I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom 12:1-2

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tubie newbie

I haven't forgotten to blog!  What I did almost forget is how intense it is to transition a new family member home even when everything is going great.  And it is going great!  We got home on Friday after the LONGEST flight ever.  But that day is behind us now and all is well.  The main hiccup is that Baby Girl and I each caught a little cold.  We are both doing fine, but it wasn't exactly what we wanted for our first few days home.  Fortunately I already had a doctor appointment scheduled for her and the doc said her lungs sound fine.  Poor sweetie was just congested in her head.  She really was only super-miserable for one afternoon (coinciding with the doctor appointment).  She is doing great now.  Just a little left-over cough and slightly runny nose.  The past two nights she slept twelve hours each night!!!  Unfortunately that also meant that no naps were taken.  I think it will take us another week or two to figure out a workable schedule.  Just last night was my first decent night of sleep in weeks (excitement, adrenaline, millions of details, plus jet lag are not a very sleep-inducing combination).  I think we are all on the right track now, though.

The other tricky thing is that I am on the tube-feeding learning curve.  Baby Girl is currently fed via g-tube so I am having to learn all the ins and outs of that.  It is really not difficult, but is taking a fair amount of my mental energy.  Pretty soon I'll be an old pro at it, and hopefully not too long after that Baby Girl will be eating by mouth.  She actually is much further along towards that goal than I thought she was.  There really is no medical reason currently for her to be on a g-tube, but when you are an orphan with feeding problems who lives in a hospital in a first-world country with good medical care, you get a feeding tube (orphans in third world countries in the same situation often die or become extremely malnourished).  I am SO THANKFUL for her tube, but ready to get rid of it at the same time.  Super T had a g-tube until he was about 3 or so I have high hopes.  Super-T is now a champion eater.

So that is the bad and the ugly, but mostly it is all GOOD.  Seriously this girl is AMAZING!!!  I really think that word is over-used by so many people, but in this case it really applies!  We all are crazy about her.  In fact one of the no-nap days was because the big kids had been out seeing The Hobbit with Grandma (for the second time--both saw it on opening day:  Little Pud overseas with our relatives and The Philosopher with his friends and his Pa--yes, I am the only family member who will not be seeing this in the theater, but Baby Girl is oh-so-worth it...there is always DVD) and just had to go visit her when they got back.  She was not quite asleep and that was the end of that nap.

Well, I am starting to ramble.  I'd better go feed Baby Girl (one benefit of tube feeding: you can feed the kiddo while they are sound asleep) and then get to bed.  Morning comes early around here.

{Sorry no pictures today.  I won't be allowed to post any pictures of Baby Girl's smiling face until after her adoption is finalized (likely a year because of our slow court system in my county...ugh!).  I will take pictures that don't show her face, though, and post them, but not until life has settled down a bit.}

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I won the lottery.

Seriously.  This child is amazing!!!

12/12/12 was Gotcha Day.  We started the morning at the place that has been Baby Girl's home for over a year and ended the day with two sisters going to bed in matching jammies.

The workers, volunteers, and children sang Baby Girl's favorite songs and then had a goodbye prayer and candle ceremony in which Baby Girl and I took a candle (electric!) around to let each of the children hold to pass her luck in getting a family on to each of them.  Talk about heart-rending...

Baby Girl's caregiver then took her around to have her say "goodbye" to all the rooms and equipment at the child care home.  Here she is saying goodbye to her high chair.  Lots more tears from the caregivers and me and Baby Girl was very somber and sad.

Just a few minutes after we left her child care home, Baby Girl perked up and was happy again, but the emotional morning made her tired.  She slept through our ride on the ferry.

Little Pud loved the ferry

and the double-decker bus!

Little Pud surprised herself by actually liking almost all of the food!  Yummy dim sum and noodles!!!

After the ferry and lunch, we went to a science museum and later out to eat wonderful vegetarian Shanghaiese food with our relatives (all the pictures from both of those places show Baby Girl's face so I can't  post them here).  Then it was to the hotel:

The end of the day!
I am overwhelmed with the wonder that is this little girl.  She is truly amazing.  Funny, smart, easy-going.  I am so blessed!

