Sunday, December 30, 2007

I've been tagged!!

It looks like I've been tagged by Sloan, which means I get to write 8 interesting things about me that not very many people know. By the way, someone should remind me to stop at 99 posts so I can avoid having to come up with 100 things about me :)

1) I am a class 3 whitewater river guide. I am also a sea kayak guide. I volunteer with and organization called Environmental Travelling Companions. and we take people with special needs whitewater rafting, kayaking, and cross country skiing.

2) I spent a week trekking around the Karen villages on the border of Myanmmar in Thailand, and loved every minute of it. We stayed at each of the village leaders homes (it's customary for them to let guests stay even if you come unannounced and can't speak the language). Luckily, we had our mountain guide with us so we were able to communicate and ask a bunch of questions. We also climbed to the top of Ti Lor Su Falls. Scary but so worth it.

3) I am an opportunivore, meaning that I am not a picky eater whatsoever. You can take me anywhere and I will find something to eat, seafood, meat, veges, other unrecognizable food stuff, you name it, I will eat it (at least once or twice). And yes, I am willing to try the Kyrgyz "national drink", that fermented mare's milk. I can't wait until trip 2 when I will have more time to check this out and will have a few days to recover in case my digestive system decides to show me who is boss. Mala warned me but I am too curious and stubborn.

4) I have crocheted 6 baby blankets over the past year (most are for gifts). I found out that this relaxes me, so now I guess I am taking "commissions" from friends so that I don't end up with a hundred blankets.

5) I study a martial arts style called Kajukembo which originated in Hawaii and combines karate, jujitsu, kempo and Chinese boxing. I'm not all that good but I love the workout and the knowledge. D will be enrolling as soon as he is old enough.

6) I have had 2 ACL replacement surgeries, one on each knee. The first one from skiing in Utah and the next one from martial arts but not during a fight or anything. I was just doing roundhouse kicks with an advance. It's entirely possible that I should just stay home and watch TV since I seem to be dangerous to myself. But I may only live once (depends who you ask) and I may as well live my best life.

7) I was born in the Philippines but I am mostly Chinese in ethnicity. I moved to the U.S. (San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles) when I was 12. Therefore, when I am hanging out with my sisters, the Valley Girl accent usually rears its ugly head. "Like, oh my gosh, that is sooo grody and like, soooo embarassing!"

8) Since I was a little girl, I loved to draw and paint. I've always thought I was going to be an artist. Instead, I ended up in business school and now, I work as a director of finance in the telecom industry. Far cry from being an artist, but surprisingly, I really like that too. And I still paint from time to time.

Phewww!! I was worried I wasn't going to come up with 8 things which would lead me to explore other crazy stunts to perform, like chasing lions and bears!

Now, I tag Channing!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Baby K's Photos Made My Day

On day 3 of our visit with D, I got an email from a woman on the Kyrgyz Adoption Internet Group who asked me to take photos of her possible referral. She gave me her baby girl's name and told me she was 6 months old. While at the Bishkek Baby House, I asked about her. Our coordinator Saule was willing to help me but told me there wasn't a 6-month old there with that name. Perhaps, Tokmok but not Bishkek. At the same time, there was a baby who was about 1 1/2 years old with that same name. Saule told me she was going to an Adoption Alliance family and asked that I tell Karen at AA about her and to send her any photos I took. But because I asked about a 6-month old, we didn't think we found the baby K about whom I asked.

A few days ago, I responded to the email from my internet friend telling her I was really sorry I didn't find her baby. I really hated sending that email. Then, I sent the photos of the older baby to Karen at AA. Today, I got an email from my interent friend asking if I was the one who took the photos of baby K that Karen at AA sent her. Of course, looking at the email forwarded to her, I saw that it was the exact email I sent Karen and those were the photos I took. She was her baby. I don't know how the age got mixed up but who cares? That was her!!

I guess I should have known that it was too strange that I found a girl with the same name, but I didn't know for sure if that name is very common in Kyrgyzstan. That name could have been what "Jennifer" is to Americans.

Anyway, my internet friend, if you are reading this post, I loved getting your email and seeing that it was her after all. It really made my day and I am very very excited for you.

since we've been gone - and back

While we were in Kyrgyzstan Ivy and I would sleep for a few hours, then wake up and go visit D, have lunch, visit D and go back to the room and sleep for a few hours, wake up and login, then sleep for a few hours. We did that for three days, then spent two days traveling on planes - pretty much the same - a few hours sleep, wake up, eat, watch movie, sleep a few hours...

