Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Da Plane...Da Plane...

Our plane tickets arrived today and it's really starting to sink in that in less than a month from today, we will be on a plane to China to pick Jenna up. It's just really starting to dawn on me that life as I know it will never be the same. I will have this little child attached to me at all times, requiring every moment of my time and energy. My life will not be mine to do with what I want, when I want and how I want. My life will now belong to this little child forever. How's that for a reality check! Scary and exciting all at the same time. For those who know me, I live a pretty easy, carefree life, with not a lot of worries or stresses (other than the husband). I'm also sure that those who know me well may be laughing (under their breaths of course) at the fact that my carefree life will now include getting up early, changing poopy diapers (that will take a lot of work for me, cuz I'm not good with poop that's not mine) and tending to a child all day. I'll probably fumble at it for the first little while and I suppose having a good sense of ha-ha will pull me through those stressful times, but to be completely honest, I've been waiting for this for a very long time and I can't wait for the challenge.

I realize that raising a child is hard work and that it's not all about going to the park and playing patty-cake all day. I know and have heard, second hand, of all the not-so-wonderful sides of parenting that some people don't often speak about. I also realize that, with adoption, comes bonding and attachment issues, especially at the age Jenna is at, and that it could be really difficult in the beginning. I'm not expecting the clouds to part and angels to sing Halleluiah in the background once Jenna is placed into my arms. What I do expect, and have been mentally preparing for, is the fact that the husband and I will probably be the last people Jenna will want to be left with and she will cry, and she will grieve, maybe for a day, maybe longer. I know my heart will break into a million tiny pieces, but I also know that grieving is going to be part of her process that she needs to get through.

Mostly though, I realize how fulfilling parenting will be, for both of us, and how lucky we're going to be in the next month, when our little family will grow by one. We. Can't. Wait!!!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Happy 10th months baby girl!!!!

Jenna will be home just in time to celebrate the monumental 1 year birthday and I just can't wait to have her home. Mommy and Daddy hope you're safe, happy and above all, loved, today and everyday until we can do all those things for you ourselves! Hang on tight, we'll be there soon!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Let the frustration begin!

It seems that nothing throughout this journey has been easy. I thought that after we received referral, things would just magically work itself out.....not the case. Between communication with our agency, paperwork problems, and now, to add to the excitement, travel arrangements, the last part of this process has turned into a 3-ring circus! I'm too exhausted to even get into the details right now, but let's just say, I can't get to China and back fast enough!!!!

As it stands, we are still going to be leaving around June 30th (could be the as early as the 28th or 29th, depending on availability) and coming back on July 14th. I have not gotten word on our Travel Approvals yet. This is what the CCAA sends to our agency to let us know that we are approved to travel to their country to pick up our child. I know that they have already been issued for other families who are working with other agencies but our agency has not communicated this information with us....yet. As well, I haven't heard anything about our Consulate appointments either. This is normally what we need to book our trip around. I'm going to assume this date has already been secured as we already have our travel dates sets, again however, we were not communicated this information. (See my frustration!!!!????) I realize that there are many different agencies who all do things differently but I don't get how I feel so left out of the loop?? It probably doesn't help that I read all sorts of blogs day in and day out and get a glimpse of how other agencies (in Canada, and the U.S.) handle referral and travel, but once referral happens, how different can the process be??? I just don't get it.

With something as important as this, it is very hard to just "ASSUME" that things are being done on your behalf, especially when it seems like I'm the one who's having to ask for things over and over and over again.

Okay, I'm done. Now, I just have to look forward and hope that things start to get easier from here on end. I should have a travel itinerary in the next couple of days....

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sad, sad day...

Over the last month or two, our Shelby had started limping. We thought that maybe he had just sprained his ankle or hurt his foot. I've made appointments for him a couple of times to see the vet only to have the limping go away for a few days so I just cancelled the appointments. Well, it started again a few weeks ago so I finally took him in this morning and the vet took some x-rays. We also thought maybe he had arthritis and we could just put him on some medication to ease his pain a little, after all, he is 11 years old. Well, I was definitely not prepared for what the doctor had to say. Our beloved dog has been diagnosed with OSTEOSARCOMA and the vet speculates that given the size of the tumor in his upper left shoulder, that it will soon spread to the lungs. He's giving Shelby about 4-5 months. My heart stopped and I couldn't hold back the tears. The only thing we can do for our boy is give him pain medication so that he's comfortable. I'm so sad, I don't even know what else to say....except Momma loves you Shelby!

Monday, May 15, 2006

This, that, and some deep thoughts....

So after the big fiasco with my agency (don't ask, I'm still a little bitter) is finally over, our documents (visa applications, travel documents, copies of acceptance letter, passports, etc) were finally mailed today and should arrive at Children's Bridge tomorrow. Now that that's over with, it's time to start looking over the list of the million and ten things left to do. I guess that's why there's such a wait to travel....so that you can get everything in order before going to China. I've traveled a lot over the past few years so one would think that I would be an old pro at packing and getting ready for a trip, but I've only ever had to worry about myself...(and sometimes the husband) but now, trying to pack for a trip to a country I've never been to and for a baby I've never met is going to have some challenges. I'm sure I'll drive my husband crazy over the next few weeks (if he was reading this, he'd say that was nothing new!!), but I'm feeling a little overwhelmed!

