Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hockey Play

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Going back to the previous post..., yeah, let's go there...we can learn from each other...

I'd like to say that my iPhone failed me and didn't forward all the responses to my phone, which is basically the only way I know what's going on. I never go to my blog...that's just me. I let thoughts roll off my mind and that's the end of it. I suck.
So I'm going back to the previous post because I read some really good responses from everyone. There wasn't one single response that I didn't agree with and so many were so different. Now what does a confused girl do with that garble?
I have to say, that I continue to weigh this subject heavy and though it would be really easy for me to claim that I don't believe my daughter was stolen, it would also be very ignorant for me to assume she wasn't. Does the whole thought piss me off? Yes.
I know I didn't sign up for a process that would be unethical. & I doubt all the waiting parents to hold someone sweet did either.
The thought that my beautiful girl could be the person that another Mother mourns desperately over and continues to seek could torture the most heartless human being.
Where does the responsibility lie?
InMySeoul said it best: "....send some pictures but remain anonymous so they can't do anything. How horrible would that be as a parent to get quarterly updates on the child you gave birth to, loved, had kidnapped, sold off; and then to get quarterly updates with photos of them smiling and hugging strangers who replaced them. That would be pure torture...."
I couldn't agree more.
I also have to agree with InMySeoul and Campbell that as adoptees, that would shatter your relationship with your AP's. I would never want my relationship with my daughter to be shattered over keeping such a huge part of her from her. Never.
It sort of reminds me of our foster parenting days, when we entered into a knowing situation that the #1 priority was to unite birth families, regardless of the foster parents thoughts, feelings or the years that go by. We, the foster parents didn't really matter. We were just simply part of an equation where a whole bunch of people including, judges, guardian ad litems, case workers and lawyers all made decisions of what would be 'in the best interest of the child' and not a damn one of them had spent any time with the child or the family they had grown to love. They made decisions based on the blood line of the child. I know from experience, that when we were given the twins, we were told that they would never return to their birth parents. The abuse was to much, the lies to deep, the pain the child endured was to extensive. The damage had been done. I was handed a limp child that slept 23.5 hours a day. I honestly thought I was taking care of a dying child. The brain had been hurt. Badly. The child recovered and our life as a family of 6 strolled happily along. We connected, we worked through issues, we fell head over heels in love with each other. The BP's didn't visit for the first 8 months & when they finally decided to work the case plan, it was only one of the children that they spoke to, held & played with. I saw neglect in a way that brought the Mama bear out in me. That was MY child they were now hurting & I couldn't bear to watch it take place in front of me during these 'forced' visits.
On a warm November day, I stood in front of the judge at a court house where I heard the slam of the judges gavel that was followed with, "Congratulations Parents, you fulfilled your case plan (which was to visit the twins once a week), now go pick up your babies." & at the slam of that gavel, my heart literally fell out of my chest.
It was in that moment, my knees went week and I felt the hand of my husband and case worker grab me from behind and hold tight to me. I couldn't breathe. The pain was to much for the heart to handle. To much.
How did that happen? How could it have happened??? They had never held one of their children since I took custody of them. My heart was broken and blood relations meant nothing to me or Liam and Shelby. Those were my babies. It was my arms they learned to walk to, me who made their birthday cakes, sang them songs, read them stories and taught them to talk. I was Mommy and J was Daddy. I asked for one hour before the birth parents were to pick them up, they gave me 15 minutes. I had to say goodbye. I had to prepare my babies for what we never thought would happen. I held each of them and sobbed. I rocked them and I sang Shelby's favorite song, "you are my sunshine." I told them that I would NEVER stop loving them & I haven't. Blood lines didn't matter, not one bit. My heart shattered and for the next few years, it didn't get easier. The twins came and went in our life often. The parents struggled and would call when in need, we were ALWAYS there to get them. We would get them back often, a week or 2 at a time. Every single time they came 'home', they would throw their shoes out the front door and run, play and spend time with the only family they knew, when it was time for us to return them, they would hide under the beds and tell us no. On one particular night, we were bringing the twins back to their biological parents when Shelby gave J a big hug, paused and looked him square in the eye and said, "bye bye Daddy, I luv you" & as I closed the door to their home, I heard 4 hands beating at the door screaming, "No MOMMY, don't leave us." It was in that moment, that I knew we were causing more harm than good. They felt as though we were abandoning them, even though it was our arms that the birth parents were dumping them in to.
Why is all that relevant to the prior conversation? Because sometimes blood lines mean nothing to the heart of a child who only knows one Mommy and Daddy. We were 2 different sets of parents in 2 different cultures, the children were stuck in the middle. One parent spoke no English and all the twins knew was English. I don't know if my twins recovered from their very disruptive early years of life. I do know that one suffered from RAD and I am positive they never sought treatment for it. Was their pain worth the price of uniting a family due to blood?
So for this reason, I could never put my daughter through the pain of losing the only family she knows. ***How could I ever send her back to a place she doesn't know exists? What would that do to her and her emotional stability? Could she recover? Doubtful. She's almost 2, we are working hard to recover from her past now. It's been to disruptive. She's already gone through to many changes in her short little life. I have to protect her, she is my daughter. There is no way I could love & adore more, she is my hero.
So where does this whole scenario leave us adoptive parents?
The ones who waited for a 'legally' adoptable child to be up for adoption.
I am confused by all of this. I see every side of the spectrum. I endured the pain twice of losing a child that I was the Mommy to and I can say that I survived. My heart healed and life went on. Could I survive it if someone made me return my Eme to an unknown place? Absolutely not. Is this about me? No. Is this an issue of the heart? No. I believe this is an issue that needs to be purued at the government level. At no point in my *waiting* days did I think I would have to wonder if I would be adopting a stolen child. So many stories coming out, so much that scares me. So much that is wrong. How do we fix this issue? It's a whole pile of shit that we as the adoptive parents, the adoptees in life, the children waiting to make their journey and all the Mommy's ad Daddy's waiting to hold a child have to sort through.
Dialogue, it's the only way.
***I am only using my child as an example. I have absolutely NO knowledge as to whether or not my daughter was stolen or not.

