Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bike Ride

Almost 6 years ago we took this picture to submit with our adoption paperwork (dossier for those in the know.)
We needed to have a picture of us doing something we enjoy doing together as a family.  Yesterday I was not carrying the tripod...
All I could think as we were walking was this would have been even better with Sweet Pea on my back in the Ergo...or Oak's back.  Supposedly she weighs a lot.

Today, so far, has been a better day.  Thank you for the encouraging words.  They do help.  I could have used some this morning when SnapDragon was late to school because I went the wrong way on the way.  I went the route needed for my McDonald's playdate later and not school which cost us 10 minutes.  Really we need May to come!  I cannot continue to operate on half a brain.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grumpy Post...Stay Away

I am trying to be happy and content.  Certainly knowing when we are going is easier.  We did get pretty good prices on our flights...for tickets to Beijing that is.  Everything will work out.

But today it feels like traveling in May is just so much more complicated than April...in addition to leaving my baby in an orphanage for an extra 5 weeks.

Huckleberry will miss his underwater robotics competition.

Oak will miss the Academic Festival and end of the year poster printing at work...the only time they dislike him being gone.

My sister is supposed to fly in for the second week we are gone to watch SnapDragon and Sunflower.  That week includes her anniversary, her birthday, and Mother's Day.  She can swap weeks with my sister-in-law, but then she won't get to see the baby.  Since we don't know when we'll see her again, it is a hard choice.  I'm leaving it to her.

But my long distance carrier appears to be down...so I cannot find out her choice.  Unless I use my more expensive minutes on my prepaid cell...which I will do soon.  It is just annoying.  Very annoying.

Plus China has changed their policy and now in order to get an update on your child you have to go through one main organization...that charges $100.  It might include photos which would be nice.  It is just aggravating and who knows if they can even get an update quick enough.  But I want to see my baby.  I want to know how big she is.  I want anything to make these next 6 weeks go faster.

I don't even want to look at my friend's blogs who are in China now.  It just makes me want to weep with longing.  I don't want to be petty and I want to celebrate with them, but today is a bad day.

I am sorry (and frustrated) that I am so grumpy.  Saturday was great, and I thought, "okay I can do this."  Today I don't feel that way.

It doesn't help that my head hurts, Huckleberry forgot to take his lunch to school, and Sunflower didn't make it to the bathroom.  Now my throat hurts because while Sunflower was upstairs changing and I was downstairs cleaning the mess I screamed.


Tomorrow has to be a better day.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Travel Approval!

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. 
Psalm 43:5
We got our travel invitation from China yesterday.  Our agency says we cannot take them up on the invite until May 2nd.  I do not want to wait that long.  Yesterday was very sad.   

Weeping may last for the night, 
But a shout of joy comes 
in the morning.
Psalm 30:5b

Today...we have Travel Approval!  TA! TA! TA!

Our tickets are booked!

We are leaving May 2nd and returning May 16th!

We'll meet our little Sweet Pea on Sunday, May 6th or Monday, May 7th!

After 6 1/2 years of wondering when...it is nice to KNOW!
We'll be coming soon, baby!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Still Waiting...

I've felt pretty peaceful this last week...when the travel approval comes, it will come.  Then God will work out all the details.  Now a new friend whose pick-up was the same as ours has received her travel invitation.  Probably that means ours is on its way...soon...soon...BREATH!

I don't know if our agency will be able to add us to the March 28th group.  It still seems impossible but I can't help pray it will all work out.  Their next suggestion is May 2nd.  So the latest we'll leave is May 2nd.  I'd rather leave sooner, much sooner. Until we have TA we just can't know when.

So TA please come...though maybe knowing it is probably on its way but not when we are leaving will make tonight tax night.  Yes, that is a good motivator.  After all filing taxes jet-lagged is definitely a really bad plan.  And taxes is the only tier one to do list item left.  We did after all scrub the top/sides/under the fridge a few weeks ago.

On an unrelated note and just because it makes me laugh...

The other day when Sunflower was growling (yes, she is a 3 year old girl, not a dog, but she growls...) SnapDragon told her, "Sunflower, you are a little aggressive."

"I am NOT LITTLE!" She shouted back.  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Clothes Grow?

Sunflower is growing up so fast but apparently there is still a few things she hasn't quite figured out.  

Today she brought down a pair of her socks and said they were too big for her.

I told her to put them back in her drawer and she could wear them when they fit her.

She said, "they won't grow any littler!  And they won't grow bigger!"

Ummm, no, sweetheart, but you will grow bigger.