So now I find myself at home and unable to maintain my 9 - 5 because I REALLY wanna nap in the afternoon. Fortunately I took three weeks off and don't have to be back to work until Jan 2nd. I have been awake all day - since 10:30 - and am trying to stay awake until at least 11 pm. Hoping I can sleep through the night and not be wide awake from 2:30am to 6am. If D had come home with us , that would not be such a bad thing - but I can't maintain this schedule until he gets here.

Yesterday I was trying to make it all the way through the day but I was watching videos of D and he was yawning and falling asleep and , well - I didn't make it.

But tonight I will, and tomorrow I will wake up at a reasonable hour - before 1pm - and reaquaint myself with the whole day.

We were shopping today for baby stuff - of all those babies they use as models, only one or two are as cute as Dylan (well, yes, I am biased, thank you). I was thinking he could pay for his own college fund, Ivy immediately poo-pooed that idea. OK - daddy rule one - no hawking out the child for income. Wonder how many other rules there are? Ivy will let me know I am sure.

So, Ivy and I were wondering how long we wait until taking D boating. I am sure the whitewater has to wait until he is at least 6 or 7, same with scuba lessons, but we can take him seakayaing earlier. He can sit on my lap if we go in calm water. Sailing we can do sooner - larger boat, much harder to get (fall) out of. Then we had a shocking moment of trepidation - what if D doesn't like water? There is a big lake in Kyrgyzstan, but otherwise the place is landlocked. I don't think the orphanage gives him baths - just showers. DANG!!! OK - too soon to panic. We'll take baby strokes - like doggy paddle - in a half full sink, work him up to laps in the bath tub. See how he likes that. What if he doesn't like the outdoors at all? What if we loose him to the gaming rooms - holding his blankie, playing Dance,Dance Revolution for quarters? Or worse, hawking Skee-Ball tickets for toys. AHHHHhhhhh - the nightmares are starting already.

Gift Registry Blitz

Oh my goodness. I have NEVER spent so much time in a store and not actually buy much. Today was my indoctrination into the world of hands on baby registering. At first, I thought my head was going to explode, but then I just breathed in and in zen style got on with the task. Then I really started enjoying it. Surprisingly, so did Bill who absolutely hates to shop.

First the blankets, then the bottles, then the safety stuff, then the clothes, then the diaper bags, then the furniture, then the diapers. And we hadn't even gotten to the toys. After hours at BabiesRUs and then Target, we have lots of stuff added to the list. I just kept adding stuff with the assumption that I'll be deleting stuff online later on.

All this is just in time for all our family, friends and co-workers who keep insisting that we register so that they know what we still need. They want to throw baby showers for us so at this point, I think we have 4 baby showers lined up. One at my work, one virtual one with Bill's co-workers (he works from home and his coworkers are all over the country, most of them he has never met in person), one in L.A. with my family, and one here around home that MK is co-hosting with a couple of our friends. I think all this in context with the fact that neither one of our families have had babies around for a very long time, so everyone is very excited about D. And our friends have been there during our fertility disappointments and know how much this means to us.

So anyway, back to the shopping. At first, I was telling everyone that it was easy to figure out what to buy for us. We have nothing but a crib and a hand-me-down baby car seat from my friend Isabel, so everything should be ok to buy. But now that I actually got to the shopping and the choosing, I remembered that I am picky. I have very distinct taste so why would I think that this wouldn't apply to baby stuff?? Duh.

Once we got started, it was very easy to get carried away. It was easy to get lost in the hype of all the marketing. It seems that we need each and every little thing. Who knew you needed to have a special pillow for feeding the baby, and special diaper pails that keep odors in, and special bags for diaper disposal? First of all, I never remembered my mom having any of these special things and we came out ok. Did we really need all of these? And the one thing that I think keeps coming back to me are wipe warmers. Are cold wipes really that unpleasant?

