Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Today was a wonderful and fun Christmas with family, but I'm happy to say that it will be our last Christmas without E!  We all kept commenting on how much we wish she were here.

To celebrate the day, I re-wrote a traditional Christmas song:

Twelve Steps to China (sung to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”)

On my first step to China my wishes brought to me… a little girl called Emmilene.

On my second step to China my wishes brought to me … two agencies, and a little girl called Emmilene.

On my third step to China my wishes brought to me… three blog members, two agencies, and a little girl called Emmilene.

On my fourth step to China my wishes brought to me … four background checks, three blog members, two agencies, and a little girl called Emmilene.

On my fifth step to China my wishes brought to me…five years of bills!!!  Four background checks, three blog members, two agencies, and a little girl called Emmilene.

On my sixth step to China my wishes brought to me…six notaries, five years of bills!!!  Four background checks, three blog members, two agencies, and a little girl called Emmilene.

On my seventh step to China my wishes brought to me…seven months of worry, six notaries, five years of bills!!!  Four background checks, three blog members, two agencies, and a little girl called Emmilene.

On my eighth step to China my wishes brought to me…eight trips to FedEx, seven months of worry, six notaries, five years of bills!!!  Four background checks, three blog members, two agencies, and a little girl called Emmilene.

On my ninth step to China my wishes brought to me…nine packing lists, eight trips to FedEx, seven months of worry, six notaries, five years of bills!!!  Four background checks, three blog members, two agencies, and a little girl called Emmilene.

On my tenth step to China my wishes brought to me…ten mailman stalkings, nine packing lists, eight trips to FedEx, seven months of worry, six notaries, five years of bills!!!  Four background checks, three blog members, two agencies, and a little girl called Emmilene.

On my eleventh step to China my wishes brought to me…eleven stacks of papers, ten mailman stalkings, nine packing lists, eight trips to FedEx, seven months of worry, six notaries, five years of bills!!!  Four background checks, three blog members, two agencies, and a little girl called Emmilene.

On twelfth step to China my wishes brought to me…twelve-plus hour flights, eleven stacks of papers, ten mailman stalkings, nine packing lists, eight trips to FedEx, seven months of worry, six notaries, five years of bills!!!  Four background checks, three blog members, two agencies, and a little girl called Emmilene.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby all I want for Christmas is you
                             -From "All I Want for Christmas is You"

Christmas Eve Celebration.  Pass the vino.
Tonight was another awesome celebration with family and friends, with one little thing missing...Emmilene, we all wish you were here!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All Smiles

Everyone is all smiles around here lately, including Emmilene!  We were delighted to get an updated picture of her today.  It was taken on November 25 and she's smiling!  Probably because her hair is growing in.  She sort of has a faux-hawk, or perhaps she has the same hairdo as her Daddy.  Either way, she's as cute as ever!

We are making our lists and checking them twice (and three times and four times...).  Just to run down the dates:
Thursday, January 5:  Leave for China
Friday, January 6:  Arrive Hong Kong
Saturday, January 7:  Arrive Nanning (Marriott)
Monday, January 9:  Gotcha Day / Forever Family Day!
Friday, January 13:  Arrive Guangzhou (Garden Hotel)
Wednesday, January 18:  Consulate Appointment
Thursday, January 19:  Arrive Hong Kong
Friday, January 20:  The longest day of my life, um, I mean travel day to arrive home in USA!  Emmie becomes a US citizen!

We are so very excited.  I remember thinking during the summer that it felt like we were never going to get here, but now it's only weeks away!  Everyone, please cross your fingers that this last stretch goes as smoothly as possible, given that we are trying to get ready for the biggest trip of our lives and complete house renovations and move.  Lots of stuff all at once, but with the support of everyone, we know we can do it!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Adoption Celebration

Today was a perfect day of food and family and laughter.   Auntie Sue Sue threw the most beautiful shower for Emmilene you can imagine.  More than one person said it was the best baby shower they had ever been to.  Every detail was attended to from the "Signature Cocktail" (Mai Tai) to delicious Chinese food to the panda cupcakes and the fortune cookies personalized with little "Emmilene" messages on them.  Even the staff at the Chinese restaurant commented that the bamboo and lantern decorations were the best they had ever seen...I think they offered Sue a job planning Chinese celebrations!  P and I had a great day, and even more importantly, everyone else did, too.  Everything was perfect. 

