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


Thursday, May 31

That time of the month.

No, not THAT time - referral time. To show how very silly I get at this time of the month, it is now 7.30am and I have been up at the computer for three hours, scouring the Web for any snippet of information about imminent referrals. As you would know from my maudlin post of yesterday, it's not looking too good for this month, but we won't know for sure until the referrals are posted and that slightly rotund lass warbles her tune. I am trying to live in hope, but bracing myself again for bitter disappointment. If the CCAA only makes it to the 7th of November, I will have to readjust my expected referral month to September, or even (gulp) October. Sigh.......AND I have Mandarin lessons tonight, for which I have prepared not one jot. Mental note - must extract digit and do homework or teacher will think I am worst person EVER at studying Chinese....

Wednesday, May 30

It's not over...

until that fat lady sings, but it's not looking too good at the moment. I have awoken this morning to check the Rumour Queen site, and found that some incredibly nasty rumours are circulating. Referrals are supposedly very close to being mailed, and it looks as if only another handful of days has been covered - the 7th November is being touted as the probable cut off date. ARRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I am SO sick of this stinking wait - and I am feeling ready to jump off this roller coaster, as it makes me sick....

Monday, May 28

Hanging on tenterhooks...

ten·ter·hook /ˈtɛntərˌhʊk/ Pronunciation[ten-ter-hook]
–noun 1. one of the hooks or bent nails that hold cloth stretched on a tenter.
—Idiom2. on tenterhooks, in a state of uneasy suspense or painful anxiety.
I think the second definition says it all - referrals should be coming within the next week or so, and I am definitely in a state of uneasy suspense (occasionally veering off towards painful anxiety). I know that it would take a near miracle for us to be included in this next referral batch, but the thought is still there, niggling away at my mind, saying 'it may happen....' Even after all this waiting, the interminable months of the wait time extending beyond all our worst nightmares, I think to finally get 'the call' will be a mind-blowing experience. To hear our daughter's name for the first time, to find out where she was born, to see pictures of her little face... I feel teary even typing these words, such is the emotion that I feel about our soon-to-be daughter. Keep your eyes peeled folks - that stork should be taking flight any day now.

Sunday, May 27

Our wicked Labrador.

At the ripe old age of 11, our slightly flabby Labrador (AKA Bonnie)has decided that she doesn't love us anymore. Well, maybe it's not that she doesn't love us, but she doesn't want to be fenced in by us. For the last couple of weeks she has been hauling her rather large backside over the back gate and escaping the yard (and her little terrier friend, Bella). Since the first attempt to flee, I have been making our yard look increasingly ugly by nailing boards over any spot that I think a Labrador might see fit to fling herself over. I thought I had her stumped - almost a week and no escape! Until today. We left for church at 9.30 am, and I didn't get home until 3. No sign of Bonnie. I called and called, but still no lolloping Labrador came panting to greet me, tired out after her escape and subsequent forays into the neighbourhood. I rang the Dog's Home, and, sure enough, our wicked Labrador was there, doin' time for her latest escape. So, $26 dollars later, she is home and snuggled up in the loungeroom with her best mate Bella, giving me the 'see, this is what I wanted all along' look every time I walk past. I guess I will just have to give in and let her grow old gracefully as an inside dog. Ciao until next time.

Sometimes I hate technology...

I was preparing to do a very interesting and hopefully insightful post today on my kids' kung fu competition which was on yesterday. Five hours worth of grappling, grunting, performing and the like. I sat for said five hours on a hard wooden bench, in a cold semi-renovated church, watching my little angels try and choke the living daylights out of their friends (all in the name of good sportsmanship, of course). I took over a hundred pictures on the ol' digital camera - action shots, trophy presentation shots etc etc. I have just managed to delete all but two from my camera. ARGHHHHHH!!!!!! I meticulously went through each picture, protected the ones I wanted to keep and then hit the 'delete all except protected images' button. And what happened?? I have no bloody idea, but they, aside from two of the DS, are all gone. Vanished into the ether, never to be seen again. I guess I will just have to wait until the next five hour stint on the cold wooden benches so I can take more. Technology can be wonderful - but sometimes it really sucks.