Eme's favorite thing to do... color all over her face, hands, floor and sometimes she gets lucky and hits the paper.

I thought I'd get smart and get her the color w0nder stuff, to which she hated.
She doesn't quite get why it colors clear and then slowly it turns colors, to which she has lost all interest in by the time the color appears. She's a *now* girl.

Thanks for the responses in the last post. I believe this is a very complex issue and there is certainly no right or wrong way to handle it. I believe as more stories come to light, there will no doubt be a backlash on the IA program. A reform is needed. We need a clean, transparent program without corruption. Our children deserve that and if one doesn't happen, I believe it will end the IA program. At no point in adoption, should a parent have to wonder if their child was stolen. As much as we wanted our daughter, we would have never wanted her knowing she didn't arrive at the place she was in because of a willful abandonment.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lost or Stolen, would you want to know? & what would you do?

A week or 2 ago, while cruising through blogs I came across a link that I saved to my favorites to go back and spend some time on when I did have the time.
I spent some time scrolling through the faces of lost or stolen children of China.
With the click of each page, I prayed my child's face would not show up. I stopped after page 50 and will return when time allows. With each click I asked myself, what would I do if I saw her face? What would happen then? What would we do with that information?
It's a scary thought to process, it would be information that I am not sure I'd be able to process fully and then what the hell do I do with it? There were 2 kids that I actually pulled there referral photo up and compared. Is that wrong? and it was in that moment, that I closed the computer and walked away. Because really...what would I do with that information?
So I'm going to put the question out there for everyone reading this who has adopted or is an adoptee, what would you do with the information if you thought your child had been lost or stolen? Would you want to know and then the big question...what then?
I hope we can have an open discussion about this because it's a real problem in the world and I am still processing my own thoughts and would like different points of view on it.
& it was this website that got me thinking of all these questions.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Park: Where to take your kids to have a not so good time...

Heading into the play area... Does this look like the face of fun?!?
This contraption was an *okay* time....
maybe cause it didn't spin, slide, wobble or bounce...
well lookey how tall I am! =0)
How about the swings...?

...not so much...
So we went back the next day to see if she would be more comfortable with the boys running around and doing all the fun things that a park offers...
like the swings....
& again, she hated them.
So Mommy tried to swing with her to get her in the groove...

& again I ask,
"Is this the face of a little girl that loves the park?"

as I was trying to put her down the slide, she found a fun bar to hang on to for dear life

so G did the slide with her over and over and she was *sort of* okay with that...
...but she really did not dig the free fall by all.

so Mommy held her hand as she went down over and over and we finally saw a smile!

Ems totally hated the spinning thing, can't blame her, I'd vomit if I sat in it and someone spun me.
We'll keep trying, but she just isn't into the whole park thing.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

brain dump

*My neighbor is flying out on a private jet with 4 others to help in Haiti tomorrow. Him & his family would do anything for anyone. We'll be sending mucho prayers till Dr. Phil returns.

*There is a lizard running loose in my house. We caught his tail, so essentially, we have a tailless lizard on the loose.

*I'm addicted to that Melting P0t seasoning that Col gave me last time she was here. I use it on everything!

*I am trying to redo my blog and I'm struggling. I need a new look and I just don't get why I find it to be so complicated. Kind of like itunes.