I can't say enough thanks to all of our family and friends who were so generous and thoughtful, and an extra special thanks to Emmie's Auntie for planning such a special day.  Little E will have everything she needs thanks to all of your generosity!

Tracy, Patrick and Emmilene

Pandas!  Almost too cute to eat.  Almost.

Perfect except that we all cried.

Patrick loving all of the attention.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

TA!!!!!! Emmie, here we come!!!!!

So, scratch that last post that I had just written for today about long waits/short waits, being #10 on the list..............................

We're going to China!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Still no consulate date yet, but we got our Travel Authorization giving us permission to go!  Unless things are totally booked up at the consulate, I think we are in good shape for pre-CNY travel.  We should find out shortly.

Of course, P has been in London all week for work (not exactly the best timing for a trip, but that's another story...).  So, I was on the phone with him as he was getting ready to board the plan, telling him to have a safe trip, not get poisoned by airplane food, blah blah blah.  We said goodbye, and AS SOON AS we got off the phone, our agency called our house saying we got TA!  I immediately called P back to give him the news, and he had shut his phone off for the flight!  So he missed the news by about 2 minutes!  Now I have to sit and wait until late tonight to tell him the news.  He has no idea what's waiting for him when he gets home!!!!

I am so excited!  This is the very best Christmas present ever!!!!

Steps to TA! (original planned post for today)

Here's the latest chart from RQ (nickname for China Adopt Talk--an online community of people who are adopting or have adopted from China).  As you can see, we've made it to green!  That means, we are next in line for TA!  The chart shows that we have been waiting for 8 days now.  No one really knows how long it takes to get the TA...for some it's super fast, for others it takes longer.  And, much like the rest of the paperchase, there's no rhyme or reason.  I didn't show the entire chart, but for reference, it goes to 170 and we are #10!!!  Woo hoo!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Walls Coming Down

Tricked you!  You thought this was going to be another philosophical musing about adoption and bridging the gap between two cultures, blah blah blah.  There are plenty of blog posts out there covering that topic much more eloquently than I can.  This post is about the walls coming down.  Literally.  Coming down.  Like, "too late to change your mind about making those two rooms into one!"

My mom is listening intently as I describe my grand scheme to eliminate the wall.
I might also be dancing.
As far as I can tell, it sure seems as if the wall is now obliterated.  Let me check...
Why, yes, indeed!  We found it!  Here's the wall!  No turning back now!  But, why would we? 
Look at how delighted P is!  Or is he just excited about his McD's hot cocoa on this chilly night?
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


On one of our hundred trips to Babies R Us to test drive the SWEET Mercedes-style stroller we picked out, we pulled into the closest spot:  "Parking for Expectant Mothers." I, or aren't I an expectant mother?  Now, I know why those spots are there, and we backed out leaving the spot open for mothers with bellies bigger than mine.  But it got me to thinking.

When people say that someone is "expecting", it conjures up much more than just the physical aspects of having a baby.  New happy family, giggly baby, no sleep, lots of "Kodak moments."  Isn't that us?  Besides the obvious physical differences, I think I am very much like an "expectant mother."

I have been in love with E since the first moment she was a glimmer in my eye.  I'll always remember the feeling I had when I told P about her.  I don't feel her inside of my belly, but I feel her inside of my heart.  I think about her constantly, talk about her, and dream about her.  I wonder how she'll feel, smell, sound, and look.  I have dreams for her.  I want her to have the best life possible.  I want to give everything I can to her.  I want to give her our love, and I want her to love us back.  I want to build lots and lots of memories together as a family.  I worry about her, and I want her to be healthy and happy.  I'm extremely protective of her, and won't tolerate anyone who would dare to hurt her.