Friday, May 25

I often wonder...

what my Chinese daughter is doing right now. Is she sleeping? Happy? Distressed? Being loved and cared for? Wet and unhappy? Laughing? It is such a strange feeling to love, adore and miss someone who you have never met. For I DO love her so much already, although we haven't yet met. She is in my thoughts all day, every day. I wonder when she was born, what she looks like, is she a happy or a melancholy baby? Unlike being pregnant in the physical sense, I have no biological 'link' to this child. I cannot tell if she is being well nourished and cared for - that is beyond my control. And this often leads to a feeling of helplessness, of frustration. WHY isn't she with us now???? So this has been my life for almost two and a half years - constant wondering and daydreaming of my Chinese daughter. I am just so excited that one day, in the not too distant future, we will be answering the phone call that will change our lives. What a day that will be - I am sure you will hear the champagne corks popping from every corner of the globe!!! Until then, I just pray that my beautiful Chinese daughter is safe, happy and loved, and that it won't be too long until I can hold her in my arms forever. I'm coming Alice......

Thursday, May 24

Ladybirds (or ladybugs if you are a Yank)

You may have noticed the odd ladybird creeping around my blog. They live in my house too - on the fridge, in the pot plants, among the kids toys, and other interesting places. 'Why?' I can hear you ask. Well, many years ago (waaaayyy back in the early 1990's) when international adoption from China was just starting to take off in the USA, people began to notice a correspondence between ladybird sightings and the appearance of referrals. Over the years, the China adoption community has taken up the image of the ladybird with a vengeance, and it has become symbolic of adopting from China among those 'in the know'. Case in point - I even have a ladybird dress up costume waiting in Alice's wardrobe for her to wear to her very first fancy dress party. I am also the proud owner of ladybird gumboots, ladybird dummies, books featuring ladybirds etc etc etc. Tragic, I know, but a fun way to pass the time and to feel a sense of 'connectedness' with other waiting families. Since referrals are due in the next week or so, I would appreciate notification of ANY ladybird sightings, just so I can look to the skies and spy a glimpse of the stork on it's way from China...

Tuesday, May 22

Surprise wedding!

Well, not quite, but pretty close. Eleven years ago, when we were struggling Uni students, we met, fell in love and decided to get married. Due to a horrendous amout of family bickering about said wedding ('You can't invite THEM! Why haven't you invited them?? How could you make us SUFFER so badly???'........) we did the sensible thing and eloped. A very simple affair at the registry office, with a few close friends, and a reception afterwards at the local pub. Anyway, in the last eleven years a LOT has happened - two children (soon to be three) and major lifestyle changes (ie: we are no longer dirt-poor students). Most importantly though, we both gave our lives to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. So this ceremony last night was a renewal of our vows, recognising the importance of God and faith in our marriage. It was a beautiful evening - a big surprise for the dozen members of our very close church group, and many tears were shed. Our lovely (and soon to be departed) Pastor David presided over the evening, and a memorable time was had. I have included a photo of us and I am very happy to say that even after eleven years and two kids I could still (just) fit into my wedding dress!! Enjoy the pics - zai jian until next time.

Monday, May 21

Still more rain - and a sick chick.

We have had HEAPS more beautiful rain over the weekend and again today, which is just marvellous. I found myself waking this morning and really hoping for another gloomy day, which is quite unlike my usual desire for sunny, warm and about 21 degrees. There have even been a few thunder rolls and a bit of lightning - bring it on!! I was at work this morning, enjoying being warm and cosy in my aide room, hearing the sounds of the rain pelting down upon the roof. I then went to my DD's classroom to talk to her teacher and noticed that my poor poss had flaming red cheeks and was looking decidedly under the weather. Since DH and I have both had slap cheek in the past couple of weeks, it didn't take too long to work out what was going on. So,my sick chick is now at home, resting quite comfortably and reading Trixie Belden on the couch whilst I type this entry. As with all things, kids tend to bounce back from this illness pretty quickly, unlike DH and I who suffered for a good couple of weeks. Hopefully she will be back at school tomorrow and feeling sunshiney again.
Until next time, ciao

Friday, May 18

Rain, Glorious Rain!!!

