Friday, April 29, 2011


Referrals came out today. Congratulations to all the new families! Unfortunately this was the smallest batch in history, with a cut-off June 20th. If they had gotten through the 21st we would definitely be in next month. Now, I think we will be in, but it is not a guarantee. I was disappointed and sad about the cut-off and then saw the email from our agency letting us know we were not in this month. They have never contacted us before, and the fact that they felt they needed to let us know we were not in this month – as if there was a chance we could have been – made me panic. How can I be disappointed about a small cut-off and panicked about potentially being in in the near future at the same time? Brains are confusing.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Next, Next

Yes – we are still adopting from China. After almost 5 years, I think we can safely say we “next next” and should finally see our second child’s face in late May or early June, and then travel probably at the end of August. At least we don’t have to worry about bringing any bulky winter clothes. When we went to Kazakhstan, it was in the 80s when we arrived and the low 40s when we left – that was hard to pack for.

Referrals came out yesterday and the cut-off was a tiny bit better than expected - June 15, 2006. Our LID is June 23, 2006. I think there is almost no chance that we could be in the next batch at the end of April (I predict a cut-off of June 21, although the 22 may sneak in there). There is also almost no chance that we WON’T be in the batch at the end of May! It feels very weird after the years of uncertainty and every month having to extend our estimate for referral another month (or another year) to actually know when we will get referral. In the back of my mind I keep worrying that something will happen – that maybe we were told the wrong LID or our dossier somehow fell behind a book case at some point over the past 5 years. Unfortunately things like that have happened, but they are always resolved.

Our new agency (after our first agency went out of business) will not provide any info the day referrals come out, but waits until they check and translate everything and makes calls the next day. This month, referrals arrived on a Friday, so people with our agency have to wait over the weekend to get any information – torture! It will be strange to actually know the day that we will get the call. I may have to take the day off work; how could I concentrate? I think I prefer how we got the call for Nikolai – we knew we were in the time range to receive information, but we had been in the range for months. Then out of the blue I got a call at work from our coordinator, who announced that they “had a little guy for us”!

I am trying not to hope for any particular “type” of referral, but it is hard because I do want a child as young as possible to limit the time they had to spend in an orphanage. I also would like a girl. But then again the referral photos of the toddlers are SO cute, and boys are great too. We’ll see what happens. We may have a heart attack if referred twins. I can’t comprehend even simple tasks with three young kids – like getting from the car into daycare. Twins are VERY unlikely, though.

Our house is totally not prepared for another child yet. The little one’s room is a mess and full of the clothes Nikolai has outgrown – in case we get another boy. We need to re-baby proof and figure out some system for toys that allows two development stages worth of toys to be out in our little living/play/TV/dining room (or perhaps we should use other parts of the house). I have no idea how to keep Nikolai’s toys with tiny pieces off of the floor. I guess we should try to teach him to pick up when he is done with things, but then that requires actually having space to put things away. My parents and Nikolai are coming to China with us! It will be essential to have my parents to help with Nikolai so that we can focus on the new child when needed and attend official paperwork things alone. We are not willing to go 3 weeks without bringing Nikolai. The only drawback is that my parents will also be jet-lagged when we get back. When we came home from Kazakhstan, my parents had filled our refrigerator with perishables and made a bunch of baby food. The first couple weeks home was crazy hard with Nikolai – I was SO tired, jet lagged, and sick. And I could not do anything without Nikolai clinging to my leg or wanting to be picked up, so I often went without lunch (except for the days our Kazakh neighbor brought me lunch!). Thinking back I find it hard to believe I couldn’t figure out a way to feed the baby and eat myself. I don’t know if it will be easier this time having experience as a parent. I should be a little less tired because we will have been in China for longer and had custody of our child longer. Then again this child may have a significantly harder time adjusting than Nikolai – who adjusted and attached easily. There have been discussions on Rumor Queen comparing the stress and fatigue associated with having a newborn to bringing home a newly adopted child. The consensus from those who have experienced both was that both are equally hard, but for very different reasons.

We need to prepare a little bit more in advance than we did for Kazakhstan (admittedly we were given only one week’s notice to arrive in Kaz). We will NOT pack the day we leave again (even if we ALWAYS end up packing the day we leave – including doing so twice for our trips to Kaz). We plan to cook some things and freeze them (soup, casseroles, etc.) as well as preparing baby food (if appropriate).