On a more physical note, the closer it gets to her arrival, the harder it is for me to sleep.  I crave Chinese food more than I ever have!  I am overly emotional about everything--I cried watching Frosty the Snowman melt on TV.  I'm nervous and worry I won't know what to do with this new little person.  We are definitely nesting...buying a house, preparing a nice place for her, cleaning, organizing packing lists, reading books, trying to buy things for the best we can with minimal information about her size, tying up things at work and home, and so on.

So, while I don't need that first-row parking spot so I can have an easy walk into the store, I am very much "expecting."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Don't Try This

No, of course I don't mean adoption.  Adoption is the best!  Everyone should try it!


Do not--I mean it--do NOT try to buy a house during the last month or so of your adoption.  Adoption is stressful enough, and trying to buy a new home and remodel it and furnish it and move into it will push to you the end of your rope.  We had no choice, but if you do have a choice, just say no.

Why, you ask?  Because this could happen to you:

1.  Today is your closing!  Yay!  You show up early looking all professional, checkbook and a brand new Bic in your hand.  Your lawyer, on the other hand, shows up late.  See, he wasn't the lawyer you expected...your guy was busy, so your law firm decided to send a fill-in.  Tie?  Blazer?  No way!  The guy doesn't even have on socks and it's winter.  He announces to you and the seller's attorney that he's "subbing" and "knows nothing about this closing."  What a great impression!  Things are certain to go downhill from there and guess what?  You don't close!  Ha Ha!  Joke is on you!  No, nothing you did wrong, the seller's attorney tells you...but you'll have to wait a day.  You know, just ratchet up the stress a little more.  And delay things, which leads me to my next point...
2.  The contractor you have lined up to do some work on said home gets peeved at the ONE DAY delay and--ha ha--bails on you!  Isn't that a riot?!  Really, one day later and the job is off?  Aren't you fickle!  So....
3.  When your renovations should have been happening, instead, in all of your "free" time, you will be interviewing 50 new contractors to do the job.  Fun!  A free education on load-bearing walls, moving electrical outlets, and LVLs.  Cool!  And...
4.  If you happen to buy a new home that--while larger and nicer than your tiny condo--has some "interesting" shaped rooms, none of your old furniture fits!  Isn't that surprising!  So, you are basically starting from scratch with no furniture.  And, to top it off, every piece of furniture you like takes 8-12 weeks to get!  Well, la-di-da!  You'll be HOME from China, and you'll all be sitting on bags stuffed with leaves or trash instead of a sofa!  Guests coming over to meet your new daughter?  No problem!  Just ask them to bring their own chairs!
5.  You get the idea.

All of this delightfulness while you need to be shopping for your trip, packing, thinking about travel arrangements, wrapping up work, and reading those last 10 or so adoption books you wanted to get to.

So, take it from me, unless you live in a teepee, don't buy a house during latter stages of the adoption  process.  Well, if you live in a teepee, as long as your home study worker will approve it, stay there.

Rant over.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Name Game

P and I give nicknames to everything.  We aren't "T" and "P" on the blog because we are in some sort of undercover witness protection program.  We actually refer to each other that way.  We tend to talk in initials, such as, "MB was a madhouse today" (Market Basket), or "We need some Charles Shaw at TJs" (Trader Joe's), or "What did R and C do today?" (my parents).  We also refer to places by initials, like those bumper stickers you see on cars.  "BBH is my favorite place," or "Should we go to OGT this weekend?" or, "AMI is like the Caribbean for cheap!"  (Boothbay Harbor, Ogunquit, and Anna Maria Island).

