Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

For Christmas this year the only thing I really wanted (other than Norah) were new pics from Vietnam. It has been 5 1/2 weeks and I am going crazy!! But Santa did not bring me new pictures today. I suppose I was just overly optimistic that they would be in my inbox when I woke up.

We did stay very busy this weekend buying our new camcorder, digital SLR and IPODs for our trip. I admit, splurging a little after saving for so long was kind of nice, and of course these were the things we were saving for. Barn set-up the pack and play from gran Becki and high chair while I put away the end of the shower gifts. We celebrated x-mas next door with Aunt Jessi, Uncle Chad and cousins Aiden and Liam. Aiden keeps asking when Norah is coming. I wish I had an answer!!

Thanks again Grandma Val for the baby monitors and high chair!

Daddy sets up the high chair.
A place at the kitchen table (I guess we have to start eating there now!)
There was a lot of unpacking to do after the shower!
And here I thought that I would be able to throw out one of these giant boxes in our living room. Addison thought the high chair box was a nice place to sleep.

Baby Shower #1 12-15-07

So I am a little behind at blogging again but it has been a busy month. On the 13th, 2 days before the baby shower, I got the flu. I felt horrible and popped a whole lot of blood vessels in my face from puking so hard. (It will be a long long time before I am able to eat Culvers again.) Then it started snowing... and snowing... and snowing... a whole 8+ inches worth in Lake St. Louis so people started cancelling left and right. With the huge storm front came a migraine so I doped up on prescription migraine medication and hoped that I would not vomit on any of my guests. There was actually a really good turnout at the shower, probably 30 or so friends & family and lots of babies. We played a few games: passed the bink with chop sticks, smelled the baby food, made everyone tear out babies behind their backs. The guys raced to drink apple juice out of baby bottles and Norah's Uncle Gil won. I can honestly say that I do not remember too much after that. It was a bit overwhelming and we had a time constraint on the room so I rushed and rushed to open all the presents.

A big thanks to Aunt Jessi for co-throwing us the shower:


Barnabas & I with my mom, my sister, Lauren, and her other half, Gil.
Here are some shots of all our wonderful friends:



Cousin Aiden playing with a lantern.


The Phon's chose a bath time and meantime theme.
Uncle Gil, Uncle Chad and good friend Tim chug apple juice.
Uncle Gil wins!



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

2 Months Today

Today it has been 2 months since our referral. Time seems to be going very slow and very fast all at once. Work has been very busy for both of us. Our first shower is this weekend and I am so excited. I have been waiting half of my life to celebrate my child. Woo hoo!! There are several families in Vietman right now that live close by and we were so excited to see them get their children this week. Congrats again to Matt and Ali on Princess Jenna and Karen and Andrew with baby Khai. We are so happy for you guys!!

We still haven't gotten any updates on Norah, she turned 4 months old last Tuesday, but we are still holding out hope for new photos this week. I have written our agency about the possibility of sending her a few toys to keep her entertained until we can get her. She has now missed her first Hannukah with us. =( Next year will be much better. It has to be!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Strollers and Car Seats and Chairs! (oh my!)

We've started receiving items from out-of-town friends and family and we really appreciate everyone's help in getting us ready for our baby girl!

Here I am putting all of my brain cells to work trying to put together the stroller. An hour later we had a stroller for Norah! (Don't mock--I was a Humanities major, after all, not an engineer.)

Stuff! (Thank you Pop and Sharon for the car seat, Hollie for the stroller and Valerie for the high chair)

Aiden gets to play King of the Mountain until we take the seat out of the box.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Happy Birthday Liam!!


Today my nephew, Liam, turned 2 and we did not get to see him because his whole family has a nasty flu bug. I did bake some bina (banana) bread and leave it on the front porch, slowly backing far far away as it was retrieved. I remember the day that Jess ran through our back door with that barely positive pregnancy test, it does NOT feel like it was 2 years ago, more like yesterday. Yet, my wonderful nephew is growing up and learning more and more each day. We have learned to interpret his Mogwai speak and randomly quote him daily in our own conversation. Both he, his brother and his parents have changed our lives far more than they will ever know. Leemie, Uncle Barn and I hope that you have had a wonderful day and we promise to celebrate next weekend! We love you!!