*Now my computer won't recognize my iphone. It's rather annoying. We had our itunes mojo going on for awhile and now it won't sync right and my phone is unrecognizable.

*My favorite show is Br0thers & Sisters, but I love me some American Id0l try outs....& if Sim0n leaves, I can't say I'll watch.

*Today was the official first day of shorts and flip flops in awhile...bout damn time.

*My kids are out of school on Mon & Tue. Sadly, their Mother didn't realize that till a few hours ago and it was rather difficult to hide my disappointment.

*Had a snowbird standing on my lanai when I heard her tell her husband, I just don't think I'd like all the kids running around....took every bone in my body to not flip her ass in the pool.
One of those kids running outside playing was my baby boy.

*Got my roots *derooterized*...I feel much sassier without my 4 inch roots showing.

Can't remember if I blogged it or not, but I canned the -child devel0pmental specialist- who was a waste of my time and had a pediatric PT evaluate her. She was fabulous and just what Eme needs. We will begin therapy this week. Eme has collapsing ankles and I need to get therapy going so she can get a script for pediatric orthotics. In the past 2 weeks, I've really noticed a lot of sensory issues. We have an appt with the Neuro Reorg doc in Feb when she comes to Florida.

as if I could forget

I was thinking about my Dad tonight, because he was well...sarcastic, and I love me some good sarcasm. He was witty and he could snark the balls off a snake. He'd be celebrating a birthday and I really can't believe he left this world 7 1/2 years ago. God I hate cancer. What has the world missed without him in it? Where has the time gone? What has he missed? What have " I " missed?

Happy Birthday in heaven daddy.
God I miss you.
& because you share a birthday month with my twins...I felt your presence wash over me as I remembered them. It was as if you were right here whispering in my ear,
"I told you you'd be fine."
All those sleepless nights we spent messaging each other over the internet when my heart was bleeding out from the pain of their told me that you would always be here for me and it would all be fine. It took 9 years for me to feel 'fine' and I thought you should know.
.... that all is well with my soul.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

& then they turned 11...
I’m not even sure how to describe my twins, other than mine, if only for a short while. They were given to us through the foster care program and we loved them deeply. We never imagined that they would be sentenced to return to a home that caused them the very pain that brought them to us. I deeply believe in foster care and I deeply believe in adoption.

Their photos remain a part of our family, there story has changed us and there will always be a corner of my heart reserved just for them and all that they brought to our family. You don’t have to scratch the surface to deep to feel my grief and see my tears, they are missed and will always be loved.

This song speaks my heart:

I will remember you, will you remember me?”

“Don’t let your life pass you by, weep not for the memories.”

“I’m so tired, but I can’t sleep, standin' on the edge of something much too deep. It’s funny how we feel so much, but cannot say a word, we are screaming inside but can’t be heard.”

“I’m so afraid to love you, more afraid to loose, clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose.”

Dear Liam and Shelby,
There will never be another you.

Somehow, I hope you know how much you changed us and how much we love you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Next topic?

Well that was fun,
what shall we all debate now???

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why we don't call her Mommy.

I'm rather surprised to find out I'm being linked in several different places with folks debating the word "Mommy"
I've thought about posting my thoughts elsewhere, but it got very wordy and turned into this post. So here I go...

If your choice of words is Mommy and Daddy for the birth parents than fabulous, it isn't our choice. I'm sure I will use other terms when Eme is of age to start talking about these things. If she makes the. choice to acknowledge the Mother & Father that gave her life as China Mommy & Daddy then that's what we'll go with. Because we chose to refer to them as her birth parents does not make me insecure & fearful. It isn't me denying my daughter of her first Mother, it doesn't mean that I am missing out on a deeper level of connection with my simply means that we are giving them the names that are true and accurate.

They gave her birth, they chose life for her, but it is not them whom she is referring to when she shouts, "Mommy, molk (milk) please?" When she lays in bed and yells, "MOMMMMY." It isn't them she is calling out for. When she comes running to hug me while saying, "Mommy, Up." I am her Mommy. It is my hand she holds while she drifts off to sleep. I am meeting her daily needs, not her birth Mother. The term Mommy and Daddy is an endearing term that is earned, not given. Like the old quote says, "Anyone can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy."

To the blog reader InMySeoul who left the comment on the last post talking about this, I have responded to your comment under the comment section, but I was shocked to see that you actually carried yourself to several other places and made this statement directed to me...
"Who gives these women the right to tell their adopted children that they are the only person to be called "Mom"??? Who made them God and and Webster to decide to change the definition all of a sudden? IF anything, the birth Mother should keep her title of "Mom" and the AP should be the non-"Mommy" word...whatever they use..." Your words. Not mine.