So, it's no wonder we have a dozen names for E.  P was having lunch with a former colleague, and he referred to E as "Q."  Bewildered, his pal had no idea who "Q" was.  So, we realized, this one tiny girl has a huge list of names:
  • Emmilene
  • E
  • Emmie
  • Quan Quan (which we used to pronounce this way and now we realize it's acutally more like "Chahn Chahn")
  • Q
  • QQ
  • Q-t-Q
  • Q-squared (I was a math major)
  • Queen Emmilene (rhymes)
Just to name a few.  Here's a bumper sticker I want to put on our car next to "ME" and "AMI" and "CC":

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for that first moment when we saw the girl who would soon be our daughter.  We are thankful for all of the twists and turns that led us to our daughter, and every step we have taken since then to bring her home to us.  We are thankful for her foster family for taking care of her.  We are thankful for our family here who has been a source of love and support throughout this journey, and who can't wait to welcome E into their lives.

Today was a day of food an fun (and driving!!) with our families.  Since E's birthday was yesterday, her grandparents and adoring Auntie gave her some nice gifts.  It was really fun getting to open E's presents, but sad, too because we wish she were here to open them herself!  We promise we'll tuck them away so they'll be waiting for E when she comes home!  (But I wouldn't mind cuddling up with her new Ni-Hao, Kai-Lan doll...)

We'll try not to wear out the batteries on the Elmo phone...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Big Girl!

Today is our sweet daughter's second birthday.  We are so excited that we are getting closer to meeting her, but it is heartwrenching to miss yet another special moment with E.  We hope that she is having a wonderful day, and celebrating in style with people who care about her very much.  On the other hand, we are very sad that we can't share this day with her.  We are already thinking of ways to make up for all of the things we have missed.

Today we'll have a little mini-celebration in honor of E's birthday, and blow out a little "2" candle for her.  We won't say what our birthday wish is, because we want it to come true!

On the flip side, we guess the terrible twos start today!!!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Closer to Fine

Over the past week or so we've hit some pretty important milestones in our adoption timeline:

I800 Approval:  11/15/2011
NVC Cable and pdf:  11/22/2011
Article 5 Drop-off:  11/23/2011

To those of you who are in the adoption community, you know what this means.  To those of you who are just learning, stand up and cheer because it means we are moving through the last steps to Emmilene! 

Next, we wait 2 weeks for our Article 5 Pick-up, and after that, we are just waiting on TA (Travel Authorization).  Depending on how quickly we receive our TA, we are crossing every finger and toe that we might have a fighting chance of meeting our daughter before Chinese New Year, which starts on January 23.  Otherwise, we have to wait until after.

You can bet that this Christmas, we are only asking for one thing under our tree...TA!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Since we've missed seeing the first couple of years of E's life, it's exciting to receive a "new" picture, even if it's old.  Today we got an adorable picture of E from November 2010, right around her 1st birthday.  She looks a bit grouchy, as if she had just woken up, perhaps on the wrong side of the bed.  Sorta how I look every day before my coffee.

Did you really wake me up to take this silly picture?

P thought it looked like she was winding up her little fist to punch someone in the nose.  Again, sorta how I feel when I get woken up.  But she looks so darn lovable in her little pink jammies!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Emmie's House

We live in the tiniest one bedroom condo you have ever seen.  The fact that we have survived here for 9+ years with our marriage intact is a real testament to how well we are matched.  But it is no place to bring a child to from half way around the world. 

At the start of the adoption process, people kept saying we had plenty of time to find a house.  For us, the biggest stressor was not the adoption, but the lack of a home to which to bring E.  Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and all of a sudden we found ourselves bumping up against a deadline to find a home that we could be in before E's arrival.  Realtors kept telling us how "uncanny" it has been for the past 6 months, with practically no homes coming on in our target towns.  We were both losing a lot of sleep.

Well, one week before our internal "deadline" to put an offer on anything with four walls, and the search is over!  After an agonizing search for a home to bring E to, we finally found a house.  Our offer was accepted last night, and barring any unforeseen disasters, it's ours!