What I enjoyed the most was looking at everything and imagining how D would look in them or how he would like or dislike each item. The truth is that I couldn't bring myself to commit to the baby things prior to meeting D. I didn't want to "count the chickens before the eggs hatched", given the IVF circumstances earlier in the year where my eggs actually didn't "hatch". I just couldn't face more sadness and loss so I armed myself with denial. I was so afraid to be disappointed if we lost the referral. I guess I really needed him to be real first and now that I have held him and saw him for myself, and have fallen in love, none of that old stuff matters. Right now, D has captured my heart and I am ready to be his mommy forever, even if that means shopping till I drop. Oh the sacrifices mothers make :-)

Interesting Things I Learned from Trip 1

Here are some interesting things I learned in the short period we spent in Bishkek:

Ded Moroz (pronounced Di-yed Mor-Oz) = Grandfather Winter. He is dressed just like Santa Claus but he has no reindeer to speak of, doesn't shimmy down any chimney's and I'm not sure about Mrs. Claus. However, like our Santa here, he distributes gifts to children as well.

Yolka (like Polka but with a Y) = Christimas Tree, except they don't celebrate Christmas so I'm sure that is not a direct translation. These are just like ours, decorated with shiny christmas balls, tinsel, garlands etc. I also didn't see gifts under any of them.

Young and some not so young adults are very fashionable Moscow style. Nice winter boots, skinny leg jeans, or mini skirts, or high heels walking around in Bishkek, sometimes in the snow. I on the other hand with my big lugsole Uggs, was slipping and sliding on the icy sidewalks in true California girl fashion.

Young adults listen to rap and rock. Yes, they know who Fifty is and even understand his lyrics. I live here and I don't!! Go figure that out.

There aren't very many new cars in Kyrgyzstan. Too expensive - although we did see some SUVs, even a Lexus that looked fairly new. Most are used cars that are imported from Japan, Germany and US.

They use sand to de-ice their roads and drivers have little regard for lane dividers.

The mall (Zum) is filled with individual merchants, unlike our big corporate store type malls. Bill thinks the US should adopt this model. It would be good for small businesses and we would have so much more variety than just the Gap, Macy's and Pottery Barns.

Diet Coke is not super popular but regular Coke is. And they only offer the huge 1-liter bottles when you order a Coke at the restaurants.

Good brewed coffee is hard to come by. They use instant. They probably think we are crazy for wanting to spend the time and effort to brew our fresh cups every day. If only they knew how much money Americans spend at Starbucks.

The Temir Komuz or Jews Harp is a favorite instrument to learn. Kids are taught how to play this instrument in school. Of course, Bill bought one. It is a rather cool looking thing. Here's a link to a YouTube video of someone playing one.

I'm not sure if medical insurance even exists in Kyrgyzstan but if it does, most people don't have it.

Ski slopes are an hour away from Bishkek. I wonder if we can swing this on the next trip. Not a priority but it would be very cool.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Juggling the Loose Ends and Other Annoying Tasks

Well, now that we've been back about a week, it's time to crack the whip on the remaining annoying "document" type tasks still hanging over our heads.

Vermont Document Certification from the Secratary of State for our Marriage License: finally received by The Assistant Stork yesterday and our dossier is now at the state department. Yay!! Now they just have to do what they need to do so we can get those docs to Kyrgyzstan.

I-171 approval: Now this is a little more challenging. We never received an acknowledgement with a case number after we submitted our application. The only thing we have received is a packet containing the 2 fingerprinting notices and a letter that lists a bunch of boxes that if checked, we will have to supply. None were checked. The receipt for the $830 fees we paid was attached but there was no case no. That's when Bill figured out that we were missing one piece of paper that holds the golden numbers. Crap, now we will have to figure out how to get that number. We called Dr. Woo for help and he suggested we called the FBI to see if our fingerprints have been sent to the CIS office. They were sent on Dec. 8. So now, I don't know what the next step is. We will need to wait for Dr. Woo to call the US-CIS office in San Francisco to see if he can find out where our paperwork is in the process.

International Post Placement Agreement: We will need to sign and get this doc notarized so we can send it Adoption Alliance.

Bills to pay: Paid the remaining AA fees, plus the doctor consult with the University of Washington. Hmm, I wonder how much more moolah will be required until we get D home.

With Eyes Wide Open: Oops, we never actually completed the online classes. I'm almost done so I guess I'll get this going again this weekend and finally get the certificate of completion. It's not that I wasn't reading anything else, I was actually on to the baby books. Pressure is on from our family and friends to start the baby registries so I've been trying to figure out what new parents need.

