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Join me in my ramblings about my life, my kids, the meaning of the universe, and adopting from China.

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Wednesday, December 26

Boxing Day Fun!


Alice's Launceston Grandma and Grandpa came to visit today, and bought with them the hit of Christmas 2007 - the ride-on, push-along, plays really loud, noisy and annoying music car. She just adores it!

Tuesday, December 25

Happy Christmas!!



Well the kids are in bed, the pressies have been opened and all is now quiet in the house. Our first Christmas as a family of five is almost over, and we have had a fabulous day. The big kids were very excited with their trampoline (courtesy of DH and yours truly) and Alice pretty much enjoyed the wrapping paper and empty boxes more than the gifts! Unfortunately she has a miserable cold, with green gunk coming out of her nose and eyes, but she seemed to enjoy her very first Christmas, and I got LOTS of kisses before bed! All in all, I feel truly blessed to have been able to spend such a special day with my beautiful family. After several Christmases feeling very depressed about our missing family member, to finally be able to celebrate it with her was an absolute joy. Happy Christmas to you all, and enjoy the pics!

Monday, December 17

Our Handover Video

After almost two months of messing around, I have FINALLY been able to upload and share with you our handover video. The quality is not great, but I hope you will enjoy watching it.

Handover Day

Friday, December 14

As per request- the New Do


After my post yesterday I had a comment left by my mate OziMum asking for pics of the new hairdo, so here 'tis. For those who don't know me personally, I have always been blonde and never coloured my hair until my mid-20's, when the blonde began to turn darker. Since then I have pretty much maintained the light locks, but prior to travelling to China to pick up our sweet Alice, I decided to get drastic and go brunette. The reasons?
a) because I was already going to stick out like a sore thumb in Jiangxi because of my pale skin and big nose;
b) because I remember reading somewhere that blonde hair is seen as the sign of a witch, and I didn't want to completely freak out my new daughter by looking INCREDIBLY foreign.

So out went the blonde and in came the brunette, and I didn't mind it too much, but after almost three months with no hair care, I was well and truly overdue for a cut and colour. When my hairdresser suggested blonde again, I said 'Why not??' So here I am, looking dressed and ready for the kid's school picnic today. Now all I need is my grumpy and overtired baby to wake up so we can go to the beach!!

Thursday, December 13

A trip to the hairdressers

Today I am a little apprehensive. Today I am leaving my sweet girl for the first time ever for about two hours to go and get something done with my utterly gross hair. I am sure that she will be fine with my mum, after all they have a mutual appreciation society set up, but I can't help but feel nervous. What if she is TOO comfortable with mum?? What if she DOESN'T miss me?? What if she screams her head off for two hours and I am not there to comfort her?? Perhaps I should just forget about the hair treatment and continue to look gross....But as soon as I have such thoughts my vanity kicks in and remembers the dreaded high school reunion which is happening in only 16 days time, for which I must try to look a little less like a tired and frazzled mum-to-three. Not that I am frazzled (tired definitely) but I do look it. I have just realised that I haven't managed to put makeup on since Handover Day. Wow - no wonder things are looking grim in the appearance department. So, my vanity will no doubt triumph over worry and I will head off to the hairdresser at 11am. I wonder if she can turn back the clock and make me look as young and fresh as I did in 1987 when I left high school. Mmmm, probably not............

UPDATE I arrived back at my mum's after the jaunt to the hairdressers, and was greeted by a huge, gummy smile and the 'I'm happy to see you' jigging-up-and-down dance. It was a melt your heart mummy moment for sure. Mind you it has taken me almost an hour to get her to sleep, even though we had a late night last night and she only had a very short, early nap this morning. Overstimulated by Grandma perhaps???!!!

Monday, December 10

Christmas photo



Well, here is the end product of about half an hour's worth of snapping and acting like idiots. DH and I did EVERYTHING we could to make Alice smile for the camera, but NOTHING worked! And when we did manage to capture a smile, one of the other kids was looking down, sideways or just plain elsewhere. I took about 120 pics, and this is probably the best, to be used for grandma and grandpa Christmas gifts. Hope you like it!

Thursday, December 6

High School Reunion


I received in the mail last week an invitation to my 20 year high school reunion. How incredibly scary that it has been 20 years since I last wore that daggy brown and green tunic and had my hair permed within an inch of it's life. Twenty years in which I have been to uni, gained a couple of degrees and a diploma, met and married my husband, bore two children, worked in various jobs and adopted my third baby from China. Been pretty busy I guess, and I am sort of looking forward to catching up with people I haven't seen for a very long time. You may notice that I said 'sort of'. I am also a bit terrified. I was not particularly popular at school, and found grades 7 and 8 in particular very, very difficult. I also had an incredibly bad attitude - spent most of my lunchtimes in detention for all of year 8, was very rude to a lot of people, and basically behaved like a know-it-all 14 year old. I really hope that the majority of the people I went to school with have forgotten all that bad stuff and just remember the good (what there was of it!) I am also under orders from my friend Mark, who lives in London and won't be able to make it, that I am to go and take LOTS of photos so he can see them and check out who looks the most haggard!!! So I will be on a bit of a mission to photograph my old school buddies and see if they have aged well or not. Mmmm, could be kind fun....I did toss up the idea of dragging out the dress I wore to my high school Leaver's Dinner but decided that
a) I probably wouldn't have a hope of fitting into it and;
b) the Eighties were such a daggy period fashion-wise that my white taffeta number with spaghetti straps would probably make me the laughing stock of the night.
It's a good excuse to go and buy something new and hopefully catch up with old friends. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 4

It's Summer!!

Well, it has actually been summer for four days now, but I have only just realised. The pouring rain has not really put me in a summery-type mood either. But here it is, and in a few short days my two precious big kids will be finished school and the big summer holidays begin. YAY!!!! I am just feeling so blessed and thankful that this summer we are a family of five. Our circle is complete, and Christmas this year will be a very special one indeed. It seems not that long ago that we were putting up the Christmas tree and I was feeling decidedly un-Christmassy. Another Christmas without our baby was very difficult to bear, and I was convinced it would NEVER happen. But it did, it is wonderful, and this Christmas will be very special indeed. So to all of you out there, wherever you may be who will be enduring another Christmas without your little one, my thoughts are with you. Be kind to yourselves this festive season and tell yourself that it WILL happen, no matter how far away it seems. One day there will be an extra stocking waiting to be filled, and your house will be full of all the joy and laughter that children bring to this very special time of the year. Love to you all xxxxx

Friday, November 30

Things Alice has learned...

...since we arrived home:
-how to blow super-wet raspberries (thanks for that DS!!)
-how to give cuddles
-that banana tastes GREAT
-that Mummy's nose is big and good to shove your fingers up during bottle time
-how to wave 'bye-bye'
-how to crawl, especially when there is contraband in sight
-how to pull herself up on furniture and walk along, letting out little grunts of self-satisfaction as she goes
-how to throw a huge tantrum when being strapped into the car seat - a la 'ironing board baby'
-that dogs are fun, if a little big and scary at times. They are especially fun when they lick you all over your face then knock you over with their tail.
-that chickens are interesting, and make funny noises.
-how to blow kisses
-how to wrap her daddy around her little finger
-how to sleep in the family bed without taking up the majority of space
-how to laugh
-how to say 'mum'

Our new daughter is such a blessing and every day with her just keeps on getting better. Watching her grow, learn and discover her new world is a delightful experience and we are so very honoured to be a part of it. We love you so very much Alice Xiao Ying.

