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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

We've moved

The Cady Chase

We've decided to move our blog permanently (at least for now) to The Cady Chase
It's a more secure/paid for site, with lots of growing space.
And besides, Scott works for Apple, so it's a good trade. I use the Apple for publishing, and he stops whinning about me not using the Apple for publishing.
It probably means that I won't post at the spur of the moment, but I usually have to build up my thoughts in order to post anyway.

I'll keep this blog up until blogger makes me remove it, simply so that people can be redirected, and also because it has become (in a strange way) a piece of me. It was the beginning journaling of our patchwork that has now turned into a piece of our daughter's story.

Please bookmark The Cady Chase site for future thoughts, posts, and ramblings.
All comments are welcomed and appreciated on that site as well.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Our ***FINAL*** travel itinerary

Well, here it is...confirmation of our final itinerary:

March 16 @ 11:30 am- Leave Sacramento
March 17 - @ 7:30 pm-Arrive in Shanghai
(China time is 16 hours ahead of California, but it is a 15 hour trip, so we will arrive in Shanghai @ 2:30 am March 17, California time and 4:30 am March 17, South Dakota time )

March 19 - @ 2:45 pm arrive in HeFei, where Cadence lives now
(March 18 @ 10:45 pm California time)

March 20 @ 9:00 am GOTCHA DAY!
(March 19 @ 5:00 pm California time)

March 24 arrive in Guangzhou (Where the US Counsuate is)

March 29 @ 9:30 am - Leave Gaunzhou to come back home
(March 28 @ 5:30 pm california time)

Arrival back home, to Sacramento Airport on March 29, 12 noon (California time)

Follow our travels from our travel web site: The Cady Chase

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Here we go

The Cady Chase <---- Click here Scott created The Cady Chase blog for our travels in China. He's worked hard on it, and has been able to allow comments much like you would here. After we return from China, we'll have to see which one we like better.
Scott's already posting like a mad man in the "He said" section. And you can soon catch my view of things in the "She said" section.

See you on the other side.

Note from Scott: If you had already bookmarked the new blog site, I had to change the address to better suit more browsers and url sharing. I am very very sorry to put you through this.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Feeling the love

A while back, I had the ambition to make a quilt for Cadence out of material that our friends would give us. It never happened. I got busy, one thing lead to another, and I didn't go out and buy a sewing machine, as had been the original intent. Too many other things needed to be bought, and too many other things needed to be done, to bring our baby home.
My mom had sent several swatches to me, and I spoke with a friend at work about her sewing skills. She offered to put together a little something for me, out of the material swatches my mom had sent. I was expecting something very simple.
Today she presented me with this beautiful blanket. It was such a wonderful feeling to know that Ramona had done this, and done it so well. It's very apparent that a lot of attention went into detail. The swatches were of no particular color scheme, and Ramona put them into a pattern that makes them just fit together so well. The back is a very soft material with tiny heart shaped flowers on it, the same tone of green as many of the patches.
Throughout this journey, I think one of the most fulfilling aspect so far, has been the warm, heartfelt acceptance from others. I've received emails from people wishing us the best, and been touched by the stories of others that I would have never even known existed, if we were not also adopting. I've become friends with Renita...the phone agent helping me with our school loans, now also following our journey. I've conversed via email with Ann, an aunt of another person adopting from China. I've received many comments from my friend, Happy, that responded to our blog in the early months, as a random act of finding our blog...He's been cheering us on the entire time, continually making me smile or laugh. And the friendships I've gained from other adoptive parents, and the wonderful support from my friends on MSN Adopting from China all of you have been my backbone through this wait. I've gained so much, and appreciated the sincere kindness, generosity, and positive wishes from friends and family on our journey to Cady. My mom is overjoyed that she will soon have her new grandbaby home. As we go to China, I knew we would be taking with us our friends and family. That was the original purpose of this journal, to be able to share our experiences with our close friends and family, as they happened. But as the months have progressed, I've realized that we are taking many more friends with us to China, friends that we've met along the way.

Thank you, Ramona for the beautiful blanket, and everything else you've done to welcome Cady home.
Scott and I feel so blessed to have such wonderful people that embrace the homecoming of our daughter.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

And for those Newman fans out there

A glimpse into Newman's weekend itinerary.
While we worked hard over the weekend, getting things prepared for Cady, Newman also worked hard at...being Newman. He held this incredible position for several minutes, before he twisted into yet another offbeat, stuck-in-a-door-jam, roadkill-imitation pose. He also had to spend the weekend looking at things upside down, and then his ever brilliant brain would translate the vision into a right-side-up position in a matter of nano-seconds. Life is hard when you are so smart that you have to figure out how to turn a boring moment into a challenge.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Busy days...

What a wonderfully busy weekend we had! Saturday, Scott worked for most of the day on the travel link, for while we're in China. He's actually already started writing in his journal there. You can view it at the left of the blog, go to "Significant Milestones", then to "Our travels in China" then, when you're at the Welcome page, click on the tab above titled "He Said" to see what he has already started. I love that he also added a page for Cady that can be added to as we get to know her.

