Monday, November 03, 2008

The End of a Chapter

This blog began as we waited for our beautiful daughter from China. It has carried us through our wait, the most amazing trip to China and our first year together as a family. While we will forever be on a journey but our journey has changed. It is no longer a journey to become a family but our journey as a family. I have decided to end this blog, with our previous post being the last. It shared the celebration of our one year together. I am going to turn our blog into a book so that Elizabeth wil be able to share in all of the memories that she was not here to enjoy, all of the memories she was too young to remember and most importantly, all of the well wishes from family, friends, and strangers as we brought her into our family.
Have no fear!!! I have started a new blog to move our family into the future. Our new blog is It is titled "Down the Garden Path". I hope you will follow along!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A True Celebration

We had a incredible celebration of our First Anniversary of our Gotcha Day! It was 12 days of family fun. We are so amazed out how quickly time flies so it was great to take some days and just enjoy being a family with no outside distractions. Our celebration started off on Friday. We traveled to Leesburg for a reunion with our travel group. We are so lucky to have had the life altering experience with this group. They are now like extended family to us. Each one of them holds a special place in our hearts, especially the girls. When we were altogether in China, I think the girls were all so traumatized that they didn't pay attention to each other. This time they played and played and played. I hope these relationships last a lifetime!! We of course had a great time watching the kids as well as reconnecting with the other moms and babas. Our hosts were fantastic. They went above and beyond to make sure our stay was comfortable and that the girls were entertained. On Friday night, we gathered at their house for pizza and time for the girls to relax and play after traveling. On Saturday, we went to the Reston Zoo, a picnic on the Potomac River, their pool and then back to their house for a great BBQ. Elizabeth did great despite that fact that she was up for most of the night on Friday. She work up at 1AM and was awake until sometime around 5am which was about an hour into my early morning drive (yes, a feeble attempt to get her a little sleep ~ and yes, you can make it all the way to just outside of DC with no traffic at 4am in the morning). On Sunday morning, we all gathered for a the breakfast buffet in our hotel and reflecting on a great trip - just like we did exactly one year earlier! It was amazing trip. I know we probably all won't be able to get together every year but I hope that we can a least get part of the group together yearly and hopefully sometime again we will all be able to gather. It was such a blessing. Again, a special thanks to Ed and Sharon for opening your home. It was wonderful!!!

We then traveled to see Grammy (in Elizabethease it is pronounced ganny) and Poppy. We had three days to relax and take some little day trips. One day, we went to the local zoo. Poppy then suggested Chuckie Cheese. Who in their right mind goes there without the kid demanding it, I don't know but once she warmed up to the little rides, she really enjoyed herself.

The next day we went to Linvilla Orchards. Elizabeth really enjoyed feeding the animals and playing on the playground. I would love to take her their someday during the pumpkin season. It is a great place that we used to go to every year when we were kids. I love sharing those kinds of places with her.

Our last day in Delaware was spent going to the park and going to Poppy's library where they had a great kid's section. She cried the whole way home. She didn't want to leave. We had alot of accomplish that day including getting a nap and getting ready for the next phase of our celebratory week!
On Thursday, we, including Grammy and Poppy, we to Wildwood NJ (aka "the shore"). My sister and her family joined us there as well. Wildwood is a special place for all of us. My dad went there as a kid. He took us there as kids and now both Janet and I took our kids there for first of what I imagine will be many times. They had a great time. We were a little worried about E enjoying the many rides but with Domi's help, she quickly learned to LOVE them. Her favorites were definitely the Carosel and the train. She loved the boardwalk tram car, the hotel pool and the beach.

Fun on the Rides!

Elizabeth just LOVES her Aunt Janet. She wanted to see her the whole time. When we weren't with her she wanted to call her on the phone. Take a look at this picture. What don't you see?That is right, you see my daughter walking across the street without her Mommy or Baba!!!! What a moment!!!!!! She was actually gone for almost 2 hours with Aunt Janet, Uncle Matt adn Domi. They were going to go fly kites and then get their hair wrapped. Elizabeth wanted to go but I was sure she wouldn't make it down the hotel steps before she started crying for me. I made Janet promise not to push her and if she wanted to come back, she could. NOPE, not only did she not come back, she even went and got her hair wrapped with red string (which was pulled out in a fit of rage the next day:( ) It was a wonderful moment in her progression of attachment. I hope we will continue to see bits of this kind of progress. Aunt Janet, can you move to Virginia?

A few things we learned on vacation:
1. A vacation with th 3 year old is not really a vacation, more of a trip.
2. We are all not meant to share one hotel room. Elizabeth can't sleep which means mommy is awake all night long.
3. Because of #1, we know that roads are not busy at 2am, 3am 4am etc.
4. We can resume life without Ling, who was accidentily left at the first hotel. (yeah, we have her back now!)
5. We know our girl and we should follow our gut. If we think an amusement will scare her, it probably will.
6. If you spend an entire ride clawing at mommy in absolute hysterical fear, it is best to go find a calmer ride next so you don't leave with that impression.
7. I wish I lived closer to my family.
8. Sam and I have had 2 childless moments together over the last year. Once on our anniversary and once this trip. We do miss those and wish Elizabeth would happily go with more people.
9. Generally speaking, people who Elizabeth will go, can't (sometimes in my pity party moods I say won't help us) and those who would love to help, Elizabeth won't go to.
10. Talking to others about their travel groups, we feel more and more blessed to have our special friends.
11. Potty training and take a HUGE regression while traveling. Sorry Mom for all of the wet spots!
12. The most important ~ I absolutly love spending this amount of time with my husband and daughter. I am a lucky, lucky lady!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One Year Ago - August 20, 2007

