Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Homeward Bound!

We finally are heading home. It has been quite the journey so far, and has been great experiencing Avery's culture, but we are so ready to come home with our angel!!

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we travel home. It will be a big day for all of us, again filled with firsts for Avery.

Barring any flight issues, we'll be back in Syracuse tonight around 7:15 PM.

Thank you all for the words of advice, encouragement, and prayers during this journey of ours and we will see you all soon!

Allison, Gary, and Avery

Monday, July 26, 2010


Some things about Miss Avery:

1. She loves watermelon, absolutely loves it. She eats it at breakfast and either lunch or dinner.
2. She mimics Daddy really well. Any noise or sound he shows her, she can do it back really quickly...she's as sharp as a tack!!
3. She loves music! She falls asleep to the lullabys we brought, and during the day we put on our music and she sways and sings to it-cutie!!
4. She has a sharing heart. Every time we eat she shares with Mommy & Daddy-she's s giver!!!
5. She giggles all the time, and it is the sweetest sound you've ever heard. It's a belly laugh-happy girl!
6. She wiggles a lot, so we call it the "Hunan Hustle". She does it while laying on the floor, and standing.
7. She quacks like a duck, or bocks like a chicken, especially when she thinks it echoes. (Here in the hallways at the hotel)
8. She can wave, and blow kisses. She is aways waving at people.
9. Loves riding in the car. It soothes her most times to sleep.
10. Loves being out in public, with people. She is so inquisitive, and you can see she is just taking it all in.
11. Hated her diaper changed a week ago, now doesn't mind at all.
12. Is a performer. Whenever we skype with people from home, she turns on the charm, and gives them quite a show. She's a ham.
13. Already points her toes and does an impressive pull through-a dancer at heart, she'll be Mommy's assistant!!
14. She has the biggest heart I think I've ever seen or been around. She has opened it up so much in the last week. For being so young, and gone through so much in her life, you would think that she would be closed off, but she keeps opening that heart of hers more and more everyday, and it is beautiful to watch and be a part of-special girl!!
15. She's a snacker. Always has cheerios, or a breakfast cracker in her hand.
16. Loves her apple juice. Now only for breakfast, and maybe dinner a little bit. We tried the formula again, she will have nothing to do with it. But she eats so good at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
17. Must be rocked to sleep for her nap, and bedtime. She crawls up on Mommy's shoulder as high as she can get and we sway to the music as she drifts off-doesn't take long.
18. Wakes up at about 6:00. Goes to bed at 9:00. Usually wakes up 2 times in the middle of the night. Is soothed right back to sleep.
19. Is a restless sleeper. She thrashes around when she sleeps.
20. Loves her alphabet links, and her stacking cups. She plays with them all the time-great!!
21. When Mommy lays down on the floor, she will come over and lay with Mommy on the floor, just chillin' out.
22. We think she's going to be a drummer. She always hitting things and making noises with her spoon on the table, or patting her hands on the table.
23. Will shake her head very adamantly to say no.
24. Reaches and says, Nana, or Mm Mm Mm, when she wants something.
25. If she sees food she wants it. We hide everything in the armoire where the fridge is.
26. Can say Mama, Dada, other than that she talks and whispers, and babbles all the time.
27. Can take 2-3 steps on her own.
28. Likes to feed herself.
29. Sleeps sprawled out. Arms out and legs out.
30. Is the most perfect little girl ever.

That's all I can think of right now. I have a bunch of other things written down in my notebook. But again, we're in bed, Daddy's snoring, Avery is the middle sleeping sprawled out, and Mommy's sitting here blogging. That's our family!!

Talk to you all again soon!
Love, Allison, Gary & Avery

Shaiman Island

Today was another sight seeing day. But it was really a shopping kind of day.

We had to remain in our rooms between 10:00-12:00 today. Frank was at the US Consulate with our paperwork to make sure everything goes through alright. We have to get one more piece of paper re-notarized tomorrow. One of the notarys stamps wasn't up to date so she hAd crossed the last 2 digits of the year out and hand wrote it in. That doesn't fly here. Everything must be perfect and up to snuff, no mistakes or they don't take it. No big deal, they will notarize a new one at the Consulate for us tomorrow when we go for the oath.

We went to lunch at 1:00 today, it was really good, a little spicy though. I didn't eat the spicy, Gary did and said it was really good. After that we went to Shaiman Island for a little shopping. Shaiman Island is where the White Swan Hotel is, we walked quickly through the hotel, very pretty, and out onto the street. Frank gave us about 75 minutes to shop-not very long. Also, Shaiman Island is geared toward the adoption crowd, you can tell, and it wasn't really the shopping we wanted. But we did get a few things, and Mommy learned how to haggle-pretty good!!

I am never comfortable with haggling, but today I found my way with it. But these shop owners really didn't move much on their prices, like I said geared toward the adoption people. We were in one store, and the lady was really making me mad. She quoted another price to us when we got ready to pay, it was higher than the first time. Then she wanted double the price on one of the outfits because it was 2 pieces instead of one. I argued back and forth with her, and we ended up leaving. Well, that's all it took, after that I got good at haggling. They would quote a price, and we would say, "Oh, too much, too much", they would say, "Oh good price, it's half off price". We would walk away, and they would say, "Okay how much you wanna pay", I would slash it in half, and we would go from there.

So we got a couple outfits for Avery, and also got her a little panda backpack for her toys on the plane. I said I wasn't getting squeaky shoes, but ended up with a pair for her, along with some pretty leather shoes. I didn't haggle on the leather shoes, the little girl selling them was too darn cute, and what a good salesman she was, I knew I was being played, but she was adorable. Plus, in US dollars they were only $6.00.

It was fun, but not really the type of shopping I wanted to do. But we have to go where they take us. So not much in the way of souvenirs, just not going to those types of places. Oh well...

Avery did well today shopping, and it was extremely humid today. Just like walking through a sauna all day. So we can't really shop with the little ones it's too hot, and I feel bad dragging her around. So we were ready after the 75 minutes to go back to the hotel. Another experience while here.

We had McDonald's for dinner tonight. Avery loved her chicken nuggets and french fries. First time for McDonald's.

Mommy & Daddy celebrated being a family tonight with a piece of chocolate hazelnut cake ( to die for), and a piece of black forest cake (good also) from the bakery in the hotel. We've been a family for exactly one week!!!

Avery turned in a litte early tonight, she was so tired. Mommy turned in early too. What a happy girl she is though. She is a card!! Sings to us, shares her food with us, and can do the Hunan Hustle like there is no tomorrow!! A real blessing and a joy! She's is so expressive, full of life, and very boisterous, and we love her so much. Daddy could pick her up a few seconds today and twirl her, and then she would want down...getting there.

Love to all,
~Allison, Gary, & Avery

Posting comments and other stuff from daddy...

Hi all,

Just a reminder that you will not see your comment posted on the blog UNTIL WE GET HOME. We do get your comments in an email, so yes, we do get them and enjoy reading them. They help tremendously! Please do not resubmit your same comment over and over- it just fills up our inbox! :)

Also, please leave comments here on the blog, not on our facebook wall(s). A message in facebook is fine, but please don't post messages on our wall until we get home. Our status will change when we , so you will know when we have access again!!