It has been raining solidly for about 12 hours now and it is WONDERFUL!!!! Here in Tassie, traditionally thought of as a rather wet and soggy sort of place, we have been experiencing drought conditions for many months. As Bevan, my lovely old lawn-mowing man once said - 'It's like it's forgotten HOW to rain'. So this lovely, soaking precipitation we are currently receiving is a real blessing, and in more ways than one. It means that DS's excursion to the local trainyards, followed by a ride on the train to be beach and a BBQ (accompanied by moi) has been cancelled. Now if the rain keeps up, with a bit of luck all junior soccer matches for the weekend will be cancelled too.......

Thursday, May 17

Home Decorating with The Obsessive-Compulsive.

Catchy title hey? It almost sounds like the name of some groovy, ultra-hip lifestyle mag, with a hideous cover price and even more hideous decor within its glossy pages. Unfortunately though, it is not a magazine I am referring to, but me trying to 'do' stuff in my home when I tend to veer a little towards the OCD side of the spectrum. A simple floral arrangement can mean hours wasted on getting the stems in just the right position; hanging a picture can cause untold amounts of stress for all in the household as I continually check the alignment. And I wonder how many holes in the walls there are behind said pictures, the result of the first, second and subsequent 'hangings' being not quite 'right'. Sigh....I'm sure that this condition does have it's positive side - I just haven't worked out what it is yet. Now farewell as I go to check that the clock is hanging exactly where it is meant to be...

Wednesday, May 16

My Trip to the Takeaway (pun intended)

I made a very bad decision about an hour ago. Feeling incredibly virtuous and uber-fit after my sweaty 50 minute session on the treadmill, I was feeling a little peckish, so decided to reward my effort with my favourite takeaway lunch (not to be mentioned as it will therefore incriminate the business I so regularly patronise). So, off I trot to said takeaway shop, enjoying the rain falling on my car windscreen, humming a happy tune. Arrive at takeaway shop, stroll casually up to entry and WHAM!!!! Before I knew what had hit me (or what I had hit) I was flat on my backside, feeling like a complete A1 goose. And, of course, there had to be people sitting in the window of said takeaway watching my not-so-graceful fall to earth. I picked myself up, checked for any major life threatening injuries (other than wounded pride) and staggered into said shop to pick up my order. I politely told them of my slippery escapade, which was due to their new slippery wet tiles at the front of the shop, and refrained from mentioning that my husband is a lawyer who specialises in personal injuries (I kid you not). After the concerned shop attendants questioned the extent of my injuries and gave me my lunch (dang - still had to pay for it) I staggered off home. So here I sit, feeling very sore and sorry for myself, with a badly bruised arm, sore backside, jolted pelvis and wounded pride. Lucky I'm not 30 years older with a degenerative bone condition....


I've done it again

I know, I know. I should know better. But I can't help myself. After 17 months and three weeks of waiting, I DESERVE to get a little excited! Upon reading the illustrious Rumour Queen site this morning, I did verily find my heart skipping a beat or two. The rumour of the next round of referrals making it into mid November has become an R3. Now, to the uninitiated, this is pretty cool - when this rumour first hit, it was a R1 (not worth much really). Now that it has graduated to an R3 it is worthy of closer consideration. The Rumour Scale goes from 1-5, with 1 being pretty lame and 5 being virtually fact, so to be an R3 is getting a wee bit on the exciting side. No doubt my hopes will be dashed in a fortnight's time when the referrals come out and the CCAA allocates another crappy two days worth of files, but today, and for the next few days until I hear/read any differently, I BELIEVE!!!