It's no McMansion, that's not our style.  It's a cute house, on a super lot, in an idylic neighborhood in the town that I grew up in.  And--get this--E's Nana and Grampy walk right by this house every single day on their morning walk.  Auntie Sue Sue said we have to get a little step stool so E can stand at the window and wave to Nana and Grampy as they powerwalk by.  My mom said, "You just better make sure those shrubs don't grow up too much and cover the window...we want Emmie to be able to see us waving at her!"  Yes, Nana, we'll keep the shrubs trimmed.  Hey...Grampy can feel free to come up the street himself and give them a trim if needed!

Emmie's House...Ours, too

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Treasure Box

Since we've moved on to the next phase of the adoption process, our agency said it would be a great time to send a "Treasure Box" to E.  This is perfect timing since it will coincide with her second birthday coming up later this month.

P and I spent several days searching store after store for the perfect items for E's Treasure Box.  It's amazing how much time we can spend looking for 3 little pounds of stuff!  We had so much fun putting it together and sending it off to her.  We included a Ni Hao, Kai-Lan birthday card as well as a short letter for E and one for her foster family.  Some of the items we included this time:
  • Hello Kitty PJ set (we hope she loves Hello Kitty as much as we do!)
  • Disposable camera so we can hopefully get some pictures of her life in China
  • Red Sox animal crackers--P had to send those!  Making her a Sox fan already!
  • Toy cell phone (maybe she'll give us a call?)
  • Super cute fleece hoodie and hat
  • Candy for her and foster family (we couldn't leave out her favorite food group!)
  • Toy recorder--we bet her foster family will love that one...especially after all of the candy.  I hope she leaves that in China!

Enjoy, Emmie!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

We could not let a holiday almost entirely dedicated to candy pass without thinking of our dear daughter, who clearly has quite a penchant for all things sugar (please see recent pics).  So, we decided to dress her up for the occassion.

Now, before the P-C police come and take away our adoptive parent license, we are just playing around and trying to while some time away as we wait for our I-800 approval.  Next year, E will be with us and we'll let her pick out a real costume rather than picking a virtual one for her.  But, no French Maid.  Ever.


She loves candy, so she must love cookies, too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Update, Pics, and LOA...Oh, My!!

Now that the screaming and dancing has stopped, I have time to post.

When I got to work this morning and checked my email, I was so excited to see an update on E!  I immediately jumped on the phone so P and I could look at the pictures and read the answers to the 10 questions we had sent months ago together.  We were absolutely giddy with excitement.  She looks adorable and she's finally smiling!  Of course, what kid wouldn't be smiling with handfuls of candy and sugary treats?  You can really tell in these new pictures that she has quite a personality.  I'll start with the pics because I know that's what you are really here to see.

Look at all of those sugary treats!  Halloween came early in Liuzhou!

What did you say?  Take the wrapper off first?

Can someone give me a hand here so I don't have to gnaw through the plastic?

Hi, Mom and Dad!  See you soon!

We also got answers to our 10 questions:

1. She communicates in Mandarin.
2. She sleeps with the foster mother.  She is covered by her own blanket, not shared the blanket with the foster mother.
3. No other medical issues other than Thallassemia.
4. She is not using any medication right now.
5. She is more outgoing, a bit stubborn when she is upset and can cry loudly.  If you cannot satisfy what she wants, she would have a temper.  She likes to immitate, likes to dance.  When she listens to the music, she would move her body.
6. She likes to eat rice with meat broth.  She likes to eat vegetable, oranges, and apples.
7. She likes to play games and chase after others.
8. In the foster family, there are foster father, foster mother, big sister, and big brother.
9. She goes to the hospital for blood transfusion every month.  When it is about time for transfusion, she would appear pale, loss of appetite, and low energy.  After the blood transfusion, she regains her appetite with high energy.  She loves to smile.  The foster mother takes her to the hospital for the blood transfusion each time.  The fees are paid by the orphanage.  She does not have reaction to the medication.
10. The foster family shows the adoptive family's photos to her everyday.