Please keep the comments coming! They really do help us feel connected to home. We are enjoying our time in Avery's homeland and soaking in her culture, it really is fascinating, but we are also anxious to get home and show our baby off! She loves being out and about (probably a nice change from being cooped up in the orphanage for so long) and is quite the character! She is adjusting well to us, but we will see how she reacts to her new environment when we get home before we open our doors to everyone. It will be another big change for her, and it took a few days for her to let her guard down to us the first go round. We will be following her lead.

She has been ours for a full week now, and when we look back on the first photos we took of her she looks so different. She looked smaller a week ago. But she has been eating like a truck driver everyday, so it stands to reason I guess. (No offense to truck driver's out there!)
Her eyes are a deep, deep, DEEP chocolate brown. Unless the light is just right, it is hard to see her pupils. Her eyes are big pools of love, and has perfect tiny lips. She has really long, straight eyelashes and the cutest smile. She is a happy baby, but has one heck of a temper (like her dad)!

At lunch yesterday Frank and Selina, our guides, mentioned that Avery has a large forehead, which in China is desirable, as it is believed that the child will be smart. Of course every parent thinks their child is the next Einstein, and we are no different. She is very inquisitive. If I make a sound, she will stare at me intensely, you can see the wheels turning in her mind, and then will mimic the sound. She has a knack of figuring out how to shape her mouth, how to move her tongue, etc to make the noise. She's already taking after her daddy in that regard.

The past day she has been singing and cooing more. It's the cutest thing, because you can see her getting more and more comfortable with us. She's letting her guard down and revealing more and more of her personality. She loves music, which is good. We've been playing music whenever we can. She'll be dancing soon. :) She doesn't cry hardly at all when she's being changed now, and we went from a once every 3 days pooper to a 3 times a day pooper- another sign she is relaxing around us. Looks like more wipes and diapers are in order later today at the friendship store. We may be cutting it close!

Heading out for lunch and shopping in a few and to see some more old Chinese culture. A little soggy today, but we'll manage. More pictures and posts to come!

Love to all,
Gary, Allison, and Avery
(posted by daddy!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Blessing...

It's 4:30 in the morning here and I can't sleep. I actually went to bed when Avery did tonight, so I've gotten some sleep. She's woken up 2 times which is pretty typical, she soothes right back to sleep. This last time I put her in bed with us, and she's sleeping much more soundly. Daddy is snoring, Avery is zonked out and sprawled out in the middle of the bed, and Mommy is on the other side blogging-typical!! :)

Today was a another sightseeing day. Today we went to a marketplace where they sold pearl, and jade and other things. The prices for the pearl and jade were outrageous though. $300-400.00 in US, and they wouldn't move much on the price at all. We had heard from people that in Guangzhou they don't haggle as much on Jade and Pearl. Other places like Beijing, you can get a really good price, but not here. So we opted out on the pearl and the jade, plus Avery was fussing, and it was extremely hot , and she was tired and hungry. We did get some paintings for the house done by a local artist. He was right there in the marketplace, and he put Avery's name on one of them in Chinese for us-we are really happy with those. We are going to Shaiman Island today for shopping-should be fun and we should be able to haggle a lot more!!

We did decide that we weren't really bringing home souvenirs though for everyone. Too many people, and not a lot of space in the suitcases. Plus, we have to get through the airport with a baby and all the luggage, so our hands are already full. We're bringing Avery home to meet her family and friends, and that's our precious gift. We are more looking for things for our home, and her room that are from China that she can have with her for the rest of her life, pieces of her culture.

The other activity we did today was go to a Buddhist Temple. This temple was over 1,000 years old, and was the coolest thing we've seen so far in regards to "Old" China.

Now we know the significance of the 3's...

In Buddhism, the number 3 is very significant, it represents the past, the present, and the future. This temple housed the 3 Buddhas that represent the past, the present, and the future. Frank our guide is great and gives us a lot of history when we are out and about. As soon as we heard the number 3, Gary and I looked at eachother and smiled, and now we know why that number has come up so frequently. This temple is one of the oldest temples n Guangzhou. The Buddhas in the actual temple are huge, and very ornamental, and we were stunned when we got inside. The way each Buddhas hands are placed represent something different (either past, present, or future). We were given incense to burn (3 sticks a piece), and would say at prayer in front of all the different Buddhas, and then bow 3 times.

When we were in the temple of the big Buddhas, we had a special ceremony just for us. We took our shoes off, and kneeled in front of the center Buddha, in front of the table, held our incense, and the Monk did a special prayer for Avery and Sage. We had to bow 3 times, and we listened to him chant, and then he anointed us all with special water, and continued to chant. We bowed again 3 times, and it was absolutely magical. To come to this land and become a family, and then have a blessing from this land on our child's past, present and future. I was overjoyed with this ceremony, and it's significance of our journey, and why the 3's have consistently shown up throughout. This journey, this path, has meant a lot to us, and now to have a sense of why, and a sense of it's purpose-ubelieveable!!

When you pray in front of the different Buddhas you pray for your child, your family etc. This is what I prayed for:

I prayed that Avery will know a sense of her birthplace, and will always remain connected in some way here. That she know she was brought to us for a reason, our bond will always be strong, and unwavering, and full of love.

That she feel comfortable as she adjusts, and continue to open up to us, and let us lead her through her fears, and rejoice in her more and more everyday!

That we will nurture her, and love her forever, as we guide her through life, and that we will always, always, be here for her, and know that her birthplace and her culture are important to us, and we will cherish them.

It was magical, it was like nothing I have ever experienced. It is something I will remember forever.

They say that when you adopt from China, you are now also considered to be a Chinese person. Our guide in Changsha was telling us that that's how most people see it. We become part of their culture as Avery becomes part of ours-beautiful!!

A very significant day here in Guangzhou. A lot has come to fruition today. The 3's now have even more meaning to us. I can't wait to tell Avery all of this when she is older!!

Well, I will try to get a least another 2 hours of sleep before Avery wakes up.

Enjoy your day, I hope you too can find the signs in your life that are signifcant!!

Love, Alli, Gary, & Avery

The medical exam...

We also had to have her medical exam done yesterday. We literally got off the plane went to the hotel set our stuff down, and 10 minutes later were off again to get their medical exams done. What an experience...

Every child being adopted through the Consulate in Guangzhou has to get their medical exam in this building also. There were literally hundreds of children there with their forever families. It was chaos!! It was loud, children were screaming, children were running around, children were yelling, laughing, you name it is was going on. Parents were all talking and comparing their stories, and we met another couple from Savannah Georgia, their daughter was 14 months old also, a tiny thing. She had a repaired cleft lip, very sweet. You wait your turn to go through the 3 lines of the exam. But, with New Life (our agency), and us having Frank there we got to skip to just about the beginning of the lines. I don't know why he has so much pull but we'll take it where we can get it. I do feel bad that we are whisked to the front in front of other families though.

They take the babies temperature, height, and weight first. Avery was a perfect 96.9 in temperature. I wondered how she would be when they took her from me to weigh her and measure her. But when they did take her from me, she yelled and held out her arms to me and cried "Mama, Mama, Mama"- and she really meant me, her Mom -another first!! Usually Mama means I want something specific like cookies, or juice. But she did mean me, and I of course lost it, started to cry, I wanted my baby back. So in this room of 100's of people I was crying amongst all the screaming babies, and parents. It was breaking my heart to see her so scared. She calmed back down in my arms though.