PS. You better work on getting Mommy and Daddy to plan that trip to Disney World with us next year to see MeeeMeee (aka Micky) and Duck.


Crisis Averted

We had problems with our hit counter down at the bottom of the page. All of a sudden we didn't know how many times people had viewed this site! After a moment of panic and then a short period of introspection and calm, I found a new one. Whew. Glad that's over and we can all go on with our lives.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving we were thankful for the usual things... friends, family, our health (good food ;-)) and of course, Norah. But little did we know that halfway around the world in Vietnam the Department of Justice was receiving the information that they needed to start processing our case. We found out yesterday that our official wait to travel started on 11/22 and now 2-4 months of waiting has begun. Barnabas says that now "waiting" has gone from an adjective to a verb, we are in the active phase. To me the waiting will be waiting until we are at the orphanage and Norah is in my arms!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bamboo!

Who wants the same old plain and boring walls?



For more info check out Blik Surface Graphics (http://www.whatisblik.com/walldecals.html).

Some people say...

...that waiting for something makes it that much more precious when it arrives, or when it happens after a long wait then you know that it was, without a doubt, meant to be. I don't know about all that. I don't think that any person waiting to travel who received a call from their agency saying, "It's time to go get your baby!" would say, "No, no. I haven't waited long enough. Please, call me back in another couple of months so it will be more precious and special." I'd be up in the bedroom packing our bags. But maybe that's just me. Call me crazy. (I'm used to it, since Dani always does.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New Photos and Update

This week we received 5 new photos of Norah. She is growing quickly! I think they must feel bad for her at the orphange and are feeding her extra bottles or something. I am pretty sure she will not be able to fit into the 3-6 month clothes we have by the time we go get her. I have also determined that they cut her hair. It really looks much shorter to me and I wish they wouldn't do that. I am sure it is just easier to keep the babies cleaner with shorter hair but I love my little porcupine spikes!

We also received an update on our paperwork in Vietnam. It turns out that something is missing in Norah's final papers and until they fix it her paperwork cannot be sent to the justice department in her province. This should not be a surprise as I have seen this happen with many families but it means that until all of this is taken care of our "official wait" of 2-4 months has not begun. I am still hoping they can get it together and we will travel early February. The last 34 days have felt like an eternity and they don't count!!


Daddy is in love with this picture...

Look at those thighs!!!



Sunday, November 11, 2007

Shots and process changes...

We got shots! It was not fun but a few shots are worth it and seem like a small price to pay for Norah. On the 31st, we went for our travel vaccines, Hep A, Hep B and DTaP plus the oral Typhoid vaccine and a few rounds of Cipro for our time in Vietnam. I, of course, had a nasty reaction to the Tetnus shot as evident in the pic below taken on the 3rd. I still have a lump today but most of the color is gone. I recommend to anyone out there to never get shots on Halloween. There was a doctor at the travel clinic dressed as the Scream killer. That was the last thing I wanted to see coming at me with a needle. Thankfully, our doctor was a nice, normal looking woman! We were a few of the unlucky ones whose insurance does not cover preventative travel vaccines. Total cost $650 and Barnabas still has to return for his second and third HBV shots. The summary of adoption fees really needs to have disclaimers for all of these "extras".