On Sunday, we picked up the crib, and Scott put it together in our bedroom. We're very happy with the selection. It's a convertable 3 in 1. It turns into a toddler bed, then a twin bed. We have discussed sleeping quarters at length, and have decided that, because of the amount of time that she's been in the orphanage, we want her to sleep in our bedroom, and to give her the sense of security that she has never known yet, in her 15 months of life. Her bedroom, for now, will be filled with her clothes and toys. Besides, as crazy as it might sound, it's also a selfish decision to co-sleep in our bedroom with Cady, because both Scott and I completely enjoy the thought of being parents to her, and everything that comes with it.

Today, I sent away for a courier to get our visas prepared, and ordered a mattress for her crib. Then I went to various stores (third day in a row), and stocked up on more items that we will need for the trip and for when we return home....and still more to go. It seems every time I go out, I end up with more things to get.

I also purchased a beautiful Easter dress for her today, with matching pantaloons and white lacy socks. (you can click on the dress to see an enlarged picture). I realized that around 4 weeks after we return from China, it will be Easter. Our first public celebration with our daughter.

And of course, I had to also get a couple of summer outfits,

and a ladybug outfit with a slicker, just in case .....ok who am I kidding? It doesn't rain in the summer here, but it was too cute. And if she needs it, well now she has it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

We officially have unofficial word

We had our travel meeting yesterday, and I was very grumpy about driving 2 hours away, and taking a vacation day to do it. However, none of that affected my delight, when I heard that we have a tentative itinerary in place. We should get official TA next week, but our agency is very confident that these are our dates. If it is changed, it would be by 1 or 2 days difference.

So far, the plan is:
March 10th - Leave for China
March 13th - Gotcha Day
March 21st - US Consulate appointment
March 22nd - Head back home.

Destination: Shanghai, then HeFei, then Guangzhou, then the route back is through Hong Kong.

Looks like we will be leaving exactly 3 weeks now, and we'll be holding Cady only a few days later.

It’s been a long…long ride. We started this journey November 28th, 2004. It will have been nearly 16 months from start to finish, without much time to sit back and breathe through any of it. But we are very much ready for her arrival. The only pictures we have of her, will be six to seven months old when we finally see her. She was 11 months old when the pictures of her were taken (only 4 or 5 months old when the smaller one was taken below. She will be 16 and a half months old when we finally get to hold her. I hope we recognize her. She will be the one with the pensive look in her eye, I’m thinking.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

You are appreciated.

So there are only so many things one can do with only 3 pictures, and I am exhausting all of the fun things that I can before we even get more. I found this great application a while ago, and, since I only rarely appear in pictures myself (see Chandleritis in a previous post) I haven't used this much. For now, I am just testing things out so that when we are overwhelmed with pictures of our beautiful daughter, I will be prepared.

The software is called Comic Life and it is a really fun way to manage your pictures, particularly if you are en extensive iPhoto user. (Sorry Windows users, this is yet another cool Mac app that you don't get to have. Why not make the switch today?)

I just can't wait until I am soo busy taking care of my daughter that I can only dream of having spare time to do stuff like this with all of the pictures we have taken of Cady.

So on a serious note..

If you have ever written (or added to as in my case) a blog, you know that the initial intent is to write for yourself. Perhaps you may even start off with the intention of having this set up to share your life with close friends, co-workers, family, etc. After a few postings, you often find yourself checking back every 10 minutes just to see if anyone posted any comments to what you have just written. It becomes an addiction, you just have to know if anyone has read it, if anyone enjoyed your subtle wit, if anyone was moved by your words. It becomes something much more than what it started as. I don't feel bad about it at all. Karen and I are thrilled endlessly about what we are experiencing, and both of us relish any chance to share our excitement with the world.

I've been accused by a certain family member of having a real flair for the dramatic (who me??) and so that might be true. The funny thing is that it defines me so I love it. I want to change the world. I want to write the magical words that cause someone to sit back in their chair and reflect. But I am realistic. This little corner of a million and one blogs will not change the world, though I do enjoy the feeling that Karen and I might help others, whether in knowing more about what this process is about, or in just having a new perception on an old fear.

So to you, our dear readers, I am grateful. There are some absolutely lovely people who have been so very encouraging to us with their kind messages. I'm certain that there are many many lovely people who have read our rants yet did not comment, which is just fine, though we have simply yet to meet.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I did not plant you, true.
But when the season is done-
When the alternate prayers for sun
And rain are counted-
When the pain of
Weeding, and the pride of
Watching are through-
Then I will hold you high
A shining sheaf above the
Thousand seeds grown wild
Not by planting, but by Heaven
~My harvest-My child
author unknown

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Was she born in the wrong year?

