Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blood work results

The doc called Friday night with Cassie's blood work results.

Lead - negative
HIV - negative
CBC - normal
Blood level - normal
Hep - negative
Hep B antibodies - positive (this is good -- it means she had the Hep B vaccine)
MMR (measles, mumps, & rubella) titer - this only showed she was vaccinated against measles. Not mumps and rubella. So on our visit next month she's get a new MMR vaccine.

The x-ray from last week also showed no TB.

So we have a very healthy, wonderful, adorable baby girl. The doc said she's in great health and we should have no problems with anything.

Friday, May 22, 2009

14 months old

Today. My little angel hit another milestone. And we went to Target for the first time today, visited daddy at work (he forgot his wallet), and had our first walk in the stroller tonight with the dogs. Exciting day for our little girl.

As promised here are some photos from the last couple of days in China and our first week at home.

Swimming for the first time with daddy.

Hanging out with mommy.

Rocking my angel to sleep.

Saying goodbye to Auntie Kellie.

Waiting on the tarmac to board the flight from Guangzhou to LA. We stood outside for about 40 minutes.

Cassie's first day at home.

Having breakfast today. That's a half laugh - half smile. While waiting for mommy to shovel in food.

Cassie's second favorite position -- begging mommy to pick her up. Favorite position -- being in mommy's arms. That's mommy's favorite too.

Her tongue is out when she's excited. She hasn't bit it yet. I give it one week.

My two favorite girls.

My sweet little angel.

By the way this picture is from today. The Gymboree outfit is a 3 - 6 months. The onesies fit perfectly. The skirt was a tiny bit big.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Random thoughts

Hi all, yes we are still alive. Barely. hahaha. We expected the first week or two home to be crazy and a blur and we were right. My goal everyday is to shower -- most days I miss my goal. I just took my 3rd shower since being home. Didn't dry my hair -- no point -- plus my hair brushes are still packed. Cassie nor Sonny care what I look like. At least for now. And if they do -- I don't really care.

I know I owe about 38 people emails -- I'm so sorry -- but right now I get very little time to myself and I usually have three choices: sleep, food or a shower. The sleep always wins. The only reason I have time right now is Cassie is eating Cheerios in her highchair waiting for daddy to bring pizza home. And no -- that's not all she's eating. This will be the first time for pizza. I have been cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner since being home. Well, at least cooking for Cassie for breakfast and lunch -- I rarely have time to eat those two meals. Donuts and coke are great substitutes.

Sonny went back to work on Wednesday -- I'm not sure how -- but he's managing. I think he's praying for the long weekend.

So here are some random thoughts, events, facts and useless info since our last post.

1. Cassie is still amazing -- even when she's screaming, head-butting, and hitting me in the head because I took a coaster out of her mouth.

2. I have bruises in places I've never had bruises before. Which reminds me Cassie also pinches --- hard.

3. I got bit three times in China -- by Cassie, not Sonny or the mosquitoes -- but the biting has stopped.

4. Since the first night we got Cassie she wakes up between 3 and 7 times a night screaming, crying, or jumping around like a fish out of water. Talking to her softly -- reminding her that mommy and daddy are here -- and rubbing her back or belly seems to lull her back to sleep. The last few nights in Guangzhou, this was down to 1 or 2 times a night. Since we have returned home, the frequency has increased to 5 to 7 times a night. We also know that this too will pass. I really think the co-sleeping has helped reassure her that we aren't going anywhere and are always right there when she wakes.

Note -- in China she slept between us in a king bed. At home we have a co-sleeper (a fancy travel crib/playpen) next to my side of the bed. The one side of the co-sleeper is lower and is the same height as our mattress.

5. If Cassie sees or smells food she screams until fed. This was also getting better the last few days in China -- but since home we have gone backwards a tiny bit.

6. Cassie could careless if her diaper is wet during the day. But, at night -- watch out -- it must be changed ASAP.

Dinner break -- I'm back.

7. Cassie wouldn't drink formula or milk in China. Nor at home. The pediatrician suggested soy milk. One brand got a tiny taste -- then the bottle was thrown to the floor. She did drink 2oz of the Silk brand but didn't really like it. The pediatrician also suggested orange juice with calcium -- which she will drink. But, then we tried rice milk and she'll drink that. Yea!!! After a few weeks on the rice milk we'll try to switch her to good old cow's milk.

8. Daddy said Cassie eats like a trucker and drinks like a sailor on shore leave. She loves her juice. She even likes water.