I am guessing her answer had something to do with the conversation Oak had with her the other day when he handed her one of her doll's outfits and she said:

"I think my doll outgrew this one."

He apparently had a hard time stopping her from throwing it away.  (I wasn't home because I was away at our church's amazing women's retreat...it was oh so very good.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where are the TAs?

Since I wrote my post about giving control back to God a few weeks ago, I have been a lot better.  A lot less anxious.  In fact just yesterday I was thinking I needed to write a post about how amazing the peace has been compared to the weeks previously...peace that could have only come from God, peace that defies understanding.

Then today I slipped off the rock...again.  Travel March 28th can only happen if we get our TA soon...we are willing to fly out the next day but there are appointments, governments, and hotels that have to work out.  There is a Tomb Sweeping Day early April that complicates Metcha Days and Province travel...and the hotels are oddly fullish for the second week of April in Guangzhou.  We are willing to travel next day after TA but the longer we wait for TA the less likely all the other ducks will fall in a row.

Plus there has been no big batches of TAs recently.  People who have waited 3 weeks have not received their TAs, and we have only waited one week.  I don't want to skip ahead...and possibly we'll ALL get our TAs this week (certainly that is my prayer) but if we have to wait for over 3 weeks the March dates are probably not going to happen.

I "conversed" -- I should just say e-mailed but technically it is called posting on the portal --with our agency today.  And they concur.  March date is still currently a possibility...but it might just not happen.  She wants me to prepare myself for that scenario.  The problem is their in China rep suggests we travel May 2nd if we cannot get in this group thus avoiding the pesky Trade Fair I keep not mentioning.

May 2nd?  Whaaaaa!  I don't WANT to wait until May.  Once we get TA they'll try for other options, but it just might be what it is.

I try to remind myself that Sweet Pea is content where she is.  May travel will be warmer.  It will still have been only a little more than 15 weeks since we saw her face that we'll have her in our arms (March 28th travel would have been only a little over 10 weeks...a much nicer number).  15 weeks isn't horrible.  People in the WC program wait a LOT longer because the different steps they have.  I know one person on facebook who was matched over a year ago...every step took extra time for them...every step.  15 weeks is a huge blessing.  Plus in May we will still have only missed 9 months of her life.

In the long run if May travel is what happens those things will be comforting, but right now...not so much.

However, I still cannot let myself spiral down into the hole I was in before I gave it all to God.  

One thing, I really do believe He is a God of miracles and all these complications might just be showing up and seeming more insurmountable so that He gets the glory when they are moved.  The bigger the mountain the bigger the glory...and I'll be honest...it looks like a VERY BIG MOUNTAIN.

Secondly, poor Sunflower does not like Mama being sad.  While I was keening (yes, keening is the best word for it) on the phone to my husband, Sunflower was doing her best to cheer Mama up.

She fed me crackers (it is very hard to keen with triscuits in your mouth).  Sang the Barney song.  Patted me.  Said, "Mama, don't be sad.  I'm cheering you up.  It's okay, hon."  She is SO sweet!

At each attempt I patted her back and said "oh sweety, you are cheering me up.  Your very presence cheers me up."  I find her personal rendition of the Barney song -- I love you; You love me; I love you; You love me -- particularly cheering.

So I stopped keening, crying and whimpering.  I watched...actually watched...Dinosaur Train with Sunflower.  My husband came home from work early (if we aren't leaving until May then taking time off now won't matter is what he said).  Left hubby with Sunflower, went upstairs, read a book on my Kindle and napped.  Came down to my whole family and a great dinner.  Took Huckleberry to youth group and waited at the church for him while working on my Jeremiah Bible study homework.

So today my feet slipped off the rock into the water but for now I am resting in the Rock of my Salvation once again.  Tomorrow I think I'll wear rubber boots.*

* I need the boots in case I slip off the Rock again...but also on RQ people call it a "flood" when lots of TAs, PAs, and LOAs start arriving.  Either way it is likely my feet will get wet;  I pray it is for the latter reason.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Everyone Should Have a Shower

I am so very, very blessed.  Not only have I met some great people on-line, but my real life friends and family are awesome, too!  Yesterday my friends had a shower for Sweet Pea and I, and it was fantastic!  I felt so showered with love (and gifts) and I just know our baby will have a warm welcome here.  

