!!)

they said she has hair sticking straight up off her head!!! She laughs out loud, watches people and has a ready smile!!! I'll have the pix in about an hour. Bobby will be home in about 1-1/2, then I'll post them here.

I cannot believe this has finally happened. I feel so relieved and happy!!
Harrah's posted....
at 8:05am PST, referrals have been received for 2/13/06 families!!! I should be hearing something soon!!! OMG!!! This is happening, its really happening... to me!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I realized that I never did a referrals post from September 2. These are all families from my RQ Feb 2006 room. They are so beautiful and, only a few weeks later, making plans for travel!!! We should be on a list like this soon. Can't wait!!!

M&M’s Mommy
Journey to Kavanna
Journey to Lydia
Searching for Kassandra
Waiting for Lily
Baby Gasser
Our Journey to Malia
Lin Family
Baby Sun9shine

The following families in the SN program would like to share their news:
Room for at least One More
Journey to Kelsi Rose

the bad rumor aka "the rumor which will not be named" has now been replaced with a new rumor... a good one!!!! Supposedly, referrals will be normal (you know, the new crappy normal of a few days but whatever). And, to add to the excitement, a member of my RQ feb group posted that her agency has informed that 2 packages have left CCAA en route to her agency!!! One of them must be referrals!!! That means that referrals could start arriving as soon as MONDAY!!! OMG!!! Of course, it could be Tuesday.
To think that at this moment we have likely been matched with the little person who will become our child. More than likely, we have a child, we just don't know who she is yet. Isn't that weird??
I'm so excited and nervous I can hardly contain myself!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Click... click... click... click....
That's the sound of the coaster heading up the ramp. What a week already. I checked the RQ yesterday ---was it really only yesterday??? it feels like so long ago---anyway, I checked the RQ yesterday morning and found the following: "Really bad first rumor"
Before even reading what the rumor was, my heart sank. I felt immediately ill. But then I thought, what could this rumor be? I mean, how bad could it be?? CCAA only has to do 2 stinking days for us to be included in the next batch, surely we will not be affected by any rumor no matter how bad.
Yes, you guessed it... a one day batch. Un-freaking-believable. The way its being laid out is that because of the poisoned baby formula (they're calling it "tainted" but let's tell it like it is, shall we?) CCAA is going to be doing a tiny little batch.
Here's the excerpt from RQ:
"because of the bad formula issue, there will not be as many referrals this
month, and the cut off may be the 10th. The source says that the CCAA is talking
to the orphanages and finding out which were using the affected milk and which
were not. It is unclear if the small month might be because they are busy doing
this and don’t have time to do many matches, or if they are only going to refer
the babies from orphanages not using the bad formula."
Of course, I'm not sure this really makes any sense at all. Neither explanation has any logic to it whatsoever. Next week is a holiday in China, CCAA will be closed from 9/29-10/3. If the referrals aren't mailed tomorrow before they leave on vacation, they won't be going out until at least the 6th. Mailing them out on the 6th doesn't make much sense either. So, who the heck knows what's happening.
On to the poison formula. I am so mad, angry and sad about this. I cannot believe that anyone would attempt to increase profits in this fashion. It just doesn't make any sense at all. For the first time during this entire process, I am mad at china. I'm at the point where I don't trust any of their agencies at all! I don't trust my US based adoption agency either for reasons I won't discuss right now. I am so tired of being lied to over and over.
I'm exhausted from this process. I'm out of tears. I really just want it to be over. Stop the ride please, I feel sick, I need to get off.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Over the last few days...we "celebrated" our 31 month LID-versary. Thirty one months and four days ago our dossier was logged in at CCAA. Of course, we didn't know the precise day we'd been logged in until a few months later. Nevertheless, on that day, our paperwork was briefly reviewed by a clerk of some sort, stamped, and placed in storage with the dossiers of approximately 30,000 other hopeful families.

When we originally sent our dossier off I was so happy and relieved to have all that paperwork behind us. Brett was finishing the second half of his junior year of high school, Casey was a freshman, and I foolishly envisioned taking Baby G to Brett's football games in the winter of that year, 2006. Certainly that Christmas would include little girl things. Little did I know that two Christmas seasons would pass without the need for any dollies or pink items under the tree.