Tuesday, May 15

A very moving video - make sure you have tissues nearby

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Well, here I am again, in front of the computer, wasting time. It's not that I don't have better things to do - Mandarin homework, for example - but I just can't seem to help myself. The procrastination bug has bit and I just can't seem to shake it. Like my cool heading?? The result of much procrastination and, as we call it in our house, 'faffing'. My DS is the king of faff, or, the Faffinator as we so kindly refer to him. I think there must be a definite 'faff' gene, as DS has certainly inherited it from at least one parent, and possibly both. So, what should I be doing??
-Mandarin homework (nope, too hard)
-changing the sheets on my bed (nope, too boring)
-vacuuming the house (nope, can't be bothered)
-having a nap (now that sounds good...)
But the time has come - I really must stop faffing and do something productive. Will post again when the urge to procrastinate hits....

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Sunday, May 13

The Rumours are Coming!

On the Rumour Queen blog this morning there is a very tasty whisper - that the next round of referrals, due at the end of May or beginning of June, will make to to somewhere between the 16th and 21st November. Trying very hard NOT to get excited, as I have been badly burned by false rumours before, but this is such a good one! I guess that time will tell, so all I can do for now is buckle up, and enjoy the rumour roller coaster ride.

Saturday, May 12

Our Journey

I have just realised that, even though this blog is entitled 'Our Journey to Alice' I have written very little about our journey so far. It has been a long one. Not, I should add, as long as those of some people, but long enough. We made the initial decision to adopt from overseas in January 2005. Both my kids were in school, and I just felt that I didn't want to stop being a full time mum! DH and I can't have any more kids the old-fashioned way, so, after much prayer and soul-searching, we decided upon international adoption (I.A.). And what a journey it has been. We lodged our EOI (expression of interest) in February 2005, and started our social worker visits in April of the same year. This involved four separate meetings, each of almost three hours duration (grilling). Luckily our social worker is a lovely person and the process wasn't TOO painful! During this time (April-July) we also had to complete a country project, dealing with the country we had chosen to adopt from, and write up answers to about seven A4 pages of questions about ourselves, our family life, our childhoods, our preparedness for adopting, our parenting techniques, etc etc etc etc. When we finally received our official approval to adopt in September 2005 we were thrilled, and hopeful of being DTC (dossier to China) very soon. Fate, however, had other ideas. Due to a departmental mistake, our file was held up and was not sent until November 8th 2005. Little were we to know at that time that those few months would be so crucial..... When our file left for China, allocations were taking around six months - ie: your file was sent to China, and six months later you received your referral. Good ol' Mr Murphy came to visit though, and as soon as our file was received by the CCAA, the Great Slow Down (mentioned in a previous post) began. The wait stretched out and out, to the point we have reached now - 17 months and two weeks since DTC and STILL no allocation. We really hope to hear our good news in the not too distant future. If I am being uber-optimistic, I would say July, but more likely to be August, with September as a bad case scenario. SO - this means travel to China somewhere between September and November this year. I am just so thrilled to be nearing the end of this emotional roller coaster, and not just starting out. If you aren't directly involved in the IA process, it is difficult to understand the plethora of conflicting emotions that you experience, sometimes on a minute by minute basis! But I have been very fortunate to have made some fantastic friends whilst on this wild ride, and I am truly blessed to be undertaking this very special journey with so much support, both from my new friends and old.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, and Happy Mothers Day to all the mums and mums to be.


Friday, May 11

Something sorta cute...

I just found this in my mindless meanderings around cyberspace and thought it was cute:

Hope you all have a great weekend - promise to write more soon.


Wednesday, May 9

Speaking of revealing....

.....I have some news for those of you out there who are rabidly insane 'Top Gear' fans (and what sensible person isn't???) Some say he has the courage of an elephant, others say he is Tim Brooke-Taylor is disguise, all I know is that HE is really a SHE and.......

He he he......

Sweet November...

Well, it's official - the CCAA (China Centre for Adoption Affairs, for those not 'in the know') has updated their web page. After almost 18 months of waiting, far too many Tim Tams and copious bottles of CabSav, I can finally say that:

IT'S OUR MONTH!!!!!!!!

Our file was received by the CCAA on November 11th 2005 and logged in (or, officially put in line) on November 22nd. So we are only 21 days worth of LID's (log in dates) away from allocation. Now, for the $64 000 question - exactly how long will it take the CCAA to get through those 21 days worth of files??Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?.........