I've always known that people were happy for us and looking forward to our adoption working out, but you hear so many sad stories about people thinking of adoption as less or not even acknowledging you've added to your family, that it just makes my friends' and families' excitement and joy all that more special.  And when I answered a question with "we do know the answer to that, but it is part of her story so we are keeping it for her to share or not to share..." they all nodded sagely in agreement.  It might be my imagination, but I feel at that moment they all just "got it" a little more. Now their own protective instincts toward our child are a little higher because they put our child's well-being before their own natural curiosity with love and grace.  I am not surprised by that response, but I am so very pleased and it touches me greatly.  Sweet Pea is loved so very much...and not just by the 5 people who live in my home.

We ate, played a few games, ate, prayed, ate, opened presents and almost the whole time talked about Sweet Pea, the last few steps until we get her, and how our travel in China is expected to work.  I loved answering the questions (and maybe a little bit loved being the center of attention) but mostly just loved being with my friends, smiling, and happy as a group.  It is something I will treasure forever...and the presents were fun, too!

One of my friends whom is also really into photography took pictures so I could just enjoy...though now I'm thinking she wasn't in a single one!  That's not good...so maybe at some point when I have a chance I'll share some, but no time now!  It was wonderful that she did this for me as pictures are so important to me...and finally a shower where I'm not 9 months pregnant in the pictures!  (Though my weight is bleh still...)

Then after the shower a few of us stayed on until our husbands and families showed up for our evening HFG (Home Fellowship Group; basically small group, cell group, mini-church, life group, etc.)  We only started the group about a month ago, but it is the perfect fit for our family and I LOVE the other families in the group.  So very thankful for my friend for starting the group, hosting it, and including us.  

I went home with my heart full.  Now we have a full day of celebrating Huckleberry's birthday and getting ready to leave for China in 16-18 days...as long as we get our TA in 2-14 days!

Friday, March 9, 2012

No Colorado...Probably

One thing I've been doing to try to deal with the uncertainty around when we'll be leaving is plan things for April just in case we don't go until May.  My husband has been all for some of them...a trip to Mt. Rainier for the day, joining my photography group's beach trip, reading every single Wheel of Time books, but he did balk at one idea.

I thought one of my readers would enjoy the conversation.

"Okay, so if we don't leave until May, what weekend should I go to Colorado?"

"What?  I wasn't serious about you doing that!"

"Why not?  I thought you were!"

"I don't think it'll be a good idea to spend 600 dollars right before we leave for China."

"But the plane ticket is only $180!"  (Personally since I know of families who supposedly remodeled their entire home or bought new cars to deal with the wait even $600 seems he's getting off cheap.)

"Well, you can't go stay with some random person you met on the internet.  You'd have to get a hotel!"

"Oh, no.  I'd stay with them!"

"You can't expect them to FEED you the entire time.  You'd need to buy food at restaurants!"

"But the whole REASON to go is to eat her good cooking!"

"Well, if she's that good of a cook, then I should go."

"She wants me to talk photography with her!  You can't do that!"

"Your biggest complaint about me going to visit a married women is I cannot show her how to take pictures?"

"Well, she is happily married...to a cop!"

So it is unlikely I'll be traveling to Colorado in April.  Our agency so far has a group set up for travel March 28-April 12.  I really, really want to be a part of that group.  Our TA needs to come quickly for us to make the group.  The US consulate has to have appointments still available for us at that point.  Here is where I'm leaving it in God's hands...because HE can move the hands of governments and agencies.  He can get us to China in March...and God, I really pray you do!

However, the desire to visit my friend is real.  The feeling that I could stay with her, but am willing to get a hotel, is solid.  But maybe we should have a few more conversations and maybe at least one phone call first!  I never thought you could make friends on the internet, but I am so glad I was wrong.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Article 5 Pick-Up

The United States government issued our Article 5...don't know what that stands for but it is important...on Tuesday, March 6th.  Then it was picked up by our agency rep and couriered to the office in China that issues travel invitations (official term...the street term is travel approval).

So now we wait for TA...TA!  

That is when we can start making our travel plans.  Typically it takes China 2-3 weeks to issue a TA, but some have been coming in as little as 8 days.  8 days means we would get it next Wednesday.

But me, I'm relaxed.  I'm casual.  I figure TA by next Friday would be just fine.

It looks probable that we will travel sometime in April.  We missed our agency's March travel group leaving March 14th, but they do plan to send a group in April.  It is most probable...though not definite that we will go with the April group.

We don't know when in April. We'll most probably meet our daughter on April 8th, 15th, or 22nd.  (Metcha days in Jiangxi are usually Sundays, sometimes Mondays.)

Personally I think leaving Wednesday April 4th, a few days in Beijing, and meeting Sweet Pea on April 8th would be the best Easter present ever (for me, not her.)