Thursday, November 29

Heart-wrenching

Yesterday afternoon, Alice awoke from her nap after only an hour, screaming in terror. I rushed in to see what was wrong, and she still seemed to be 'out of it' but screaming. I was stroking her hair, saying 'shh shh', trying to calm her back to sleep, as she really needs her full two hours or she is CRANKY! She woke up properly then, took one look at me and screamed even louder than before. She turned her head into the pillow and was sobbing, 'ma, ma, ma'. She then looked at me again, screamed, looked away and sobbed again. My heart was breaking for this poor little girl who, I think, is finally beginning to realise that her foster mother (the only mum she had ever known prior to October 21st) has gone. I just cuddled her then, and she eventually calmed down, but my heart ached for this poor little soul. I am still tortured by doubts (especially at times like these) about whether we have done the right thing by taking this little girl away from her country of origin. I guess only time will tell...

Tuesday, November 27

Backyard violence



Photo at top left is Exhibit A- the Perpetrator (aka Bella the fox terrier cross). Photo at bottom left is Exhibit B - the Victim (aka our friendly garden echidna). At approximately 1300 hours on Monday, 26th November I discovered that The Perpetrator had cornered The Victim in The Backyard. I immediately took action by smacking the behind of the Perpetrator (bursting a blood vessel in my finger in the process) and proceeded to attempt the rescue of The Victim. Said Victim had burrowed it's way partially under the back veranda and was stuck. It took me until approximately 1400 hours to remove The Victim (after some pretty heavy digging) and check that The Victim had not been harmed by The Perpetrator. Fortunately The Victim seemed in good spirits, and was released outside the garden walls. The Perpetrator was found some hours later in my bedroom, having hid under the bed in shame, only to re-emerge when The Baby was put down for her afternoon nap. The Perpetrator seems sufficiently chastised and, I believe, sustained quite a number of non-fatal injuries from The Victim's spikes. Serves The Perpetrator right!!

Sunday, November 25

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CTG!!! So fabulous to hear from you in my comments, and that you are home with your precious Natalie. How was China? How did Big Sis cope?? How are you?? I know, you are very busy but would love to hear how it all went sometime. I will keep an eye on the November Board!!

Cristina xx

Tired and Grumpy


Me, not the baby. We live in a very peaceful little part of the world - two acres of bushland surrounding our home, no neighbours close by. Heaven. But last night the guy who lives in a tin shed on the bush block closest to us decided to have a party. The tents were going up during the day, and I was gloriously oblivious (mainly because I was entertaining my in-laws, which is in itself a whole 'nother story) until around 9pm. Then they started. They cranked up the stereo, obviously sank an incredibly huge amount of alcohol and began to party. At 10.30 pm they were doing the 'Hokey Pokey'. At 11pm they were cranking out the Jimmy Barnes classic 'Working Class Man', and caterwauling along with Jimmy. At 1am they reached the Queen album and 'We Will Rock You' was pounding through the peaceful bush air. I had very bad thoughts about these people - mostly involving me rising at my usual early hour and deciding to use the brush cutter on the boundary shrubs - near their tents. But because DH decided that it was his turn for a sleep in (can you sense my grumpiness about this too???) I couldn't proceed with my noisy wake-up plan. I instead decided to go out and feed the chooks, whilst casting stony glares in the direction of the tents. At 8am they were STILL going. The music was slightly less piercing in volume than it was at 1am but 'Honky-Tonk Woman' was playing not-so-gently in the peace and quiet of my Sunday morning. I sure hope those tents get packed away today or else it's going to be nasty - I may well implode with sheer frustration at my inability to do anything about the situation 'cos I am too much of a wuss......

Wednesday, November 21

Alice's Foster Family





As some of you may remember, I mentioned a few posts ago that I had employed a guy in China to interview Alice's foster family for me, and to take photos of their home, the area in which she grew up, etc. He exceeded all my expectations, and it was well worth the Great Western Union Debacle. I received answers to all 20 or so of my questions, and learned some things about Alice's earlier life and foster family that I hadn't previously known. I have posted just a few just pictures. There is one of the foster mother, father, foster mother's grandson and f.m. is holding her other foster child, whom Alice was raised with. I have blacked out the face of the little one, as she has, as yet, not been adopted. The other two photos show the lane way in which Alice's foster family's home is situated, and the surrounding neighbourhood. As to the little one being held by foster mum, I suspect her file is with the CCAA, so if you, or anyone you know gets an allocation from Feng Cheng in the coming months, drop me a line - I have some very special information and pictures I would love to share with you!

Tuesday, November 20

R.I.P Patch - or was it Pepper???


Alice and I were doing our normal round of morning chores today after popping DD and DS on the school bus. We fed the chickens (great entertainment for a 10 month old) then went down to feed the guinea pigs. Instead of two healthy but rather feral pigs, I had one feral pig and a bloated corpse. Eeewww. Trying to remove the body of a dead guinea pig from a small cage is an unattractive task at the best of times, but especially unpleasant when you are carrying a squirming baby who wants to touch the dead rodent. Anyway, we managed to retrieve Patch (or Pepper) and ceremoniously wrapped him in newspaper before popping him in the garbage bin. Mustn't forget to put the bin out Thursday night.....

Friday, November 16

Leave my baby alone!!!




I have devised a sign that I think I will begin to carry with me at all times when out in public. Do you like it??? I had to go to town today to the local Medicare office to get Alice signed up for health benefits. This agonising procedure took almost an hour (adoption does tend to complicate things somewhat) but Alice was an angel and behaved beautifully. Anyway, during my time in the office, two people I know from church came in and TOUCHED MY BABY!! One even kissed her!!! I was wearing her in the Ergo, close to my chest, and still they did it. ARGHHH!!!!!!! Alice simply did the turtle thing and hid herself away in the baby carrier, but I was horrified, and angry too. I know that people are excited to finally meet her, but people should not take this as an excuse to freak out a child who is still learning about Mum and Dad, let alone strangers! And now here is a question to ponder (put to me by my dear friend Susan yesterday) Would people still want to rant and rave if Alice were an ugly baby????...... Anyone who wants a sign, let me know!!

Thursday, November 15

At last, a SMILE!!!!



Never fear, Loyal Readers - it's not that our little Blossom has never smiled (she does so frequently!) It's just that I have never managed to capture one with the camera. Whenever I bring the camera out, she goes all buggy and serious and the flash completely spooks her and gives her that 'rabbit in the headlights' look. But yesterday, after a good twenty minutes of snapping away with no success (thank goodness for digital cameras!) I finally had the ingenious idea of doing something that I knew would make her smile - tickling her!! So, here is the result. A delightfully happy, gummy grin (10 months and still no teeth) which I wanted to share with you all. Ain't she cute???!!!

Thanks to those readers who posted yesterday with their concerns about my Western Union debacle. I can now say with great relief that it is finally over and my friend received his money. I also had a request tainted with curiosity about my mysterious receiver of funds. Should I tell??? Oh, OK then. His name is Bruce, he lives in Nanchang and he was recommended to me by a good friend who has used his services recently. For a fee, he travels (within Jiangxi only) to the foster mother's home, takes pictures, and asks her any questions about your adopted child that you send to him. He then translates all the answers, and sends the info plus all the pictures he has taken back. He has been great throughout this whole process - I even called him during the week to apologise for the delays with the funds transfer and he seems to be a genuinely nice guy. Not sure what he does for his 'proper' job, but he seems to be very efficient at what I have employed him to do. So, hopefully by Monday I will receive an email from Bruce containing pictures and information from Alice's foster mother, covering the first 9 months of her life. What a very special blessing that will be.

