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Monday, September 19, 2016

I Hate the First Day of Preschool

Wow, it's been a long time since I last posted.  Basically since we returned from China - 18 months ago.  I need to get back on the blog train so that I have some record of these kids growing up!  So much has happened, so many beautiful moments, like seeing Haze and Mira in moments of compassion toward each other, Haze's first bike riding and first words, happy times with cousins and grandparents...and then there have been times of despair  such as sister/brother jealousy, communication struggles with ultra slow speech development and long days at home with the kids.
I must say one of the hardest things I've dealt with so far is going through the process of sending our little one off to preschool.  I don't think I've lost sleep so much in my life.  The worries are never ending.  Are 30 kids too many in a classroom?  Yes.  Change schools one week before start date.  How will I know what he did all day, if he experienced something new and wonderful, if he can't tell me yet?  Should I ask the teacher to send a note home each day?  What if she doesn't want to?  What if he starts to have accidents after being potty trained for 5 months, and he is kicked out?  How will he ever keep his hearing aids in?  But the most difficult part of this process, as an adoptive mom, is seeing my baby screaming for me as I leave the room the first morning.  It's not the same as it was leaving my first (bio) 'baby', although that was hard.  This time, seeing Haze's teacher holding him while he screamed for me with his arms out, begging me to stay, then seeing him crying while looking out the window, as I got into my car, brings back strong memories of the day we first met.  This is not normal separation anxiety.  This is loss people.  Serious loss.  I know it must not be conscious for him, but I know it's in there.  And it's very conscious for me.   I know that my son went through attaching to and loving a caregiver in China, then one day, out of the blue, he was handed off to another lady (me) in a fashion very similar to what it looks like on the first day of preschool.  He was handed off and never saw the person he loved so much again.  And I wonder if somewhere, in that little brain, there is a fear deeper than in other kids brains, that I really will not come back.  Because it did happen to him.  Twice actually.  
So preschool directors near and far, please stop telling us that this is normal behavior for every child starting preschool.  Because although it looks the same on the outside (see our happy first day of school picture from Facebook?), what my son and I are feeling inside is very different.  Even if not for my son (true, it is remotely possible he has absolutely no conscious or unconscious memory of his first 1.5 years), for me, as a mother, it is very different, and not to be compared.  My brain doesn't just worry that he'll stop crying soon and be happy in his new environment.  Seeing him reaching for me like that, my brain instantly goes back to the day in China when we became a family, taking him from the arms of the ladies he knew and loved, leaving him absolutely traumatized.  He cried for hours, fell asleep, and cried some more.  I'm pretty sure other parents don't have these memories clouding their first day of school thoughts.
I know the sweet preschool staff are trying to calm us by saying 'all kids act like this', but it only makes me feel like they don't understand the depth of the loss we are working through.  I would rather hear "I know this must be hard for you, knowing what you and he have been through - not so long ago!  We will do our best to love him, comfort him and we will keep you updated.  Every ten minutes."  ;)
So I will go get a cup of coffee, take a walk and try to 'take care of myself' since it's been a while.  But I secretly know that until my son can walk through those schoolhouse doors and wave goodbye to me with a smile on his face, I will not rest.  He'll do it.  Someday.  :)
Update:  This week, about two weeks after starting preschool, our boy was able to give me a kiss and wave goodbye happily at drop off.  He's even giddy when I arrive to pick him up, he's so excited about his time at school.  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cancel the Updates...Adoption Trip Slideshow!

Well, the best laid plans often go awry.  As much as I wanted to blog a quick synopsis of each day in China, it was challenging.  First was the difficulty I had getting onto most websites due to strict internet use policies in China (particularly Google and anything medically related).  Then, during the final week we were there, our family members each proceeded to become sick so that by the time we left, we were just able to drag ourselves onto the airplane to make it back home.
Overall, we really enjoyed the last city, Guangzhou, it's more moderate temps, lack of motorcycles and many of the different foods we tried (steamed dumplings filled with lotus seed puree - yum!).

Since returning, we have all returned to health (Haze is on his last day of antibiotics for a double ear infection) and we are slowly getting back into a new normal.  I'll say that having an adorable little boy toddling and falling around our house while trying to prepare three meals a day is challenging.  Matt has been the nighttime champion of helping Haze get on a regular sleep schedule.  They are still working that out.  And Mira has been a patient and loving big sister - after 7 years of serious amounts of attention for herself, I'd say she's doing really well with this 'sharing' thing.

