Saturday, April 23, 2005

All The Details

Jeff rolled out of bed with that sick feeling you get from not getting enough sleep, and went into the office at 6 this morning. Two hours and 3 hits on the snooze button later I rolled out of bed with that same sick feeling and went to pick Jeff up at his office so we could be in Monterey Park at 11. Jeff supplied me with Diet Coke for breakfast, as I learned in college that caffiene makes everything better.

We had great traffic all the way there- Jeff and I are convinced that the spirit of my Aunt must have cleared the Four Yugos of the Apocalypse* out of the way. We arrived at USAA at 10:30, and decided that we would at least go inside to wait for our paperwork.

As we came in the doors, we found Norman and a lovely Chinese lady seated at the small round table to the left of the reception area with several stacks of paper. We apologized for being so early, and said we would be happy to wait until 11. Norman came over and greeted us and said there was no need to wait and told us to have a seat. The nice lady asked our name, and then handed is a large manilla envelope. "Is this it???", we asked. She smiled broadly, and said "Yes! This is your referral! Go ahead and open it. I will translate for you." We opened the end of the envelope and slowly and carefully began sliding the papers out as though there might be something dangerous inside. The first document was a "Children Medical Examination Record" and stapled to the top of it were pictures of a beautiful baby. Our daughter. She was exactly the way I had always pictured her in my mind.

It was difficult to tear my eyes away from her precious face so that we could read about her. The translator read over the medical report, which is entirely in Chinese, and told us that everything was normal. She then showed us the part that said she was HIV and Hep negative.

The next document was titled "State of Growth Prospective Adoptive Child" and is filled out by the SWI, so it gives you more detailed information. According to this document:

Tenley was found on September 14, 2004.
She wakes at 6 am (oh goody), naps from 12-2, and goes to bed at 8:30 pm.
She eats at: 6:15, 10:00, 2:00, 6:00, and 10. She takes 150 ml of formula w/ rice cereal.
She is a deep sleeper.
She is described as active, restless, likes music, has a ready smile, laughs aloud, likes games, knows her name, responds to adults facial expressions, and knows the difference between an aquaintance and a stranger (uh-oh).
She can roll over and can hold her head up when lying on her stomach.

We are overjoyed- it's even better than we had hoped for, and it was love at first sight. Jeff is ready to get on a plane NOW. We heard from another parent that Norman is trying for travel on either June 17 or 24- we're hoping it's 17.

* My cousin Colin has this theroy that all crappy traffic is caused by The Four Yugos of the Apocalypse: one Yugo in each lane of the fwy, all with the pedal to the metal which means that they're doing 40, and blocking every lane with no way to go around!

Friday, April 22, 2005

You talkin' to me?
Posted by Zeus

Our beautiful baby girl! Look at her tiny feet!!
Posted by Zeus

Tenley's Mugshot.
Posted by Zeus


April 21, 2005 : A Day of Double Happiness

After getting our first call at 9 in the morning, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and happily put on the super cute "Fortune Tee" Jeff got me that says "A Baby Girl Is In My Near Future", slapped on some make-up and dashed out the door to pick Megan up from the car dealership in Ontario.

We left the PT Cruiser for service, and went to Montclair Plaza to return a suit Meg had buyers' remorse over (she did spend waaaay too much) and then to shop for something better, which we found at Ann Taylor Loft. Shopping always makes us hungry, and Meg felt we should celebrate the 1st Call, so new suit in hand, we headed off for downtown Claremont to browse the boutiques and dine at one of the little restaurants there.

Our first stop in Claremont was this darling little children's shop (the kind with fancy dresses & unique clothes & gifts where everything is 2x as expensive as you think it should be) where Meg bought Tenley her first pair of shoes: they're pink leather Mary Janes with red tulips embroiderd on the toes. We decided on this little Italian cafe for lunch- which was fabulous- and then paused for homemade ice cream at the confectioner's shop on the way back to the car.

We left. We passed city hall. We made a right. My cell phone rang. I said, "Oh, that must be Jeff" but my caller ID clearly said USAA. I presumed Yazmine must have forgotton to tell me something when we had talked in the morning, so I hit the green button and cheerfully said "Hi Yazmine!" There was a small chuckle and then a soft male voice with a Chinese accent said, "No, not Yazmine- this is Norman." The director of my agency was calling? NO! It couldn't be!! But it was: Norman said "I'm calling with your referral!" I couldn't breathe. "NOW?? Oh my God, hang on- I'm driving and I can't write!" I cried as I veered across 2 lanes of traffic, whipped into a parking lot, and threw my CRV in park. Megan had figured out what was happening by now and had grabbed to small notebook I keep in the car and found a pencil for me to write with.

Norman sounded excited as he said, "You have a very young infant! She is very small, very little and beautiful!" "Young?? How young??" I wanted to know. "She was born on September 13, 2004." Only 7 months!! WOW!! "Where is she from Norman?? Which Province??" Norman replied that she was from the Guangdong province, and was at the Yang Xi Social Welfare Institute. "What is her name??" Norman explained, "Her name is Qiu Li Hao. Qiu is her last name, the same as the Director of the SWI. All babies from there have this name. Li is her first name- it means 'beautiful'. Hao is her middle name... it has no meaning it is just a name." He went on to tell me that as of February 22 she was 63 cm (24.8 inches) long, and weighed 6.4 kg (14 lbs.). I was so stunned I didn't think to as him any more details.

Megan and I sat in the parking lot and wept tears of suprise and joy for a few minutes, and then I called Jeff who sounded completely shocked. Oddly, it was our parents (the new grandparents) that we could not get ahold of! Except for my Dad, who was thrilled for us and delighted to be the first person to know something for once!