Next was the physical exam by the doctor. Talk about being lost and it really wasn't much of an exam, and they don't tell you anything. He looked at her legs, measured her arms, and looked at her belly, measured her head, looked at her feet, looked at her bum, and listened to her heart. Wrote a bunch of stuff, and closed the papers and said, "ok, good, done". Literally just like that. He said, "you Mother?", I said yes, he said, "sign here"...done. Okay? Whatever!?

That was pretty much it. Total chaos. They did check her hearing, and her ears and her throat. Oh, and she is 17.6 lbs. and 28 inches long. All her paperwork came back fine. That's good, because you don't want any problems listed on her sheet that weren't already there.

A lot of people looked at her ankles yesterday and were concerned. We have been putting some baby eczema cream on them that we got from Jan. It seems to be helping. This is the first we could put anything on it because we couldn't get anything in province. So we have been wearing longer socks to cover up her marks here too. It realy just cuts down on the amount of stares and whispers.

After the exam we all went out to lunch together. Frank, Selina, Jan, Jodi, Sage, Gary, Avery and myself. The food was excellent! We sat at a huge round table, that had a lazy susan in the middle almost as wide as the table, and talk about food! You just turned the lazy susan to get what you wanted. There was lamb kabobs, a sweet and sour pork, a type of caramelized sweet potato, kale, and 3 different kinds of dumplings. The dumplings were awesome, mine and Avery's favorite! I actually ate a lot of the dumplings. It was the first time I really ate something since we've been here.

It was quite a day, and an emotional one. I always re-read my stories before I post them and cry each time I read them over. Everyday when we get comments I tear up from everyone's love and support. This has been very emotional journey for us...the last 3 years and really emotional in the last 8 days.

We are doing great and figuring things out on our own, just like every new set of parents. We have to see what works for us, and what our rhythm is as a family. No one can tell us that, and we are loving every minute of this process. I think people sometimes forget what it was like to be a new parent. You forget that it was difficult and scary, it's supposed to be, you're now in charge of another new and delicate life. There have been so many happy and amazing moments in the last 8 days, they are uncountable.

Avery is the perfect little girl, she is our hearts and our soul. She is our world. This journey has brought us together, to be this family, to have these particular experiences together. How special, and how meaningful. There was a higher power at work that brought us together, to make our forever family.

Allison, Gary & Avery :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ni Hao from Guangzhou!!

We are here!!

Actually we have been here for a little while. Arrived Saturday morning at about 9:15AM. Our flight from Changsha, was at 8:00AM and it was about 55 minutes long. We had to wake up at 4:00 AM to get ready, that gave me time to get ready before Avery had to wake up. We left the hotel by 6:00AM to get to the airport. We had no problem getting through security. I opted not to put Avery in the carrier because it wasn't necessary from the amount of walking we were going to do, and we could handle the carry ons with me holding her no problem. The Changsha airport was stifling though, I mean extremely hot, sweat was pouring off everyone. I decided that I would put a light long sleeve shirt on Avery while traveling today because we would be the only Westerners around the airport etc. Glad I did!!

Everything was fine at the airport except there was one gentleman that kept following us, and where we sat. He directly and distinctly was staring at us and Avery, and kept moving/sitting closer to us-made us extremely uncomfortable. After moving 2 times, we moved over to the other side of the waiting area near the gate doors, and he didn't follow this time. It was really disconcerting, but we made it through.

We got on our flight. Avery had been happy go lucky girl all morning! She had to be woken up but she dealt with that fine. She was making all her noises, and cooing, and babbling, and laughing, we were walking around, it was great! As soon as we got on the plane though she started crying and fussing a little bit. She was scared of the small confined space. When she gets scared she likes me to stand with her on my shoulder and rock her-can't do that on a plane. So we got her strapped in lightly on my lap facing my shoulder, and I just talked to her softly. Rubbing her head and back, and she calmed right down after a few minutes, and went to sleep. She slept the whole plane ride, and the whole van ride to the hotel. I think it's her defense mechanism. When she scared and doesn't know what to do, she shuts down a little bit-sleeps. When she woke though back to happy go lucky baby with that "Hunan" hungry girl temper-cute!!

When we arrived in Guangzhou, our guide was supposed to meet us, but instead our liaison through the adoption, Frank, met us. Now this is a huge deal, not everyone gets to meet Frank...hardly anyone meets Frank...ever. We are pretty sure that due to all the mix ups we've had, and especially the big one, that's why he's here. He is actually going to be our guide while we are here, along with our other guide, Selina. We are getting red carpet treatment!!-unbelieveable!!, and about time!!

Our hotel is swanky!! It's a huge suite. We have a seperate livingroom, and a separate bedroom, the bathroom is pretty cool also, huge walk in shower, and huge tub. We'll post pics later. Really neat view out the window. We are on the 14th floor.

We met up with Jan, and Sage and Jodi yesterday. It was so nice to see them again, and Sage is adorable! She has been such a happy baby. We all get along really good, and it's comforting to see familiar faces again. We will go to all of our appointments together, and sight see together, and eat lunch/dinners together.

It was a huge day for us today, and it went by so fast, it was overwhelming. Our first plane ride, our first medical exam, a new hotel, new friends, new guides, and...yes...out first steps today!!! Avery walked 3 steps on her own today in the hotel room!!-we were so excited!! She can walk up to 3-4 steps between Mommy & Daddy-so proud!! Avery will walk up to Gary now, and he can pick up her to blow on her belly, not all the time but more than yesterday...slowly but surely!! :)

OH and Avery is a 3 day pooper!! Another bm today!! Another 3!!-lol ;)

Okay, well I'm going to go back to bed, I just got Avery back down from her middle of the night wake up. I have a lot to say about the medical exam, and everything else. But I'm going to go get a few more hours sleep. We are sightseeing again today. Going to an old Buddhist temple, where they will do a blessing for our children-so excited!! Plus, we are going to do some shopping-finally!!

I will write more tomorrow, actually today...later.

Love ya all!! Loving hearing from everyone!!

We are doing great!! :) LOVING PARENTHOOD!! :) NO BETTER FEELING!! :)

~Allison, Gary & Avery

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our Friday

Ni Hao!!

Today was another good day. A little testy in the morning after breakfast, but Avery was still tired. Her schedule got screwed up the day before due to our sightseeing. She missed her nap, and went to bed 90 minutes late due to us skypeing with family. She was all hopped up after we talked to both sets of parents, and siblings. She's quite the entertainer when we talk to everyone. She's waving, and blowing kisses, and showing off, just like she should be...she fits in just fine!! :)

Today was another sight seeing day but we told our guide that we didn't want to be gone long, so we could get her back on schedule. So, we went to another park with a lot of the old China architecture in it. A lot of pagodas, and Fu dogs, and an old castle wall in it. I have to say I enjoy the sightseeing but really am more concerned about Avery when we are out. It is 98 degrees and up outside, and I want to always make sure she is hydrated, and feeling okay. So the sightseeing does get a little lost on me. I'd rather pay attention to our daughter... obviously.