Our daughter was born in the wrong year, I'm certain of it. There must be a mistake somewhere. Perhaps her timing was off?
Maybe when she was in baby heaven, she missed the call for all babies born in the Year of the Ox. It's possible she was fussing about not wanting to look like an Ox in those pretty flowered dresses when her parents were going to see her for the first time.

She held out when the Year of the Horse was called also. Perhaps the Horse was too fast for her. And, the herd left without her? Why the rush? She waited. She figured she would be born in the Year of the Monkey. But, according to our family doctor, that was possibly the wrong choice for her.
I took all of her medical records to our family doctor today. Her head circumference is perfect. She is in the 50 percentile for height of healthy American children, and 75 percentile of weight of healthy American Children. That might make some people say,
"Eh, ok...so?" So, I'll tell you. American health charts have slightly higher averages than Chinese health charts, and being in an orphanage for so long, one would expect that her percentiles would be low on the American health charts, let alone the Chinese ones. He also looked at her white blood cell count, her red blood cell count, her hemoglobin...And several other test results that were sent with her health records. She's slightly anemic, but not any more than expected, being in an orphnage. That can be corrected with diet, soon after we bring her home. He even evaluated what he could of her bone structure from the referral pictures. Everything looks healthy. Perfectly healthy. In fact, he said she's as strong as an ox and healthy as a horse! So, there you have it....She MUST have missed the call when they were calling for Ox's and Horse's ....

But, I think I know why she waited to be born in the Year of the Monkey. She knew what she was doing when she waited. After all...

Who could resist the charm of the Monkey?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bring me hope

During our first visit with our Social Worker, she said that for many adopted children, their story of "how we all became a family" becomes one of their favorite bedtime stories, they want to hear it over and over again. I've often wondered what we will tell Cady, when we tell her "her story".

I'd asked our social worker several times, "How can we create her story without knowing anything about her past? We won't know if she was loved by anyone, we won't know the circumstances as to why she was abandoned....How can we tell her her story?"
Our Social Worker's main response was usually in the manner of, "It will just come to you. Every story is different. Be honest with her, but let her feel connected to it, in a positive way".

I still don't know how we will concoct the story that Cady will want to hear over and over again, but I do know these things;
I have a lot of admiration for the birth mother of our daughter. In China it's legal to have an abortion, but illegal to abandon a child. So, Cady's birth mother carried our child in her womb to full term, then secretly left her at the entrance to a community village, knowing Cady would be found in an open and well traveled area, and only hoping that Cady would be one of the fortunate ones to be adopted.

I've been told by other adoptive parents, that most likely, Cady's birth mother was from a different village, because it would be too risky to leave a child at the entrance of her own village. Hearing that, I realized, her birth mother (parents) traveled, possibly by foot, to a neighboring village, away from their own village...All the while, knowing that they were on the path to the most difficult task they could ever partake in.

I wish there were a way to ease her birth mother's heavy heart. I'm certain that she thinks of Cadence daily, and wonders what has happened to the bundle she left, only 4 days after giving birth. What strength this woman must possess.

There are still pieces of her story that are kept with our daughter in the SWI. After 15 months, surely there's a favored nanny or a treasured memory that we'll hear from one of the caretakers to incorporate into her story for her. We hope to gather those pieces of her story; her history, while we're visiting Anhui, the SWI and her finding spot.
I'm sure also, her story will evolve as we evolve with her.

Tonight, Scott showed me a 7 minute video that he had downloaded to the iPod, earlier today. I had actually seen a while back, but that was before we knew who our daughter was. I was so touched by the video that I wanted to share it with those of you that read our blog.

Click on the "7 min Version" then choose "play"

Sunday, February 05, 2006

What did I miss?

So I think the biggest thing that I have been stressing about lately is what I am currently missing. At the time that we made the decision to have our child, the age that we initially wanted to request (16-24 months) just felt right to me. Ironically, a younger age felt right to Karen. She wanted a baby. Perhaps it's yet another good example of how we balance each other out. Fortunately we had more time to discuss this before we formally made our request, and settled on an age fitting nearly between our initial thoughts.

In hindsight, I still have no regrets for our selection, and I struggle to even mention that, as it should never need to be mentioned. There is no other child for us, and I believe that our discussion period was influenced by a higher source anyhow. We will now have the baby that we were meant to have.

We received Cady's story when we signed the referral papers, though it was in Mandarin, and we had no idea what it said. We recently received the translated version, and, as much of this has been recently, it was both thrilling and sad.

I will try to sum up several pages, though this is still to be long.

Cady was born on October 26th, 2004. She was found in front of the entrance of Hui Shin community village by a village resident. (Karen and I have been searching all over to see if we can identify where this is, but have had no luck so far)

2 months old: Showed interest in her surroundings.
3 months old: Played with her hands after eating.
4 months old: Smiling, moving about her crib, touching her crib's hanging toys.
5 months old: Roll from supine to prone position, and could sit when held.
6 months old: Would turn to face someone who called her name, and could hold her toy with one hand.
7 months old: Able to sit alone for some minutes.
8 months old: Able to stand for a short time while holding onto something.
9 months old: At times she would wave her hand to say "goodbye".
10 months old: Plays with other children.

