Sunday, January 31, 2010

You have to really really want it

Here we are in Nanjing. It's 2:30pm on Sunday, local time in China. Let's recap the last 32 hours.

2:30pm Friday in Detroit. Leave for the airport.

3:00pm Haggle with the Delta folk, who for some reason have lost our reservation.

3:05pm Breathe a sigh of relief when the suspicious looking dudes next to us, who have passports from Yemen, are granted tickets to some other airport.

3:10pm Close the deal with Delta, and move on to security.

5:30pm Wheels up, headed for Los Angeles

10:30pm (Detroit time) Arrive at LAX. This place looks familiar. We just need to gather our 12,000lbs of luggage and walk to the International Terminal. We did this back in May when we got Cassie. Sonny is CERTAIN that we just collect our luggage, walk outside, turn right, and hoof it about 1/4 mile to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Except for one problem. When we flew in May, we flew Northwest. This time we flew Delta. The punchline is that Delta is on the other side of the loop at LAX, which means we need to make a LEFT, not a right. But we took a right, and hoofed for well over the 1/4 mile we expected, before we asked for directions. So hoof it about 1/3 mile back to where we started, and then another 1/4 mile to the Tom Bradley terminal. All while carrying 12,000lbs (approximately, give or take two Sherman tanks). Thanks Sonny. (Full disclosure - Sonny is writing this post while Sherry unpacks in the room).

1:45am Saturday (Detroit time) Depart LAX for Guangzhou China. This is to be a 14-1/2 hour pleasure cruise (give or take two bulging discs, a headache, two trick knees, and a sour stomach). There's no good way to do 14-1/2 hours in a confined space with a toddler. But there are several WORSE ways. We avoided most of those by flying China Southern. China Southern has a concept of Premium Economy. Most experienced international travelers would recognize this as "Business Class". It's not the best of the best as Business Class goes, but it's a lot more than just a wide seat. The real hidden gem here is that NOBODY seems to be onto it. The price of Premium Economy, relative to plain old Economy, is nowhere near the difference between Business and Economy on most international flights. Both times we've gone to China, we've gone this way, and both times, it's been less than 50% full. What does that mean? It means we pay for two seats, and get 3. And it means we have nobody sitting behind us, or next to us. And it means we get great service. But at the end of the day, it's still a 14-1/2 hour trip with a toddler, who clearly was tortured by having to remain confined for so long. Poor baby. That sort of thing is hard on adults. I can't imagine what it must be like for her.

5:30pm Saturday (Detroit time) Arrive in Guangzhou. Clear customs. Run into some folks in the same boat as us - flying to China to adopt a child. But for them this is the first time. So they hook up with us right after customs and utter the following words "We'll follow you, since you've done this before and seem to know what you're doing." 30 seconds later, following Sonny's lead, two families make a wrong turn inside Guangzhou international airport. That's two for two now for Sonny. Apparently Mr. Magoo was not available, so these two families chose the world's second most incompetent Sherpa for this mission. Recovery was a breeze, and within 10 minutes, we were all back on track, headed to our connecting flights to our final destinations.

Shortly thereafter began the story of the 3 cursed juice bottles. Our first juice bottle made its appearance at airport security in Guangzhou. Not satisfied that a baby's bottle packed in a carry on filled with Cheerios and diapers was actually orange juice, the security agent made Sonny drink the entire bottle. This is why we adopted, by the way, so that there would never be a need for Sonny to drink bonafide breast milk in an airport. But lukewarm OJ with baby-spit backwash is its own special kind of gross.

After clearing security, we bought a bottle of OJ from a machine, so we could refill the newly empty bottle, and unwittingly set the stage for the 2nd cursed juice bottle.

9:10pm Saturday (Detroit time) Board a bus to take us to the plane which will ferry us to Nanjing. A few moments after boarding the plane, a crowded sardine can full of humanity that defies the known laws of physics each time it leaves the ground, Sonny has a mishap with the recently filled juice bottle. Unlike the plane, this bottle does not defy any laws of physics as it plummets to the floor, and springs a leak, all while the cattle-call of boarding is in progress. Sherry is quick with a new liner, and we salvage some of the OJ, but none of Sonny's pride, as angry passengers look onward at the spectacle standing between them and their seat.

11pm Saturday (Detroit time) Wheels on the ground in Nanjing.

11:20pm Saturday (Detroit time) - Sonny remarks to Sherry, using a fecal word, that he left the juice bottle on the plane. That bottle was poorly behaved, and I say we are better off without it.

12am Sunday (Detroit time) Arrive at the hotel which will be our home for the next 5 days.