This has to be the silliest thing I've ever read and quite frankly, made me realize that you are not a Mom and yet you spew your thoughts with such anger, for what reason I wonder? Because you are an adoptee really does not mean you harbor all the great insight for transracial adoptees.

Would you suggest that my 3 boys call me "Mommy" and Eme refer to me as her "Birth Mom"...? or "Non Mommy" or "Not so close Mommy"'ve lost your God loving mind.
I can't even address the stupidity of that statement. It's obvious that you have issues to deal with.

My biological grandfather abandoned my Mom when she was a baby, thus abandoning me. I had the opportunity to meet him about 15 years ago and would have never given him the title of "grandpa" or "papaw"
I had 2 fabulous grandpa's that filled the void of where he could have been. He did not earn the title of "papaw" or "grandpa", he chose to NOT be in the picture for the child rearing years.

He was a perfectly nice man that I was happy to meet, but certainly not my "Papaw".
It was nice to see where my brother got his height and where my Mom got her blue eyes and blond hair from, but the title of such an intimate word did not go to him. I called him by his first name until the day he died & when he died, I felt nothing and I didn't attend his funeral, nor did my Mother. I really didn't care, because there was no relationship there. I never heard my Mom refer to him as her 'Daddy', ever.
I stand behind my last post that has been linked all over blog world. The only shocking thing to me was that it is the AP community that has a problem with me not using the term 'Mommy' to give Eme's birth Mother. I really kind of thought the issue would be with the G0tcha Day party not taking place in our home year after year. I guess some things can still surprise me.
And because biology is the least of what makes me Eme's Mommy, here is her cute Christmas pic that we just picked up.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

just photos

Eme and W had a hoot of a time dancing. We even have great video to back up Eme's new spin move...which ended tragically with the smack of the fridge. & she's all about wearing cool shades...she is a Floridian girl afterall...

I can't remember if I uploaded these pics or not in December. My memory is not my strong suit.
C actually put this outfit on her while I was in the shower. Not to shabby.

the dent on her forehead is from a tumble she took at Hyco Lake on some eh?
Airpane Mommy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's all about what's in the pages...

It started off as a very sweet time between G&E.
He began reading a book to her... when she became distracted by what we thought was a Time magazine...
when she suddenly ripped a page out of the magazine and all the boys were so happy to find another chic that digged cool cars, but when she flipped the page over....

what before our wondering eyes did appear???...
A page all about Louis that made her Mama so proud!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just my 2 Cents on adoption, try to be nice....

Let's see how many people I can tick off with this post ;0)
or we can all just play nice.

Please remember, this is my corner of cyber space, my thoughts and my opinions. If you disagree, please do so respectfully, or move on....

A couple of months ago, J&I watched the film 'Ad0pted'
I highly recommend it for every single person that plans on adopting a child and becoming a transracial family. It was eye opening and really made J&I aware of things that we may have never considered an issue or a *possible* issue that may come to be one day as our daughter grows up in an all white family.
We made the decision a while back that we would not celebrate 'G0tcha Day'...

I realize this is very controversial and many have different opinions on that subject, but for us, we decided that we didn't need to remind our daughter that she was adopted every single year. We celebrate birthdays, not g0tcha days. My boys all have one birthday a year, I can think of no greater way to remind my daughter that she is different than the rest of the members of her family. We considered what it would be like for her to be in a family where she was the only one with a different day to celebrate when she got older, don't all kids just want to fit in and feel *normal*? Adoption is her journey, not her life. Being adopted does not define who she is. We want her to be strong and confident and proud of being adopted, but we also don't want to take the day that holds the most pain in her life and turn it into a celebration. By celebrating a G0tcha Day, we also remind her that she was abandoned and undermine the pain that may hold for her. Would you celebrate the day she was abandoned? & in order for us to have a 'g0tcha day, she had to come with an abandonment day. This is her story to make peace with, not ours to turn it into a party & we will be there for her always to explore her feelings and what these days mean to her.

I'm not saying that on May 24th of every year, I will not reflect on that beautiful day in China where she was handed to me. I will ALWAYS remember how beautiful it was for me, but she was not waiting for me to arrive. It was a happy day for us, but it was a day full of trauma & loss for her, a day that she grieved deeply. That day will always be special for us, as complex as it was and I want to be cognitive of her feelings.
If you celebrate G0tcha Day or Family Day then that's great if it works for your family, I am not criticizing, I am simply saying how we feel about it. Watching 'Adopted, the Movie' may be very enlightening for you as well.
You can click here: to view some trailers, but it's worth the purchase for sure.