9. Cassie had her first doctor appointment on Monday. She had two vaccines, seven tubes of blood drawn and three chest x-rays. Not a fun day for anyone.

10. On Monday Cassie weighted 18.6 lbs -- up .2 lbs since the previous Monday. She was 31.5 inches long -- she also grew 2 inches in a week. I questioned the doctor about that, and she said it was very possible with good nutrition.

11. Cassie is in the 90th percentile on height and in the 3rd percentile on weight. That's on the US charts. Our pediatrician -- who's also Chinese -- thinks Cassie is from Northern China based on her height. People in Northern China are taller than the people in the South of China where Cassie was found. And based on what we know about her finding place, this is completely possible.

12. Other than Cassie needing to put on some weight -- slowly per the doctor -- we have no other issues at this time. Or at least until the blood tests all come back.

13. Cassie did have some pressure in her right ear. The doc thinks it's from the flight and said to just watch for signs of an ear infection and to not let her lay down to drink her bottle.

14. The doc called on Tuesday to say that one radiologist thought Cassie might have the beginning signs of pneumonia. The doc didn't think this could be possible -- based on the exam the day before and asked another radiologist to read the x-ray. The second one thought it looked ok. However, just to be safe with our baby girl the doc wants to repeat the chest x-rays this coming Tuesday.

15. The flight from Guangzhou to LA was 13 hours. Cassie slept for about 3 hours of it. Guess what she did the other 10 hours? Full-blown temper-tantrum / meltdown. Needless to say it was a really long flight.

16. The flight from LA to Detroit was 4 hours. Cassie slept through almost the entire flight. We even had passengers tell us how good she was when we landed. Boy did she have them fooled. They should have seen or heard her on the previous flight.

17. Oh, the immigration guy in LA was a complete #%^&*! (naughty word) but other than that little disruption we made it home as expected.

18. Cassie seems to fit best in 6 - 9 month clothes and 6 - 12 month ones. But, only in one piece outfits. The waist on 6 - 9 months pants are still to big. Good thing it's warm out because the Carter's one-piece rompers work great, but she would freeze in the winter if that's all she had on.

19. I just love my baby girl. She's so amazing and changes and grows up a tiny bit each day.

20. Since home she is walking up a storm. And prefers to have no shoes on. It's easier to walk when you can curl your toes.

21. Cassie loves the dogs. Tehya is her favorite. Poor Tehya had been beat in the head with toys and blocks too many times to count. She either just takes it or walks away. Tehya is always in the same room as Cassie and sleeps on a dog bed right next to the co-sleeper while also leaning on the co-sleeper. Thunder is waiting for Cassie to grow up quick. Cassie is much too loud for poor old Thunder. He's been spending a lot of time napping upstairs. Cassie also loves Sage. But the squealing in higher notes that only Adam Lambert can sing has kept Sage from really checking Cassie out. Once Cassie sees the cat and the squealing starts Sage decides to find a quiet place to hide. Once Cassie is sleeping Sage jumps in our bed to check her out. While the angel sleeps none of us can believe this is the same child who giggles and squeals all day long.

22. And the remote and dog water are her favorite toys. Not really -- but it sure seems like it today. I hate saying no -- but sometimes a mommy's got to do what a mommy's got to do.

I hope these tidbits can hold you all over until the next post. And I promise more pictures are coming. Once we find the camera.

Again thanks everyone for the thoughts and prayers while we were in China.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We are here. Yea!!! Long flights. Very tired. Hungry. Need showers. Need to go get the 4-legged kids soon.

More later.

We are home!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Devil's in the Details

3 years, 4 months, 24 days (but who's counting) after we decided to do this, we have arrived at the final hurdle. According to the People's Republic of China, Cassie is our daughter. That's all well and good, but we can't take her home yet. She's still not a U.S. citizen, and won't be until we land in L.A. But she can't enter the U.S. without a Visa issued against her Chinese passport. Details, details. So here we are at a large office building that houses many things, one of which is the Consulate General of the United States. Any Chinese citizen wishing to enter the U.S. must come to this office in Guangzhou to be issued a Visa. Cassie is no exception, even though she is officially our daughter.

I guess the office we need to see is on the 5th floor, according to this guide in the front lobby of the building.

Along the way, we pass by some of our federal bailout dollars. Probably the closest I'll ever get to them.

Follow this sign. Go left.