All this brings us back to the subject of this post. To go through all of this, you have to really really want it. To be in the midst of this odyssey and not question the sanity of the choices you've made to bring you to this exact moment in your life, you have to really really want it. And we do.

Tomorrow at 10:30am, Chloe will meet her big sister, and her mama and dada. Mama and Dada are excited. Cassie is clueless. Wish us luck.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Going to China!!!

We leave for the airport in 2 hours. I'm running very behind and we have to be at the airport 3 hours early for our flight to LAX because I can't check-in on line. I spent an hour on the phone last night with NWA. Our seats are safe but we are not able to check in because of all the different types of tickets we have, and Chloe's lap seat on the way home. That really cut into my to-do list. But it will all be okay.

Thanks to everyone for all the emails sending their prayers and well wishes. I wish I would have had time to reply to them all but unfortunately I just didn't. Please know we read them all.

Then next post will be from China!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weather in Nanjing

I have been watching the weather in Nanjing just to make sure I packed right for the girls. I packed mostly sweaters, turtlenecks and cardigans for them to wear. (they will need to be dressed too warm while we are there or the clothing police (the old and not-so-old ladies) will yell at me --- really) I'm also taking matching fleece-one-piece-snowsuit-type-coats for them both. Cassie is wearing hers there. I bought them years ago and my 'twins' will finally get to wear them. Even if just for the 6 days we are in Nanjing. The are size 6 - 9 months but they are really big. I tried one on Cassie a few weeks ago and it fit. Plus, she loved it and wouldn't take it off. So her and I decided we must take them. I need at least one picture of my twins with them on. This is important to me.

So on to the weather -- raining and yucky is what I'd call it -- except for Gotcha Day. As of today here is what's expected for the time we are there. We arrive on Sunday at noon and leave Friday at 4pm.

Sunday - showers (60% chance) - high 52 / low 31
Monday - sunny (because it's CHLOE DAY) - high 47 / low 30
Tuesday - mostly cloudy - high 49 / low 30
Wednesday - showers (60% chance) - high 47 / low 31
Thursday - showers (40% chance) - high 48 / low 33
Friday - showers (50% chance) - high 39 / low 33

I see us having lots of time to bond in our hotel room.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


In November and December I redecorated the spare bedroom to make it into a playroom/spare bedroom. The room received new paint, a new ceiling fan, bookcase/cubes
from the girl's bedroom, the bed frame was removed so my little monkeys had less of a chance of bumping their heads, and we added new bedding and wall decals. I just finished putting the last wall decal on about 20 minutes ago. So the room is now officially done. Cassie loved it without the last decal on the wall -- you can tell this by every toy and book being on the floor within 3 minutes flat when she's in there. I had to clean before I could take pictures. Not because I cared about showing the mess -- but because I was afraid of tripping and breaking my leg 5 days before getting on a plane.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New blog design

As you can see I have a new blog design. Thanks to the multi-talented Danielle from:
Thanks Danielle. :)

My last blog design was done by Danielle about a year and a half ago, during the long wait to bring our girls home from China. That journey is now just about over and in just a few short days we'll be the parents of two amazing little girls. We will be starting another journey together as a family of 4 - plus one dog and one cat. I thought it was time to update the blog to reflect the change of direction of the blog, of our life. It's now about my family, my two girls - it's no longer about the waiting, the paperwork and the struggles to bring our girls home. That's all behind us now.

And for now, I think we are done adding to our family. I have a strong feeling we'll be very content and busy with our two little girls. I'll never say never to another child but for now we need to focus on what we have and be grateful that our journey has led us here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Updated on Thursday the 21st -- changes in purple.

Here's our itinerary for our trip:

01/29/10 - Fly to LA, then to Guangzhou.
01/31/10 - Arrive in Guangzhou, then fly to Nanjing -- arrive in Nanjing at 12:05pm -- China time. (which is 13 hours ahead of us in est).
02/01/10 - Go to Civil Affairs Bureau and pick up CHLOE at 10am!!!!! Shopping at 11am.
02/02/10 - Go back to the Civil Affairs Bureau and do paperwork at 9am.
02/03/10 - Visit the orphanage at 9am and sightseeing tour to Xuanwu Park at 2pm.
02/04/10 - Sightseeing tour to Fuzi Temple in the morning.
02/05/10 - Pick up Chloe's passport at 1:30pm, fly to Guangzhou at 4pm, arriving at 6pm.
02/06/10 - Go get Chloe's visa photo and medical exam at 9am.
02/07/10 - Sightseeing tour to Chen Family Temple in the morning.
02/08/10 - Our guide will take our documents to the American Consulate.
02/09/10 - Go to American Consulate at 3pm for our oath-taking ceremony.
02/10/10 - Our guide will pick up Chloe's visa at 3:30pm, flight back to LA leaves at 9pm.
02/11/10 - Arrive home at 6:02am.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Crazy day and a crazy year

So now that I've had some sleep and a shower and made 18 phone calls -- things are calming down a bit. All our flights are now booked and we'll hopefully have our itinerary tomorrow or the next day from our agency. I have a list of about 20 things to do before we leave and I have completed 5 of them. We are also just about packed -- I did this on Sunday. There are just a few more things to add to the suitcase. It's a huge relief to be almost completely packed.