So for now, I will leave you with the slideshow from our big adventure....just click on the link below!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Rundown from the Road (the Chinese road), Part 1

I was finally able to log in to my gmail account using a VPN just now, and I've got about 15 minutes to write before the family wakes up and we have to get ready for our 6th day in China.  So here is the very brief version of our amazing, exhausting adventures and hopefully I can fill in the details later.  :)

Day 1:  Arrive in Beijing after about 24 hours of traveling, check into the hotel and go to bed.
Day 2:  Tour of Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City and rickshaw ride into old china for lunch...all in the freezing cold.  Fun! 

 And if you've never heard of a squatty potty, here you go....imagine this cultural experience.

 But the good part of this day was our afternoon/evening visit to Haze's foster home (which is really an orphanage, but they call it a foster home to differentiate it from government run orphanages).  We took a 90 minute taxi ride through Beijing to Angel Home, where our son has been living since he was about 3 months old.  And we finally met him in person.  Here are some pics...

 First glimpse of our beautiful son through the window.

Reaction to new family.  It's okay.  We understand.

  Mira and Haze's first meal together!

And some of the other kiddos at Angel Home...

Two babies and a volunteer in the room next to Haze's.  
None of these kids are left laying in their cribs during the day.  Yay!

 Preschool room


Piggyback with Tracy, the volunteer / translator.

We felt so fortunate to have seen where Haze has spent most of the first year and half of his life.  We were welcomed with open arms.  Some families are not granted entrance into their children's orphanages.   The word thankful doesn't begin to describe how happy we are he has been in this warm, loving environment...after comparing it to the much more cold, desolate orphanages we saw later in the trip.  We didn't get to take Haze with us yet, that comes in a few more days when we meet him in Zhengzhou!

Day 3 - The Great Wall and a jade factory

Day 4 - Fly to Zhengzhou and prepare the room for our new little one!

 Walmart run with the other families

 Crown Plaza Zhengzhou

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Almost Ready To Go and New Info.!

We got lucky last week and found more details out about little Haze!  In the midst of our packing frenzy, I decided to return to Facebook so that I could join a group for families who have adopted or are adopting children from Henan Province.  Through that, I found another group for families adopting specifically from Haze's foster home, Angel Home, and some nice women miraculously helped me find a whole profile about him on the Angel Home website!!  New pictures and everything!  Including the first one of him smiling, which was a huge relief....

He may even be a little jokester...  (photo bombing at age 1)

I was assuming he was back in Henan province by now so that we could pick him up there next week, and it turns out he is still at AH in Beijing, which is great news (less shuffling from place to place)!  I think they will take him by train from Beijing to Henan on Adoption Day.  
And he is walking now, for our record book!

So, thanks to those ladies who helped us put together a few more pieces of our son's puzzle.  I am so grateful.  We're heading out soon and hope to post more while in China.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Travel Approval Received!!!!

Travel Approval is the 'last thing' to check off the list from our agency before we can schedule our flights to China.  We've had our eye on that prize for months and months now.  See the "list"?

On Tuesday (1/16/15) we received notice that the Article 5 document was being sent from the US Consulate in Beijing to the CCCWA (Chinese Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption) and it would be 1.5-3 weeks until Travel Approval is received.  Little did we know how quickly China's bureaucracy can work (did I say that after 11 months of paperwork?)!  So here we are 4 days later (Friday), and we see an email from our agency letting us know that they received a soft copy of the Travel Approval from the CCCWA today!  Not in 3 weeks, or 1.5 weeks.  4 days people!  Oh My Gosh!!!!!!  Woo Hooooo!!!!!!

God is looking out for little Pokorny #2 and wants to get him here ASAP.  I sit here looking at his picture at my desk and tell him that we're coming, to hold on just a little longer.  Bags are being packed.  Antibiotics are being called in.  Let you know when we're ready to head out of town.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Here, But Not Here.

