Friday, July 29, 2011

okay fine. I give up.

About 8-9 years ago I started making some pretty swank movies with Apple's iMovie and Final Cut software. A few years later, Apple redesigned their iMovie software and it just didn't sit well with me. I hated it. I refused to learn new ways. And for all the years that followed, I kept a computer with the wicked old version of iMovie just so I could edit in peace. Well today I decided to give myself a little "new" (which is really not so new) iMovie bootcamp tutorial. Why? Well I can't very well drag my desk top to China just so I can easily edit short video clips for the blog.

Here is a quick test of some video I took yesterday morning as I dropped Buddy off at camp. Well, not his actual camp because his camp is located on an island and this is the boat he takes every day to and from the camp. Pretty cool, eh? I took it with the iPhone so it is a bit shakey but pretty good for a phone I'd say!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Travel Dates Set!!!

Wow things are moving fast now! Our agency got our consulate date for 8/22 so we will be leaving on 8/11. Two weeks from tomorrow! Thankfully we have friends who will be staying at our house with the animals! I can't believe it is all happening so fast after it dragged on for so long! The change of pace really has me spinning!!!

{update} Glinda has asked me to quickly explain the process from referral to TA to travel and comment on our time frame. No problem!

Our referral came on 6/30 as they are now normally coming at the end of the month. Because it was a holiday weekend we had some extra days in there to sign our Letter of Acceptance (LOA). With our agency, I think you may have a day or two to get this back to them. But in our case, we got our package on Saturday 7/2 instead of Friday, 7/1 because FedEx lost our package. Remember that? That was fun, right?!? Character building I like to say. Anyway, our agency asked us to have the LOA returned to them no later than Wednesday, July 6th (happened to be our LID). So with Monday being a holiday, I overnighted the LOA on the 5th, FedEx did not lose it, and CCAI received it on the 6th. They then sent our LOA off to China requesting travel approval. Then we waited. Well, I never really wait, I research, dig, sort through information, plot charts, and while my husband is looking at baseball averages, I am looking at referral to TA averages. In the 6 months prior to our referral it seemed that TAs landed at my agency about twice a month. What I couldn't tell was who those TAs were I had to go off the only bit of information I did have which was I knew that some people who got referrals on 5/30 got their TAs on 6/22. That's about 3 weeks from referral to TA. Which then got me counting days on the calendar and going into sheer panic because my two other children would be starting camp the last week of July into the first week of August. One of whom, requires a tin can in the sky to get home should we have to break early to flee to China. Many of those people who got their TA's on 6/22 traveled on 7/6. Five weeks from referral to travel people! Holy pickles, that's fast and it made me jumpy. Don't want to disappoint the big kids by yanking them out of camp. Don't want to rearrange already booked airline tickets for the return trip home from camp. I know, rearranging already booked air travel is such a joy, I don't know why I wouldn't want to do it! {snicker} 

But all was well, in the end. Our TA came on Tuesday 7/26, our agency requested Consulate dates, and then the Consulate informed them on Wednesday 7/27 that our Consulate appointment is for 8/22. And the answer to that math problem is 8/12. That is the date our agency would like to see our smiling faces in Hong Kong! So I dropped everything that afternoon and booked tickets for 4 people. My mother is also coming along on this magic carpet ride but she's riding on a separate, much fancier carpet which happened to be nearly free! She's going on miles, on a different airline and because of the FAA/Gov't snafu, the airline was not able to charge her taxes on said mileage seat and as a result she's traveling first class from mumble mumble to HK for $20. 

Glinda, one last thing, the agency does not allow us to book return travel sooner than 2 days after the CA because it can take a day or two to get the child's visa back from the consulate. So we are not allowed to leave any sooner than 8/24.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Lots going on here at our house! Too busy to write but I will catch up. Just got both kids settled into camp this week so hopefully I'll have more time for the bloggosphere! I started to work with someone to help update some stuff on the blog and then it fell completely off my lap. I've been swamped and overwhelmed these past few weeks. Just trying to hold it all together has been more than a challenge! Going to try to catch up in the coming days as we get ready to travel because we're going to travel SOON!

 We got our TA today! 

Not sure of our travel dates but we did make it in under the August 1st deadline for the new post placement rules. That is an added perk to the whole thing!!! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Care Package

Today I gathered the final things to send off to Cici in her care package. It includes, a few toys, two little lovie blanket type things, a onesie with my picture on it upside down so when she looks down she will see me, a disposable camera, a book with family photos, and some candies for the nannies. I had Ann at Red Thread China translate a letter for me explaining everything in the package. I hope the orphanage will take some pictures for us and give us the camera back but my agency tells me that Guangdong orphanages typically do not return the cameras. Oh well. But speaking of pictures, here is one of what went in the package.....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summah Time

Amidst all this paperwork and craziness, summer is in full force here. The weather has been great and we are trying to get out and enjoy it every moment we can!

SweetPea, her suitor and her brother in the back. I could arrange this and lock in the deal now, I would jump at the chance!

I wish his eyes were open. I love the reflection off the sand in this.

We have some extra lovely flowers climbing over our fence this year courtesy of one of our neighbors!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It isn't easy finding a day when ALL the people in this family are home and not imminently traveling overseas. Both my husband and my mother seem to live on airplanes and are often on trips requiring them to leave this country with passport in hand. So the thought of having to apply for a visa for China stressed me out a bit. The passports would be gone for about 10 days and frankly between those two, I wasn't sure I'd find a ten day stretch with them both home and NOT using their passports. Well interestingly enough, they both finished their international travel just in time and neither one has plans for an overseas trip until August. 


Today, fresh off a plane from somewhere, my mother arrived at my house ready to tackle the visa application process. Simple, right? Just a few forms and we'd be at the pool by noon relaxing. 