Jeff and I celebrated last night by going to Babies R Us and ordering Tenley's furniture. Then we went to the Panda Inn for dinner. We had come full circle: we had dinner there on January 15, 2004 after we met with Hemlata and began this quest.

Forecast for last night: no sleep. We were busy counting the hours until we could drive to Montery Park and see her precious little face for the first time.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Yes! It's true: the stork has been sighted and is winging it's way to LA right now...the fact that the stork looks like a DHL plane is of no concern.

At 9:09 PDT this morning my cell phone cheerfully started ringing and showed me a 626 number that did not belong to Doug & Tina and that meant it belonged to USAA! Sure enough, it was Yasmine giving us our official "1st Call" to talk to us about our visas for entering China and to tell us that our referrals would be here "very soon" (we suspicion that they're already here, but Tracy who does referrals is on vacation until Mon.).

Here's the information I was able to get from Yasmine:

Referrals are coming for the 15 families in Group 103 and the 8 families in 106p.
She does not know which provinces the children are from.
She has not heard anything about twins, but she has heard that there are a couple of boys.
Our target for travel is late June/early July.

We expect that we will get our referral next week, maybe Tues. or Wed! I can't believe that it's our turn - NOW! I'm so excited, and yet completely overwhelmed.

I think I'll go outside & start looking for ladybugs!

Monday, April 18, 2005

The center panel of a genuine Betsy Walke handmade quilt. It's not done yet and we can't wait to see the rest of it.
Posted by Zeus

Tenley's beautiful, tasty, mispelled cake
Posted by Zeus

Jeff holding up Tenley's cow
Posted by Zeus

Crazy Aunt Michelle holding James "the Puxter" Henton
Posted by Zeus

It's a shower...where's the soap??

Yesterday Megan The Cleaning Nazi's house was filled to capacity as friends and family gathered to celebrate our upcoming adoption. It was everything Megan's late mother Sharon had dreamed of. There was Chinese food, paper lantern decorations, chocolate covered fortune cookies, games and loads of kids. Every age group was represented from 3 weeks old to 60+. All the "wanna be" grandmothers got their baby fix for the day since Michelle Fitts and Tina Henton obligingly handed their 3 week and 2 month old children around the room.

The well wishers and gift bestowers dined on "House" Chicken, Veggie Spring Rolls, White Rice, Crab Rangoon, Lettuce Wraps, Mandarin Salad and Fruit. There was a cake that was decorated to look like the invitation to the shower and despite the fact that they spelled Tenley's name wrong, it looked and tasted great!

Tenley's gifts include: two car seats, a stroller, toiletries, books, toys, cute clothing, a night light, laundry detergent, baby proofing items, gift cards, dinnerware, a fabulous handmade quilt and a cow.

It was a good time with some friends that we don't get to see very often and others that we see all the time. We are grateful for everyone who came to share our happiness; and we are very thankful for all the wonderful gifts and for Megan opening up her home for us.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Rumor Mill

Rumors rumors everywhere...and nothing we can count on!

Now that there's no one in front of us and it's the October DTC people who are due to get referrals, the Rumor Mill has shifted into high gear. It's a good thing that we're not anxious or desperate, because you could make yourself crazy (and many people are) trying to keep up with what everyone thinks might be going on.

Oddly, the message board that USAA people talk on is quiet. There are questions about Gotcha Day and the information you will receive at 1st & 2nd call, but those questions are being asked by members of Groups 105 - 109 predominantly. Someone from 103 did call USAA today, and posted that they were told we are done being matched- but have no ETA on our referrals, and that it's unlikely that 103 (us) will be combined with 102 (but could potentially be combined with 104), and that 103 will likely not travel until June or July. This set off a firestorm of freaked out posts on the Group 103 message board by anxious members of our group who have stated that they will not, under any circumstances, wait until July to travel if we get a referral anytime in the next 2 weeks. They are seeking ways to beg, cajole, demand, or force USAA to take us sooner, send us on our own, or travel with another agency to get there in May. The October DTC board has been humming with rumors for weeks because the members of that group are from many different agencies, so everyone has a different story: referrals are coming, but only if you have a LID before Oct 15 (or 17, or 19 depending on the rumor); referrals are not coming and there won't be any until May (or June depending on the rumor); referrals are coming- but only for the end of Sept people. After 5 minutes of this your eyes begin to cross and your head begins to really hurt.

This is the part of the wait that is hard for me: listening to all these people freak out and chase their tails. Jeff and I are really calm and we have had no problem with the wait. I suppose that could be because this is our first attempt to have a child, unlike many others who spent their late 20's trying to conceive and their 30's in the "fertility circus" and may or may not have failed domestic adoptions to boot. Some people have 1 biological child, but were unable to have more. Some are just baby crazy. We are letter "D": none of the above. We believe that the child who will be our daughter was destined before time was time, and that our job is merely to walk the path God has set us on until we meet her. Some of our group are upset at the thought of having a picture and then having to leave their child in the orphanage for 2 months until July... I don't see the problem: she has no idea that a couple of pale faced round eyed people speaking a strange language are flying half way around the world to rescue her from a substandard living environment and whisk her away to a clean, well fed pamperd life of luxury...she's just happily living the only life she's ever known- and she may be with a loving and attentive foster family.

I am content to wait and continue cleaning and preparing our home. I know Tenley is coming, and while I'd love to see her face today, it's ok if I don't see it until May or June. I have no intention of calling USAA to find out what's happening and where our referrals are, or to join in the travel mutiny- if we don't go until July it will be hot and humid and miserable (Guangzhou is on the same latitude as Cuba) but I will still see China and be united with my daughter.

I think everybody just needs to take a pill.