As the years unfold, I am sure that I will learn more. The video section entitled "We Can D0 Better" is very informative from many adoptees point of view. I am not adopted, I can not assume I know how my Asian daughter will feel growing up in an all white family, I am navigating the AP waters with the knowledge that I currently have and I believe we can do better as AP's.

There was a very validating point in this movie that made me realize the uphill battle my adopted child will always have to battle within herself. She is American, but she's not, she is Chinese, but she's not. She is a --(our last name)--, but she's not. She lives in a white world, but she's not. She is a part of me, but she's not. The list goes on and on and on. Even as an American citizen, she is not entitled to ALL the same benefits as her 3 brothers....for example: She can never be president of this country because she wasn't born in this country. She is, but she isn't. & we as her parents want to be aware of all those things that she might internalize. How will she feel when she walks past the family photo that hangs on the wall and she is the only Asian in it? Will she see herself as a white little girl and be surprised she isn't every time she looks in the mirror? I have so much to learn and I find myself looking at things differently now than I did before we ever met our daughter. I am fortunate enough to have such great friends who's family looks like ours and I believe these connections will be very valuable for her one day when she needs others like her to connect to in this world. And for me, it's great to know that others are navigating the same waters of being a transracial family. I'm sure I'll make a lot of mistakes along the way, but I hope somewhere along this journey of life we can grow Eme into a strong and secure woman and feel like she can talk to us about anything. And if one day she wants to explore her roots, I would be the first friend to grab my coat and book a ticket.


In my opinion, Mommy Far, Mommy Near has to be the worse written adoption book ever.

Here's one line out of the book,

" ...One family, one child. Your mother couldn't keep you because she already had a baby."

Great. Now I just read to my daughter that she has 2 Mommies and a sibling that she will never know. Maybe that is the reason why she was abandoned, but even at that, it's like telling your child that her life wasn't as important as her biological sibling.
The book also goes on to watch the 2 adopted Chinese girls make pretend phone calls to their China Mommy. That's weird and a tad confusing as a child to comprehend if I do say so myself.

My daughter only has 1 Mommy, that's me. We honor her birth Mother, but she is not Eme's Mommy. It's obvious that Eme had another Mother before me, but to give the title of 'Mommy' to the unknown lady on the other side of the world would confuse any child.

Next this book: It's just silly in my opinion. Nothing bad, just silly. I'm not into the whole ladybug China red thread thing, but the book isn't hateful.

This book is ridiculously silly. It's illustrated in beautiful pictures. The author isn't an adoptive parent, she just had interactions with families with children from China. That could explain the quirkiness.

Nothing real bad about the Shaoey & D0t book, it's cute, not totally accurate and it kind of makes being abandoned a beautiful whimsical type thing. It is an age appropriate book to begin reading and getting the ball rolling of being open about adoption.

The White Swan Express is the best book I've read. It's accurate. It doesn't sugar coat the process of how she ended up in an orphanage. It doesn't give some make believe fairy tale about her journey to us, it doesn't lie.

The journey of adoption is complex. By giving attention to certain aspects of it, it neglects other parts of the story. I do believe adoption is a beautiful thing, but it is also a very painful thing. In order for my daughter to know she was adopted, she has to know she was abandoned by a different mother and maybe that mother didn't abandon her, maybe that story is completely different. I want to believe that her birth Mother loved her, but the truth is I don't know and I don't want to fill her head with fairy tale stories. One day, she will have to claim her story for herself. We can do without all the pretty images of cute bundles in baskets and red threads strung throughout the pages of adoption books. That just may not be her story.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Bullet Brain Dump

*What's up with all the insecure husbands on 0range C0unty HW? Seriously??? All the stupid dudes had to tag along on a 'girls weekend' that another girl planned because why??? THEY ARE INSECURE??? Ridiculous. I'd be totally pissed if I planned a girls weekend with 5 girls and 3 of the husbands showed up because they don't travel without their spouses...then stay home! Every girl needs girl time and every husband can live a few days without their wife. Good golly. I don't even care for Vicky, but I really felt bad for her in that situation since she planned the whole thing. I couldn't live with someone who felt I wasn't allowed to be away from him. So ridiculously insecure and immature.

*& speaking of those same group of girls....what's up the new girl who can't travel without her spouse because they don't want 'temptation' to enter their marriage and she has her boobies hanging out everywhere she goes?

*It's stupid cold here in SWFL! STUPID COLD. We had to turn our heat on for the first time in 5 years. I know many of ya'll will make fun of our cold front, but seriously, us Floridians are not use to this. We have thin blood and we also have a limited supply of closed toe shoes and sweater garb. My boys own 1 pair of jeans each, usually there is no need for more.

*I LOVE True Religi0n Jeans, but why don't they fit me right?