Well, I am going to be an adult and deal with the not so fun tasks so that I can go on to the more exciting stuff, like baby shopping and minor home remodeling. Not the most exciting post but so it goes.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Comedy of Lost Luggage

We were so relieved to see our luggage arrive at our hotel on Friday morning, the day before we left to head back home. I thought, for sure, it will be smooth sailing from here. After all, the universe would not conspire against an emotional mess of a mom who is leaving a country to go home halfway around the world without her baby. Not so...

As we checked our bags at Manas International Airport in Bishkek, the lady at the BMI counter asked us where we would like to retrieve our bags. We told her we would like to get them at Heathrow because we have an overnight layover. She confirmed that this is what she is putting into the system. So would you believe me if I told you that when we got to Heathrow, our bags never came down the carousel? Then, what if I told you that the BMI employee looked it up and said it was tagged to go to San Francisco... on tomorrow's flight? And what if I told you that in order for us to get our bags for the night, we would have to wait 4 hours while they track down our bags at the storage/holding area and they don't recommend we do that? And what if I told you they offered us another couple of bloody overnight kits and had nothing but apologies? And what if I told you we got into Heathrow the next day and were told we could only carry one bag onto the plane per person and had to check in another bag that we fully intended to have with us on the flight? And what if I told you that when we finally got to SFO, they didn't send one of the bags on the plane and now we still have one lost bag? Oh yes, it's no joke. This really happened.

And now I am telling you that we are NOT flying British Airways or BMI through Heathrow again on the second trip, or maybe EVER.

In a Blink of An Eye

By our second day, we felt a remarkable difference in the way our boy reacted to being held by us. He was more engaged, making more frequent eye contact and smiling a ton more, especially when Bill made faces and funny sounds. He got used to the flashing mommy cam as well, so he no longer flinched so much when I took photos. I told Bill that we better start him early because it will only get worse for him. I intend to be that annoying mommy that follows her kid with a camera all over the place.

On Friday, our 3rd and final day of our visit, our luggage finally came. I was ecstatic because I was able to give him the crocheted blanket that I made. We were also able to leave the couple of small toys. Although I know that these things may not be there when we come back for him, I was OK knowing that he may have enjoyed them that day and that in his baby understanding of the world, I hope he knows we love him and will be back for him soon.

Our afternoon visit with him was magical . It had been snowing all day and the light and the trees outside framed by the window was just perfect. It was such a tender moment for us and it took my breath away a little bit to watch Bill holding D by the light of the window as both of them looked out. I'm really a sucker for unintended portraits and even though I can't quite post photos of him yet until the paperwork is finalized, you'd have to trust me on this one and then wait a few weeks to see the actual photo.

Since the afternoon of day 1, D has gotten comfortable falling asleep in our arms. On the afternoon of day 3, he was showing all the classic signs of fussiness that comes before the nap. I was getting very choked up as this was happening because I knew we were saying goodbye for a few weeks. I think he felt this vibe from us and would not allow himself to go to sleep. I just held him and he kept yawning and smiling at me and I just kissed him while tears streamed down my face. I think I actually felt my heart tear when I followed him into the baby room where Gulia, his orphanage mommy put him down and motioned for me to come put the blanket down for him. I guess the tears streaming down my face gave it away. Gulia looked like she understood and just gave both Bill and me a hug, as if to say he is in good hands until you come back for him.

And so the end of the 3 days with D passed in a blink of an eye, or more like a pair of puffy tear soaked eyes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Meeting D Boy

Things certainly got much better. Kuba, our driver picked us up and took us to the Bishkek Baby House. First of all, there couldn't be a nicer person who speaks perfect English. We felt like we were in good hands. Then, we get to the baby house and met our coordinator Saule for the first time. She is this kind of petite lady and she was very sweet and very warm. She brought a couple of boxes of gifts for the caregivers and she explained to me that they love this cake so she brings these to them when she comes.

But let me digress a little before I tell you about D boy. when we told them about our luggage being lost, first thing Kuba asked is, "Was it BMI?" I guess this is a pretty common occurence with BMI trips to Kyrgyzstan. Note to self, do we want to use them again for trip 2?

The Bishkek Baby House in December has no children playing outside. They have several brightly colored gazebos (for a lack of a better word) scattered along the path to the buildings. Rightly so,it is literally freezing. It didn't feel that cold when we were walking through but I couldn't imagine that they would be letting the kids play in that kind of cold and damp. But I imagined that in the summer, the toddlers may be taken outside for some playtime. I hope so anyway.