Yesterday was Christmas.  On the whole, it was a very happy day for our family, and especially our daughter, who shredded the paper off presents for two hours straight, who tinkered around her fairy garden out in the cold, carefully placing each new piece Grandma sent in it's rightful place.  I felt so grateful for all of our blessings....but I couldn't help from feeling pangs of sadness and missing each time I thought about our little boy who is not yet here with us this year.  He will be here every Christmas after this, but for today, he is in his crib in an orphanage, likely receiving the minimum amount of rice formula in his bottle to stay alive.  Not tearing open any presents, not being cuddled for more than a couple of minutes by busy nannies watching 40 other children, not tasting chocolate or sausage balls for breakfast, and not gazing into the lights on the tree.  But next year, very soon I hope, we are going to be able to give him the love and attention he needs.

His little picture sits next to my computer, crumpled by big sister's hugs and kisses.  He's here in our hearts, but still not really ours, not here, until we get over to the other side of the world to scoop him up and carry him to the government building where we sign off for good.  He doesn't know we're coming, but boy I wish he did!  I wish he somehow felt peace in his young heart knowing that this family was yearning for him.   That we wish we could have been the ones to find him the day he was left in that box, the ones to pick him up and bring him straight home so that he could avoid the last 15 months of multiple-caregivers, bland rice formula, and too few hugs.

I'm still not sure we can 'make up for what he lost', as many people suggest.  But we're going to try, or at least we know we'll be here for him all the rest of his days.  And that feels good.

Now we're just praying for some documents to move very quickly so we can get to little Yu Wang.  Who now has an English name, by the way.  We'll save that for later! this interesting blog for another Christmas-related adoption story.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Introducing...Our Boy!!!!

This Halloween started like most other days during the past couple of months.  I made Mira's lunch, packed her costume (ok, that part was slightly different than usual), brought her to school, then drove back home to shower and run some errands for Matt's office.  Throughout the morning, I kept wondering, as I so often do, if today would be the day we get the phone call saying that we have been matched with our little boy.  I thought to myself, 'Halloween would be an awesome day to be matched.  I always loved Halloween as a child.'  My impatience had been growing.  I spoke with my sister by phone, and she reminded me that 8 years ago today, she had the ultrasound showing that she would be having twin boys.  I couldn't help but get my hopes up.

I headed back to Mira's school to help out with the Halloween party in the afternoon.  While I was checking on the 'breadstick witch brooms' in the kitchen near Mira's classroom, my phone rang.  I casually glanced at the screen and it said "CCAI".   Aghhhh!  Oh my God.  This is it.  Shut the door.  Breathe.  I paced around the room, answered the phone and it was a woman from our agency.  I'm pretty sure I screamed.  She said she was calling to let me know that they have a match for us.  I screamed again.  He is a 13 month old little boy.  His name is Qian Yu Wang, Yu meaning Jade.  I was scribbling her words on a scrap of paper.  Very small for his age.  He was born with cleft lip and palate, and his lip has already been repaired.  She asked if I would like to review his file.  Would I?!?  Yes!!!  I definitely would, I told her.  That was that.  They would send me the electronic files within half an hour.  

I ran out of the kitchen attempting to nonchalantly check in with Mira and on the classroom party I was supposed to be helping with.  All good there.  I proceeded to call Matt and basically held my breath for about 20 minutes until the email came through from CCAI.  There were a number of medical documents and photos attached.  I scrolled through the five or six pictures they sent and by the time I got to the third, I couldn't hold in my emotions any longer.  I cried.  Sitting there in a chair in the front office of Mira's school, huddled over my phone,  I cried. Very. Happy. Tears.  When I saw the pictures of this sweet, big eyed, beautiful little boy looking at the camera, I was so overwhelmed and so thankful.  For being matched with this little person today.  For believing that this boy is the cutest little boy ever.  And that he was going to be ours!!!  Here's what I saw.  Lucky us.

Little Yu Wang is living on the other side of the world in an orphanage with lots of other boys and girls who were similarly, heartbreakingly, left behind by their parents as newborns for very complex social and financial reasons.  But now he is going to become a part of our family.  He is going to be OUR son.  Maybe he was always going to be our son.  He will be treasured and held and spoiled and loved like Mira is.  Forever.  We thank God he was born.  And that somehow, miraculously, his young path has already led him all the way around the world to our family in the foothills of Colorado.  This is the red thread that connects us.