*I find the kid adoption books to be filled with lies. They are really disgusting me. I have a pile that I will be ditching. I refuse to fill my daughter's head with some fairy tale story...especially the books that claim she has 2 mommies. Well how freaking scary would that be as a child? She has 1 Mommy....that's me.

*I think the Bachel0r is a tool. Several friends didn't agree. My really good friend thought he was a HOT tool. No difference in my book...a tool is a tool is a tool.

*The C0nvey0r Belt of L0ve show....? yeah.

*I fired Eme's child devel0pmental specialist. I did blog about her and after the comments I totally agreed that I just need to let her go. She was a waste of my time and I have ZERO time to waste. I have a Pediatric PT coming on Monday. We'll see. It certainly won't hurt Eme, but I know that her problem lies within the midbrain and we plan on seeing a specialist for that next month.

*Sometimes it just feels good to dump your brain somewhere before you attempt a good night's sleep. =0)

A Flip Dump

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 all over again in speed fashion

New Years Eve 2008
As tradition has it, we have spent New Years Eve on the beach with great friends toasting in the New Year as the final sunset of the year fades into the Gulf of Mexico. I love it & I love spending time with my family and friends.

Weston & Mali, one year ago.

Final 2008 sunset

Jan. was all about getting on the roller coaster ride of emotional ups and downs in the adoption world. Starting in Jan 2009, I boarded the ride and never got off until spring.

I decided to take care of the care package photo album that would be sent to China and took the boys photos and labeled them in Chinese characters of Mom, Dad & brothers, simply because I wanted to feel closer to China & have the satisfaction of crossing something off of my list of things to do.

Feb 2009
A lot of time was spent enjoying the company of girlfriends. & I had a birthday where I turned another year older and a wee bit wiser....or so I'd like to think.