As for the crazy year -- one year ago today we had zero kids. Exactly one year later we have 2 toddlers. Now that is crazy! Friday, Cassie will be 22-months old -- it's also the one year anniversary of getting 'the call' about Cassie. We got the call the day Cassie turned 10-months old and first held her when she was 13-months and 10 days old. It's hard to believe now that she hasn't always been a part of our lives. We waited almost 4 years for Cassie to come home to us and she was so worth the wait. As for little Chloe, we got the call about Chloe on August 5th - just before midnight. Now we'll get to hold Chloe for the first time on February 1st -- she'll be 19-months and 12 days old. Chloe's complete adoption will have taken us less than 6-months from start to finish. That's truly amazing considering that time included all the paperwork, putting our dossier together, the reviews, and all the approvals.

We are so very blessed to have been given two amazing daughters that will get to grow up together who would have otherwise likely have never met. Now, they get to be the best of buddies. I pray they will bond while we are in China and that they will quickly learn that they are true sisters and that we are their forever-and-ever parents.

Going to China!!!!!

We got our Consulate appointment for the 8th. Thanks to everyone for all your prayers. I could have never done it without everyone's support and prayers -- it was a really long weekend. And now we leave in 10 days!

More later -- after I get some sleep.
And tell Sonny in the morning.

Friday, January 15, 2010

No news

I got an email from our agency at 7am. No news on our CA. And the Consulate is closed on Monday for MLK Day.

It's going to be a long weekend of not knowing. And not knowing if we'll still be able to travel on the 29th.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

We have our TA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Luke 1:37 - For nothing is impossible with God.

That verse is so true. He has lead on us this journey and He has been there for me the whole time. I know He was there with me for Cassie's adoption too -- I just wasn't as good of a listener then. While I was whining Tuesday about not having our TA, it was being delivered to our agency. However, I didn't get the news until Wednesday after they were trying to get our CA (consulate appointment). On Tuesday I knew our agency had received TAs -- I assumed ours wasn't in the package since I didn't get a phone call or email saying it had arrived. Although I knew all this information and all signs pointed to no TA for us this week - for some reason I was still hopeful. And the verse above -- Luke 1:37 -- popped into my head at least 4 or 5 times during the day Tuesday. I knew there was a reason for that. There was something deep inside me -- no it wasn't something I ate either -- that was telling me not to lose hope. And we all know Who and What that was. God has my back - so to speak - on this journey and I just need to keep trusting in Him.

Now that we have our TA we need a CA too. Our agency is trying to get our appointment set for the 8th of February. As of this morning they still didn't have a confirmation....yet. Please pray with me that it will be here tomorrow morning. If or should I say when we get that confirmation I can book our flights that the travel agency has on hold for us. They are on hold until tomorrow. So tomorrow needs to be the day. That would have us leaving on Friday the 29th of January - or in 14 more days. Our gotcha day -- the day we get to finally lay eyes on our second little angel -- would be Monday February 1st. We need Chloe on the 1st as much as she needs us. She just doesn't know she needs us yet.

I'll update you all as soon as I know more. In the mean time please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I want to go to China now....

I'm impatiently waiting for our TA. It's been 15 days since our LSC was delivered to the CCAA. Based on not having our TA yet and the Chinese New Year Holiday on February 14th - I don't see us getting to China until after the holiday. I'll just have to hope and pray our TA comes soon and that we can be on a plane Friday February 19th.

Hang on Chloe -- we are coming soon!!!!

Cassie really wants her sister home too -- just look at this face when I told her it won't be until after CNY. :)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Home improvements projects

Kind of a boring post I know -- but I promised I would show these. Sonny and I laid the floor in the the dining room two Saturdays before Christmas and they Sonny and a friend - thank you Randy - laid the living room floor the Sunday after Christmas. We love the floors!!! Our carpet in the living room was gross. It was still the carpet from when we had the house built 6 years ago and about 9 months after we moved in the builder had to take up part of the carpet to fix a problem with the floor and it was never re-stretched right and it had a wrinkle in it -- of course in the middle of the room. Plus, with Thunder's stomach problems it was a mess. It was either buy new carpet or do laminate -- it was almost the same price.

So here is the end results - in the posts below.