This is the point in which the history ends. I am certain that she continues to advance, and I suspect that she may already be walking, or will be by the time we get to her. This hurts a little. It's great to see how she has developed, and I'm thrilled to see that she is growing on par with a healthy child. On a down note, this document kinda feels like a "neener neener this is what you have missed" log.

I really want my chance at the "Daddy moments" (Karen can find her own mommy moments) that I've never been able to experience, and walking seems like one of the most significant ones. I'm going to miss that one. In discussing this with a coworker, he smiled and said "You'll get plenty of others, including one of the best ones". I stood there for a moment, trying to think of what could surpass the first steps, and things like high school graduation, marriage, becoming a grandparent... He could see the gears spinning, so then added in "When you get to help her learn to ride a bike."

Wow.. That would be a big moment.

I was relaying this to Kris, my closest friend at work, and she looked at me in surprise and said something to the order of "How about when she first says Daddy?"

Ok so I've been looking at it all wrong. Sure someone else gets those early moments, but I get all of the rest of them.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Welcome baby Cadence!

On Friday, I returned to work, after getting our referral information on Thursday, and found that my friends there had spruced up my work station. It was so much fun coming back to work knowing that my friends were cheering me on. It was the ending of a wonderful week.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

4 months older, now?

We've come to realize that the only pictures we have of our daughter, were taken around 3 or 4 months ago. The medical information given to us with the referral is dated 9/20/05. It's a diffucult thought to acknowledge that our child looks comepletely different by now. Four months have gone by since the pictures were probably taken...four months. It was noted in the medical referral that she had 4 teeth then, and was barely standing. The pictures we were given were probably taken when she was 11 or 12 months old. She's now 15 months old.
Knowing this, it seems that with all the waiting we went through, Cady was ready for us several months earlier. But with the slowdowns that occured with CCAA, we believe her information sat, waiting for ours to catch up. Fortunately, we have an adoption agency that is small, and they tend to get travel arrangements with the US Consulate in China, to happen in about 5 weeks. This is fast compaired to larger agencies. It means that we should be holding Cady as soon as March 1st.
I have no doubt she's well taken care of. Her legs look strong and she looks very healthy. And one common theme I've heard about our daughters, is that they are resiliant. Knowing that she's 15 months old, I was releived when I saw that Half The Sky is active in the orphanage. Half The Sky was started by a woman in Berkley, California, who's daughter was also adopted from China. And from all the research I've done, they are also the most active right there, in Cady's orphanage. She is hugged daily by grandmothers, and played with. Here's a link to a couple of news documentaries that tell more, thanks to my frined David.
I've also gotten to know Christina, who's going with her husband to the same SWI (Social Welfare Institute), to get their child next week. Our daughters are only 2 months apart in age, and most likely, they're playmates. It's a lofty thought, but I'm hoping she can take updated photos of Cady. She's going to do what she can, and it's probably a 50/50 chance that she'll succeed, as the director of the SWI has to agree to taking any pictures of children other than her own, but it's worth a shot. And we are greatly appreciative that Christina will try.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Our big, big day (the first of 3)

So I've given a day for everyone to see my baby (Daddy's girl) before I posted some of the events on Thursday.

First, as mentioned before, we were both exhausted. I closed my eyes the night before, and though I don't remember dreaming or waking up at any point during the night, I awoke physically tired. I felt like I could close my eyes at any time and place and I would be out cold. The dream I mentioned in the previous post occurred after waking up, then laying back down to try to at least rest and pass the time until we could leave the house. I guess it was good practice for what is to come, sneaking sleep whenever possible, both while in China, and until Cady is sleeping through the nights.

The drive to the adoption agency can be very difficult during the morning and evening business rush, but we were fortunate in this instance to be doing our driving after that rush. All the same, it was a long 25 minutes to get there, naturally made to feel like hours due to the circumstances. We really were calm throughout the drive, and talked about nothing particular for the drive. Karen and I have pretty much said everything about our little girl every day since making the decision. In our hearts we have been raising her since she was 1 month old, but we didn't know who she was yet.

Well, we knew her spirit. She was with us the whole time. Cady was born 1 month and 1 day before Karen and I began discussing an adoption. We decided on the very same day that it was what we were going to do. Now, knowing that Cady was already present when we made this decision, I now sit and wonder just how much we decided, and how much Cady had already decided for us.