We ate lunch with our guide today at the "Western" buffet in the hotel. Yes, he was eating the snake parts, and he was chowing down some duck tongue. I think my face was a little horrified when I looked over to see what he had. I didn't mean to but I was feeding Avery and turned and there it all was. He said, "You can try", I said, "No, I don't think so, thank you". Gary goes she has a big problem with snakes anyway, so "Smile" covered up his plate with his hand, and laughed. He's quite a card, he's been a lot of fun and has taken good care of us while in province. We're giving him an NDC t-shirt for his gift. It works out great because it looks as if he collects t-shirts. He has a different one with writing on it or a character on it everyday. Yesterday for example, he was wearing a Popeye t-shirt.

Big strides with Miss Avery today! She is walking, no, running just about with Mommy's help still, but you should se her go now!! Won't be long until she doesn't need help, she is certainly little miss independent!! Avery sat in the highchair at dinner tonight-YAY!!!! We've been trying all week, but she would scream or yell or whine and carry on so it wasn't worth the looks at dinner. But tonight she was walking into dinner, and of course she was the star!! She sat on my lap, and when they brought the food out I put her plate in front of the highchair, and then put her in it, she started to whine but I fed her right from her plate and she stayed-GOOD JOB AVERY!!!!

Oh and when she got to her table at dinner, she was giggling and walking and went to Gary's knee and put her head down on it. We're getting there... She is opening little by little to Daddy. She is still a Mommy's girl, but we're working on it day by day!!

Had a problem today trying to cash travelers checks. The hotels won't cash them unless the signatures are identical, and I mean identical!! All of our spending money is in traveler's checks. "Smile" took us to the bank of China, and we got half of them exchanged. But I had to sign my name on documents about 8 times, and you didn't know why. I found going to the Bank of China very uncomfortable. I feel like that a lot here. There are armed guards all over the place, and it's very disconcerting. But we got them changed so thats what mattered...

Another big deal is Avery went in the Baby Bjorn carrier today!! Thank goodness because there was no way I could have carried her up and down all the stairs and hills today without the carrier. Plus, we needed to get her in it before we fly tomorrow, I need to have my hands free to help carry luggage and to deal with the boarding pass and passport.

We received our official paperwork today, and Avery's Chinese passport- really neat! Hope we get to keep it. We got some other things today thanks to our guide but I'll save that for when we get home!!

Avery is such a happy baby!! She has the cutest smile, that melts our hearts. She has the "Hunan" temper that's for sure- thank goodness for snacks (bribes)-lol But she brings such joy to our lives. We can't wait for everyone to meet our little Hunan girl!!

Tomorrow morning we fly to Guangzhou and will be there for 5 days. We come home on Thursday!

Pray that Avery handles flying well, this will be the first of 4 flights we will take with her. Hopefully she will sleep.

Talk to you next from Guangzhou!!

Allison, Gary & Avery

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A short post...

It is really surprising to me to see the looks we get from some of the Chinese people when we are out and about with Avery. We don't have her arm covered up, it's too hot for long sleeves. When I look at her I don't see her arm, I see her cute face. When I look at the other children I don't see the cleft lip, or braces for the club feet, I see their faces. Their warm cute faces.

As we were walking today from lunch back to the car on the side of the street we would get looks from a lot of people and the looks were of disgust sometimes. They stared at her arm, never her face, just her arm, and then they would whisper to eachother. I know I don't know what they are saying, but it makes me furious. I know we get looks also because we are Americans with a Chinese baby, but these looks are different than those looks. When I see people like that I kiss her forehead and say to her how much Mommy & Daddy Ilove her. We will take care of her, and she is special. She is not just a child with a special need. She is a child, a child in need of parents who will love her forever and take care of her every need. We are those parents and proud to be. We are fortunate that she has come into our lives, what a special little girl she is, and she makes our world turn!!

Jan has found this also in her province where she is with Sage. It's very upsetting to all of us.

We love our children and that's all that matters!!

~Allison, Gary & Avery

Other families...

I haven't had a chance to talk about the other families we have met through this week.

We did meet up with our other family from New Life at the Syracuse Airport while waiting to board our first flight. Jan is adopting a little girl from Mongolia with a cleft lip cleft palette, she is a single Mom, her little girl's name is Sage, and her sister Jodi is traveling with her. We shared a lot of stories while waiting in the airports on the way to China, and Jan came over quite a few times and sat next to me & Gary on the long 14 hour flight and we talked quite a bit. We traveled together until Beijing, we all got through customs, and baggage check, and security at Beijing, and then had to split up to go to our different provinces where our daughters were. We have talked to them quite a few times via email while we have been in our provinces. We will meet up with them again in Guangzhou on Saturday and will be in the same hotel until we all leave next Thursday to come home. We will be on all the same flights coming home, so it will be nice to spend some time with them again. We can't wait to meet Sage, and for them to meet Avery. We can't wait to compare stories about our week in province, and for the girls to play together. They are about the same age, Avery will be 14 months on Wednesday and Sage just turned 15 months a week ago.

We have also met 5 couples here in Changsha, in this hotel. One couple is from Montreal, they adopted a little boy with club feet he is 2 years old. We were sharing our stories about how their son, Jean, and Avery hadn't had a bm yet. So it made us feel a little better to know they were in the same boat as us. Very nice people and they are first time parents also.

Two other couples are from Italy. Very nice people a little hard to talk to because of the language barrier. But we would say hello, and chow to them and ask how things were going and they would do the same to us. They had actually just received their son probably 20 minutes before we arrived to get Avery on Monday. He is 2 years old. Another couple is from Spain, they adopted a son with a cleft lip and cleft palette. Another couple is from France, they too adopted a little boy age 2. We seem to be the only one with a little girl. We have heard many inconsolable screaming coming from the other rooms at various times, so it makes us feel better to know that other people are also having a hard time every once in awhile. We are all in the same boat- :)

Today at breakfast we were seated at a table between a group of families here on a heritage tour. That's when families bring their adopted children back to tour their province, their orphanage etc. They were so nice, they asked when we received her, where she was from, how old she was, what was her name, how things were going...very understanding, and very gracious. One of the Moms actually lived in Binghamton for about 15 years, so when she heard us say NY, and then Upstate NY, she chimed right in. They congratulated us time after time, and said what a magical journey it was, and that it just keeps getting better and better. There is a bond in the adoption world of parents. A certain understanding of how different it is, and a certain camaraderie...that is so comforting.

So we have been able to connect with some of the families on this leg of the journey.

We have also been skyping with both sets of our parents, Tom and Liz and the girls, and Steve & Beth and the boys. We have been able to do that at least 2 times a day with everyone mostly. It has been nice to talk to our families face to face and they have also been able to see Avery. She is quite the little entertainer when we are skyping. She is a big ham!! :)

It is hard to put this journey into words, at least all the feelings we are going through. Our connection to eachother has deepened through becoming parents, and the love we feel for Avery is overwhelming, and words don't do it justice.

Gary gets the Daddy/Husband of the year award. He has had to be the waiter, and go getter this week. He has been great, and it has been hard to watch him have to wait to hold his little girl, but any day now I know it's going to happen. Avery is really quite enthralled with him, and Daddy is over the moon in love with her. I'm sure when it happens it will be fast, and that will be that. You know what they say about Daddies and their little girls-inseperable!! :)

Love to all~
Allison, Gary & Avery :)


Just a side note!!

