Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Fun

What an amazing first Christmas we had as a family! 

Last year, I remember being at our annual family Christmas Eve party and having E "with us" by having a picture of her at the table.  This year, she was the life of the party!  And I mean that literally, she nearly shut the place down!  Dancing, singing, marching, stopping for some shrimp cocktail or a bite of Nana's dessert, and off again wearing the grown-ups out.  She really enjoyed getting to play with her adorable little cousins.  At one point around midnight (when all of the other kids were long gone and tucked in to bed), E was playing the piano and Baba asked her if she was getting tired and ready to go home and she said, "No!  Emmie play all night!"  When we got her to go home, she put out some cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer and finally passed out.

Auditioning for "The Voice"?

This is about 12:30am.  LOTS of energy still left!
Christmas Day was magical.  It was so much fun and excitement for all of us.  I waited with nervous anticipation with the cameras as Baba led E in to see all of the fun things that Santa left for her.  Obviously, she was a VERY good girl this year!  I can report that her favorite gift so far is a pair of kid's scissors.  I'm pretty sure Santa could have just left those and a bunch of paper to cut up and that's all she would need.  We had a delicious Christmas dinner and lots more presents to open to round out a perfect day.

How do you use this thing?

The favorite gift:  a pair of kid's scissors.

Our happy girl.

Look at those big brown eyes in the magnifying glass!

It was a wonderful Christmas with the people we love.  We missed our little R, but we are so excited that she will be here to join in on the fun next year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Thoughts

This family has sure been Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree this holiday season, and it has been amazing.  We've looked at lights, sung carols, watched all of the requisite TV specials, trimmed the tree, gone shopping together, named our very own Elf, and read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" countless times.  We even saw a real reindeer right near our neighborhood!  Yesterday, E and I baked cookies and made my Nana's recipe for fudge.  Andy Williams and Dean Martin were playing holiday classics in the background, my daughter had a mouthful of chocolate chips and was covered in sticky Fluff and my kitchen was covered in powdered sugar.  I stopped, looked, and listened and thought to myself, "Yes, this is what it's all about." 

At E's 3rd birthday party, one of my favorite relatives who we hadn't seen in awhile asked P how he was doing.  His response:  "I'm living the dream."  And if that sounds as candy-coated as my kitchen right now, it's not.  That doesn't mean that it's perfect or easy, but we never expected it to be perfect or easy.  But it's truly wonderful.

So, then, what are we complaining about?

It's Rosie.  She's in China, we are here, and it's Christmas.  I know, I know...those of you who know us or have followed our adoption journeys are saying, "But what's the big deal?  E was in China last Christmas...you should be old pros at this!  You already sang 'Blue Christmas' last year!"

Well, this year it's worse.  Does that sound like a slight against E?  I suppose it does.  But, in fact, it's actually the exact opposite.  It is because of E that we are missing our second daughter so much this Christmas.  Before E, we weren't parents.  So, the whole idea of having a child was just that--an idea.  We said, "I bet it will be so amazing to have a little daughter to celebrate the holidays with!"  Now, we know how wonderful it is to celebrate every holiday, every birthday, and every Tuesday with your child.  It's not just the idea of little feet running around...it's actually hearing those little feet, feeling those tight hugs, smelling her soft hair, and seeing her bright smile.  Like P said, "Now I know what all of the fuss was about." 

So, this year, we will celebrate this Christmas like no other before it.  It will be bigger, happier, warmer, and more full of love than ever.  But, it will also be harder because while we look and see the joy in E's eyes, we'll know what we are missing.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Yay!  If you got our Christmas card then you know that we got some new and *outrageously* adorable pics of R.  For the rest of you all out in the blog world (ie, the 3 of you reading this) here they are:

Rockin' the acid-washed denim vest.

Look at that perfectly coiffed hair!

We were so delighted to see how good she looks!  (We had received an earlier video where she did not look so well.)  I'm not going to go into the details of the medical update, but suffice it to say that I literally lost my breath when I read how low her hemoglobin had been in the past year.  When I called my Mom to give her the update (she knows a lot about hemoglobin values from raising this thal baby), she was out Christmas shopping and sounded like she, too, had been hit in the chest. Thankfully, R's recent values were much better.  Still, this Mama is worrying about her little baby from far away.

We were also thrilled to find out that R has been in the Love Without Boundaries Nutrition Program since she was a baby!  In fact, she appeared on their recent Nutrition Program update here.  It makes me so happy to know that she's getting some assistance from such a wonderful organization, but it also makes me a little sad to know that she needs this kind of assistance in her life right now.  It was amazing to see the outpouring of support when Amy Eldridge of LWB announced on Facebook that R had a family.  Supporters of LWB from all over the globe were estatic to hear that our precious little daughter would be "One Less."

Everyone please join us in hoping for a quick paperwork process to bring our second little princess home!



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Double Your Pleasure

What ever do you do when you are sharing SO much fun, SO much happiness, SO much love that you just want more?  How about twice the laughter, twice the adorableness, twice the thalassemia?

Meet R.
(Don't feel bad for asking if it's E when she was little.  Everyone does.)
Yes, here we go again.  Get out your fork and start twirlin'.  Find your chopsticks and start slurpin'.  There's going to be twice the noodles in this house and boy are we thrilled.  Mama and Baba are dancing in the streets, and little E is in on all of the excitement, too.  (No, USCIS, we do not let E dance in the street.  Usually.)

I think somewhere, way in the back of my now dulled SAHM brain, I always knew we'd do this again.  P was a little quicker than I was to get back in the saddle, so to speak.  But not long after things started settling in and feeling "normal" with E, I started looking around at files of children casually.  I knew I wanted E to have a sister (I have one) and I knew I wanted that sister to be from China.  I also knew that I wanted that sister to have thalassemia (mine does not).  But even when I saw a file that seemed to "fit the bill" on paper, I still wasn't feeling it.

Until this:

R.  Born December 1, 2010.  Guangdong Province, China.
Her file says her favorite activity is riding the "Trojans".  Obviously, that is true.

Stop the presses.  We are in love.  Yes, all over again.  Like the song:  "It feels like the first time.  It feels like the very first time."  I knew it the minute I saw her sweet face.  She's The One.  Er, well, the second "The One".

Like with E, we wanted to find our child ourselves rather than being matched with one.  Therefore, we were (again) a man without a country.  A family without an agency.  So when we heard about R becoming available for adoption, we were again in the crazy scramble of not only putting together our LOI, but also signing on with a new agency.  But we worked lightning fast, submitted LOI, and had PA three days (!!) later, on November 13.  We have been in a tizzy of homestudy visits and paperwork madness since then.  Throw in Thanksgiving, a very special Third Birthday, a not-so-special Mama birthday, several colds, a few parties to attend and St. Nick breathing down our necks and you've got one stressed out Mama and Baba.  But every time I feel like I can't breathe, I look at E, and am reminded why the hand-wringing and sleepless nights and anxiety over stupid pieces of paper is worth it.  NOTHING is more worth it.  Yes, I'd do it all over again.  And, we are.

Emmie's now a Jie Jie!

We realize that our daughters are unique and will experience their lives on a very individual level, but we are so happy that they will have each other.  They will have the shared experiences of being adopted, being part of a transracial family, and having thalassemia.   They way they navigate all of this will differ, but they will have someone there as a source of support when they need it.

So now we wait.  And just like with E, we want R here yesterday and will do everything in our power to get her here safely and quickly.  Just like E said, "Emmie, Mama, Baba...Go China, get Roe-rie!"