As we walk in, I tried really hard not to show how nervous I was about meeting D. We went up a couple of flights of stairs and Saule finds the doctor whose name I can't remember or say correctly and forget about spelling. I think it starts with a G. I think I should try and ask again for sure later. And I may even write it down this time. We talk to her a little bit. We talk about our language skills. She speaks very little English and we speak absolutely no Russian. Off to a wonderful start. We walk down one flight of stairs and into this big room with a playpen in the middle where the older babies play with each other. There are some cribs lining one wall and another community crib where the younger babies are put next to each other.

Then there he was was being held by one of the caregivers!!! Dr. G says his name, and the caregiver hands him to me. I didn't know if I was shaking or what. I must have been. He is so much smaller than I imagined. And he was not as animated as I thought babies were. But he was so cute and precious. He didn't show any opposition to being handled by a total stranger. He was fascinated by some cotton balls on a string hanging from the ceiling. And maybe the shiny Christmas decorations also hanging all over the ceiling. I don't know for sure but the world around me disappeared at that moment. I don't know where anyone or anything was. I don't even know where Bill was. I was just holding D and gazing at him and nothing else mattered just then. I didn't cry like I thought I was surely going to though, maybe because I have run through this moment a million times in my head and I teared up each one of those times.

He was bundled up in another big PINK sweater and some pants with the built-in feet things. Then there was a big swathe of a diaper wrapped around his waist. They don't use diapers like we do. They kind of do a hybrid of cloth diapers and no diapers. They basically put on a cloth diaper that is not secured by any pins. And then, they put big pants over them and then wrap the waist, not unlike a geisha with the large sash around her waist.

A few minutes later, the room came back and I realized Daddy hasn't held him yet so I handed him over to Bill who was just as enthralled by him. We got to visit him for about an hour and a half in the morning and then the afternoon. Between Bill and me, we just played musical baby and never put him down. Bill sang to him and played a little harmonica.

As for development stuff, which was a huge concern for us, he seemed to respond well to sounds. I think he actually responds to sounds better than he did visual stimulus. I was a little concerned about the staring at the ceiling thing. He was very determined not to lose whatever he was looking at out of his sight. If I moved him around, he turned his head as much as he could to follow the object he was gazing at. I'm not sure if this is normal for his age. He's eleven and a half weeks old. His chin also quivered a little when he was first handed to me. Then again when I handed him to Bill. It only happened a few times and it stopped after a couple of seconds but nevertheless, I emailed Dr. Bledsoe about this.

I left Bill with D for a little while so that I could visit the other baby rooms to look for 2 other children at the request of their mommies waiting to take them home. The rooms where the individual cribs were had about 4 to 5 cribs to each room. Each baby in the crib has a small paper tag pasted on the way with the name and dob of the baby. I found one of the 2 precious girls I was looking for and she was adorable. I guess she is a little bit older than D, about 5 months or so. She was such a happy girl. I played with her and held her for a while and made faces at her. She was cracking up at me. She had a strong grip and she was noticeably heavier and longer and just plain bigger than D. I just kept thinking of her her mommy at home and how she would just love to hold her right there and right then. We took several photos of her to send home. I wonder if they will let me play with her again later today when we go back.

Back to D. I walked back into the room and Bill looked so happy and content to just be holding him and moving him around the room. It was really wonderful to see this. He was making faces at him and as we held him longer, he started to smile and gurgle at us. His favorite was when he spit up and we were wiping his chin. He seems to like this a lot!! He also let out the biggest belch I have heard from a baby. What a trip. Such a big sound coming from such a small guy.

As long as I am on the topic of natural bodily functions, I may as well tell you about our fist stinky adventure. No, not No. 2, just No. 1. Naturally, with the way they have the diapers on, there is no leak proofing. In my case, D was on my lap as we were sitting on the rocking chair and he leaked onto the only pants I had at the time. The whole time we were holding him, I was a little concerned about him being so warm against me. I couldn't tell if that was warm or wet. Well, I just found out there is a diference. The wet kind leaves a stinky wet spot on you. But at least, it's just pee. Bill chose to make this a sentimental moment and memorialize my first pee stain with a photo.

After a few more minutes, then they told us it was time for him to nap and they took him away from us. They told us we could come back at 2 if we wanted to. Are you kidding me? Do we want to?

I went shopping for a few new clothes to change into and then had a wonderful lunch. And then back to the baby house to hang out some more.