Hmmm...stubborn with a temper.  Who else does that remind you of?  Well, at least I know that she was like that before coming to us, so people won't be able to say she got it from me.  And, it's nice to hear that she eats something other than candy.  In a previous update, her favorite food was listed as "milk candy" and these pictures sure look like she's got a sweet tooth.  Assuming she has any teeth left.

We love seeing how healthy and happy she looks, and it makes us happy that her foster family takes such good care of her.  It is also nice knowing that she looks pictures of P and I every day.  Probably not 1000 times a day like we look at her pictures, but that's OK!

The excitement from the awesome pictures and update hadn't even worn off when I got home and had a message from our agency saying we received our LOA!  Needless to say, I went into hysterics, crying and screaming, then I called other people and made them go into hysterics, crying and was just happiness overload!  I called my mom who was in the middle of the casino at Mohegan Sun and she joined in on the crying and screaming, too.  People must have though she either really hit the slots big time, or really lost the slots big time.  I don't think she could have been any happier if she hit the lucky 7's!!

P and I are dancing around here so excited that our dream is becoming more of a reality every day!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rotten Apples

We had a great day today with Auntie Sue Sue apple picking (and donut eating) at Russell Orchards in Ipswich.  Sue and I laughed so hard that we cried our mascara off.  Who wears mascara to an apple orchard, you ask?  We do. 

There are no pictures of the 1/2 dozen donuts the three of us ate, because they were gone before I could get out the Canon.  Afterwards we took a ride up to Newburyport to shop around and grab some coffee.  It was an awesome day, but we all kept saying, "Won't it be fun next year when E is here?" and "Won't it be cool to take E on the hayride?" and "Won't it be cute to lift E up on daddy's shoulders to pick an apple?" and so on.  E, we wish you were here!

E, this is your mother and aunt.  Sorry.
I was lighter before we scoffed down hot cider donuts...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I found out today that our dossier left the "Translation Room" on 9/30! What does this mean?  NO IDEA! But, hey, this gal likes a reason to celebrate!  Seriously, it doesn't necessarily mean things are moving any faster or slower, but at least it means that things are moving.  After some of the horror stories I read, I was losing sleep thinking that our precious dossier was forgotten and languishing somewhere, or eaten by a dog, or mistakingly flushed down a toilet.  So it was very exciting to finally hear that we've made some progress, and that it's now being reviewed.  Everyone cross your fingers for a fast LOA!!!

C'mon, people!  Where's that LOA?  Don't make me ask twice...

Monday, October 10, 2011

July in October

Anyone else in New England loving the awesome summer weather we had this weekend?!  We headed to Cape Cod for a day trip and sat on a beach full of people in bathing suits!  There were even people in the water!  What a lovely treat.  We always love to visit the Cape in October when it is quiet, but we are usually wearing fleece!

We enjoyed a quiet cocktail rocking away in the rocking chairs and breathing in the salt air at Chatham Bars Inn.  After, we visited a tiny beach across the street and soaked in the last rays of the sun.  I have so many wonderful memories of the Cape with my family, and I can't wait to start making similar memories with E next year.

Mmm...Cocktails at Chatham Bars Inn
Paperwork?  What paperwork?

Soaking in the last drops of summer for a loooooong time

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Hair, Again

So, there's been a lot of water cooler talk about E's whiffle.  Was it medical?  Did she have lice, or did she get a transfusion that way?  Is it cultural, and just something that we are not familiar with in the US?  Or is it just because it's so freakin' hot in the south of China that I'd be shaving my head, too?  Whatever it is, the consensus is that's she's the most adorable thing ever with or without hair, but people still talk about her new 'do.