We are nearly ready to travel home.  It has been an incredible trip on all fronts, and I am so excited to begin our lives as a family of five!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What a difference a day makes!

Yesterday Baby Girl was animated and funny!  She obviously is enjoying being with Little Pud and I and is even starting to prefer us (I am amazed by that.)

Today is Gotcha Day!!!

I am so excited!  I wish I had time to write more, but alas, I don't.  Hopefully I'll write about today later tonight.

They were teaching the kids about skiing.  Everyone was laughing so hard and the kids had a blast.  (The umbrellas are the ski poles.  Baby Girl didn't wear the cardboard "skis" because they were too slippery for the smaller kiddos.

Fun on the playground at Baby Girl's childcare home.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Meeting Baby Girl for the first time!

Little Pud and Baby Girl heading toward the playground.

We are tired, but oh-so-happy!  I miss her already, but it won't be for long this time.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My camera battery is charging...

because tomorrow is the big day!

Meeting your child for the very first time is exciting and unnerving at the same time.  I am trying not to think too much about it because I am concerned I won't be able to sleep if I focus on Baby Girl.  Fortunately I have been busy and having a great time so it likely won't really hit me until tomorrow morning.

We had another great day today, but first I should rewind to what we did last night.  Little Pud and I are so privileged to be here during Chanukah.  Last night was the first night, and we so enjoyed the lighting of the candles, the gifts, and the time with our family.  It was also great to have my uncle tell me a more complete version of the story behind the holiday.  I am now looking forward to each evening here.  I wish we could stay for the whole eight days.

After the lighting of the candles and the gifts and after Little Pud and KOTM spent some time building their respective Lego sets, we got to talk to our stateside family via Skype.  It was so good to talk to my boys!  I miss them so much, but they are in the very good hands of Grandma and Pa.  By the way, KOTM is short for King of the Minifigs, our cousin who has a lot in common with The Philosopher (formerly known on this blog as LOTL or Lord of the Legos), incidentally Little Pud also enjoys Legos.  It is not recommended to walk barefoot in our house...

Of course, KOTM had to show The Philosopher all of his new Legos and vice versa.

We then went to bed.  My new and improved jet lag plan seems to be working because, although I woke up super early (4:30), I was able to doze until a reasonable time and then spend all of today on the go, feeling very little jet lag.

This morning it was time for Mitzvah Day!  My aunt had organized a HUGE undertaking with many MANY volunteers to work in several teams around the community.  It was such a privilege to be a part of this great day.  When my uncle was giving his brief spiel during the Mitzvah Day breakfast before we were sent out, he quoted a Jewish friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said of his civil rights march with Dr. King, "When I marched on Selma, my legs were praying."  I loved this word picture of the act of worship it can be when we work with our own hands and feet to help others.  Service is so important.  Today many people were sent out to work in the community.  Our personal assignment was to help sort clothes for refugees, but it didn't start until after lunch, so we had a few hours to kill.

Cousin "Elsa" had something to return to a store, so so she and I took the kids and set out for a little adventure.  We took hundreds of stairs (found out just how unused my "going down stairs muscles" are) down the mountain and then into the busy shopping district.  We found the store in question and while Elsa returned her item, Little Pud and KOTM entertained themselves by making faces in a mirror.

Aren't they cute?

We then added taking a public transportation bus to Little Pud's list of firsts.  It was a beautiful day for both the walk and the ride and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing more of Baby Girl's wonderful city.

Soon after returning to the flat, it was our turn to go out for Mitzvah Day.  About fifteen or so of us loaded onto a bus and were on our way.  It was especially fun because the kids and I occasionally volunteer at a local clothes ministry, so we at least partially understood what a huge project this was.  I have never seen so many clothes!  It was amazing!  And I was equally amazed by how much we got done.