Wednesday, November 14

Wednesday Whinge (or my Western Union disaster)




Well Loyal Readers, this saga began on Friday last week. I am paying someone in an overseas country for 'certain services' (completely legal!) and I needed to transfer some money to them. 'Easy' they say. 'Just use Western Union'. So I, who had never even thought of this organisation (aside from that ad where the Chinese guy orders the pizza, realises he doesn't have enough money so dear 'ol dad wires it to him via W.U and it's there before the pizza) naively attempts to find an agent in my tiny town which is open on the weekend. No luck. So, I wait until Monday, and go to the Post Office to attempt to transfer said funds, which were requested to go to the un-named country in US dollars. 'Sorry' say the Post Office, 'but we cannot send USD to that particular country, it has to be transferred in the local currency'. So I tote my screamy and bored baby home, and email my friend, who says that the local currency will be fine, and asked if I had tried to do the transfer on-line - far more convenient I thought than trekking into town again. So yesterday I attempted to transfer said funds via the W.U site on the Internet. Oh. My. Gosh. What I thought would be a simple exercise turned into a complete debacle. I completed all the guff I needed to do, then, because I was a new customer, I had to call a 1800 number to confirm my details, for security reasons. To cut a long story short, apparently, according to W.U., I do not have enough 'security clearance' to transfer funds on-line. My driver's licence, home phone number, address and credit card details were obviously not good enough for them, so I decided to get my DH to try when he came home from work with HIS credit card. Wrong again - he too is apparently a great security risk (a lawyer with his own practice) and the transfer was not accepted. By this stage, I was about to commit murder, so I not-so-calmly checked my bank account details, just to make sure that the two failed transactions had not been debited from my credit card. Yep Dear Readers, you guessed it- THEY HAD!!!! So not only had I failed to send the money to the person who needed it, nearly $1000 was missing from my account. At this point I had a huge tantrum and rang my bank, who said I needed to ring W.U. Fortunately you cannot kill people over the phone, so I rang W.U again who reassured me that they would email my bank and cancel the transactions. They then very helpfully suggested that I go to my local Post Office the next day (today) and if I used cash for the payment, there would be no problems. Guess what - THERE WERE!!!!!! My payment failed twice, Alice was screeching from sheer boredom (and I suspect from sensing my complete and utter frustration) and the transaction, at this stage STILL has not gone through. The very nice man at the post office suggested that perhaps the fault was with Australia Post, not my transfer, and has just called me to confirm that it is a 'system error' and the transfer should go through later on this morning. But I tell you what - no more Western Union for me. I have, as us Aussies would very colloquially say, had a gutfull!!!!

Tuesday, November 13

Can you guess what I'm doing????


Heh heh - the universal 'baby pooping' face. Gotta love it!

Monday, November 12

Did you hear that????



...that was the sound of all my good intentions flinging themselves out the window. This baby stuff is REALLY time-consuming! I hope you all forgive me, and as I have a few spare minutes whilst Blossom is sleeping, I will do a bit of an update. Today was a bit of a milestone day for Alice and I. Prior to today we have had tantrums (yep, the big, spacky 'I don't want to lie down to have my nappy changed!!!' ones, with not a tear in sight), and we have had tears thanks to a Fisher Price toy connecting with our forehead, but she has been, by and large, very placid and cheerful. But today, I had to leave the room for a few seconds (mad dash to the loo) and she cried!!! Real tears, not just a tantrum, but a real 'where have you gone Mum??' cry. I was so thrilled I stopped mid-pee (too much detail, I know) to rush back and comfort her. It also happened on several other occasions today when I left her sight, so I hope this is the beginning of real attachment.

Other than this, things have been going so well I can hardly believe it. We are keeping things very low key and sticking close to home with no visitors for the first few weeks (sorry Fiona - promise I will see you before Christmas!!) and I think this has really helped. She seems very much at home in her new environment, has two naps each day and so far is sleeping through the night. I do feel very spoiled.... I have found that the few times I have just HAD to go out (to take DD and DS to kung fu lessons mostly) she gets quite agitated with all the attention she gets and repeatedly shakes her head as if she is saying 'no!!' over and over again. I would love to be able to avoid such situations, but I can't let my other two precious ones suffer because of their new mei mei.

Things have, naturally, had their ups and downs. I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday, wondering what on earth I had done bringing a new child into a well-established family, and feeling horribly guilty about the fact that DS and DD have had to step up a bit and shoulder a bit more responsibility. I got over myself pretty quickly though (good cathartic snotty cry) and now all is well. DD and DS are just besotted with Alice, and DD today told me how happy she was that Alice was now a part of our family.

Well, I must leave it there for the day Loyal Readers, as I still have to do about a billion things before the kids get off the bus and it's time for the dreaded kung fu lessons again. Enjoy the pics!!

Cristina xx

Wednesday, November 7

I'm Back!!!



...and wondering why on earth all the blogger titles, links etc are still in Chinese???? Oh well, will worry about that later. We are now on Day Three of being home sweet home and I am LOVING it. Although China was amazing, awe-inspiring and the birth place of my precious child, it was also a place that deeply saddened me. Pollution is horrific, poverty is rife and the over-crowding phenomenal. It made me feel so very blessed to live in such a gorgeous part of the world, and the VERY best bit is that I can now brush my teeth with water straight from the tap!!

Alice seems to be adjusting quite well. I am under no illusion that she is in any way attached to me yet in the proper sense, but she does seem to be quite fond of me, and today, for the first time, she has started to cry when I go out of sight. Mind you, she does have a hideous cold and green candlesticks running from each nostril, so she may just be feeling a little fragile!!! She also seems to enjoy her Big Sister and Big Brother, and they, in turn, are head over heels with her. See picture for proof.

I had forgotten just how busy life is when you have a baby. I still have not made it to the supermarket (thank goodness I froze some meals before we left) but I will have to venture out tomorrow if we are not to starve to death. DH seems to be coping quite well, but his work is seriously stressful at the moment so he unfortunately doesn't have too much time to spend at home.

I must fly and do a few of the several million jobs that need to be done before my sleeping beauty awakes.Thanks so much to all of you who followed our journey in China, and I promise now that I am home I will post more regularly, as I don't have to pay 100 yuan a day for the privilege of Internet connection!! Zai jian xxxx

Thursday, November 1

Surprise!!!

A quick post - DH had to use the email connection for wrk (surprise, surprise) so I have finally managed to upload our handover day pics to photobucket. Go to www.photobucket.com login is inchinaforalice, password is jessie2005 Enjoy!! Today is visa day, tomorrow a trip to a couple of water villages, and Saturday evening we are heading home!!!! As much as I have loved Chna, I am longing for the green grass and fresh air of home sweet home. Until then, take care. CTG - wishing you all the best for your upcoing exciting journey!!! Cristina xxx

Sunday, October 28

Signing off

I'm afraid this will be my last post from China. I have just found out that the Hotel charges the utterly ridiculous amount of 100RMB per DAY for internet access. DH has said no way, so you will all have to wait until we are back in Oz I'm afarid. I have posted todays pics on photobucket though, so check them out, and until I am back at home sweet home, zai jian.