Must walk away from computer before making any more references to bizarre 80's movies (and thus revealing my true age....)

Tuesday, May 8

Mandarin mayhem

I have just completed my homework for this week's Mandarin classes, and have come to accept the fact that I am completely USELESS with regard to language acquisition skills. How I ever learned to speak as a child is any one's guess... Anyhow, it took me an hour and a half to complete approximately 20 simple pinyin translations/questions and I still can't count to ten properly! I have also come to realise that I am tone deaf. As Mandarin is a tonal language, this is somewhat of a handicap. I am, despite my grizzling, enjoying the class immensely. There are also others in the class who are just as linguistically challenged as myself, which causes great hilarity at times. Can't wait to be unleashed in China and assault the native population with my hillbilly mandarin.


Monday, May 7

Murder? I think not...

Mmmm, the plot thickens. Seems as if my hermit crab massacre theory of yesterday is FALSE!!! Sure, the crabs are dead (three out of four) but it turns out there was a more logical explanation - insecticide. The kids had been playing with them during the day in DS's cool, u-beaut carpark/garage for toy cars. Needless to say, I am sure the crabs had a delightful time. Anyway, approximately three hours after said play session, all manner of carnage began to happen in the hermit crab habitat. Turns out that the pesticide sprayed by the Pest Guy a couple of weeks ago is still quite toxic to hermit crabs. In playing on the garage/car-park they had absorbed enough residual insectide to be fatal. Oh dear.... So, R.I.P. Fern, Gideon and Gerbie - only Herbie survived, but was joined this afternoon by Pearl, Bluey and TBA. I just hope I get my money's worth out of this lot.

Sunday, May 6

The Great Hermit Crab Massacre

We have crabs. Four of them, to be exact. Two belong to my DD, two belong to my DS. They have graced us with their presence for a couple of months now, and were sold to us with promises of 'They are such great pets! Very low maintainence!! HUH. Low maintainence they are not. Violent they are. In the past week, one (Willow) has been brutally murdered by another (Fern) and just now the replacement for Willow (Gideon) has severely mauled the aforementioned Fern. Ack. Now Fern is missing two legs and looking very sad, whilst Gideon seems to have exhausted himself with the ferocity of his attack to the point of demise. I have had to set up an isolation tank for Fern, and Gideon appears to be a goner. Not good since he has only been with us since Wednesday! And of course, both crabs belong to highly strung DD, who will be just devastated when she awakes in the morning to see the carnage. Double ack. Low maintanence - rubbish!!

Here I am again...

Well, I have decided that my last blog just wasn't working (ie: I was too lazy to post) and then I lost it when my favourites list disappeared, so now the time has come to re-create my masterpiece (ha ha). I have titled my blog 'Our Journey to Alice' simply because that is what we are on - a very long, very painful and incredibly frustrating journey to adopt our daughter Alice from China. Our file was logged in with the CCAA (China Centre for Adoption Affairs) on November 22nd 2005. At that time, referrals were taking about 6 months to arrive. I distinctly remember thinking to myself that 2006 was going to be OUR year - this was very closely followed by another voice saying 'nope - it will be 2007'. Hmm, methinks that God knew what He was talking about. As soon as our file arrived in China, the Great Slow Down began. We are now at the 17 and a half month mark, and are STILL waiting for our referral. During those 17 and a half months I have:
a) had a birthday, soon to be two;
b) gained about five kilos;
c) spent countless hours worrying about our adoption;
d) wasted far too many hours on the computer, searching for any snippet of news about China referrals.

So, here I am, heavier, with more grey hairs and wrinkles and a far more acute knowledge of how my computer works. Not neccessarily all bad then...

The way things are going at the moment, we should hear our good news in the next 2-6 months, with travel to occur before the end of the year. Who knows - the CCAA could decide to have a big speed up now that we are almost at the end of our wait, and we may be next!! But I somehow doubt it. Anyway, that's where I am, what I am up to and how I have come to be here. I PROMISE (pinky swear, fingers crossed and all the rest) to be more regular with my posts from now on, as it is a great outlet for all the pre-referral craziness that I am feeling!!

Until next time, zai jian.