Giant pile o' shoes
 After a few hours of clothes sorting, folding, and hauling, we headed back home tired but happy and fulfilled, and then to the kosher barbeque for a LOT of fabulously delicious food.  At the risk of sounding like a pig (small joke for those of you who are paying attention), I believe I sampled at least seven kinds of meat and fish, several veggies/salads, and three desserts.  Don't worry though, I had already worked it all off with the walking down the millions of stairs and marathon clothes sorting session. 


Tomorrow is THE day!!!  I am so excited, but I am truly trying not to think about it.  I want to get a good night's sleep.  I would appreciate prayers for both the sleep and the first meeting.  Don't expect another long blog...I am highly doubtful that I'll have time from here on out (but you never know...)


Saturday, December 8, 2012

The happiest place on earth

We're here!!! 

Little Pud and I spent a LONG day traveling, but we made it in the end.

Little Pud has had lots of firsts!  First plane ride (that she remembers-she did actually fly at 4 months old), first trip to another country, first taxi ride, first rollercoaster, and first trip to Disney!  

One of the best parts about Baby Girl's birth country is that we have family living there!  So not only do we get to add a new member to our family, we get to see family that we already know and love.  We went to Disney with our aunt and cousins and had a GREAT time!  Little Pud was heard to say, "This is the best day of my life."  Here are a few pictures to document our fun time.

Little Pud with the cousins: King of the Minigfigs (KOTM) and Elsa.

Fun on the teacups with my aunt and cousin!

The park was decorated for Christmas.

Little Pud drove the cars.

Fun to see Main Street U.S.A. when in another country!
Real live Toy Soldiers!


 And we are excited about yet another event that will happen this week.
  No, it doesn't compare to adding a member to the family, but it is pretty cool:

P.S. I have a new jet lag remedy:  don't get much sleep the night before your long trip; sleep on the plane as much as possible; get to your destination and chat with family until the wee hours then crash once more.  Wake up at your normal time then spend the entire day at Disneyland so you can sleep another full night.  Bye bye jet lag!

P.P.S.  We meet Baby Girl on Monday!!!  We are so excited!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

All packed and ready to go...

Suitcases are in the living room waiting to be hauled out first thing in the morning.  I just have a few little miscellaneous small things to pack (like this computer) and the kitchen to clean up, then to bed.

This week has been a whirlwind!  Last Tuesday I received my HCO, but with it news that Baby Girl was in the hospital.  No news (and lots of crying by yours truly) on Wednesday.  I knew travel could be soon, but with no news on Baby Girl's condition I was just a blubbering mess with no motivation to get things done.  Then that happy phone call last Thursday and the flurry of activity began!  With exactly one week notice to travel and LOTS to do, including complicated logistics for the double-booked Philosopher (solved by backing out of an event) and getting people (wonderful people, I might add!) to fill in for my monthly widows' meeting (REALLY hate to miss it especially since we have fun plans and Christmas can be a tough time for widows), I was a bit of a stress basket, but a happy one!

Thanks to a LOT of help from my lovely friends and family we made it!  I am so thankful for the people who helped me out, from the friends who came over to help organize my chronically disorganized house, to the babysitter who was incredibly helpful and had fun with the kids at the same time; from my mom who did many loads of laundry and rescued Super-T from being stranded at school when the bus forgot to bring him home (long story and it turns out it wasn't my fault!), to the friend who made Baby Girl a gorgeous quilt with her name on it; from friends who called with encouraging words, to friends who dropped by with financial gifts and hugs.  It has been an incredible week, full of surprises and provision in every area!  I seriously could not list everything that has happened and still make it to bed at a decent time.  So many things happened with perfect timing...tax refund deposited (WOW!), info on a less expensive therapy chair/high chair, vitally informative books came in the mail (just in time for airplane reading), a dear friend who makes jewelry made me an absolutely beautiful bookmark (you really have no idea how happy that made me...it's the little things!).  Really just so many many things.  It could only be God.

I am so thankful.  And excited.  I am definitely excited, with butterflies in my stomach.  Baby Girl is coming home!