Friday, October 26

Last post from Nanchang


Well, today we get Alice's passport and tomorrow morning we leave for Shanghai. Hurrah!! Another flight!! (sarcasm fully intended). Hopefully the baby distraction will stop me from losing the plot (and the Valium of course!) We have the babies' medicals done in Shanghai on Monday, visas are issued Thursday and we are booked to fly back to Oz on Saturday the 4th. As much as I am fascinated by China, it's people and it's culture, I must admit that the pollution and crowds are getting to me a bit. I am longing for a breath of fresh Tassie air, and to not have to drink bottled water all the time!

I will post again in a few days from Shanghai. Thanks to you all for your suggestions re: how to view the blog - I seem to have solved the problem for now. Until the weekend - zai jian.xxxx

Thursday, October 25

Thursday in Nanchang

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Hi guys. I sure hope that you are able to read these posts, as I still can't access my blog for some bizarre reason. Hey, I guess I am in China!! Today was an interesting one. After another full night's sleep (yay!!) we headed off to the Nanchang zoo. I must admit that it saddened me greatly. There was just one panda, kept in a glassed-in enclosure probably the size of the average lounge room. There was also a gorgeous sun bear in a similar enclosure, and his behaviour was very distressing - pacing back and forth continually, trying to get out I guess. There were lots of unusual birds, some old and tired looking Lions and a giraffe, but thankfully not much else.

After the zoo we came back to the Jin Feng (which is fantastic) and when DH and Alice were having their afternoon nap I decided to be adventurous and go to the huge market that I had already been to earlier in the week. I got the guy behind the desk at reception to write my destination on a card for the taxi driver, and off I went. I was a little concerned when I noticed that she headed off in the wrong direction, but thought that perhaps she was just taking a short cut. She then pulled up outside a huge department store and tried to get me out of the taxi. In my very poor Chinese (with the help of a phrase book) I attempted to tell her where I actually wanted to go. I thought she understood. I was wrong. After a 20 yuan taxi ride (which is a loooong way) she dumped me outside another department store in a part of the city I had never seen before. I decided to go in and have a look, but it really wasn't what I wanted, so tried to ask people (using the trusty phrase book) if they a) spoke English and b) could point me in the right direction to the market. The result - NO ONE spoke English (well, it is China) so I ended up hailing another cab back to the hotel. Tell you what, I felt like a stiff drink after that little adventure - Chinese drivers are all insane, and no=one takes any notice of the road rules. I decided to be brave and have the whole full-on China experience by sitting in the front seat for both rides. BIG mistake. I lost count of the number of near-death experiences we narrowly missed, not to mention the pedestrians and cyclists we almost mowed down. I was so very thankful when we pulled up at the hotel I almost kissed the cab driver.

Aside from the above adventure, we are all having a ball. Alice is the most delightful baby EVER!!! She sleeps 12 hours per night, has two naps during the day, laughs, giggles and pulls funny faces, and is saying 'mama'. She only cries when there is something wrong (tired, hungry, needing to fart) and is an absolute joy to have as our daughter. God has truly blessed us.

Must sign off for now - baby is asleep and I need to be too. Until next time, zai jian!

Wednesday, October 24

Nanchang Day Five

Hi All,

Sorry again for the short message, but I am just exhausted. Went to the People's Park in Nanchang today, which was lovely. Lots of old men playing Mahjong and doing tai chi. Had a two hour massage this afternoon whilst Alice was asleep, and we went out for a meal with some of our batch buddies this evening. None of the staff spoke English, so I am not sure what we ate but it tasted good!

Alice is blossoming with every passing hour. She has quite a little personality - we are getting lots of giggles and smiles, and she loves to be held and rocked. She really only gets grumpy when she is tired or hungry, and has slept right through every night that we have had her. What a blessing!!

Off to the zoo tomorrow to see Nanchang's only panda, which apparently has a reputation for being a bit of a lazy bones. Check out the photobucket site for today's pics.


Cristina xx

Tuesday, October 23

Tuesady in Nanchang

All is going well. Alice is an absolute delight. We have had lots of smiles, giggles and kisses to day, and finally a poop!!! I braved thestreets of Nanchang today whilst DH and DD slept. Wow - what an eye-opener.It is smoggy, dirty, full of very funky smells and so many people. I just love it - it is so very different from my tiny little town of 25 000! Anyway, must go and hit the sack as Alice is asleep and I need to be. Thanks again for all your lovely messages,and keep checking out the photos!!

Photos

If anyone is interested, I have set up a photobucket album dedicated to our China journey. Simply go to www.photobucket.com Login is inchinaforalice, password is jessie2005 Click on 'my album' and there are plenty of snapshots to enjoy (except handover day 'cos I can't get them to download onto the computer!)

Cristina xx

Monday, October 22

Day two with Alice Xiao Ying!!


Had a great night - Alice finally went to sleep at about nine, and slept through until 7.30. DH wasn't quite so lucky. He made the fatal error of eating Japanese sashimi (raw fish) for lunch yesterday and spent the whole night being violently ill. Alice is just the sweetest little soul. She chats away to herself, responds to her name (Ying Ying) and is generally a happy little camper. She is eating and drinking well, and when she wakes form her nap we are going to venture out to Walmart to pick up a few supplies.

China has just blown my mind completely. The noise, the people, the traffic, the pollution, the chaotic nature of everything. I am just loving it!! The taxi rides have been a little scary, but I am getting used to near death experiences now.

Must go before my cherub wakes from her nap. Thank you all for your lovely comments!

Cristina xx

Sunday, October 21

Introducing our new daughter


Too tired to write much, today has been one of the best of my life. Alice is gorgeous, calm, talkative and tiny. Had a few tears before bed time but now asleep in our bed (not sure where we will sleep!) Will post again when I have recovered from this amazing, awesome and overwhelmingly emotional day.

Cristina xx

Today is the Day

In a little over eight hours, I will be holding my new daughter for the first time. After almost three years of waiting, I can hardly believe that this moment has arrived. I feel excited, thrilled, nervous and a good whack of terrified. DH is still sleeping but I of course am just too darn wound up. We are off to the huge Nanchang market today to indulge in a little retail therapy, then we meet in the hotel lobby at 3pm to travel to the civil affairs office to meet our babies. We visited the Feng Cheng orphanage yesterday, and spoke with the assistant director. She said that the foster parents would bring the girls to the orphanage this morning, then they would travel the hour or so by bus to reach Nanchang, where we finally meet. Please pray that all goes as well as can be expected. I will (hopefully) post some pics in the next day or so. Until then, zai jian from smoggy China!!

Cristina xx

Saturday, October 20

Day Two In Nanchang



What an experience we are having in China. It is filthy, noisy, loud and I LOVE IT!!!!! We have sampled food at several local restaurants, which has been fabulous, and today we took a rather hair-raisng minivan ride to Alice's home town of Feng Cheng. DH spent most of the return trip with his eyes firmly closed as it was terrifying. Feng Cheng itself is a relatively poor city of about 1.2 million people. WE were fortunate enough to be able to visit Alice's finding place, and the orphanage. Although we were not allowed inside the orphanage, we did take some pictures and talked to the assistant director. We returned from Feng Cheng at lunch time, and after that visited a huge market where we bargained fiercely. We are currently waiting for our kids to phone, and at 6pm we are off to have our last dinner as a batch without our babies. Wow. It seems so very surreal. Hope to be able to post again soon, but I won't make any promises!!