D fell asleep in my arms today. He was getting squirmy when Bill was holding him. He was sleepy but I think he just didn't want to miss all the action so he tried not to fall asleep. He didn't want to but I just held him laying down until he gave in. After 2 big yawns, he closed his eyes and finally fell asleep. I can't begin to describe this moment. I have never cradled a baby to sleep before. D was so fragile and tender and so helpless. He needs his momma and daddy to take him home so he can be cradled to sleep every day. He doesn't like to be held in a laying down position but I realized if I held him closer to me, snuggled more against my chest, he gave in and stopped fighting.

It is very very sad to leave the orphanage without our baby, and a few others. I'm looking forward to our time tomorrow.

The Great Misadventures to Bishkek

I can never say my life is not adventurous. I am now writing by the fire at the Asia Mountain Guest House in Bishkek after a long adventurous 36 hours.

First of all, we get to SFO on Monday evening and we realize we never made arrangements to get from Manas Airport to the hotel. And Bill doesn't have the number or email to Asia Mountain. So I sat there minutes before boarding the plane and emailed my Kyrgyzstan Adoption group on Yahoo. This is about 7 pm or so PST. It was a long shot. I sent out the email in hopes of getting some ideas on how to resolve this. Lo and behold, Cindy and Mala immediately respond. Then Marnie! Holy cow don't we do anything else but check out our emails and postings?? Thank goodness we are all blog, email and group addicts.

Then, I look at Bill and just by chance asked if he has the info for our reservations at Heathrow on the way back since we have an overnight layover. Nope, no printout and he can't remember the name of the hotel. What's next?

OK, I shouldn't have asked that. Because next, we get into Heathrow a little bit late and our connecting flight is soon to leave. We make it to our BMI flight to Yerevan / Bishkek, but our bags don't. The luggage had not been unloaded from the previous flight and never made it onto our plane. So, we were told this at the gate and then confirmed again by the flight attendant after they close the cabin doors. Wonderful. I am now about to freak out but thought better about it and asked myself. If I had been told that our bags were definitely not going to make it before the closed the cabin doors, would I have said, forget it, I'm not flying without the bags? Oh hell no! I was going to Bishkek, bags or no bags. Bill also would have nipped that in the bud right then and there and reminded me I'm losing my mind.

So more adventure in Yerevan. We land in Yerevan and had to wait almost another hour of schedule delay because they had to spray the wings with this anti-freeze solution because it had been snowing and apparently, you can't fly a plane with snow or ice building up on its wings. Now, not only were we delayed again, I also realize that the big triple goose down coat I brought with me is inside the missing bags. Great. What else...?

Then we get to Bishkek. And decided to follow Mala's advise about grabbing a cab. We haggled a little bit with a cab driver and settled on $20 US dollars to get us to our hotel. We get out onto the parking lot and get into his car without a taxi sign on top. We sit in the cab thinking about the worst things that could possibly happen. We especially think this when he goes down this road that looks like it dead ends onto and alley. Then he takes us down the alley... Apparently, this is an actual road and our hotel is just off it a little ways down. Good thing because thoughts of how between Bill and me, we were going to beat the shit out of this guy, crossed my mind during this ride. Ha ha, what a relief. We pay the guy and we check in without anything bad happening to us.

Then, everything just got much better. Sure we still had no idea where our bags are but at this point, I stopped caring because I called Saule and she informed me that Kuba was coming at 10 to get us and take us to the baby house. Yes, things are looking up.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Being Sick Before Travelling Sucks!

So, today is Sunday, the day before we get on a plane to hold our precious D for the first time, and much to my chagrin, I'm sick!!! I woke up today with a runny nose. I was hoping it was just allergies but no such luck. In the last 3 hours, I'm sure Kleenex made some major profits on me. So did Emergen-C and Oscillococcinum. And yet, I continue to feel worse as the day goes on. Maybe it's time to hit the drug store for some harder stuff.

I suppose I should have expected this. I haven't been sleeping or eating well. I'm all nerves about the trip. I'm so excited, I can barely function. Everything I have done in the past month has been all about getting ready for the day we meet D. It has taken me everything I got to stay focused and keep up at work.

My body is throwing a temper tantrum, yelling at me loud and clear. But timing is just all bad. Couldn't it have tried to tell me this last week or something? Well, I guess I wouldn't have listened anyway. This always happens. I go and go and go, then when I have a chance to slow down a little bit, that is when my body decides it wants to teach me a lesson. I should know by now to be better to myself, but hindsight is always 20-20, and I am a knucklehead. Good combination.