We took the video camera with us, so that we could have our agent record us when we finally saw her picture. There are two reasons that nobody may ever see the video that we filmed that day. The first is that we were leveled. This was the culmination of 14 months of pure focus. This was the epicenter of all of our work. We didn't shout, squeal, or cry. We just stared at this little girl, our little girl. Somehow I had the thought in my mind that these pictures would show a glowing, giggling little angel with all of her spirit and energy radiating on film. This is not what we saw. Our little angel looked healthy, well developed, and waiting for us. Our little girl is waiting for us in China, and it's still more than a month until we can save her. I (and I think Karen too) painted on our smiles for the agent, and we looked over the documents ever so carefully, as if the pages were made of rice paper, and would tear of we turned them too fast. We were thrilled to finally be able to put a face to all of the feelings we had, but this was very bittersweet.

Over the past few months, Karen had often asked me if I was feeling anxious, excited, or anything about it. I was content at that point in knowing that it would happen when it happened. There was nothing we could do to influence the amount of time we had yet to wait. On Thursday, this changed. We saw our daughter. We could now see this presence that we had felt for so long.

And she was still in China. It will still be 5 weeks until I get to see my daughter's smile. This child, who has been ours for 14 months, is still being kept from us.

So this video, intent on capturing our overbearing joy, was now capturing my realization that for 14 months, someone has been keeping our daughter from us. I was sad, and immensely angry that we did not have our child. I don't care about seeing China. I don't care about paperwork. I don't want to wait 5 weeks to go there, and 2 days to finally hold her, and 10 days until she can finally come to her home. I want them to give me my daughter now.

I maintained my composure throughout, but there was a lot of realizations happening to me now, triggered by a tiny pair of brown eyes, in a photograph that I have no idea how old it is. This is what was being captured on this video.

So today I went back to work. I paint on a smile, and try to keep my energy up. I try not to feel tired, angry, or sad. I give my customers the best service the industry has ever had. I have Cady's picture sitting on my desk, so that I can watch her all day long. Sometimes her picture even seems to have her smiling, just a little bit, perhaps proud that she is standing all by herself. Or maybe just to say "I'll be waiting."

I work with a great group of people, and I'll never grow tired of hearing how beautiful my daughter is, and how lucky I really am to have her. Each time someone asks about her, or every opportunity I have to wave her picture around allows me to beam with pride that my time is coming. I'm grateful for all of those chances to be a proud daddy even now.

I'm sorry to offer a post that may seem sad and down, but we try to show the real experience to those people waiting for their referral. I want you all to know that it can be hard, but I do know that our rewards are coming, and I am confident that our pain now will make our happiness later, all the more wonderful. Stick to it you guys, your angel is being as patient as a baby can be. Your reward is coming.

Incidentally, the second reason the video may never be shown to the public goes like this. I hate to mention the show, as I am not a real fan, but I do recall the episode of Friends in which Chandler and Monica have to get their engagement picture (Episode 151). I remember this because it describes me to a tee. I do not photograph well. I have a decent smile, but when I am trying to smile for a picture or video, I am quite the dopey looking guy.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I'm tired, really tired.

We didn't sleep much last night, as anyone would have expected, and we were up early (Karen at 4:30 and I think I made it to 6:00). Fortunately, we were able to Make ourselves busy to pass the time. I think Karen was reading other peoples blogs, and I was laying on the bed trying to just close my eyes and hope I could feel some rest.

The interesting thing was that in a very short time, I had some type of dream. I remember only a little, but in that dream, Karen's mother was here for support, and, in the dream, I was loopy, as if I had taken some sleeping pills, and barely able to stand. When, still in the dream, it was time to go, we went outside to get in the car, and one of my own brothers, trying very hard to help us, removed the engines from both of our cars to make sure they worked properly...

I can't tell you any more of that dream, because it was then that Karen woke me up to get ready to go.

The drive was rather uneventful, and we were both fairly calm as we drove closer to this new destiny. It was about 10 minutes from arrival that Karen started to crack. Just the butterflies and nervousness, and not any real mania, though I did have the video camera ready just in case she went really crazy.

So that's about enough of the rambling. I can imagine you probably want to see some pictures now.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Our daughter

This beautiflu picture is from Half the Sky Foundation. It says to me what my heart is feeling right now. The girl stands on The Great Wall, and holds a red ribbon to the wind, reaching to the other end.
Our daughter is in a SWI (social welfare institute) which gainfully utilizes Half the Sky . I was overjoyed when I saw that.

(We get pictures Thursday morning, and we'll post them ASAP)

I got the call at 10:43 this morning. I had promised Scott that I would not ask anything about her; the way she looks, her age, or anything else. We had promised each other that we would be getting to know her together when we get her picture and information.
OK So, I cheated a little. When I talked with our agency rep, I told her that I don't want to know the age, but an age range would be good. She said, when we travel in about 5 weeks, she will be about 17 months old. I asked some details about her Province and her Chinese name.
As soon as I wrote down the name, I started crying. It was real. It was more than pushing papers, signing on the dotted line and handing over money. She had a name. My friends at work gathered and gave me wonderful hugs, which made me cry more.
Then I called Scott. When I told him we have a daughter, he insisted on knowing the age, and everything he could. So, waiting to know "everything later", ended as quickly as it began.
We can't see her till tomorrow morning, but I called the agency again, and got detailed information:
She is in the Anhui Provence. This is in the westernmost part of east China.
Her Chinese name is Qing-Rong, (pronounced Ching-Roong). In Chinese, it means Blue Lotus.
Her birthday is October 26, 2004. Tomorrow she will be exactly 15 months old.
She is a Scorpio, and was born in the Chinese year of the Monkey.
(Scott is also a Scorpio and born in the year of the Monkey)
She does not have a bad haircut, and in the pictures she's wearing a pretty, flowered dress. (the "mom" in me just had to ask)
She weighs 22 lbs and is 28 inches tall.
She is perfectly perportioned.
She is our daughter.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The stork is in flight!!!!