It has been so fun watching all of the other June bugs get their referrals over the past three months! While I don’t know any of them in person, having been in the online group together for 4-5 years makes them important to me. As someone else described it on Rumor Queen – every referral announcement is like seeing a niece or nephew for the first time. Every one of the babies/toddlers referred so far has been absolutely wonderful. The first group is getting ready to travel!

Unfortunately China has just issued new rules regarding post placement reports – well, unfortunate for our family but probably good for kids overall. It used to be that you submitted a post placement report at 6 and 12 months and that was it (plus one more the first year to satisfy VA requirements). Now China wants reports at 1, 6, 12, 24, 36, and 60 months. It is not that big of a deal, but the 1 month one will be hard. In the past our social worker has required a month to write the report so she would have to come to our house the first week home. At least we really like our social worker. But who is to say she will be available still 5 years from now? Who knows if our agency will even still be around?

We will be fingerprinted for the final time next week. Assuming we don’t get any requests for evidence from USCIS, we will soon after get approval to bring our next child to the US as a citizen. That is the most important outstanding adoption-related thing we need to do – at least for now.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I have been a bad blogger – thanks to Facebook. I just wanted to share some cute stories from the past 6 months or so.

Nikolai is a talker, and talks almost constantly. If he goes 10 minutes without saying something, invariably it means he has something in his mouth he wants to spit out (a vegetable he has tried, apple skin, etc.). If he is mad he will also get quiet.

He pronounces almost everything perfectly, so when he doesn’t I think it is so cute. Instead of saying “don’t forget” he says “don’t have got”. He calls ninjas “injas”.

Nik: That car is in front of us (referring to the one behind us)

Me: No, that car is behind us.

Nik: No! That car is in front of my back!

Last fall, while trying to catch leaves as they fell from the trees last fall, Nikolai looked at me and seriously said, “we don’t have to catch leaves, we can just pick them up!” Yes, but…

After watching a Dora episode where they were trying to find wishing stars, Nikolai said he wanted a wish. I asked him what he would wish for, and he replied, “the moon.” So cute!

Nik and I met Chris for dinner at church and stayed for the beginning of the youth drama rehearsal. While Chris was talking to the kids at the front of the room, Nikolai ran up and wanted to be picked up. Without Chris realizing, Nikolai started making funny faces to make the kids laugh. He LOVES to be the center of attention.

The fact that he likes to be the center of attention makes pediatrician appointments easy. He loves everyone talking to and looking at him. At his 3-yr appointment, when the nurse was done checking his temperature, height, and weight, she started to walk out of the room. Nikolai called after her, saying “don’t have got my heart!” She responded that the doctor would do that, and Nikolai said, “but you’re a doctor.” After she clarified that she was a nurse, Nikolai told me “that doctor is a nurse!” When the actual doctor walked in the room, Nikolai immediately asked her to tell him a story. When she looked in his ears, she told him she saw a red bunny in one and a blue bunny in the other – just being silly. But at bed time Nikolai very seriously and with wide eyes told me, “the bunnies are still in there.”

A few days after the Christmas play at church, Nikolai declared, “my friend Patrick likes juice. He’s going to take all his friends’ juice.” Patrick played King Herod, and kept declaring loudly that he was the King of the Jews in the play.

I asked Nikolai if he wanted a sibling, and he emphatically said “Yes!” I then asked if he knew what a sibling was, and he answered, “yes, a candy!” It is just like him to assume the best - that something he doesn’t know is the most wonderful thing he can think of.

Another example of this thinking – One evening Chris declared that dinner was ready. Nikolai jumped up, declaring “Yay! Yay! Hot dogs!” (We were not having hot dogs)

The other day he got up from the chair in the living room and headed towards the kitchen. Just before entering, he turned back to us, held up his hand and said very seriously "don't come." Nothing suspicious about that statement! He was after a marshmallow.

Chris got Nikolai a carnation for Valentine's day and he acted like it is his pet. We put it in a little vase, which he had to carry up to his room when he went to bed. He placed the vase on his book case, saying "awe, good night little fella." He carried the vase downstairs with him the next morning.

Early one morning while it was still dark out, I was lying in bed and heard Nikolai walk past. I said, “Nikolai what are you doing?” and he answered, “I’m just getting the stool.” He picked up the stool and brought it back to his room, put it against the dresser, climbed up, grabbed a paci from the bin, got down and climbed back in bed! I am beginning to feel obsolete.