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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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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

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
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