We went to the "Western " buffet the other day for lunch because we didn't want chinese food for once. I sit at the table with Avery and Gary goes to get the food for everyone. He comes back and says to me, "I don't want you to go up to the buffet". I said "why?". He says, "just don't". I look at him and say, "are there snakes up there?", and he says, " yes, and eels, and turtles"!!!!!!!!!

Snakes , and eels, and turtles-OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so glad I didn't see it on anyones plate. I miss real American food.


We have poopy diapers!!

Never thought I would ever hear myself be so happy about poopy diapers!! But our little ladybug finally had a bm today. It had been 3 days since we became a family and we were getting a little worried that she hadn't had one yet. Although we knew that this could happen...with all the stress that they go through and the anxiety and all the changes, this type of problem can also be a trust issue. They won't allow themselves to go until they feel safe enough. We've read this about many other people's children, it is still disconcerting when it's your child. We had been giving her apple juice, and water, and some fruit to help move things along, and today when we got back from our sightseeing tour, she was pushing really hard when she was in my arms, and you could tell she was trying. So I rubbed her stomach, and got her knees bent up on my chest and talked her through it to help her. Poor little duffer...but when she did, she was so much happier, and I was so happy and so was Daddy. We had to help her out a little bit but it worked-probably too much information for you all, but it was a big deal here!! :)

Avery has really opened up even more between yesterday and today. A totally different little girl, with new achievements everyday. She can now, blow kisses with sound, clap her hands, click her tongue, motorboat her lips-really good at this one, Daddy has taught her well!! She can wave, and has the cutest smile you've ever seen!! She mimics Gary's every sound. She has opened up to Gary a lot today. She'll put her forehead to his, and touch his cheek, and allow him to kiss her neck, and blow on her neck, and belly. When we feed her she will now offer things to Daddy too not just Mommy. She is really starting to warm up to him. Gary can't hold her yet, but we're getting there, a little everyday. But big strides today in the Daddy arena!!!-YAY!

We had a sight seeing day today. We went to the embroidery museum. Changsha is well known for their embroidery. There is a small museum, and our guide took us and translated what the curator was saying. We learned about all the different stitches and how long some of the stitches take to do. One of the pieces took 2 artists 2 years to finish-just stunning!! Then in the back of the museum is a store. A lot of the pieces are very expensive, but we bought a decorative wooden piece that had a embroidery of 2 pandas on it for Avery's room. We also got her her silk Asian dress from the same store, it's adorable!! From there we went to a park. The park was really interesting, we both said it reminded us of Central Park in NYC. It had a lot of tree shaded paths, with people playing cards, and musicians playing their instruments, Huge shrubs of bamboo, interesting trees & birds, ponds, ornamental benches, and statues, and Asian temples etc. A huge koi pond with thousands of koi fish all different sizes. It was really interesting, but it was at least 96 degrees out today with a heat index of 109. Extremely hot, and Avery will not sit in a stroller without screaming, so I had to carry her the whole way around the park. I love carrying her, but the heat did me in, and I couldn't keep up with our guide and Gary very well, but I did it. Even Gary was impressed on how well I held up in the heat, and carrying her. If you know and heat don't get a long at all, and I have a tendency to get really dehydrated extremely fast. But we packed some powdered G2 and took one of those with us, and a cold bottle of water, and I stopped twice to sit and drink, and to make sure Avery had enough fluids in her, didn't want her to get dehydrated either.The little duffer did really well!! We were all soaked through our shirts, and Avery through her dress when we got inside for lunch though.

After lunch we had to stop to a children's store to get her some clothes, she is definitely in size 6-9 months with emphasis on the 6 months. She is tiny, long, but tiny. We got her 4 dresses for not much money at all. I had been looking in my Hannah Andersen catalog before we came, and her size in that catalog is a 70 or 80, and thank goodness I knew that because the sizes here are the same way. The women in the store kept giving me bigger sizes and I kept refusing them...politely. I wanted something to fit her the size she is now, so we can wear them for the rest of the trip. We only have a few outfits that will fit her really good right now that we brought with us. Most of the things we brought are too big. We haven't been able to do laundry yet, just rinsing out in the bathroom, so the extra outfits will help out a lot.

Avery made huge strides today. She played on the floor with her toys while Mommy got changed and picked up the room a little. She didn't freak out when Mommy went out of sight for a minute to the bathroom. She actually crawled today, and had some tummy time-muchly needed! She pulls more than crawls, and favors her right knee when she does crawl, but we're working on it. But...she will walk with assistance with one hand, and you should see the little duffer go!! The expression on her face is priceless when she gets up off the floor and gets to her feet. She is so amazed and thrilled with herself, her little feet just go go GO!! We were doing laps around the room, giggling the whole time. She has opened up to us so much in the last few days, she is as smart as a whip, and is beginning to trust us so much more. She is starting to understand that Mommy & Daddy are staying, and she is staying with Mommy & Daddy. It has been so rewarding to see her progress. Simply Amazing!!

Please know we are getting everyone's emails, and blog comments, and facebook comments. We aren't publishing the comments on the blog, and can't respond to facebook while here. But know that we are receiving them. We keep reading them over and over and it makes us feel connected while we are here. Thank you to all the Moms that understood my "hard" day and shared their stories of their "hard" days with was exactly what I needed to hear.

I will post this and break up the other posts separately.

Sorry the posts are so long but the blog is also my daily journal of what happened each day. I am also writing in another journal when I have time...a little more personal. But it helps me to get it out here first...

Talk to you soon!!

With Love to all,
Alli, Gary, and Avery!! :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Better today, finding our rhythm...

We had a great day today!!! Avery did sleep through the night and only woke up 2 times and was soothed right back to sleep. We are off the formula all together, her tummy feels better today, you can tell. We are on water, juice, and solid foods. She loves fruit , especially watermelon. She is a much happier baby today. We have caught on to a lot of her tricks today as well. The crying today is to see how we will react. She stops after 3 short cries looks at us as if to say, "Well what are you going to do about it?" So, i decided to just hold her and not talk. She stops almost instantly. Ends up doing it a few times but it seems to work good and she stills knows I'm right there.

Some of the new tricks she learned today are blowing kisses, lip smackin', she can click her tongue like daddy, and she now pretty much wants to feed herself. We also found out that she likes to twirl with mommy and that seems to soothe her. She likes to mimic whatever we do and is pretty quick to pick up on it. When we were having snacks today, she would feed some to Gary- a first. :) Gary still can't hold her, but she has been staring at him a lot rather intensely, seeming to realize that maybe he isn't all that bad. Avery has a new nickname of 'stick tight', as she doesn't like to be far from mommy. At all. She acts more and more like she is trusting mommy and feels secure in her arms.

We knew there would be days that were going to be hard and very challenging. We did come into this with that expectation. Probably the only aspect of this that is more challenging than we anticipated was the isolation that we are in while in province. It's one thing to figure out what Avery needs, it's a whole different ballgame when you realize you can't get what she needs, and there are very few people (if you can find them) that can speak enough English to help you. Most everything gets lost in translation. But, we are managing and adapting to each other day by day. We know there will be more challenging days ahead, but the good days like today far overshadow them. 