We even had a weekly date night because our husbands all went out for poker night. I spent a whole lot of Feb & March stressing over the never ending paperwork fiasco when Homeland Security managed to leave our I-700 paperwork in a very unsecured location TWICE. Needless to say, I don't miss the paperwork headache of adoption....though I still need to take care of the readoption process. Ugh. I also decided that my dear husband held a deep desire to be the secretary of a Board of Directors for the cranky neighborhood we live in. & I sent his cute mug to every mailbox to be re-elected. I annoy him. & in Feb, I was introduced to the RQ underground which becomes greatly entertaining when you are on the cusp of referral & all your favorite buds are down under with secret little names. Shamefully, I admit I spent a few to many hours searching for rumors. On a perfectly chilly weekend, at the end of Feb, a few of my bestest girls came for a visit, where I introduced them to "bullshit cold paradise." ;0)PugMama and I continued our quest to find one single rumor that would tell us if our 7th & 8th LID's would be included in the batch of referrals that were due to arrive. Photographic proof of our obsession with the RQ underground during that time of our life. I haven't been back to the underground since China either.
The disappointment of knowing we had missed the cutoff by one day was quickly gone by knowing that our March 7th LID would be next without a shadow of doubt. Half the stress was wondering if we were or weren't in. I was so giddy with joy in knowing that we would be next!
& on March 7, 2009, we were the first group of waiting families to hit the 3 year mark that many doubted would ever happen, we also knew it would be our last referral countdown of chalk in the road that had become a monthly tradition for 3 LONG years.... I found myself with many overwhelming feelings and was happy to accept the invite to my friends lake house for the weekend with my family to decompress my brain.

~~~It was fab~U~lous~~~ When the relaxation of that trip had worn off in about 10 seconds, I ate my way through the rest of March... ...and enjoyed a lot of cocktails on my favorite island with some really dear friends.
I was 'Storkin' It' the entire month of March and my brain was not fully inside my head. My friends agree=0) At the end of March, I decided to say goodbye to my first home in cyber world where I spent 3 years rambling about BOD drama behind the gated community of hell where I reside, my gyno hygiene regiment and the sexual assertiveness of ducks. It was time for me to bring the blog up to a G rating...or at least strive for something obtainable, like PG-13.
So my sassy friend M created 'Adding a Sister' for me to call home.

On March 26, we rumor seeking nuts got wind that the CCAA had begun matching.

It was the oddest, most overwhelming feeling to know that my family file was being dusted off after years of sitting on a shelf to be examined for the perfect little girl for our family. I was overwhelmed with emotions, knowing she & I were both existing on opposite sides of the world.
April 2009
April arrived with much anticipation and anxiety, where the rumors were running really thick about referrals being held until after the Swine Flu epidemic was over. It was almost more than the human heart could bear when hearing one rumor (from a really shitty agency) that referrals would be held for at least 6 months until the flu situation could be assessed better. Knowing that we had already been matched left me with a heavy heart and a huge headache.

Colleen flew in for what we thought would be a difficult time for me, but what turned out to a rock star kind of weekend.
April 3, 2009
We saw our daughters face for the first time and fell completely head over heels in love.
There she was, our Emerson Grace. My favorite quote in life proved to be true again,

"Life is not measured by the amount of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away".... and that she did.

I'm sure that deep within the dictionary there is a word for what I felt on April 3, 2009...but I have no idea what it would possibly be. My heart was overflowing with joy and our 3 sons could not have been more proud to have a face to go with their dreams of having a sister.
The boys spent the weekend with Grams & Gramps while Colleen, Jason and I spent the weekend with lots of friends celebrating the referral of our sweet Emerson Grace.

And I must have asked myself a dozen times that weekend...."Did that really just happen?"

It couldn't have been better planned to have Col in town to be there with us as we received that long awaited call that we had a daughter.
We danced, we sang on the dock of the bay, we showed everyone the face of Eme Grace and we popped the cork of champagne as we celebrated, VIP style, every.where.we.went.
On April 23, G had a golf tournament where he played his personal worst and I rode along simple to entertain I guess. I don't know why they bring me to these things. G worried night and day about my ability to be still and yet they always tempt fate by dragging me to sit in a golf cart and not cheer my boy on. That was the tournament where I decided that my 'Bar in a Bag' should be a patented design;0)
We spent a lot more time with friends at our favorite island just soaking up the sunshine and trying to not think about anything China related.
We relaxed in the pool and my dh was feeding me his lovely concoction of the paradise drink. I blame him for my 10 lb weight gain prior to China.
May 2009:

On May 8th our TA arrived along with some special friends to celebrate Eme Grace at a party my dear friend had organized.

It was such a beautiful party and we will forever be grateful to all those that knew how much this celebration meant to us. We were so excited to share this moment with our friends and family. It was joy quadrupled.

May 21, 2009

My wonderful husband & I boarded a plane for China to pick up our daughter where he handed me a sentimental silver necklace that says, "Dreams Come True."

So after one long a$$ flight, we landed in Beijing, China with our traveling pediatrician
and managed to find a wine tasting event in a local grocery within an hour after getting to the hotel.
We stocked up on a few essentials and then spent our entire first night doing that G.O. Cashing thing that our ped was in to and had the time of our lives. We were all over the streets of Beijing and there were several times I didn't think we were where we should be...especially with the amount of cash that we had taped to our chests. But it was so much fun and we thoroughly enjoyed being with someone that knew how to enjoy the culture and had that zest for life that I love. This picture is of one of the statues that the little tracking device led us to that you have to *claim*, I don't know the lingo for it, but it was a fun activity to pass the first night in a new city and it was a great way to tour by foot.
& in May, another dream came true where we walked as far up the Great Wall of China that our legs could possibly carry us.
The Forbidden City was another exciting site to see.
After a 3 hour flight to Nanchang, in Jiangxi China we were told that the Shangrao babies would arrive that day instead of the next. Our babies beat us to the hotel where the the years of waiting had culminated to that one moment... on May 24, 2009 at 4:30 in the afternoon I walked into a crowded room and immediately saw my daughter, where a perfectly wonderful stranger handed her to me. My heart had never felt such emotion.