Getting closer. Follow this sign. Right after this we pass a security checkpoint, where I have to surrender my camera :( he swearing in ceremony would have made for a nice shot. The consulate was looking for explicit approval, meaning they wanted to see the home study specifically state that we were "approved for adopting a special needs child". It didn't say that, so as of yesterday, the brakes were on the whole deal. Yikes. So we waited until 9am EST (9pm local time in China) and called our social worker. She had just delivered a baby of her own, and was out of the office. (Congratulations to you Lorie if you're reading this!) We were able to reach a colleague of hers who was able to correct the wording and forward same to the consulate here in Guangzhou. So right on time today, we were sworn in on behalf of Cassie (who still struggles with tongue-twisting phrases like "do solemny swear"). Thanks a million to Peggy at Child and Parent Services! You saved our bacon today. .
Just outside the consulate office stands the tallest building in Guangzhou. Based on the number of floors and the relative height of the spire, I estimate this at about 1/3 mile high.

Later that day, Cassie gets her first ride in a stroller. This is progress for her. She has been very resistant to being away from Mommy. Yesterday she let Daddy carry her all day long, even falling asleep along the way. She also recently allowed herself to be placed in a highchair for dinnertime. She's growing right before our very eyes. We're going to have to put a stop to that :) We can't have our baby growing up on us, now can we

Yes, they have these little #$%^&*!s here too.

Earlier the same day, we pose for the famous "Red Couch Photos". This is a White Swan Hotel tradition. Everyone comes here to have their photos taken on the Red Couches on the 2nd floor.


Train wreck. Someone had the bright idea to put 8 babies on the couch alone (no Mommies or Daddies) for a picture. 7 actually made it into this photo. This attempt lasted about 5 minutes. The kids quickly approached critical mass, setting off Geiger counters several miles away, so the mission was aborted.

Let's try again, this time with the mommies. Much better.
Left to right:

Stranger #1, Sonny, Cassie, Sherry, Sarah, Shen, Stranger #2, and Stranger #3. This photo was at the request of the 3 strangers.

Non-sequitor alert: This is a 10 foot Jade statue. Very cool. It is almost certainly not 100% Jade but still, very cool. More posing. This is our Great Wall China Adoption travel group.

And this is our precious little baby girl, Cassie Noel Spring.

Well, at least one of us is happy in this photo. Cassie is OK with Daddy holding her, but not when Mommy is in plain sight.

No, this is not a photo taken from jail. This is Daddy standing on one side of a large birdcage holding lovebirds. Mommy and Cassie are on the other side. Cassie is fascinated with the birds. She squeals in a high-pitched voice that is almost a match for the birds.


Princess Cassie in her traditional Chinese outfit. Pure silk. Very pretty. And an absolute bargain at only 55 yuan, or roughly $8.

OK, enough of this photo stuff. Let's walk back to the room.

I like to walk. It makes me smile.

I dare ANYONE to look at this photo for more than 5 seconds and not fall in love. Go ahead. Try.

Monday, May 11, 2009

More Guang*zhou, More Cassie

Cassie plays Peek-a-Boo while our guide, Kelly, looks on and laughs.

You just know we had to buy something here. How about a pair of "sq*ueaky shoes"?

Night skyline of Guangzhou.

Ba*th time at the White Sw*an hotel.

Mommy stays up late to catch Daddy and Cassie sleeping. "Snoring in stereo" is how she describes it.

Daddy, don't you think I look cute in this outfit?

We visited a temple from the last dynasty prior to the Comm*unist Rev*olution. These carvings are all over the roof of the entire complex, which covers about a full acre.

At the temple, a collection of teen*age Chinese gir*ls flock to a teenage girl who travelled to China with mom and dad for an adoption. The local girls are all thrilled to be seen with her, and all are snapping photos with their camera phones.

First time eating in a high-chair. A little messy, but not bad for the first time.

The White Sw*an hotel has a nice playroom set up for babies.

Cassie stands up on her sque*aky shoes, and looks down to Daddy, who's on the floor snapping photos.

Never seen carvings like they have here.

Same for the roaches. This one is (OK, was) about as big as my big toe.

This is the office where they take a photo of Cassie for her Visa. We need that for her to be able to enter the U.S.

And then it's off to the doctor's office for an examination.

Like any doctor's office, this one has a waiting room.

Cassie weighs 8.2 kilograms, which translates to 18.4 lbs. She's put on about a pound since we got her last week.

Daddy hated the dentist as a child. Looks like this is daddy's girl.

Cassie's head is about yea-big around.

This tree drops roots from up high, and they get big like branches. Pretty cool.

An even better example.

A million brides to be seen every day. Shamain Island is a popular place to get married.

Mommy gets an ice coffee, and Cassie licks the cup to cool her hot tongue.

Nap time at the White Sw*an.