We've just gotten word that our daughter's fate rests the beak of the stork right now! Her referral information is on it's way to our adoption agency, as of Monday (China time). We should hear from our agency on Wednesday, and will be viewing her records by Thursday or Friday -at the latest.

I have NO idea how I'm going to work this week! My body will be at work, but my thoughts will be with our little girl.

Friday, January 20, 2006

When? Who? What? Where?....Did I ask WHEN?!?

Someone please answer the questions above! I've been working overtime to try to take my mind off of the ever burning question of when the next set of referrals will be sent. However, that's no longer making the wait time faster. Instead, I find myself talking to customers at our call center, and rolling my eyes or getting edgy with their requests. I think both Scott and I have raw nerves by now. The smallest mishaps push me into hypersensitivity mode. The smallest irritations are amplified in my mind. If you've ever been pregnent and started labor pains,.....remember how irritated you became when you were in labor? And for all you men reading this...remember how easily irritated she got when she was in labor? Well, guess what? The last part of this wait feels the same way, without the contractions, so I suppose for all the other couples reading this and waiting for a referral, that's a plus.
It's rumored that the referrals will be sent on Monday, but no-one has concrete information on that rumor yet. In Spain, I'm told, perspective parents are already celebrating. But, I'm waiting to find out for sure before I get excited.
We submitted our dossier in April, '05. In it, we requested a child between 18 and 28 months. It's been made clear to us that we might receive a child much younger, simply because we are not 45 yrs old, and therefore we're not in the age category for older toddlers/children.
I'll be happy with any age to 28 months. But what bothers me, is that our child (no matter her age now), has been in an orphanage longer than expected. It's quite possible that CCAA had access to her referral information before October or November, when we were originally expecting her referral. And perhaps, there it sat.....waiting to be matched during the slow down time that CCAA has experienced these past few months, while she sat in an orphanage. That's what makes this waiting the toughest.
So, please...someone tell me when! I really don't care about the who, the what, or the where right now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Adoptions in the Animal Kingdom

Johannesburg - Rottie the rat thinks he is a bird... But it comes as no surprise when one realises that Madam and Tokkelos, two lovebirds, are raising this rodent.
Owner of the lovebirds, Connie Viljoen, from Florida, said Rottie moved in with Madam and Tokkelos about four months ago.
At that stage he was still very young and helpless - but the two lovebirds took over.
"One day we realised the birds were carrying on as if they were breeding but there were no eggs. That's when we discovered the small pink rat in a nest."
Viljoen said Madam initially fed Rottie bird food but they soon realised his favourite food was spinach. "When Rottie got bigger, Madam and Tokkelos taught him to eat from the bowls at the bottom of the cage."
But Rottie doesn't do this often. "He spends most of his time in the nest and the birds feed him," said Viljoen.
Madam and Tokkelos are so taken with the newcomer that they clean his nest every day. "They literally take everything out and then pack everything back neatly."
Rottie meanwhile believes he is all bird. When he does leave his nest, he sits on a narrow wooden perch - imitating Madam and Tokkelos.
Viljoen meanwhile set up a video camera in the nest so she can keep an eye on what's happening. Once Rottie is all grown up, she hopes to find another baby rat for the lovebirds to raise.
"I would really like to see exactly how the birds raise such an animal," she said.
But Rottie is assured of a home with Madam and Tokkelos, as Viljoen has no plans to get rid of her "rat bird".
--Katrien Smit

Here are some other photos of animals with a nurturing bond.

This tigress and her piglets caught me off guard.

Mom grooming her baby??

This picture of a Hedgehog with a broken limb,
and the squirrel's interest was just too cute.

Think the dog's confused?

These two both look content.

What is it that drives us to nurture and to be nurtured; to give and receive affection? And how is it that the look of nurturing and affection are so easily noticable in the faces of those interacting?