Friday, October 19

Culture Shock




We spent a few hours this morning wandering the streets of Shanghai, looking like complete idiots as we gawped at everything. It is just so foreign to anything we have ever known. The traffic is just horrific - there seem to be no road rules, and crossing roads puts your life in grave danger!! We left the Holiday Inn at noon, and had a much more pleasant drive to the domestic airport for our flight to Nanchang. Only a few near misses this time! For some reason, at every security check point my bag has been causing me problems, and I have been searched a few times. Must look like a terrorist...
The flight to Nanchang was (thankfully) non-eventful and our guide, Evelyn, met us at the airport. She is just lovely, and speaks English very well. Our hotel, the Jin Feng, is great, and it was fabulous to meet up with our batch buddies again. We all went out for an evening meal and caused quite a stir in the local restaurant - I am not sure they have seen quite so many foreigners together a the one time before. On our way back to the hotel, we saw a man knocked off his bike by a car, and the car driver promptly got out and abused the cyclist!!

China is an awesome place. I feel so honoured to be here, We are going to Feng Cheng tomorrow, where Alice is from, and hope to visit her finding place. I have included a couple of pics from our travels so far - I particularly like the one of DH eating an eel sandwich! Until next time, zai jian!

Hi from Shanghai!!!

We can hardly believe it, but we are actually in China, in the completely amazing city of Shanghai. I survived the 12 hour journey on the flying tube of death very well (thanks to all who were praying for me) and we arrived in Shanghai at 6pm. All I can say is WOW!!!! The bus ride from the airport was possibly the scariest hour and a half of my life. They have no seat belts in minivans, and apparently there are no road rules either. The pushiest driver wins. There were quite a few occasions when DH and I thought that we were not going to make it to the hotel!! But, thankfully we did and the Holiday Inn Vista is fabulous. We were upgraded to a 'sweeter room' (Chinglish for suite) and we are having a very luxurious time. Ordered in some gorgeous local food for dinner, and had a most satisfying eight hour sleep. We are planning on having a bit of an explore this morning around the city (well, a small part of it) before another scary minivan ride to the airport at 12 noon for our flight to Nanchang. It all feels so surreal - to be here in China, and to be meeting our precious Alice in only two sleeps. Bring it on!!! Zai jian until next time.

Cristina xxx

Wednesday, October 17

Leaving in Twelve Hours


I'm not sure if I want to throw up or faint. In twelve hours time I will be airborne (ugh) and on my way to Melbourne. We stay overnight at the Hilton (very yummy!) which is linked to the airport by a walkway. Just as well, since we need to be at the departures gate by 5am on Thursday. We then fly to Sydney, hop onto our airbus 330 and spend 10 hours of sheer unrelenting terror (well, I do anyway) bound for Shanghai. We arrive in Shanghai at six on Thursday evening, and stay overnight at the Holiday Inn. Friday at 2pm we fly to Nanchang (oh great, another flight...) and on Sunday October 21st 2007 we will finally get to meet our sweet little Alice. My heart is just overflowing at the prospect of finally holding her in my arms. Only four more sleeps, and our family will be complete.
So for now, farewell my Loyal Readers. I will post as soon as I can. If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for me so I can get onto the aeroplane without losing the plot completely. Blessings to you all,

Cristina xxxx

Monday, October 15

Feeling teary today...

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I have just realised exactly how much I am going to miss my DD and DS when I leave on Wednesday. We have never been apart for this long before - our longest separation was back in June this year when Grandma and Grandad took the lucky ducks to Hong Kong. But that was for 11 days. This is going to be 19. Wow. I have been so focused on all the organisation and preparation for the adoption and travel arrangements, that I haven't really given any thought to my two gorgeous kids whom I am leaving behind. DD is really not keen on us going - she has said to me on several occasions that she really wants her new little sister, but just wishes that we didn't have to go away for so long to collect her. DS, true to form, won't have thought too much about it, but when it comes time for us to leave on Wednesday he will be one very sad little dude. I have bought Grandma a phone card so that we can talk most days, and we will email as well, but I will miss their hugs, quirky little personalities and goodnight kisses. Must head off now and have a bit of a cry....

Sunday, October 14

Three sleeps!

I can hardly believe it. This time next week, I will be waking up in Nanchang, China, and preparing for one of the biggest days of my life. I will be meeting my daughter, Alice Xiao Ying. I must admit, now it is so close it all seems a little surreal, and a bit Warhol-esque. Every time I do something now, I realise that it will be the last time before we leave -last morning at church. last lunch at my mum's, last grocery shop, last garbage night etc etc. After two years and ten months of waiting for our daughter, to be this close is just incredible.
To my lovely friend Fiona, whom I know hangs out here pretty regularly - thank you so much for Alice's beautiful gift! I simply cannot wait to introduce you to my new little girl. And once again, thanks to all of you who have left your comments and good wishes - I really appreciate them and find your encouragement and excitement truly humbling.
Zai jian for today!!

Friday, October 12

Five sleeps and counting!!

I can hardly believe that this time next week I will be in Shanghai, getting ready to board a plane to Nanchang, the capital of Alice's home province of Jiangxi. OH. MY. GOODNESS. If I think too hard about it, I start to get completely terrified! I am a walking contradiction at the moment - ecstatic one minute, terrified the next, and scared out of my wits after that. As the moment of truth approaches, I am finding myself thinking more and more about Alice's birth parents, and her foster parents. I can only inagine how hard it must be for them. For Alice's parents - that they felt they had to give her away in order for her to have a better life, and for Alice's foster parents, who will soon be relinquishing the child they have nourished, cared for and loved for the past nine months. I have so much admiration for these people who take babies into their homes, care for them like their own children, all the while knowing that one day they will have to give them up. I am so very hopeful that we will either be able to meet Alice's foster parents at handover, or track them down somehow (I know this can be done through several organisations based in China). I would love to be able to personally thank them for caring for our sweet girl in those early, formative months.

I must head off now and have a look at the list for today. I have crossed off one thing already- a trip to the dentist - and I have also bought a book to read on the plane. Now off to tidy out DS's wardrobe. Be afraid, be very afraid......

Tuesday, October 9

An Amazing Story


I want to share with you the story of how the Red Thread of Chinese adoption has wound itself around our family and our precious Alice. Not too long after receiving our allocation, I joined the Yahoo group for families who have adopted from Feng Cheng, the city where Alice is from. I sent an introductory email to the group, saying who we were, and that we had just been allocated Feng Xiao Ying. The next day I received an email (in my 'Junk' folder!!) from a woman named Christina (no coincidence - the Red Thread!) in the USA. She introduced herself and said that she had been waiting for my email. What??? She then went on to say that for the past eight months, she had been sponsoring Alice through a Christian organisation that works in Chinese orphanages. This means that since she was fostered at two days old, Alice has had access to regular medical checkups, top quality baby formula, and regular reports. Just yesterday, I received in the mail the three reports (with photos) that Christina has received as Alice's sponsor. The photos are different to her referral ones, and show her aged 2.5, 5.5 and 8.5 months. She has changed so much! So thank you to my new friend Christina in Georgia, for her kindness and generosity in sharing this early part of Alice's life with us. I feel so very blessed that the Red Thread (and of course God) has led us to having so much wonderful extra information about our darling daughter. Only eight sleeps now until we leave - WHOOHOO!! By the way - the photo at the top is my beautiful daughter aged eight and a half months. I am SOOOOO in love....

Saturday, October 6

Feeling much better


Thank goodness I seem to have killed the virus threatening to overtake me yesterday. The cure? A nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon and a good night's sleep! I have woken to a glorious Saturday morning, only 11 days away from the trip of a lifetime. And I was also very excited to realise that tonight we put our clocks forward an hour for daylight savings!! Why so excited, you may ask?? Because that is one less hour I have to wait for my precious girl.... Hope you all have a great weekend, and to my November buddies who are still waiting on their news - my heart goes out to you, and I pray you will get some answers once the CCAA re-opens on Monday.
Zai jian.