I had the chance to chat up a lovely Vietnamese woman the other day.  Yes, this was at a nail salon getting a pedicure before our vacation-so what?  I asked her to paint a flower on my big toe and next thing I know my toe had become a canvas for something that could be in the Sistine Chapel.  She is one talented me if you need a manicure in MA.  Anyways, I'm way off topic here.

We got on the topic of the adoption, and I showed her our pictures.  She said, "Oh!  That's so good they shaved her head!  Aren't you happy?"  Um, no, "happy" was not what I had been thinking.  So I asked her if they did it because it's so hot there.  "Yes, maybe because it's hot but probably so her hair will grow in nice and thick!  It's good-now you won't have to shave it when you bring her home," she tells me.  I actually was not planning on shaving E's head to give her better hair when she got home, but whatever.

Then she went on to explain that some Asians shave their children's eyebrows as well so that they will grow nicely.  She pointed out how lovely hers are (and she really did have great brows).  She then cautioned me not to go home and shave mine, as I'm too old for that and they won't grow in.  Again, I was not considering running home to shave 'em off, but OK.

Finally, she shared the most amazing piece of information about her culture and this thing about cutting hair so that it will grow.  She said that when babies are newborns, some parents creep into their cribs as they sleep, and snip their eyelashes so that the lashes will grow nice and long.  "I did my son's, my husband did my daughter's."  Now, I will say that she did a mighty fine manicure, and she did paint that mural on my toe, but you gotta have some pretty steady hands to trim a sleeping baby's eyelashes!

So, whatever the reason that E is sporting her new crop, it's OK with us.  We are just hoping that her foster mama has hands as steady as a surgeon's.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy B-day, Auntie Sue Sue!

We had an awesome time celebrating Auntie Sue Sue's birthday at Mom and Dad's house.  Mmmm...Mom's spaghetti and meatballs.  Yum!

P and I especially enjoyed making Sue laugh so much that she spit her tea out.  Or it came out of her nose.  Either way, you get the idea, we were laughing a whole lot.  A typical night at M&D's.

Sue, you have been an amazing source of love and support since the first second you knew about our E.  You are already the best Auntie in the world!!

Wishing E would get here soon!
(I forgot my camera, so this is one from a few years ago...)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We found out today that our Log In Date (LID) is September 5.  That means on Labor Day, our dossier was logged in China.

So, before you ask:
1.  No, E will not be here by Thanksgiving.
2.  Yes, we still have a very long wait.
3.  No, we can not make this go any faster.  If we could, we would.

What this really means is that our waiting time for our Letter of Approval (LOA) starts counting on 9/5.  Right now, the wait for LOA is anywhere from 80-125 days.  So, a LONG time.  And, that's just for our LOA.  There's still more stuff to do and more waiting after that.

No one said this was going to be easy...

Monday, September 12, 2011


We just got back from a lovely one-nighter in Ogunquit, ME.  We stayed in a little motel in Perkins Cove.  It is a quirky place, and we were the youngest guests there by about 50 years, but we love it.  We spent a lot of time relaxing on the huge lawn on the water, watching the lobster boats come and go.  We took several walks along the Marginal Way, taking in the gorgeous views of our favorite rocky coast.  We were so excited to see a family just like ours will be, enjoying the same sights.

Some of our food highlights included Milky Way ice cream (Richardson's), delicious coffee from Breaking New Grounds, and a relaxing lunch at Barnacle Billy's.  The most scenic lunch we had was our picnic right on the motel grounds.

We also enjoyed a boat cruise on the Finest Kind III.  As anyone who knows me knows, I am terrified of boats but I will go on harbor cruises.  Let's just say that this cruise left the harbor and was pushing the limits of my comfort zone.  P did a great job of protecting me, and he said I was a good sport.  The unfortunate thing was that it was bouncy (to me) for the ride out but as smooth as glass on the way back.  If I had known that, I would have been able to relax a little better.  The cruise took us from Perkins cove right up to Nubble Light.  The views were definitely amazing and worth it and I'm happy I went, but I won't be going again any time soon!  Still, I know I am a wimp and I highly recommend the trip.

