Thursday, June 30, 2011


We are moving (rather quickly) towards travel. Since we are a Hague family we have many steps between referral and travel. Here is our progress so far:

Referral 6/1/2011
I800 sent 6/6/2011
I800 approved 6/20/2011
Cabled 6/28/2011
Cable letter 6/30/2011
Article 5 - about 2 weeks
TA - about 2-4 weeks after Article 5
Travel! - about 1-3 weeks after TA

So if we follow the shortest estimate for timing, we could be in China in 5 weeks (around August 8). Most likely it will be 8/22 or so.

We got updated information about little Anya, and she seems to be doing well!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hope someone is holding our baby

It is so hard to just wait to travel and not know anything about how Anya is doing. We don’t really even know if she is in an orphanage or foster care. Her paperwork says she is in the social welfare institute (SWI), but that would be really unusual for this SWI as most kids under 3 are in foster care.

Her SWI is notorious for providing no information before or after adoption. They do not generally allow adoptive parents to visit. Many people with referrals from throughout China use various services to send care packages and get updated info and photos of their kids while they wait to travel. Several people in the June group have recently gotten wonderful updated photos. Anya’s SWI does not provide these updates to these types of services. So we have decided to send a more personalized care package on our own with no hope of an update (but we have not gotten it together yet). I’m planning to use my rusty Mandarin and hand-write a note to accompany the package. I hope they are not offended.

Our agency may get an update right before we travel, but that is months from now and all the information we have is already 3 months old. I panic when I read about any trouble in China (currently - floods, riots, lead poisoning, bombings!).

The Fuzhou yahoo group is reassuring at least. They state that the kids – whether in foster care or the SWI - are generally well cared for and healthy. Few to no cases of scabies have been reported. Several kids came home with giardia, though, so we will take precautions until we can get her tested (i.e., not let Nik and Anya take baths together and wash our hands a lot). Not all kids have it, though – especially if they are in foster care. There is a Half the Sky program at the SWI, but we don’t know if Anya is in it – probably not because I get the feeling that most kids in the HTS programs are SN.

I learned about a person who can get updates and photos - primarily from the Fuzhou SWI. People who have used his service have gotten as many as 75 photos of their kids with the foster parents, the town, the SWI, the baby’s bed, etc! BUT, I have also heard that this person pays the SWI director and possibly the foster parents to obtain all the info. While that is an innocent payment, it makes me nervous and is probably technically a violation of Hague and possibly US immigration laws. We cannot give money to our future daughter’s current guardians until the adoption is final. But… 75 photos of our little baby and her life before joining our family! And others have used the service with no issues. Sigh… we will (probably) wait until after the adoption and then use his services to get photos of people and places that were important to her early life.

And, in the meantime, please pray that our little girl is happy, healthy, and loved.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

More Information

We got a FedEx with two more pictures and a little more information. Everything is from March, so when she was about 4 months old. There is not a lot we can tell about her development based on a report at 4 months old. She was not rolling over or grasping at toys yet, but these are skills that develop around 3-4 months. And considering how bundled she probably was from the time she was born in November until the report in March, it is not surprising at all. She laughs out loud, recognizes familiar people, likes to be surrounded by activity, likes quiet, likes music, and sucks her fingers. "She makes noises at people and animals" - I wonder what animals she encounters? Her personality is described as, "introverted, cheerful, lively and active. She has an exuberant energy, but sometimes she is relatively irritable." I love the expression on her face in one of the new pictures - like "what the heck is going on." Nikolai made a similar expression when we took him outside for the first time. I find it interesting that they appear to have photoshopped out someone's arm from behind her in one picture. It's not like we would expect a 4-month old to be able to sit up on their own.

These are the characters of her middle name
Jing 4 (modest, chaste) Xiu 4 (beautiful, elegant)

Usually Chinese names have a meaning that goes beyond the exact translation of the two parts. I don't know if that is true for Anya's name, but we hope to have a Chinese speaker give us their interpretation of her name.

These are the characters we would use for her first name (although a Chinese name would never have 4 characters plus a surname!)
An 1 (peaceful) Ya 3 (elegant, graceful, refined)
安 雅

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ge ge (big brother)

Nikolai seems genuinely excited about his new sister. When I picked him up from daycare yesterday I gave him a picture and he first showed it to his best friend Kayleigh, then Mr. Jarrell, the teacher in his new class. Then he ran down the hall and into the 2s room and plowed through the group of kids standing around the craft project demonstration in order to show it to Ms. Nahid, his teacher for the last year or so. On the way to the bank to meet Chris to get a document notarized, Nikolai spouted off all the things he is going to teach “his baby”. He is going to teach her to talk, and to walk, and to climb, and to climb in his chair. And he’s going to do the monkey dance to make her laugh. When we got home, he saw the other copies of the one photo we had yesterday and said, “my baby sister! There’s more! They all match.” Yes, when you only have one photo – they all will match. I hope he really adjusts to being a big brother as well as he appears to be.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's a Girl!

We finally got the call! She's beautiful! I can't stop staring in her dark eyes.

Anya JingXiu

DOB: November 17, 2010 (about 6 months)
Fuzhou SWI, Jiangxi Province
Favorite toy: rattle
Favorite activity: being held
Healthy appetite, supposedly eating milk and rice formula, rice cereal, egg, and meat soup?
In March she was 25" long and weighed 13 lbs

We will travel in about 11-15 weeks!

I just plotted her measurements and if what they told us is accurate, she is about 50 percentile! Amazing.

Waiting is making me crazy

Why on earth do we get so much advanced notice? Is it just to ensure we are absolutely crazy by the time the call comes? Last night we got an email from our agency...

"We look forward to calling you about your match tomorrow! Have a nice evening."

Have a nice evening? Not even a hint? Our agency will begin making calls at 9 am their time - so 11 am our time. It has been a long morning.

It was so much easier for Nikolai. I was at work and saw our coordinator was calling but assumed it was because they needed more paperwork or something. I answered the phone calmly, she spit out the brief info about our potential son and that was that. No stress!