PS - just had to put Alice's picture in again to remind you how utterly GORGEOUS she is!!

Friday, October 5

I AM NOT GETTING SICK

NO way. Uh-uh, cannot be done, I WILL NOT ALLOW IT!!! I woke this morning feeling absolutely gross - then promptly went back to sleep until 10am, something completely unheard of since BC (before children). It's not really surprising, considering everyone else in the family has been snotting and blowing for a fortnight now, but I REFUSE TO GET SICK. I shall ignore the pounding headache, stuffy nose, sore throat and urge to sleep for about a week. I have upped my zinc dosage, doubled my immuno-defence vitamins, and have drunk about a litre of OJ just this morning. Only 12 days until we leave, and I simply must be well for that!!

Tuesday, October 2

Time is flying!


Wow Loyal Readers - many apologies for leaving it so very long between posts. The pre-travel organisational nightmare has been consuming me somewhat, but I think that I am almost there. Our NTT's (TA's) arrived with the Department in Hobart last Friday, and should be landing on my doorstep today, which is VERY exciting!!! This finally means that all is well, all is approved and we have the OK to go ahead with Alice's adoption, direct from the Big Kahuna at the CCAA. So in two weeks and six days we will do just that. I am just so excited I can barely think. My brain has well and truly been taken over by all things baby, and has, as a result, turned to mush.
Not too much else to report from Down Under aside from the insanity of getting ready to travel O/S and collect our sweet babe. I had confirmation today that Alice's care package has arrived at the SWI (orphanage) and I assume will be passed on to her foster family from there. I find it amazing to think that at this very moment she may be looking through the photo album that we sent, glimpsing our faces for the very first time. Wow....
I had an appointment last week with a local GP who is an adoptive dad of three IA children - Korea, Thailand and China. He is just lovely, and even though his books are full, he has agreed to take Alice on as a patient. I figure it will be great to be able to see a doctor who is clued up on attachment, co-sleeping, and all manner of other issues related to adopting children from O/S.
I must now head off to the girls' bedroom. I did a spot of rearranging yesterday and now have to go through the multitudes of pink little girl clothes to sort into sizes and put away all the 'too big for now' stuff. hardly an onerous task!! I will try VERY hard not to leave it so long between post next time...

PS- Our NTT just arrived!!! YAY!!!!

Thursday, September 27

A Sick Husband.

I knew it must have been a real illness when he announced this morning that he didn't feel like playing golf on the weekend. This is the equivalent to me turning down a free block of Cadbury's chocolate, or my kids refusing to have Fairy Floss at the local Show. He has been unwell for the past week and a half, coughing and snotting everywhere. I just put it down to the highly virulent 'Man Cold', but it turns out that he hasn't been playing it up. He finally went to the doctor today as he could barely drag himself out of bed, and was diagnosed with a chest and sinus infection. Now this may not sound too bad, but unfortunately my DH has a prior history of rather life-threatening pneumonia. Two Christmases ago he ended up spending close to a month in bed with pneumonia, and I sure don't want that happening again with our trip to China only a few weeks away. I will staple him into bed if I have to, but the poor boy needs his rest.

Tuesday, September 25

Paranoid Paperwork


I have just finished making copies of IMPORTANT PAPERWORK. What sort of IMPORTANT PAPERWORK you may ask?? Well, pretty much anything adoption-related that I could shove into the (now-overheated) photocopier. I have multiple copies of birth certificates, marriage certificate, statement of income, letter of approval to adopt, our itinerary etc etc etc. I am sure I have probably gone a wee bit over the top, but better to be safe than sorry, right??? Now my next dilemma - should I be photocopying my photocopies to make a separate file to pack in an alternative bag in case of the loss of the first bag ??? Mmmm, might go and try some of the lovely calmative medication that my doctor prescribed me this morning.....

Sunday, September 23

Bizarre Time Warp


I seem to have become immersed in some weird time/space rift where every minute of the day is actually lasting double that amount of time. The days are just crawling by at the moment and it is driving me crazy!!! I am completely organised for our trip to China (aside from the visas which should come back from the embassy this week) and I am desperate to get on that plane and just GO. Mmm, perhaps I should commission some crusty academic to write a paper on the ultimate cure for fear of flying - having as sweet baby waiting for you on the other side of the world!! Mind you I am going to the doctor this week to discuss the possibility of some sort of 'calmative' medication, just in case...

Sorry the blog posts have been a little erratic and rather dry and boring, but life at the moment consists of one big, long boring WAIT. Hurry up October the 17th.....

Thursday, September 20

Pumpkin Update - very sad news...

Taken from ABC on line news...

"Authorities have released the results of a post-mortem examination, which identified the body of an Asian woman to be that of 27-year-old Annie Liu.

Ms Liu's body was recovered from the boot of her estranged husband's car almost 48 hours after police first went to the family's suburban home in Auckland.

A pathologist's preliminary findings are that the young mother died from what has been described as an unspecified violent episode - though it is unclear when or where or how she was killed.

Police have established that she made her last phone and email contact with family and friends on September 10, four days before her estranged husband Michael Xue left New Zealand for Melbourne and then Los Angeles.

Police have issued a warrant for his arrest for the murder of his wife and the abduction of their daughter Qian Xun Xue, and say they are now liaising with Interpol, the FBI and the US Marshall Service to find him.


Custody bid

Meanwhile, the toddler's grandmother Liu Xiaoping, 53, will travel to New Zealand and then on to Australia to try and gain custody of Qian Xun Xue.

"What she is going through now has no doubt left scars on her heart," Ms Liu said.

"The Australian Government and people have given her great caring and support, for which I feel very grateful, but it will take some time for her to recover and walk out of the shadow cast on her heart."

Her grandmother says she is the only one left to care for the girl.

"I'm her closest and most important family member - she's got nobody apart from me," she said.

"Anan [mother Annie] was my only child and she's my only granddaughter. I will do my utmost to bring her up."

Ms Liu wants to take her back to live in China's Hunan Province where she works as the deputy general manager of a large company.

A Chinese politician in New Zealand says the three-year-old girl is best off being reunited with her extended family in China.

Nationals MP Pansy Wong says the girl speaks Mandarin, and her grandmother has given assurances about family connections in China.

"She's a very youthful grandmother, strong woman, they also have uncles," she said.

"Qianxun also has grand-uncles and grand-aunties, so there's a lot of very caring extended family there."

Please continue to pray for this little girl.

Wednesday, September 19

An Update on Pumpkin

I have pinched this directly from 'The Age' newspaper...

'THE Chinese grandparents of the child abandoned by her father at Melbourne's Southern Cross railway station plan to seek custody of her.

Fairfax newspapers report today that the parents of Annie Xue have applied to a police station near their home for exit documents to leave China.

Through The Age newspaper, they have asked the Department of Human Services how they can take over the guardianship of their granddaughter, Qian Xun Xue.

Qian Xun's mother, Annie Xue, was last seen in Auckland on September 10, six days before her husband Nai Xin Xue abandoned their three-year-old daughter, who was nicknamed Pumpkin by police after she was found at Melbourne's Southern Cross railway station on Saturday.

New Zealand police say they hold grave fears for Mrs Xue, and hope to examine records of calls to and from her mobile phone in an effort to locate her.