Smile, our guide, met us at dinner tonight and gave us a copy of the note that was in Avery's pocket when she was found, handwritten by her parents, which is a very rare occurrence. Most children are left without a trace. Smile translated it for us. It says:

My daughter was born on May 28th (May fifth of the Chinese Lunar Calendar) 21:00 PM at night. We have no ability to grow her up. We hope some good person can pick her up and grow her up or send her to the orphanage for nursing.

It was signed: Parents who has no ability. Thank You!

Well, God granted them their wish and she made her way to our arms. Truly a miracle. 

Tomorrow is a sightseeing day with Smile. Should be good to get out and about to soak in some more of the culture. Gary will be taking pictures of course. :) Here are a coupe from today.

Here's a picture of her good side:

And here she is about 30 seconds later. Meet Spicy Hunan Girl:

You can see more pictures at the link below. We will be adding more daily.

Thank you all for the words of encouragement and advice. It's nice to hear from so many people- it helps make us feel a little closer to home.

Much love,

Gary, Allison & Avery

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A hard day...

Today was the day when we finalized all of our paperwork. Today was the day when we went back to the civil affairs office, and did all the donations and fees, and signed paperwork, and did our thumb prints and Avery did her footprint. Today was the day she officially became ours, we have the documents to prove it!! Back to the 3rd floor at the Civil Affairs Department...

We got up, and actually had to wake Avery up, she slept through the night, no problem. Avery had some breakfast, and we couldn't because it took me longer to get ready. Avery still will not go to Gary very well, throws a full on fit, so I had to get ready as quick as possible this morning, but at a later time than expected. Avery started to get really upset when she saw Gary changing his clothes, and me doing the same. I think she knew we were leaving and possibly thought we were taking her back. But she calmed down and fell asleep in the car on the way to the affairs office. She was fine during the appointments, and fell asleep again in the car on the way back to the hotel.

She went down for her nap early because the little duffer was so tired, but we had to get her up early because of lunch reservations at the hotel. Because of our schedule yesterday her schedule got screwed up and she was not a happy camper. She has definitely showed us her "spicy" girl temper, and on more than one occasion today. She was fine at lunch, and wolfed down a whole bunch of squash again, and an egg dish. We are not able to order for us, our guide "Smile" orders for us ahead, doesn't ask us, and then we get what we get when we get there. But the portions for 2 people are enormous. They just keep coming out with platter after platter of food. For lunch there were 5 platters of food on the table. We always end up leaving 3/4 of the food on the plate. But we got Avery's tummy full, and she had had her formula before we went down for lunch. After lunch she went down for another nap, after we played in the room for an hour or so. But after that, our little sweet girl turned into the spicy tempered Hunan girl...OMG!!!

When she got up from this nap, she was not in a good mood. Very cranky, and full on lungs crying, with the stiff as a board legs, and full on yelling, and arching her back. She hates to have her diaper changed, I mean hates it with a passion. I know thats common, but anytime you lay her on her back when she is awake she isn't going for it.

We have found out that when she says Mama, it means "I want it, and I want it right now!!!!!" Mama in Chinese does mean Mom, but this seems to be the word she says when she demands to have something. We think she has tummy cramps, and is very gassy. She acts like her tummy hurts, and she burps quite a bit, like she has a gas bubble. We are rubbing her stomach trying to work it down. The formula we got here at the store, she drinks, but we think it's the problem. So we've taken her off it, for a day to see if her tummy acts better. She will not drink the formula we brought with us, it is soy based, which is what they told us to bring. So we're at a loss on what to do about the formula.

She has not had a bowel movement since she has been with us. It has only been a little over a day and half since she's been with us. I know that's not uncommon either but worries me some. When we were asking questions at the orphanage and her schedule was translated for us. It said she had 4 diapers a day for urination, but nothing about bowel movements. They said something to the effect of take her to the bathroom before you put her down, and then Smile said or you can use a diaper. The translation here gets lost a lot, and it's hard to find someone that can actually understand what you're trying to ask- frustrating!!

We didn't go to our dinner reservations last night, Avery was crying and carrying on for quite awhile so we just couldn't go. I wasn't hungry anyway, and Gary had ordered some fruit for Avery because we needed to feed her. She ate all of it great! But after that, that was the tantrum where she was completely inconsolable. And quite frankly so was I. Different crying, not from her tummy. I was crying with her, trying to take her fears away. Please tell me that as a Mom, there are times when you cannot console your child, and that this is normal. We've only just met eachother and I so want her to feel safe and loved, and I know that it will come in time, but I just want to kiss the fears away, and am feeling like a big failure. Because she will not go to Gary it is all resting on me, and she comes to me with no hesitation but last night I could not calm her down until we gave her a cookie. A bribe I guess, we gave in. Whether good or bad, we gave in. No need to stress her out more, than she already is.

We did talk to a few people last night, and she was waving and babbling, so at least she put on a good show for everyone. I am so tired and haven't eaten much in the last few days. Gary is the same way. Our bodies haven't caught up yet with the time difference, and it is at least 96 degrees here everyday. Cannot stomach anymore Chinese food right now. Thank goodness we brought some cup a soups with us, and the chips from the plane ride over were in our carry on still. Plus we brought granola bars, and rice krispie treats.

It is really frustrating being here in the Province. Hardly anyone understands English, so like I said things get lost in the translation left and right. Not that we expected everyone to know English at all, but I was really surprised to this extent. So if you need anything, you can't get it. We are on our own again today our guide has another commitment with another orphanage. We are going to eat at the Western buffet for lunch today. Smile says it costs more, but at this point we don't care, we'll put in the extra money to get something familiar. We did have 2 cold Pepsi's yesterday, that was like heaven. It's a big deal to get a cold drink around here.You can't drink their ice, so having something refrigerated is special-but cheap to us (they think it is expensive)!! I guess I will start to lose the "adoption" weight while I'm here. All 3 years of adoption weight-lol!

So it's been a hard day...really hard day. I thought the first day/night went way too easy, and I was right. She needs to feel comfortable, and know that we aren't going to give her up and leave her, that we are Mama & Dada, and will love her forever. We had a lot of people say to us before we came, "Oh, she's so young she'll adjust quickly, no problem." We knew better than that. She will have separation anxiety at her age, it is common and prevalent. We have to gain her trust, and that will take a little while.

Think of it like this...
You were given up at 9 days old, found on the river bank. Taken to the hospital to have your arm evaluated and then taken to an orphanage to stay. And for those almost 14 months you only knew the orphanage, those people at the orphanage, those sounds, those smells, those voices, never been outside of the orphanage until the day you were to be adopted by people that look, and sound, and feel in every way foreign to you. You are thrust harshly and abruptly from everything you know, everything that is "normal" to you. Yeah, I think there would be some panic, and fears, and anxiety-definitely!! So we're working it through one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. On her time frame, her schedule- we'll take her lead.

I know most people don't talk about the hard days when going through this process, but it has been a hard day, hopefully today will be better. hopefully she'll begin to feel a little more comfortable, and open up again to us. She just shut down a little yesterday.

So any words of encouragement are gladly taken to help us through this phase. Prayers, and positive thoughts are also appreciated!!

Keep leaving us comments, it makes us feel like we're not so far away!!

Any suggestions, on formula, or anything else is also greatly appreciated. But remember where we are though, we are limited in what we can get a hold of...

Talk to everyone soon!!

Alli, Gary and Avery :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gotcha! Day

July 19, 2010-Today was Avery Day!!