As some of you may know, there are some changes going on with the filing of the I-600 form, which is the form that petitions to classify an orphan as an immediate relative. The U.S. Government would now like this form mailed to the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam and they will be processing the form prior to travel. This processing could take up to 60 days if they choose to review our file in depth. The change is eliminating our I-600 interview that used to take place while we were in country so it seems that the length of our stay will be several days shorter. I am not really happy about either of these changes or the fact that they made them the day we signed Norah's acceptance. It is just another hill on the adoption rollercoaster. We were up and a few short hours later, down again. We are not entirely sure at this point what it will mean for us. The agency has the first batch of I-600s starting the new process now. We are not in that batch and do not know when they will request us to send the I-600 to them. If this causes a travel delay that is more than a week or two it might possibly push us into the Tet holiday in February and if that happens we would most likely not travel until March since the Vietnamese government is closed during Tet. I know a lot of families are probably happy about the shortened trip time, especially the ones that have to be away from their kids or need to rush back to work but we are really really looking forward to it. I hate to think that we might miss out on some of the awesome trips that the families get to take during their down time. We really want to see the Mekong Delta and go to Ha Long Bay. We also want to have plenty of time to shop for gifts to give to Norah as she grows and of course, time to bond with her before a stressful trip home and the surgery that looms ahead. We will just have to hope that we can squeeze all of it in while we are over there somehow or plan a trip to go back someday to show her where she entered this world.


Here we are on October 24th, happily signing away at our agency while changes were afoot...




Sunday, November 4, 2007

Norah's Room

For those of you that have not gotten a chance to visit recently, here are a few photos of Norah's room. As you can tell, I have been shopping!!




We installed a closet unit back in April after we painted the room. I needed more storage. =)


This is our world map that takes up almost entirely 1 wall.
Baby Zen bedding by Kimberly Grant. Irwin (our crocodile, after the late Steve Irwin) and Ari are waiting for Norah!)We love Gymboree!!!
We also have some cool bamboo kiwi green wall decals on the way. They are approx. 5 feet tall and are going to go on the wall directly behind the crib. I also plan on putting up some large photographs of our trip to Vietnam after we get back. I will add more photos as the nursery develops.








Enough Procrastination

Okay, I have procrastinated starting this blog for long enough. Everyday when I am alone, maybe in the shower or driving to/from work I think about what I want to journal for that day. I have been doing this for almost 4 years now. Many adoptive parents started their blogs when they started the adoption process but I have put it off and put it off for well over a year. Part of it was laziness, part of it was business and perhaps part of it was denial. Denial about our infertility and denial that this adoption was actually, really, going to happen. But enough is enough so here goes...

I will start off with something easy, our daughter Norah, was referred to us on 10/11/07. It came as a bit of a shock to say the least. Barnabas and I were expecting a boy even though we had put "no preference" on our paperwork. With the long wait time and high demand for baby girls in Vietnam we thought our chances were slim at best of getting a girl. So we prepared for a baby boy. We chose the name, painted the room, bought a wardrobe to last him until he was 3. (I admit it, I have a small Gymboree addiction.) Buying things helped it feel real, they were physical, touchable. Getting the nursery ready, finally after all these years, let us feel closer to him. Then we got the call we had been waiting for... an I heard "SHE is 2 months old..." Wha??? SHE?? Norah is special needs and her physical issues were a bit overwhelming at first but that passed soon after referral. Then were out to dinner (Vietnamese food of course!) discussing our options and what the doctor had told us, best and worst case scenarios and he was sensing my hesitation and asked "How would you be feeling if SHE was a HE with the same issues?" And I knew from that point on that it didn't matter anymore that she was going to have a blue room or that I had only a few girls outfits or that I felt totally unprepared like we were starting from scratch. We were going to have a daughter!!!

Norah will be 3 months old on Monday November 5th. She was 7.48 lbs at birth and 9.69 lbs about 3 weeks later so she is growing like a weed. Her cleft lip is not impairing her eating ability. She is in the 75th percentile for weight and 50th for height. She can following light and reacts to sound and from the photos we got of her on 10/15/07 she was on her tummy and holding her head up like she should be. I can't wait for the next set of pictures to see how she is changing but feel very lucky to have the ones that I do of her at such a young age. And of course, we can't wait to get her home!! In the mean time there seems to be a ton to do and with the holidays approaching and year end at work and we hope the time flies by and before we know it we will have our travel dates. So, I promise to be better and start actually typing my thoughts out on a regular basis and we hope you follow our journey to bring Norah home!








Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The waiting continues

No details, but the waiting goes on. And on.