Interpol and US authorities are now searching for Mr Xue, who flew to Los Angeles from Melbourne on Saturday after dumping his daughter at the station.

A Children's Court hearing today will determine the girl's immediate future.

Meanwhile, News Limited newspapers report that Qian Xun is bonding well with her carers and has developed a taste for Vegemite on toast.'

Please keep praying for this little one, and for the safety of her mum....

Tuesday, September 18

Poor Little Pumpkin


Doesn't this little face just break your heart?? I'm not sure if you are aware or not, but this precious three year old was found at a Melbourne railway station this weekend after being abandoned by her father. She was dubbed 'Pumpkin' by the police because of the Pumpkin Patch-brand clothing she was wearing. The police have been unable to find either her father (who has supposedly fled to the US) or her mother, who lives in New Zealand. Apparently she did not talk for the first two days. This just makes me want to cry. Her face is just so sweet, so expressive and she looks so very, very lost. I really hope that this little one's family can be found, but the police hold grave fears for their safety - apparently her dad battled depression, and they have been unable to find her mum (and I suspect they think she may have been murdered). I will be saying an extra prayer for Pumpkin tonight...

Monday, September 17

All booked (and with a free dummy thrown in)


I went to visit Neil the Travel Dude again today, fixed up a few mistakes on the itinerary, and voila - one trip to China fully booked. It is actually starting to feel real now. Mind you, I threw him into a bit of a spin with the whole 'leaving without a baby, coming home with a baby scenario'. Apparently he has had to make a booking for a 'dummy child' to accompany us to China, which will then be replaced with the real child on the way home. I wonder - do we actually get a real dummy to accompany us on the way to China????

I have spent the weekend packing, unpacking and repacking our two suitcases. I haven't as yet packed anything for DH and I, and there is not much space. Oh well - at least Alice will be well dressed, even if her parents look and smell bad.

I have just looked at the date and realised that it is exactly one month until we leave. I wonder how long it will take for that month to pass??? I know that, considering we have waited over two and a half years to get to this point, that four weeks isn't that much of a big deal, but I am tipping that it will draaaggg..... I have done pretty much all I can do in preparation (apart from packing, unpacking and repacking several million more times) so now I just get to twiddle my thumbs and count the days until our sweet babe is in my arms. Wishing my life away again...

Saturday, September 15

Packing!

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Well, I have already started that exacting task of packing for two and a half weeks in China. I have packed and unpacked several times already, and that's just the baby stuff! I have always been a fan of over-packing, and I am finding it very difficult to be harsh with myself and discard things. And I haven't even begun to think about stuff for DH and myself. It's looking as if I will have room for a change of underwear each, so we might be pretty stinky by the time we leave China...

I ws a little disappointed yesterday. I had an email for our Head of Adoptions, with updated weights and measurements for the babies of our batch. Unfortunately, there were no updates for the babies from Feng Cheng (Alice included), as the SWI refused to provide updated information. So I am still playing a bit of a guessing game as to how big Alice will be when we meet, and have had to correspondingly pack clothes in several different sizes. I am thinking she will probably be quite small (around 7kg) but you never know - her foster family may have been feeding her up and she may be a whopper! Whatever the case may be, I simply cannot wait to hold her in my arms....

Thursday, September 13

Making Plans


I have been to the travel agent this morning and have tentatively booked our flights to Shanghai!! It seemed all so surreal at the time - I have never made travel bookings before, and I felt like a proper grownup!! I am now waiting for Neil the Travel Agent to get back to me with a quote so I can see how hideously expensive it will be. Finances are a bit tight at the moment - adoption-related costs on top of my washing machine pooping itself yesterday (sigh). Oh well - it's only money and credit cards are a wonderful invention...

I still find it hard to believe that in Feng Cheng, Jiangxi Province, our daughter is living out her life, even as I type these words. She is playing, sleeping, crying, and loving the only mother she has ever known. I was surprised to find myself feeling guilty yesterday about taking her away from all of this. I just hope that she doesn't hate me on sight as I will have taken her from her foster mother and all that she has ever known. Can a baby ever forgive someone who does that???

Monday, September 10

I'm back again!


Whew, what a week it has been. I apologise Loyal Readers for being absent, but I was absent with very good reason. Since we received 'The Call' last Tuesday, life has become completely frantic. Phone calls were made, emails flew, and all the immigration paperwork had to be finalised. I had a trip to Hobart on Friday to submit said paperwork, and arrived home that evening completely pooped, but very relieved. All our batch's documents are now winging their way to the Australian embassy in Shanghai, and should reach there on Wednesday. I also posted a care package today for Alice, which included two disposable cameras. I sure hope I get them back, full of lots of gorgeous pictures of my beautiful baby girl...

Speaking of whom - she sounds delightful. I received the translated copies of her progress reports while I was in Hobart, and have had such fun reading about my new little babe. She is described as a 'noisy, active girl'. who loves being out doors and playing with other children. She is also described as being 'often noisiness without hunger' - mmmmm, perhaps a bit on the loud side?? Another consistent fact in all the documents is that she is a light sleeper, and wakes frequently - going to have to get used to sleep deprivation again by the sounds of it. Her favourite toy is 'red plastic toy' and when her foster mother teases her she 'likes to chortle'. Wow. I can hardly believe that in about 40 days I will get to meet this little dynamo. Our handover date has been tentatively set for October 22nd, and we should hopefully have confirmation of that this week. If so, DH and I will leave Tassie on Tuesday 16th October in prepartaion for meeting Miss Alice. I simply cannot wait. Fear of flying??? Bah humbug - I gotta get my baby!!!

I will try not to leave it too long between posts again (until China of course) but I must head off and start catching up on all the house-related stuff that I have neglected over the past week or so. Once again, thank you ALL for your kind words and messages of support. You rock!

Wednesday, September 5

Wow!!!

I just looked at my hit counter and realised that in the past 24 hours, I have had over 10 000 visitors to my blog!!! I never realised I was so popular!! Or perhaps it is something more to do with a certain precious little peanut???!!! Thank you all who have left your comments and warm congratulations over the past day or so. I am truly humbled by the support and friendship I have experienced from all over the world.

At this point in time, we have set a tentative hand over date of October 22nd. I will be heading south to Hobart on Friday ( a three hour drive) to lodge Alice's visa application, and then the wait proper begins. I wonder if I could just go now???

Tuesday, September 4

Introducing Alice Xiao Ying...




At long last we have a photo to go with the name. Introducing Feng Xiao Ying, to be known as Alice Xiao Ying. She was born on January 14th 2007, and resides in foster care in Jiangxi province. She is associated with the Feng Cheng SWI (social welfare institution). So now I have posted the pictures, emailed everyone and I need to go and have a bit of a breather (and something to eat!!) Thank you all for your wonderful messages of support. I appreciate your kind words so very much.
Signing off for now, a very tired but incredibly happy new Mama.

WE HAVE A DAUGHTER!!!!!!!

I got the call this morning whilst I was up a ladder, doing a spot of painting at the kid's school. I have a sweet daughter, born January 14th 2007, so she is nine months old. Her name is Feng Xiao Ying, and, according to my SW, she is beautiful. I am completely overwhelmed. We will be getting photos this afternoon - keep your eyes on this blog!! Thank you to all of you who have been posting and congratulating us. It is wonderful to have so many friends who care.

Monday, September 3

WHHOOOHOOOO!!!!!!