Um. No. 

It was a 4 page form requiring detailed information we didn't have. It was complicated. I would fill out one section and then discover that either the visa courier or my agency would want me to put something different. I printed and reprinted these 4 page applications so many times.

I wanted to cry.

In the end I mailed them off with a hope and a prayer that they would be sufficient to get us visas.

UPDATE: They were submitted on Thursday and we hope to get them back next week. Cross your fingers!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Five Years.

Five years. I remember feeling stunned at the thought the wait would extend to 2 years. But 5? Whoa.
But damn, how fun that I got my referral just a few days shy of 5 years!
So, yes, time to celebrate...

And hot diggity she's cute.
Lucky me!

And many thanks to the lovely cricket who hopped over with this the other day as we celebrated another wee one joining our clan!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Did you have a sparkly Fourth of July? 

We certainly did!!!

Celebrated not only this country's independence but also a dear friend's birthday. Luckily said friend has a prime location for firework viewing. We are lucky to live in a beautiful town with land surrounding a beautiful harbor. The firework barge drops anchor right outside the harbor so our town is really one of the best places for watching the night sky light up on the 4th! And just because I am all for supporting evidence proving my point {cuz yes, I shur luv to be right...just ask my husband}, I'll point out that Coastal Living also agrees that we have a spectacular show on the 4th of July.

Despite a little rain, we had a great night for sparklies in the sky. The rain cleared out right before the sun set so we had some pretty colors in the clouds before darkness set in. Here is SweetPea with one of her best friends, a cousin of sorts, sitting on a fence waiting for the fireworks. 

Once it got dark enough, the birthday girl handed out sparklers, which in this day and age of recalls, safety standards, and age/weight limits, my kids have not tried before! I checked over-protective mama at the door and just let them have fun. Hey, I survived them. It was sweet to watch their faces as the sparks flew in their little hands.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Back on track!

Over the years I've watched people receive referrals and then take a photo of the FedEx guy who delivers the package. I always thought I'd want one of those pictures. Unfortunately, yesterday's experience has left me wanting nothing to do with FedEx ever again. Knowing the package was on its way, I left and went to a friend's baby shower. Simon was a good sport and took a picture of the FedEx driver who delivered the package but it wasn't our regular nice guy. It was a dude with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth trying to toss the envelope out the window of the truck to Simon. Simon asked him to pose for the picture I think in part just to piss him off and he complied 

And inside the package were our beautiful pictures and all the files needed to keep this train moving!

For your child

If you are a parent you know that you'll scale walls and leap over mountains for any one of your children. There isn't anything that could prevent me from protecting any one of (I almost said "either" but now I have 3) my children no matter where they are. This adoption has been an amazing thing. Five years of waiting for a fantasy baby is a strange strange ride. You sort of know what to expect but you don't. The "when", the "where", the "what" is such a mystery until someday it just happens.

I only had Cici's photo for about 12 hours when I discovered her package was missing. About 6 hours later it seemed it was really missing and that is when I learned that this could prevent us from traveling as soon as possible to get her. The ferocious mama bear was out in full force yesterday to protect a daughter I had not yet met, but had only seen once in a single photograph. MY DAUGHTER. Mine! My daughter is sleeping on a wooden planked crib in an orphanage in southern China. From what I have learned she is in an orphanage that has great nannies and the children come to their families having been well taken care of. But that does not mean I want her to spend one single extra day sleeping on a wooden plank. No. I want her to start knowing that people care for her because she is a loved daughter and sister and not just a number in an orphanage. I do think that the nannies care for our babies but they are in charge of SO MANY babies at one time. I want Cici to learn as soon as possible that she doesn't have to compete or wait for attention and love. 

So yesterday was a nice little exercise in finding out exactly how I feel about this baby. It didn't take me long to make her "my kid" and as the other two know, watch out when someone makes mom mad!

I finally heard from my friend and travel mate who is away this weekend but also received a match on Thursday night. She didn't discover her package went missing until late yesterday and then she immediately called me. Luckily she has a friend very high up in FedEx management who went to bat for us last night. When her friend tracked our packages, she was impressed with all that I had done yesterday. I believe the words were "girl, your friend's been busy!" I guess there were pages and pages of notes in my file and I had managed to trigger some elite group of FedEx package finders. She said I had managed to get my package marked in a way that requires an overnight search of all 160+ planes. So Cici, if you are reading this someday, this was the very first time I had the PLEASURE to protect you my dear. Nobody, absolutely nobody, gets to mess with my kids without taking abuse from me!

And this morning I woke up to this tracking record...

So they apparently found it overnight in Memphis and it is on a plane right now up to Boston...I think.

And all of this leads to a question many of you China Moms maybe asking yourselves, "do I take the infamous FedEx picture or not?"

Friday, July 01, 2011

More pictures!

So it looks like my package is definitely NOT coming today. I seriously hope someone at Fed Ex can pull it together and find my referral by tonight or tomorrow. In the mean time CCAI has emailed me the photo copies of what was in the package and there were two extra pictures. She is even more beautiful in these!!! 
(I tried to enhance them in photoshop by lightening the dark spots and then dressed it up a little)

Fed Ex! Please find my referral package!!!!

My agency sent all the documents overnight via FedEx last night so I could take a look at Cici's whole file. They also sent extra pictures of her in addition to the ORIGINAL DOCUMENT from China that needs to be signed and returned to accept this referral.


I called CCAI and it seems that if the package does not surface, they will have to reissue the acceptance letter and I will then miss my travel group and have to travel alone. You can't even imagine how mad I am right now. If anyone knows anyone at Fed Ex I'd love an "in" to see if someone can move things along. With Monday being a holiday, I'm up against a wall right now.