I am going to post out of order because I want this post to go up on her Gotcha! Day not the day after. So I'll blog about or trip over tomorrow or at some point. I wrote it down in a journal so I'll just copy it from there when I get a chance.

Today was the most amazing day we have ever experienced, a lot of emotions and one of the cutest little girls you have ever seen.

We did get some sleep the night before about 4-5 hours worth, not bad, we needed a little rest to be able to get through today so it was good that we were able to rest a little. We woke up at 4:00AM, but really got up about 6:00ish to get ready to go have some breakfast and then wait until it was time to go get Avery. We had to convert our money for tomorrows meetings today so we got that done also in the time we had to wait. The waiting was horrible. I was nervous, and excited, and nervous, and so was Gary. We both had nervous stomachs, we didn't know what to expect, or long it would take, we wanted Avery to like us, and have her have a smooth transition, as smooth as it could be.

Our driver was late he was stuck in traffic, so the waiting just continued for a little longer. It was only about 15minutes to the Civil Affairs Office once we left the hotel. We got in the door to the building with "Smile", our guide and he took us over to the sign on the will in the main lobby. He showed us what was on each floor of the building and guess what floor the adoptions civil affairs office was on...3rd floor-REALLY!! Those 3's keep them coming!! We smiled, and took a deep breath and got in the elevator. The door opened and we walked through the door, another couple was there with there son, and as soon as our guide went through the door another man looked at us and he had Avery with him sitting down. We couldn't believe it, there she was, so beautiful, and just the most perfect little girl in the world. I walked in and put my bags down and started crying, and talking to her from across the table, and so did Gary. That didn't last long as our guide said, "Oh, must do paperwork first"-really? So we had to sit a few chairs down from her and sign our name and fill out the form and then we turned to her and started talking to her, and smiling. She didn't know what to think of us at first, and when the man that had her, he was he director of her orphanage tried walking her over to us, she started to whimper, but then she came right to me and I got a big hug!! The best feeling in the world, no words to describe it!!

She didn't cry when we had her there in chair and was fooling with her. She was playing with her panda, and the baby doll we had brought. She looked around and pointed, and a little giggle for her Daddy a couple of times. We were able to ask our questions, some got lost in translation, but we got her feeding and sleeping schedule, the 2 most important. We asked her likes and dislikes, and the director says she doesn't like men, an odd thing, who knows why. So I held her, and she did fine with Gary also. I had her on the car ride, and when we were shopping. She goes to Gary, but if I'm right there she whimpers for me, just a minute, she'll warm up fast I'm sure. She slept on Gary's shoulder tonight a little when he was at the computer. She has done really well today, a happy baby!!

She is just perfect!!! Her arm looks great if you didn't know you wouldn't know. She does have some bug bites, and things on her body, we'll describe at a later date. But she doesn't seem to be in any pain at all. She was very comical at dinner tonight, and ate as Gary says, "Like a truck driver". She had a steamed bun, and squash, and a little rice, and a little bit of steamed egg dish. She absolutely loved the squash, and the steamed bun. We got her some cookies earlier, and she has 4 little toothers. She was chomping away on her cookie earlier, and would take a bite and then put it to my mouth so I could take a bite-so cute!!

It has been quite a day, a range of every emotion possible. We are finally parents, and what a feeling!! Dreams do come true!!

I will elaborate later, but am tired and Avery is sleeping soundly in her crib!!

Talk to you all soon!! Enjoy the pics from today!!

~Allison & Gary:)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

We are in China!

We made it in to Changsha a-okay. One delay in Beijing, but other than that the trip went real smooth. Just horrifically long!

Our appointment to get Avery is tomorrow, July 19th at 3:30 PM (Yes, more 3's!). This is the day we have waited 3 years for!

We will post more soon- we need to get some rest before our big day. We are both running on fumes at this point.

Please leave us comments- we will get them! We have comment moderation turned on, so we won't be able to "publish" the comments until we get home.

Gary & Alli

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oh what a feeling!!

It is almost 24 hours before we leave for the airport. Almost 24 hours before we leave to go to the country where we will meet our daughter. Our daughter, our little girl, our Avery Lin, the one we've waited so long for, pinch us, is this real? Are we really leaving finally to become a family? That little girl who has been a dream for so long. The little girl we finally got to put a face to 4 months ago. The little baby girl that stole our hearts 4 months ago. The little girl who we've been talking to in pictures around our house is finally going to be in our arms-UNREAL!!! Oh what a feeling!!

There are so many emotions we both feel right now. Gary and I will look at eachother and just smile a goofy smile, and giggle, and a deep breath is taken-are we really here?-YES WE ARE!!!

We are excited, ecstatic, nervous, happy, overjoyed, in disbelief, thankful, grateful. We are filled with love, anticipation, a little anxiety, hope, and love...oh so much love!! Love for this little girl who we've only looked at in pictures. Who knew your heart could grow so much? We can't wait to hold our little girl, and shower her with all our love.

Dear Avery,

It is the day before we are coming to get you. The day before we will leave to set foot in the country of your birth. You were born in our hearts a long time ago, and now you will be in our arms. God made a place for you there, a place in our hearts, a place in our lives, it has been His will that we become a family. We are your Mommy & Daddy, your loving and dedicated parents. We will always be here to love and comfort you, to help and support you. To show you the way, with hugs and kisses, to hold your hand tightly as you navigate this new world. We are so happy to finally have you in our lives. We will now become a family...finally...forever!!

Little Avery, we are coming to get you, to hold you tightly, and love you forever. Mommy & Daddy can't wait to hold you in their arms. We can't wait to look in those eyes for real, and hear your voice. No more wondering, no more just pictures to look at, you will be in our arms so soon, and we will never let go!!

Our hearts are bursting right now, we can't wait to begin this next part of our journey together as a family!

Soon, so soon!! We love you Avery Lin!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dinner Calendar

4 Days to go!!!! We are so excited!!!

Our Sister-In-Law Beth is putting together a dinner calendar for when we return from China. If you are interested in participating please let her know. Beth is organizing it, and has the run down on our food likes/dislikes, and how to drop it off, and when etc.

Thank you Aunt Beth and Uncle Steve for being so helpful!!

Thank you to everyone who is participating, it is greatly appreciated!!

You can contact Beth at their email, or by phone (its under Steven and Elizabeth Newton in the phone book).

If you leave a comment I can send you both.

Thanks again!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The packing has commenced...and will continue...

Finally the packing has begun around here. I finally got a handle on the clothes for Avery today. I actually had to take pieces of paper write the date on them and where we are going to be on that day (whether in her province or Guangzhou) and spread them out on our bed, and then proceeded to put her outfits together and place them on the days. I will have to do this at least 2 more times to weed out some more, but I'm getting there. I  needed to be able to see the days one at a time instead of the piles on the floor, it made it a lot easier. Plus, I wanted to be able to re-use and coordinate clothes so we could mix and match within the 12 days. It worked well, but as I said I will do it again tomorrow, and weed out some more. I will probably do this with my clothes also, so I don't over pack for me, the lighter the better!

We finally figured out the gifts we are going to take with us. They are really neat, and now I am just wondering how many we really need to take, again, the lighter the better. Still mulling this one over. 