This one is clearly not an adoption, but it was so cute. Mothers speak a universal language.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Waiting for that ever evasive phone call

I haven't posted anything lately, mostly because we're in adoption limbo. CCAA will be sending referrals sometime this coming week, and we really have no idea if our child's profile is in that bunch. We've waited and waited and hoped and waited. At this point, nothing will surprise us more than actually getting our daughter's referral this time around. Rumors are buzzing in the adopting forums, and if the rumors are correct, we will be getting the "call" either next week or the week after.......Ahhh, the call. The call that tells us we have a daughter. The call that tells us to come to the office to view pictures of the person that will forever change our lives. The call that will make me happy and scared and relieved and anxious. The call that validates all the time we've waited. The call that makes everything else seem so insignificant. The call that will make me wonder if I can do this all over again. The call that will open my heart to the mistakes that I've made in the past, and the things that I've done right.
So we sit, and we wait. And we wait, and we hope. And we hope, and we pray. And so it goes.....at least until Monday or Tuesday.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Yes, I do exist (posted by Scott)

So my first entry into this, our journey.

Though I have waited this long to expose my own thoughts and feelings here in a public format, I have always been involved with the writings here, though always in the background in an advisory position. Sometimes I helped, other times I may have made things worse.

I was originally apprehensive when Karen started this blog, as that which you have become privy to is our private lives, thoughts, and experiences. When it was clear to me the level of commitment that Karen had for this, I was happy that she was able to find a medium for sharing this experience with family and friends.

I'll tell you a little something about Karen and her postings here. In her writings, she appears calm, cool, and collected. This is really not entirely true. Karen reads a lot of message boards covering adoptions, particularly those from China. It's a wonderful source for information and comaraderie. It has been invaluable to us both in getting through all of this.

Recent discussions that we have had involve bonding with our daughter. One of the first apparent obstacles with an adopted child is forming that bond. Many people, Karen included become extremely concerned about this issue. From the first meeting with our agency, this has been stressed to us. What you do not see is when Karen tells me of things she has read, with visible concern in her eyes.

My answer is always the same. This will not happen to us.

At this point she will stop, look at me, then relax. This is not some bold overconfidence that causes me to so easily answer her concerns with just a few words. It's not that I have any secret mystical formula to use to ensure this. Every child, has problems and issues, whether they are born from us, or born for us. It doesn't matter whether these children were born in different cities, states, or even countries. Sure, the issues can vary culturally, and Karen and I will see obstacles that are different from the family across the street. They will be different indeed, but they will not be unique, and they will not be more or less extreme.

We will have successes, and we will have failures. Sometimes we will choose the right path, and sometimes perhaps the wrong one. We are going to make mistakes. These are the standard parental issues. We can only fail at parenting if we stop trying, and we will not. This is how I can so easily answer those concerns she has. We're going to make mistakes. All parents make mistakes. If parenting were easy, most everyone would have kids...

Oh wait...

All this I can go through with absolute confidence of success. If I spend all my time worrying about succeeding, I will likely miss out on the joys of the journey, and I definitely don't want to miss out on any of this.

Besides, I do have a couple of secret weapons. The first I will share with you now, the second I will save for another posting. Here you will now see why everything will be alright.

Einstein says it will be ok. You can't argue that.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Here's to the new year

Here's to family. Here's to friends. Here's to China.
Here's to the pictures that will change our lives. Here's to long waits and compelling bonds.
Here's to adjusting to each other. Here's to waking at 3 am. Here's to tired parents and sleepy days. Here's to watching her sleep.
Here's to kissing the hurt away.
Here's to new sights, new sounds, new words, new awareness. Here's to newness.
Here's to dolls and books and puzzles.
Here's to bows and Mary Janes. Here's to messy hair and bare feet.
Here's to endless questions and inquisitive eyes. Here's to magical holidays.

Here's to love.
Here's to the coming year. And here's to what we make of it.
Here's to you, my friend.
And here's to me.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The results are in.......

....and from the photo finish, it looks as if Little-Bit-Of-April wins the purse.

From the official CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs) website, the Chinese officials that matches families. This post was updated today:

"The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office in May 2005.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before April 25, 2005."

This means that CCAA only matched up to the people that have been waiting since April 25th, and we've been officially waiting since May 6th. I'm somehow not all that upset. I feel comfort in knowing that things are going exactly as planned. There's a much bigger picture being painted on our pallet than which day we get to actually see Cadence. It's sad, but not as I would have expected.
I'm also very happy for those that did get notice of their referrals, because it's such a joy to watch families in the making.

However, it looks as if CCAA will be doing another match in mid/late January, and we will definitely be in that batch. At least we will know to expect to be matched, instead of wondering.

This is one of our first posts, from our blog's June 2005 Archives:

"...we are very anxiously awaiting the referral so we can bring her home. We have no idea what she looks like, or her age or even if she is currently in foster care or an orphanage. But we know she is there now. We had originally expected our daughter in September, but we got held up by a few glitches in the adoption system. We have learned that this process is a very fluid one, indeed. Currently, our expected time to go to China, is in November, although that can certainly change if paperwork gets backed up while waiting for them to match us in China.
At one time, our Social Worker asked us, 'Why China? Why adoption?'
and Scott's response was very poetic. He said,
'We have a daughter in China. She doesn't know it yet, but our daughter is waiting for us to finish all this paperwork so that we can come get her, and bring her home.'
....And so begins our journey."