It's not so much that I am worried that I will be travelling while sick and be feeling miserable during the long flights. I'm sure that will suck, but the thing that really worries me, is that I will not get over this before Wednesday, and I don't want to be sick and be around the babies. What if they don't let me hold D?? Oh the anxiety just never ends for a worrier.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dossier is Finally Complete (...mostly)

On Monday Bill drove to Sacramento in the morning and got the documents all state certified. Then off the dossier went to our document facilitator so that they can file it with the State Dept. in Washington, and then to the Kyrgz Embassy.

There was only one minor hitch which we uncovered today. And really, it was easily handled. Our original copy certified Marriage License from Vermont still has to be Secretary of State certified. I thought certified meant certified, but I guess not. And I thought if something was printed on State Embossed letterhead and says "certified", then we were golden. Guess not. But our facilitators are super helpful. They are going to get this one document state certified for us for a very reasonable fee. So, instead of using my mommy card (which by the way didn't work with the sheriff who pulled me over for speeding ticket last week), and grovelling to the Vermont Secretary of State office myself, our document facilitator will be doing that for me. I think that is wise, considering they have over a decade of experience doing this, plus my recent track record using my mommy grovelling skills isn't so impressive.

Anyway, nothing is going to get me down, we are going to be meeting D a week from today!! Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


In my ealier post, I was freaking out about things like, "does he have hands". Apparently, he does and they are chubs.

Now, I only have to worry about feet...

Travel Dates

My heart is positively singing. We just received notice this past Tuesday that we can travel on Dec. 17 to meet D. We will be with him for 3 days and then back to the states to wait it out for the 2nd trip.

The only thing that can be even more exciting is if we could take him home. Nevertheless, we think this has to be one of the best Christmas presents we have EVER received. Only to be topped by next Christmas when we can spend it with D.

Just to keep the cuteness going, here is another sneak peak at D. I guess he is about eight weeks here.

Off to Belize

For the purpose of this blog, I'll just call the little guy "D" going forward...

Before the tornado called "D" was in our consciousness, we scheduled a little vacation to Belize with MK and Tom (Bill's sis and bro in law) on the week after Thanksgiving. When we got the referral, we considered cancelling so that we can keep working on the dossier. However, because we had a few other lagging things that we were anticipating to just be arriving in the mail that week, we thought we would take the opportunity to go on vacation, our last hoorah, so to speak, before D forever changes our lives.

Little did we know that at this point, it was too late. He already has. While in Belize, I was constantly thinking about the dossier and what else we can do to make it go faster. I checked my emails several times a day for info from our homestudy (more on that in a bit). It also didn't help that the first 2 days we were there, it poured so we were sort of stuck in the house with nothing to do but dwell on the fact that if I were home, we could be calling people, not using up precious paid time off from work, working to get my department ready for my upcoming leave, etc.

And for the crescendo of my despair, our homestudy agency, which we knew a week or so before we left for Thanksgiving, was closing their doors and transitioning their families to another agency in the area, sent an email stating that they could not release the official notarized copy of our homestudy because we had to do the DOJ and Child Abuse fingerprints again under the new agency's license. They said it was something that the state of California mandated. LIVID could not start to do justice to the state I was in! This could not come at a worse time. We needed to send the dossier out as soon as we got back to the states (assuming some documents were in our mailbox when we got back - which they were). Redoing the fingerprints could mean another 2 weeks before the new homestudy would be issued. We were in Belize and would not be home for almost another week to redo the fingerprints.

I called the new agency from MK's cellphone and stayed on the phone until I was able to speak to the director of the new agency. To her credit, she was wonderful. She communicated to me that they had nothing to do with the old agency's closing process. All her agency is getting are the cases as is and hiring some of the staff from the other agency. Nevertheless she understood our predicament and was very willing to be creative to find a solution to get us through this phase. After much brainstorming, we decided to have the homestudy issued under the old agency's license which was still active but expiring the following day. Then, we would have to just send amendments to correct the records to the new agency. This meant I had to call our social worker who immediately agreed to go to the agency's offices the next day with several originals that he would sign and get notarized.