Overall, a perfect getaway!  We can't wait to bring E there soon!

Perkins Cove

Monday, September 5, 2011

High 'n' Tight

So, tonight I was whipping up some lobster risotto (otherwise knows as Lazy Hub's Lobster because I pick out all of the meat and Lazy Hub eats it) and P called me over to the computer saying we got an update!  Screaming, lobster tail in hand, I ran over to see our sweet little E.  At first I thought they sent us pics of the wrong kid, perhaps a boy.  Turns out, there she is, with a new haircut:

"So, yeah, I have a wiffle...what's it to you?"
 My, oh, my it's a testament to her utter cuteness that she can pull off this look.  And, then, an even newer pic:

"My finger is delicious, but August is darn hot in Southern China."
Well, well, well.  So, the wiffle was not short enough to keep her cool, so they went a tad bit shorter.  After the shock wore off ("WTF did they do to her piggy tails!??!?!?!"), I calmed down and realized that she's still the cutest thing ever, hair or no hair.

Friday, August 26, 2011


All of those notarizations, home study visits, authentications, copies, copies, and more copies culminate with is the day our dossier was sent to China!

We celebrated with some homemade lo mein (what else...)!!  It tasted pretty authentic, too.

Sue came by later and we went to Dairy Queen for a little sundae celebration.  No pics, everyone was too busy eating....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy T&P Day

Today is our 9 year anniversary!  It is so crazy thinking this will be our last year just the two of us.  Big changes in store...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August Moon Festival

P and I had a great day at the August Moon Festival in Quincy.  We ate some yummy Chinese food and watched several dance performances.  McDonald's had this little pavilion where you could spin a wheel to win something and they also had these cool pictures that you could have taken for free!  Of course, P brought along one of our E announcements, so we thought it would be cute to pose with her picture.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I-800A Approval

Woo hoo!  After another day of stalking the mail carrier, we got it!  It was fun to get it on a Saturday since we were both there to get it together. 
Yes, these are my pajamas.

How appropriate P in his stars and stripes with the USPS truck that we stalked in the background.

We celebrated with a trip to the North End for some good eats.  P got the last few slices of pizza left at Umberto's, and then we headed to the Fisherman's Feast and shared an arancini the size of my head.  Yum!  It's so nice to be able to celebrate the little steps.
Loves his pizza.
See the 2nd fork?  This is me "sharing" my arancini.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Jazz Hands

OK, this isn't us doing "Jazz Hands", it's us getting psyched up for our fingerprints.  Since these pics were taken at 5am, I'm surprised I had the energy to smile.  After our first attempt at "walking in" to do our fingerprints at the Application center in Boston was foiled, we were trying to have a positive attitude for our second attempt.  Fortunately, 2nd try was a charm and we got our fingerprints done. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Boothbay Harbor

This weekend we decided to take a break from the paperwork and madness to go to one of our favorite places, Boothbay Harbor (BBH).  We talked a lot about how this is our last trip here for just the two of us, and how we can't wait to bring E.  It was fun to see several adoptive families enjoying the harbor, and thinking about how that will be us soon enough!

We managed to pack in many of our favorite things during our trip...especially lots of good food and taking in the beautiful scenery of the harbor.

P was not happy about the long line at Boothbay Ice Cream Factory.
Murray Landing, East Boothbay

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Paperchase

The phase of the adoption process where you collect everything you need for your dossier is called the "paperchase." It involves collecting original documents from birth and marriage certificates to physical exams and labs to clearances from your local PD department. Once you collect the documents, each has to go to the MA Secretary of State to be authenticated. After that's done, all of the papers take a trip to Washington, DC where they are authenticated by the US Secretary of State, and then again at the Chinese Embassy.