To our dear sweet Elizabeth,

It is so hard to believe that one year ago, our lives changed forever. Your life changed and mommy and baba's life changed. Some of the changes were painful but they have been well worth it. We play over in our heads the long flight to Hong Kong and then the flight to Hefei only to be told that we had about an hour before we had to meet in the lobby to pick up "our girls". Boy, those words sound so simple but they mean so very much. We remember the bus ride to the civil affairs office. It was a quiet ride. I think everyone was anxious whether they had 3 kids at home or becoming a first time parent. We remember riding that elevator up and walking down the dark hallway. We remember turning the corner, thinking you were not there yet and all of a sudden hearing the sound of babies! I remember being the first at the door and seeing your profile as you were being held with the bright sunlight at your back. I remember your nanny handing you to me as they told you that I was your new mommy. I remember how you sobbed and how you tried to strain your neck so you could get a peak at the one person who had been your caregiver and was now leaving you. Trust me my dear one, if there was anything I could have done to take away that anguish, I would have. I just kept hoping and praying that the wonderful life you were about to embark on would make up for this day which I know was awful for you. Since we first saw your picture, we have loved you unconditionally. We have traveled thousands of miles together and we would do it again without hesitation. We can not imagine our life without you.

My pumpkin, we believe that you were destined to be our daughter and we were destined to be your family. We have watched you bloom from the sullen, scared little girl who would cower to the funny, vibrant, opinionated girl that we have now. We have watched you learn to feed yourself, climb steps, run, play, draw and most recently, learn to us the potty. We have been in awe as your language has taken off. A year ago, you said almost nothing. Today you use more and more english. We are amazed at the thoughts you can now get across to us. We are so proud of you. You have learned that toys are fun (especially when used for their unintended purposes). You have learned that dinner is more than a bottle and that food is always available (even though you can have solid food, you still love soup the best!). You have learned that during stressful moments you can let out a belly laugh and mommy and baba laugh too. You have learned that all things can be forgiven when you stroke mommy's face and say "I sorry mommy". You have learned that memaw is good for hugs, treats and all sorts of fun stuff (even better now that she moved across the street). You have learned that Santa brings toys and the Easter bunny brings candy filled eggs (ok, in your case he brought key filled eggs!). You learned that Grammy and Poppy can appear on the computer screen and talk to you (but can't take the paper you are trying to show them). You have learned to say your bed time prayers and to pray for people who are important to you without prompting. You have learned that saying "I go potty" will get you removed from just about any situation (4-5 times during dinner sometimes!) We had hoped we could write that you had learned that saying "I need help" got you things faster than whining but maybe we can write that next year. You have learned that school buses are yellow and fire trucks are red. Most importantly we have watched as you learn to trust and love us. Nothing brings mommy and daddy closer to happy tears than when you, without prompting, say I love you or place a little kiss on our cheeks.

We will never know the reasons that your birthmother had to make sure that someone else would care for you but we do know that if she had not made the decisions she had, we wouldn't have you and that would be very sad for us. We hope that when she looks at the same stars we do, she has peace in her heart knowing that her daughter could not be loved anymore than we love you.

We cherish each day and thank god he chose us for you and you for us. We love you my sweet Elizabeth. This year has been a blessing beyond all blessings.

Just as a year ago, we welcome your comments to share with Elizabeth as she gets older.

We love you like CRAZY CAKES!!!

Mommy and Baba

Elizabeth in China (August 2007)

Elizabeth in August 2008 - My how she has changed!!!

This video pretty much sums everything up! Elizabeth you are MY sunshine!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Something New

Just trying out something new with my pictures!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Wonderful Story

I found a wonderful story book today. My humble opinion is that if you brought home your precious little girl from China it is a must-have. It is called A Letter of Love From China. It is a story written as a letter from her birthmother telling her the story (the most predictable one - one child rule and poor family)of why she had to leave her, what she hoped for her and the beauty of her home country. It is just a nice story and a nice way to introduce a very tough subject.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Have you seen the commercial for one of the snack chips where the moms are yapping about how well their children play together and how much they enjoy play dates and the camera pans to the kids and they are all infants? That is sort of how I feel about Elizabeth's play dates with her friend (whom she was chattering about at 4:30 am while we sat in the bathroom in dark)Fin. I think Mommy likes the play date with Fin's mommy just as much as Elizabeth enjoys Fin. Fin is about a year older and much wiser in the play/adventure area so Elizabeth plays follow the leader and learns so much from her. We see her get braver after every play date with Fin. Leslie is a few months ahead of us on the adoption process so I continue to learn valuable things from her besides the fact that I really enjoy her company and just hanging out. I met her through Rumor Queen so all of those hours spent checking in before we traveled to china was well worth it! She has got a great sense of humor and a spirit that I really enjoy. We went to the Botanical Gardens with the girls. They have a wonderful children's area. It has alot of water activities. Unfortunately we got there just before the thunder did. They had to close off the water and when the storm cleared, the pumps would not turn back on. Bummer!!! The girls still had a great time playing in the other parts of the kids area. Afterwards we went to Sonic and got the girls treats. It was a wonderful day. Most importantly, I am glad that Elizabeth is learning how to develop friendships. It is a skill that will carry her far in life. I hope that Elizabeth and Fin share many more girlfriend hugs over the years. They share a common heritage and I think that might be important to both of them as they grow. It also reminds me how thankful I am to have such wonderful friends ~ new ones like Leslie, my dear old friends, and friends that I have not yet had the chance to meet yet. Life is so good!