"The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before June 30, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 25, 2005. "

I was just hanging out on the RQ site, bemoaning the lack of information regarding referrals, when lo and behold, a lovely lady by the name of Lorraine (thanks Lorraine!) posted a message to say that the CCAA site had been updated!! I have never tried to load a web page so fast before in my life. The cut off date is confirmed as November 25th, which is a huge relief for our batch. Since two of our batch mates had this date as their log in (as opposed to our LID of the 22nd) we now know for sure that we will all be travelling together!! What it also means though is that we should have our news this week. The CCAA NEVER updates their web page until referrals are just about to arrive (or AFTER they have arrived) so I feel pretty confident that we should hear our good news sometime this week. YEEEHHAHHHHH!!!

Sunday, September 2

The Big White Elephant in the Corner


You know the one I am talking about?? The one that sits there, large as life, yet no-one mentions it. What does this have to do with anything, you may ask?? Well Loyal Readers, in my family, the Big White Elephant in the Corner is our adoption. Today was Father's Day and I (very stupidly) agreed to host the traditional Father's Day Lunch at my house. Aunties, uncles, grandparents, cousins etc etc. And do you know what? In the course of three hours, NOT ONE of these people asked about how the adoption was going. Did this surprise me?? Not one little bit. When DH and I first let our respective families know about our plans to adopt from China, our parents were supportive, and that was where the support ended. DH's sister even went as far as saying 'Why would you want to do that? You never know WHAT you might end up with'. In the two and a half years since we made the decision to add to our family by means of adoption, it has been completely ignored. I have two cousins who actually roll their eyes and quickly change the topic of conversation if I ever dare to steer it to the unsavoury subject of IA. So there it sat - the Big White Elephant in the Corner, not being mentioned, not being acknowledged. I deliberately left our new high chair out in the dining area, thinking that it may have prompted a question or two. It was referred to exactly twice - both times in reference to one of the big kids sitting in it instead of sitting out in the patio area for lunch.

So here I sit, a bit disheartened and rather tired, with a mountain of washing up to be done. I am very thankful that the journey to Alice has provided me with some absolutely WONDERFUL friends who make up for my moronic family. Thank you all for your ongoing support - and here's to a VERY big week!!!

Saturday, September 1

The Rollercoaster that never stops.

Wow - what a few days it has been on the rumour roller coaster. First the cut off is said to be the 24th November, then it is rumoured to be somewhere in early December (which would be nothing short of a miracle), then THE most exciting news came overnight. One of my November buddies posted on the RQ forum that her agency emailed her to let her know that a package had just left the CCAA (China Centre for Adoption Affairs) and was on it's way to the US. It should arrive by Tuesday, as Monday is their Labour Day holiday. As to what is in this package - I am praying that it is referrals. If it is, we should receive ours here in Tassie by later next week. The wait is almost over and I am very thankful for this, as the last week has been by far the hardest yet. I am very tired, sleep-deprived, stressed out and way too emotional. I was in Toy World today, helping DS to spend his birthday money, and I just about had a breakdown looking at the baby toys. I wonder if it's too early for a calming glass of red??? Anyway, I just want this wait to ber over - to be holding a photo of our precious babe in my hands, and to finally be able to put a face to the name. Hurry up Alice, Mama is waiting......

Thursday, August 30

Sleepless in Spreyton (Alternative Title 'Can't Sleep - Clowns Will Eat Me')


Sigh. It's 1.39 am and here I sit at the computer, desperately trolling the rumour sites for even a hint of a rumour. So far - nothing. Not one lousy little peep. I have an overwhelming urge to simultaneously scream, cry and kick something REALLY hard. I spent today (or should that be yesterday??) wading through the mire that is the Immigration paperwork. What a gigantic pain in the butt it is. I woke at 1am, started thinking about all the mistakes I may have made and hence, here I am.

Gertisquidge - thank you for your tag. I read about it, and freaked out when I realised that my middle name has NINE letters, and I couldn't think of anything interesting or witty to say. Sorry for being such a wimp!!!

Will try to get some sleep now, but I fear that it may be all too elusive. I guess this is nature's way of preparing me to parent a young baby again. I remember when I was pregnant with DS and DD that the last week or so of the pregnancies sucked big time - being too big to sleep comfortably, having to get up every five minutes to pee. Perhaps my RRI (referral related insomnia) is the adoption world's equivalent of this...

Now, as to the alternative title to my post, my sister's husband actually has a legitimate phobia of clowns. My sister bought him a T-Shirt with the logo just like the one in the picture, and I thought it was kinda funny. Strange what the brain thinks about in the wee small hours of the morning.. Fingers crossed for some referral rumours VERY soon, or I may very well go mad.

Tuesday, August 28

A Rumour, a Rumour!!!

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At long last a positive rumour has arrived!! In the November room on the RQ forum, someone has posted that their agency has been told that referrals are sitting in China, all done and just waiting to be signed. This means that they could be arriving in the US as early as late this week, with them touching down in Oz early-mid next week. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I am so happy and sleep deprived I don't know whether to cry or scream with excitement!

Monday, August 27

So very quiet..

Rumour wasteland again. There is NOTHING out there. I am thinking that referrals will start arriving in the US late this week or early next week, so we should (hopefully) hear our good news by late next week. Tick, tock, tick, tock.....Has someone added an extra few hours into the day?? Sure seems like it. I know I shouldn't be wishing my life away, but HURRY UP REFERRALS!!!!!!

Friday, August 24

The Day After


Well, the Big Birthday went off with a bang, and His Majesty had a fabulous day. Unfortunately for his parents, the day started at a disgustingly early hour (5 am) and he just kept on going until we told him that we had to go to bed (due to extreme exhaustion) at nine last night. As per usual, the grandparents spoiled him rotten, lots of cards were received in the mail (causing great excitement) and the infamous SpongeBob cake went down a treat. It even tasted OK - that is, if you are partial to cake with fluorescent yellow icing....

So now it's the day after, and I am back to calendar watching again. The latest from RQ is that this month's referrals may well include up to November 29th. As to when the referrals will arrive - I am hopeful that we will start seeing them in the US mid to late next week. Unfortunately it often takes a few more days for them to arrive Down Under, but once they begin showing up in the States, I will be beside myself!! Can anyone say 'Cristina needs Valium'???!!!

Wednesday, August 22

Our Last Anniversary!!!!!

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Today is Wednesday, August 22nd, and it is now 21 months since our file was logged in at the China Centre for Adoption Affairs. And this will be the LAST of these 'anniversaries' that I will have to celebrate - WHOOOHOOOO!!!!! By the time our next one arrives, we should have Alice's referral in hand, and will be busy booking flights, getting visas and packing suitcases. Today is a very good day!! On a more serious note however, tomorrow is DS's 8th birthday. When asked what kind of cake he wanted this year, her replied 'SpongeBob!!' So today, as well as going to school to watch my gorgeous kids strut their stuff in the book week parade, and attending the soccer break up and medal presentation, I have to create SpongeBob from a sponge cake. I actually had nightmares about it last night. If it turns out OK I promise I will share some pictures - if not, it will never be mentioned again....

Monday, August 20

This ride is hotting up!!


Latest from Rumour Queen this morning is that the CCAA has matched up to November 25th. WHOOOHOOO!!! If this is true, all my batch will be included, which is VERY exciting. Guess our expectations have been lowered considerably during the course of this roller coaster ride, as I am thrilled at the possibility of a four day batch... But the really cool thing is this - if matching has been done up to the 25th November, our file is sitting on a desk at the CCAA alongside the file of our precious little one. The thought that the match has been made is truly amazing and awe-inspiring. Now roll on the first week of September!

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