That was his sentiment at the beginning of our journey, before our snag in our paperwork which set us back almost two months to finish our dossier, before our agency waited an extra month after we turned in our dossier to be sent to China, before CCAA started cutting their referrals in half. And I've held Scott's simple words in my head and in my heart this entire time.

I'm at peace knowing that we are aligned with one child that's been, and is currently, moving toward us as we move toward her.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It's Post Time

((We're now officially on on the edge of our seats, waiting to see if CCAA will send out the next set of referrals that were logged in by April 30th, 2005, or extend it to those logged in by May 10th, 2005. We were logged-in May 6th. Many agencies are now claiming that the next set of referrals will include those logged in by May 10th. If that's the case, we could expect a referral by next week....And now for your viewing pleasure....Here's a look inside my head))

And they're off..

The race starts fast with the handsome Dee Tee Cee taking the lead on the first turn and then sets a quick pace the rest of the mile.

Two-Weeks-At-A-Time takes the sharp Pacific Illusion out of fourth and comes alongside the leader at the three quarters and around the final turn until MayBy10Days begins to pull away thanks to a :28.1 final panel.

Two-Weeks-At-A-Time passes all others, and keeps a steady pace as she moves to a confident first place while Pacific Illusion holds gamely with Little-Bit-Of-April for second. MayBy10Days pushes forward again, now gaining on Pacific Illusion. It's a challenge for MayBy10Days to push Pacific Illusion back, while Little-Bit-Of-April gives way to the prospect.

RealityJumpsIn takes Pacific Illusion by the side rail, distracting long enough for MayBy10Days to catch the lead. Coming up on the final leg, it looks as if Little-Bit-of-April is catching a second wind. Little-Bit-Of-April is giving a run for the money but she might be too lean to win the race. Little-Bit-Of-April is now railing from off the pace to take second-place money. And...Yes..It looks like MayBy10Days.

{silence} .......................... {more silence} ...........................

Hold on to your tickets. We're now waiting on the photo finish results. Which will it be?

MayBy10Days or Little-Bit-Of-April ?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Three important things we will be taking to China

We'll be taking money to China.....lots and lots Ben Franklin's. Probably around $10,000. I don't like having that much cash on hand, but a lot of it goes to the agency guide within the first few days of being in China, then they will be paying most of our fees within the first few days for us. The money left over will be cashed in for yuan (Chinese dollars), and kept in our money pouches while we visit shops and vendors. Many of the items we might want to get while in China we'll need cash for, some places take credit cards, but we don't want to be pondering on a special item and then realize we need cash...It's not as if we'll be going back any time soon, so if we see something we think will be important for Cady or ourselves in the future, we want to be able to get it. We're planning on getting at least one thing a year for Cadence until she's 18 years old. And of course, strands of pearls, jade bracelets, all the necessities. So, yeah, this is the first set of Franklins we got from the bank, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

We'll be taking this teddy to China. Mom sent Cady this teddy bear because I told her that we wanted a very soft animal for her "gotcha day". We'll use it as a transitional item to comfort her. I love that the card says, "from Grandma 2005" It makes it all feel real.

We'll also be taking this blanket to China. Actually, I think the technical term is "niny", or at least when I was a toddler, niny was the name of any blanket which was mine, and had silky edges. Scott's sister, Cindy made this blanket out of fleece. She also made a blanket of the same material for a twin bed, and a really cute tote bag.

Well, there ya have it...Three of the most important things to bring to China.

Three important things we won't be taking to China

Sabrina won't be going to China with us- She always sleeps these days anyway, so she wouldn't miss China...It would be one big blur to her, of dreams, half barks and twitches.

Old habits die hard. This is a picture of her (also sleeping), 17 years ago.

Keegan won't be going either...I think he is actually going to miss the adventures of China. He's usually happy and curious. Cady is going to be his best sibling yet! Stay tuned for the Adventures of Keegan and Cady.

Keegan will finally have someone to throw his toys and leave him pieces of food trails....All day! Yep, Cady is going to be his best sibling yet. However, I have a feeling that we're going to have to establish which are Cady's toys and which are his. I might have to tag Cady's toys with lotions or lightly scented perfume to keep him from arguing with Cady over the toys.

Then there's Newman. He won't like Cady. He doesn't like anyone except for Scott, and sometimes me. We've figured out he is socially retarded...But that doesn't stop him from being a lounge lizard when no visitors are around. Yes, he can do without the hustle and bustle of China. As for little girls, Newman would prefer that Cady gets her own den! But, hopefully it won't take long for things to settle in after we bring Cady home. I do, however, think that Newman is going to be spending a lot of time outside in the springtime, which he would like to do, regardless. Cady would just be a motivating factor for that endeavor.

And just in case you were wondering, Newman finds this yoga position very comfortable. He usually looks like he got ran over by a truck. This is a picture taken of him last summer...Same position, shorter hair.