So the end of this story started out much better than the beginning. Largely, this is because of the wonderful people who were willling to go the extra mile to help us get D home sooner. From our social worker BW, to the director of the agency LJ, my sister in law MK, Tom who kept positive and tried to be cheerful in the midst of my hysteria, and to Bill who kept chill, and didn't quite jump onto my hysteria bandwagon.

The weather cleared up on most of the days following. Bill who had gotten sick at the beginning of the trip finally started to feel good enough to walk around town and enjoy the sun and the town. We even got some snorkeling and swimming time in and saw a bunch of really cool marine animals and corals.

One day, we are going to bring D to this amazing place. I can't wait!!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Where are the Medicals?

Since we received the photos on Friday, Nov. 9, we had all weekend to fuss about the medicals and how we could hopefully see them on Monday. Being the freakshow that I am, I worried about everything. I scrutinized his photos. I tried to look for signs for FAS because surely I am qualified to diagnose this, based on all my experience, which was a whopping ZERO. I thought maybe he didn't have hands because in the photos the sweater he was wearing were 5 sizes larger than him and his hands were hidden. And what about feet??? I could go on....

In the meantime, we contacted the University of Washington to schedule a review of the referral. I sent them the photos and told them we would send the medicals as soon as we got them, which we thought would surely show up by Tuesday.

By the time we got the medicals on Sunday, Nov.18, over a week after we received the photos, I have worked myself up to a panic that the reason the medicals weren't coming was because there was something seriously wrong. I've also managed to antagonize the nice coordinator at the University of Washington because for some reason, I thought they should hold our spot to review the info with Dr. Bledsoe even though all she had were photos. I know, I know, not my best moment. Thanks to Bill, he took over the communications with everyone for a while so I can chill out.

When the medicals showed up, I expected scary stuff. We saw nothing but measurements. APGAR score, head circumference, birthweight, etc. and then the measurements again at 7 weeks. No medical diagnosis. What??????? How is that possible? I thought all kids coming from the former Soviet Union got these scary medicals? Now I thought they were ommitting stuff because there were things too horrible to disclose.

Fortunately for us, Dr. Bledsoe became available to talk to us prior to us leaving for Connecticut for Thanksgiving. We had a conf call with her the morning of the 20th and she felt really good about our referral. She had other questions but given the info we had, she was very optimistic about him and thought it was a good referral. She said if it were her, she would travel to meet him.

So, we accepted the referral. And we had the best Thanksgiving ever, as we certainly had a lot for which to be thankful.

A Surprise Phone Call

I haven't updated in a while and there is a very good and cute reason. On Friday Nov. 9, I got a phone call from Karen. She gave me a choice. There is a little baby boy that is ready to be adopted. She had photos but no medicals yet. She gave me the choice of whether or not we wanted to see the photos, despite the fact that the medicals have not yet arrived. She had no information in regards to health and birthdate. All we know was his first name and that he was abandoned and he tested neg for HIV and Wasserman (syphillis).

At this point, I told her we were not completely done wth our dossier. In fact, we had just submitted our CIS application a couple of days prior. How could we possibly be ready for a referral? Karen reassured me that I can keep working on the dossier and that the CIS stuff doesn't all have to be ready before trip 1. Her real hesitation is that we may get attached if we had the photos and if the medical came back with some terrible things in it, we would be in a very difficult situation. She called me because she was excited for us and he is super cute. She could not help herself from contacting me since we were next in line.

Well, I jumped at the opportunity and I convinced her I can handle it and so can Bill. Of course, at this point I had not even talked to Billy but I knew he wouldn't want to miss this either. She agreed to email the photos in the next 20 minutes or so, except... I was on my way out of the office for an all-afternoon fun team event and would not have access to my email. I spent the afternoon anxious to see him. Luckily the lady at the spa where we were scheduled to spend the afternoon relaxing was kind enough to let me use their PC.

At about 4 pm on Nov. 9, I had the privelege of seeing our munchkin for the very first time. He is adorable and tiny, and in PINK. But he was just cute. Karen was right and my heart was soaring. So for all of you who are not in my family and have not yet seen him, I'm sorry that I can't quite post the full photos yet, but here is a sneak peak.

Cute huh?? WE THOUGHT SO.

So anyway, since that day, everything has gone nuts. Things have moved very very quickly and I quickly got behind on my promise to update this blog at major milestones. Milestones at this point is a hilarious concept. It's been one major milestone since that day. It just keeps going. Stay tuned. I'll keep posting...