Now I sit, smack dab in the middle of the fall of 2008, ever hopeful that not another holiday season will be celebrated before our family is complete. We shall see. Intellectually I believe that we will be included in this next batch but emotionally, I'm having a hard time letting my guard down. Month after month has brought mostly happy stories for those who have waited and waited their turn. Likewise, each month there seems to be at least one sad story of someone being skipped, a referral made far outside of expectations or even dramatic and life altering occurences that prevent families from completing their planned adoptions. I try very hard to remember that for most it works out well and allow the stories of the less fortunate to shift to the back of my consciousness. There the bad thoughts sit, huddled up in a dark corner, hidden but not forgotten.

Most days I muddle through but some days the stress of the situation has been too much and I've felt like I was going to burst from frustration over this process of waiting and waiting and waiting for something that may never happen. At the same time I have to face the fact that, even if it does happen, it may not turn out to be the positive experience I've been hoping for.

Its all just a giant crapshoot and, at this point, the dice are still rolling.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Happy Birthday Brett!!

Today, Brett turned 20!!! Wow, my first baby is no longer a teenager. It's pretty hard to believe. I keep thinking back to when he was small. He learned to walk very early (7 mos!) by 9 mos he was running as fast as he could go away from me!! When he was 3 or so he had the most beautiful hair which was cut into a step cut --very popular at the time. He would have his bath and while his hair was still wet we'd come it to make sure there were no tangles. Once dried we'd just have him sort of shake his head back and forth and his hair would lay perfectly.

Brett was born with, and of course still has, beautiful long eyelashes. When he was first born they were so fine that they were actually a little hard to see. But now they've grown into thick long lashes that frame his beautiful brown eyes.

Its funny, when my kids were small I was always waiting for them to get a little older so they could move on to the next step. It felt like I was always in such a hurry. Now I wish we could have all those moments back to live again.

Today marks the second decade of Brett's life. He's getting ready to return to college in just a few weeks. It will be fascinating to watch what the next 20 yrs bring for him.

I love you Brett, with all my heart!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Your Issue Profile: 56% Obama, 44% McCain

Truth be told, you're not really satisfied with either of the candidates.

You could vote for either of them. You are the typical coveted swing voter.

You may want to narrow yourself down to a particular set of issues in order to pick your president.

Or start looking at third party candidates. One of them might suit you better.

I'd say that pretty much sums it up for me. I keep asking myself "is this the best we've got?"
I have this sinking feeling that the next 4 years are not going to be good ones for our nation no matter who ends up as president.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Our prediction for LID 2006-02-13
China has 4 days of
dossiers to be processed before they get to your dossier.
China currently processes about 6 days of dossiers each
Our best guess: 2008-09-23
Today was so exciting. Feb 2006 families lid 2/1-2/9 have been posting their referral info and there have even been a few pix already. As usual all the babies referred have been absolutely precious! I removed another 9 clips from the paperclip chain, it doesn't look very intimidating anymore with those 4 scrawny clips left. HAH!!! I beat the wait. I did it!
Next month is it, I'm sure of it! Only 4-5 more weeks and we will have a picture!!! That will be followed by... more waiting, of course! But, we have finally made huge progress, this is really going to happen sooner rather than later!!!

Monday, September 01, 2008


This is beyond exciting!!! Checked the RQ blog this morning, didn't really think it would say anything, almost didn't even go there and guess what???????????

RQ reports, referrals through 2/9!!! Again, OMG!!!, are you kidding me?? I was expecting 2/7, hoping for 2/8, never in my wildest dreams thought that 2/9 could be in for this month. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!

The first news came from the Norwegian agencies (they're open today, no Labor Day for them, right??) and it has now been confirmed by at least one US agency (thank you to that agency who went in on a holiday and checked) that the CCAA box has changed and shows 2/9 as the cutoff. Feb 11 and 12 were weekend days, very unlikely anyone lid on those days. That means that, although CCAA would need to do 4 calendar days to get to 2/13, its only 2 lid days. In the 3-1/2 yrs I've been watching china referrals I have never, not even once, seen CCAA refer what amounted to 1 day of referrals. I am 95% sure we will recieve our referral in october!!! I will see my baby's face in less than 6 weeks, we will have her here before christmas!!!! Twenty years and 1 mo after becoming a mom for the first time (Brett turns 20 next weekend) I will become a mom for the third time. Finally, we will add to our family the little girl we've always needed to make our family complete!!!

I am so excited, I keep crying... is this really going to happen???? YES, it is!!!