She was perfect.
And in that moment, we became a family of 6.
After a short while of watching other miracles take place in that room, we walked out of the room and headed back to our room and I looked at J and said, "Did that really just happen?"...

"Did somebody hand me this perfect little girl and allow me to walk out of there with her?"
to which he responded, "That really did happen."
We spent the remainder of our time in Jiangxi soaking up the culture. Neither one of us felt any jet lag in China, but it was another whole situation upon returning to the U.S.

On May 29, as we were packing up our room to fly to Guangzhou, when some ladies knocked on the door and delivered a cake to celebrate J's birthday. It was the most memorable birthday ever for him.
We said a bittersweet goodbye to Nanchang, the place where our dreams came true.
& moved on to the magnificent White Swan hotel where the food was fabulous and we felt as though we were right at home with the warm temps, the beautiful palm trees and the quaint little shops.
We had a lot of fun on the island as we waited for our paperwork, to bring Eme home, to be completed. We did our cute little swearing in, in a room full of babies waiting to make their journey and received the last piece of paperwork necessary to come home. Our Chinese girl was about to become an American girl.

On June 2, Eme Grace became an American citizen and was introduced to another whole world with a homecoming that was emotional and sweet. I missed my sons so much and couldn't wait for them to meet their sister. They were smitten the moment they saw her.... and on that night, my whole heart was home.

Our family was complete. June was super difficult. I lived much of it in a fog. Eme was super stressed with her new life and terrified to detach herself from me long enough for me to pee. I struggled with jet lag, 3 energetic boys, laundry, dishes, cooking, shopping and cleaning. June flew by in an exhausted sort of way. We watched Eme struggle with her Daddy. She was terrified of him in China, but her fear only worsened after coming home.
In the midst of our fog, my son became a teenager. He is a boy who makes us proud and he was a tremendous amount of help with Eme. She would only let him hold her besides me. Eme experienced a lot of firsts in June.

She ate her first icecream cone!
She enjoyed her first swim in the pool!
She took her first float in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico! She took her first boat ride!
And she went on her first bike ride!
& on June 20, just in time for Father's Day, Daddy had his first breakthrough moment with his daughter in the pool. She opened up her heart just a wee bit to allow him in... By the end of June, we were still struggling with a scared little girl that was slowly adjusting to her bright new world.


Colleen and Hannah came for a visit and we had a grand ol' time with all 5 kids.The boys spent some time at Grams and Gramp's house playing with their cousins. They golfed, swam and made all sorts of memories with their grandparents.
Emerson learned to move her arms and feet in a bear like crawl to get to where she wanted to go. This is a prime example of 'how not to crawl' =0) & though she figured out how to move, it also spoke volumes to us and validated many concerns. AND, before I receive a hundred emails that your child or your friends child learned to crawl this way, please remember that Eme spent the first 15 months of her life as an institutionalized child being tied to that damn potty chair.
Summer pics of the kids

At the end of July, my baby boy turned 5.

August 2009
The boys spent more time at Grams and Gramp's house making memories, while Daddy and Mommy worked on getting Eme to feel safe and secure.
She turned 17 months old in August as well.
Right before our school started, Eme & Mommy took a quick trip up to Georgia to hang out with PugMama & LowLow and Mare & Sophie. It was a laid back kind of weekend and we really enjoyed watching the girls play.
As soon as I returned, it was time for the boys to start school.
G went off to 8th grade, his last year in planet middle school...

Cole started his 5th grade year, his last year in elementary...
& fun W began his schooling career in kindergarten...
With all the back to school excitement, Eme learned to walk=0)
We took a quick trip up to Disney to meet up with Colleen and family for one day of fun at Disney!
But the adult fun came that night when we sang & danced at Jellyr0lls!
After 2 hours sleep, we loaded up and headed back to get J to the airport on time for a flight to Buckeye world, where he met his brother for game day.
After a long journey for my dear neighbor, they finally celebrated Jaylee day in the Philippians and we could not have been happier for them!
After Col & family finished their week long vacation at the happiest place on earth, they swung by our neck of the woods for a few days of fun. We had a great time and I only wished they could just move down here!
Ms. H is a certified beach bum for sure.
Eme also discovered bling and her great desire to wear 20 necklaces at a time should have made her the Mardi Gras baby winner of the year.
Once Eme could walk, she really took off with discovering the world around her and going outside just so she could walk became a favorite activity of hers.
October 2009
Eme & I made our way to North Car0lina for a weekend with the girls.
How exciting for so many of our girls to finally be home after 3 years of gathering without them. We were missing a few that couldn't come and a few babies that are still to make their journey home.
At the end of October, C turned 11. I can't believe how fast he's growing up.

Eme was introduced to her first Halloween where she quickly got the hang of asking for candy from strangers;0)
November 2009
A month that marked Emerson's 6 month homecoming. The differences in her are night and day. She is truly our hero.
& on Nov. 20, J&I celebrated our 16th anniversary, where I rewarded him for tolerating me all these years & promised him that the best was yet to be;)
We gathered at my inlaws for a fabulous Thanksgiving feast with the entire family where we competed in a Pinewood Derby race, cornhole and golf. It was a spec~TAC~ular time!
December 2009
J resigned his famous position from the BOD in order to pursue a paid position;0)
It was easy for him to do, but I have sort of a lil' control issue that kept me feeling all warm and fuzzy after our years of harrassment behind these gates of hell within our association. My girlfriend got an itch to hop a plane and spend some time with me being goofy gals with no kids. It was a weekend with no husbands, no kids and no responsibilty. Gawd that was fun with a capital F!
Christmas came and it was more than perfect knowing that our family was all home.
It was magical.
& just as the year began, we stood on the beach with good friends, great food and smashing cocktails to say goodbye to another year gone by and usher in the new one.

& when the final sunset of 2009 fell into the Gulf of Mexico, a part of me was really sad to see another chapter in our life close. What a beautiful Eme filled year it has been for our family. Amoung all the challenges we faced this past year, we also have peace deep within our souls of where our journey is headed. We know that the future is completely unpredictable and the story has yet to be written for 2010.

Here's hoping to a bright, healthy and prosperous new year!