We still have piles of things everywhere but it is starting to look better. I have to work this week and so does Gary as usual, so we would really like everything pretty much together by Monday evening. If the weather this week is anything like it was last week, really unbearable, the studio will be really hot again and I'm useless when I get home after work on days like that. I am remembering to drink my water though, about 6 glasses and 2 powerades a day up there. At least I 'm staying hydrated, we know how well I handle the heat-not! But as everyone has told me lately, it's just getting me ready for China, as it is really hot and humid there now, worse than here.

We looked at our hotels that we will be staying at in China, they are fabulous!! They look like the hotels you see on the Vegas strip-seriously!! In Changsha we are staying at the Dolton Hotel. In Guangzhou we are staying at the Garden Hotel. At first I was a little disappointed we were not staying at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou. If you know anything about China adoptions, the White Swan is "famous". The pictures of the children on the red couches, you hear and read about the history of that tradition, and I really wanted Avery's picture on one of their red couches. But after seeing the Garden Inn, and reading about it, and our agency has 2 families that just got back yesterday from China, and they have raved about the hotel- I'm fine with it. We'll create our own traditions while we're there. Then hopefully when we go back to adopt for a 2nd time we can stay there again in Guangzhou and re-create it with our 2nd daughter (yes, we plan on doing this over again, Avery will need a sibling, a sister, and we hope to start the next one in 2011 at some point, another special needs child).

I had a very productive day yesterday. I talked to our pediatrician to get the low down on how to treat Avery if she gets sick while we are there. Being first time parents, we are a little nervous. If she has a fever, diarrhea, and what to do, and how much, and what to take etc. Dr. O is great!!  I also got her 1st pediatricians appt. set up for when we get home. It's on the 3rd of August- yes, another 3! I then talked to our doctor and they did give both of us a prescription of Cipro in case we get sick while we are there. Tomorrow we start our malaria medicine regimen. Can't believe in almost 6 days we will be there!!! Gary and I now just look at eachother and grin, and giggle, that's how excited we are!!

I will post more tomorrow and give more detail on our itinerary. Still a lot to do, but having fun doing it, and can't wait to go!!

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Thanks for reading...more to come!!  :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

This journey now feels real...

We received our itinerary on Tuesday. Now it's feeling official! Our favorite day of our trip is Monday July 19th, the paper reads "Meet Baby"-what a great feeling to finally see it on paper the day that we will meet our daughter!

We still can't believe that we are 8 days away from leaving for China, and getting our Avery and finally becoming a family...surreal. That really is the only word for this feeling we have. All of those feelings that we have had over the last 3 years, all of the tears, and feeling like it would never happen. Feeling like we had done something wrong somewhere in our lives, that we weren't able to have a family. All of the frustrations, and all of the depression, and all of the wishing, now we are seeing our dream come true. It seemed as if the light at the end of this tunnel would never get bright, would never be something we could ever see. It had been dim for so long, and sometimes we felt like it had gone completely out. We would go through times of being mad at the world, and I guess jealous, but not really the kind of jealousy that everyone understands. We would have days where this journey, this process, would be so heavy on our hearts that there were no words to describe how we felt, no words could cover the emotional turmoil, and frustration we were going through. But we had eachother, and thank goodness we did, because we got eachother through it. Were there some people that felt the wraith of this frustration-probably, but we will never apologize for the way we felt at any time during this journey. If you've never been through this, then you really have no's different. 

We are so overjoyed right now, knowing we will be able to hold our baby in 10 days. We keep wondering how she has changed. How long her hair is now, and what she sounds like, what she smells like, and if she has the lower dimples on her cheeks when she smiles like we've seen in some of our friends pictures of their children. I selfishly keep hoping that she is not walking yet. We've missed so much of her life so far, I would really like to experience that milestone with her and Gary. We wonder how she will handle all the changes that she is going to experience. There are so many changes that she is going to go through in such a short period of time. It will really be an assault on all her senses at once. We also will be experiencing a lot of changes, welcome ones for us though. We are excited and nervous, and chomping at the bit to get there!

We hope our trip goes and smoothly, and Avery adjusts quickly. But we will let her have all the time she needs, and we will be there to wipe the tears, and soothe the pain, and hug and kiss all the fears away. We are so excited to finally start this next phase of our life. We welcome all the surprises, and look forward to all of the amazing things that are going to happen. We are thankful for this journey, and now that light at the end of the tunnel is so very bright, and we are now watching it in HD, and surround sound!!  :)

Life is a journey...not a destination. We are looking forward to this journey and it just getting better and better.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The countdown continues...and some fun things...

We are now 2 weeks away from going to get our little girl!! So excited!!

Remember when I said my charm from China arrived last week, here is a picture of it. It is Averys Chinese name in the chinese characters, Niu Xuan. It means "little girl that is very dear to the mom".
It is beautiful and I've worn it everyday since receiving it. That's why it's taken me this long to get a picture of it up here. Thank you to Kelly for helping me order this. The company is called Jiayin Designs. I love it!!!

Also, today in the mail we received the cutest little onesie from a high school friend. We, Gary and myself have re-connected with her through facebook. I used to cheerlead with Jessica in high school. It was so nice of her to send this for Avery. Thank you Jessica, it is so darn sweet!!! We can't wait to put Avery in it!! It is just perfect!!

Well, we ordered our plane tickets today. Which came to $1200.00 more than we anticipated. We even figured on the high end and it was still that much more-WOW!! But it's done, and we ae that much closer to Avery and China. We will be flying from Syracuse to Washington, Washington to Beijing, Beijing to Changsha. We will most likely do all our Provincial paperwork (for the first 5 days probably) there. Then from Changsha to Guangzhou. We don't have all of our in-country appointments yet, we should get that itinerary next week, or the week we leave. But we leave on the 17th, arrive in Changsha on the 18th, and get Avery on the 19th!!! Hello instant family!!!  WOW, we really can't believe we are here already... unfathomable!! You can't slap the smiles off our faces we are so happy.

 I couldn't sleep last night, excited and a little nervous I think. I got out all the parenting books and started reading them all. The only thing I am a little nervous about is her running a fever and her getting really sick when we first get her. Being first time parents!!

The crying, the diaper changing, the feeding, I am all good to get through that and get the rhythm but the sickness factor makes me nervous. I am going to get a hold of our pediatrician and get her recommendations for Avery's age, and what to look for, and be concerned over. Being first time parents I'm sure we'll be concerned over everything!! But so totally looking forward to it!! Looking forward to the smiles, and the looks, and the babbling, and the playing, and the rocking, and the snuggling, and the cuddling, and the family time, and being the Mommy, and Gary being the Daddy!!

So, I'm off to figure out her clothes to pack, and see what we think we are going to pack...

The picture above is of the charm and to the left the cute onesie!!

The countdown continues!!

 MaMa & BaBa are coming !!! :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The countdown begins!!

We leave July 17th!!!

We will get Avery July 19th!!

We will be back with her on July 29th!!

I will fill in the other details as we get them...time to get the suitcases out we leave in 16 days!!

The countdown begins!!!!

And, a new chapter in our lives begins...FINALLY!!

July 16th or July 17th!!!!

We will be leaving to get our ladybug on either July 16th or July 17th!!!!! Our CA came in today and it is July 26th.

I can't believe this is finally happening...

More later...I have a million things to do!!