Mother's Day turned out to be a great day. I finally went out on the new boat and actually had a really good time. My MIL came out for the day and the weather couldn't have been any better for a ride out on the North Saskatchewan. My husband was truly in his element and it was nice to see him have a great time. I just kept picturing all the wonderful rides and picnics we'll have with Jenna when she comes home. And since it was Mother's Day, it had me thinking of Jenna's birthmother, who ultimately made the biggest sacrifice to give up her precious daughter in the hopes that a family could give her a better life. I can't imagine how difficult that decision was for her to make, but on the other hand, will be eternally grateful to a woman, who I know I will never meet, for giving us the greatest gift. If she only knew how much Jenna will be loved, I know that she would have peace in her heart and conviction in the decision that she made to leave Jenna in front of the orphanage that day. I thought of her yesterday and I will think of her every Mother's Day from now on. It will forever be a bittersweet day for me.

I've always believed in fate, and if, throughout my journey to become a mother, things would have been any different, I wouldn't have been able to experience this adoption journey to our Jenna, met the wonderful people (on-line and in real life), and had the time, through heartache and tears, to appreciate motherhood and all that it entails. I'm certainly not professing that I'll be great at it, but at least I've had the time to mature and gain a small sense of what motherhood and parenting is all about.

People say that she will be one lucky baby, but in truth, we are the lucky ones.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

We have a date!!!!

So I just got back from sunny California (wayyyy to hot for this cold-blooded gal) and yes, I did alot of shopping. There were just too many cute outfits to pass up, I wanted them ALL!!!

So we will be leaving for China on Friday, June 30th and coming home on Friday, July 14th. That gives us exactly 7 weeks and 1 day to get our (err, I mean my) ass in gear! There are so many things to get done that I'm afraid I'll be in over-drive for most of the wait. There are still quite a few things left to do in Jenna's room as well as finishing and gathering up all the paperwork, going through the 100 list of things that still need to be packed and purchased (in-China gifts, medicine, baby toiletries, etc, etc), my head is spinning just thinking of it all.

Also, before I left, we received the translated referral documents and all checked out well with our adoption practitioner. Here are just a few things we learnt about her:

  • She was found at the entrance of the Wanzai Social Welfare Institute on the same day she was born (July 26, 2005) by the Vice Director of the institute.
  • She had a red birth note that had her birthdate written on it
  • She was sent to foster care on November 14th (at 3 1/2 months old)
  • As a newborn, she was quiet and smart
  • She seldom cried
  • At 4 months (when the report was written) she was attracted by her hands and liked to stare at them
  • She loves having a bath or playing in the water
  • She likes to stroll the streets (I'm assuming this means she likes to be outside??)

On the day she was born, I was at a friends' cabin out at Pigeon Lake for a couple of days. It was her birthday (yes, she has the same birthday as my Jenna) so we went golfing and later celebrated with a carrot cake that I had made her....

Little did we know that while celebrating her "29th" birthday (right LC?), we were also celebrating the birth of my daughter!!! How weird is that!

Also, I got these chocolate birth announcements made last week. Aren't they cute!!!!!

My head just hasn't been the same since we received referral. The last week and a half has just been such a blur and I find it hard to concentrate. During the day, she is all I think about and when I close my eyes, she is all I see.

Thanks to everyone who's been following along and sent their good wishes. It means alot to us!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Questions, questions, questions.....

Now that all the "when do you get referral?" questions no longer apply, now all I'm hearing is "when do you get her?". Honest question, and quite frankly, we don't have any definite dates yet. All I know is that we were told by our agency that travel is expected to happen the end of June or beginning of July. Right now, Children's Services has faxed over our referral to CB where it will get translated (why? because I can't read Chinese). Then CB will forward a copy back to Children's Services and to us which we will then take to a local Adoption Practitioner who will, based on the medical information provided on the referral, make an assessment on the health of the baby. We will read over the assessment and decide whether or not we want to go ahead with the adoption (like, please, as IF we wouldn't go ahead with it!!!). We then complete the adoption acceptance form and send it back to our agency who will then forward it to the CCAA. We were told that the translation would take approximately 4-5 business days and that we should expect the translated referral as well as additional paperwork to arrive by courier 5-7 after referral. So at the latest, we should receive the paperwork on the 9th......while I'm in California for my nieces' birthday no doubt!!! Oh well, I'll have to get it faxed over to me if it arrives while I'm away.

CB says that we should be hearing about additional information on travel dates tomorrow so maybe that means they're already working on that end of things. I could be ready tomorrow if they told me I had to be!! We will be leaving on Thursday for California where I plan to do a 'bit' of shopping for my girl. All the 12-18 month clothing I've purchased so far are going to be way too big for her but no worries......this mama knows how to shop and my girl won't be without some outfits that actually fit her. Besides, the shopping in California is, by far, better than around here so watch out Macy's and Nordstrom's.....here I come!