Friday, October 31, 2008

A little boy, lost and found

Tonight a little boy in Beijing is put to bed just like he has been for the past 16 months. Tomorrow morning a nanny wakes him up and gives him breakfast, just like always. Maybe he'll get to play a little. And then, boom, he is handed over to two strangers and his life changes forever.

I can't imagine what tomorrow will be like for Quinn. Yes, his life with us will almost certainly be better than his life in an orphanage would have been. But he certainly doesn't know that. To him, it's his life, and we're ripping him away from it.

We hope there is a nanny or caregiver who Quinn loves. That means he has learned how to attach to a human, which is a good sign for his adjustment for us. The sad part, though, is that attachment will make the day's events even harder for Quinn. He may think a beloved nanny is his mom. And if so, how can he not be crushed by what we put him through tomorrow? How can he trust us when our first act is to destroy everything he knows to be his life?

I've been practicing my "Chinese for Adoptive Parents" CDs, playing special attention to phrases like, "Don't be afraid," "It's okay," You're safe" and "Poor baby." I have a feeling we'll be needing them.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We made it!!!

As I type this, I'm looking out over downtown Beijing and watching the first glimpse of a blazing orange sunrise peeking over Beijing's mixture of ancient and super-modern rooftops. Such beauty so early in the trip has to be a good sign, I think!

Travel went very well, thanks to business class upgrade miles donated by my dad. Our seats reclined ALL THE WAY, which was lovely. I ate a couple of good Japanese meals, watched a movie ("Baby Mama" - predictably bad, but it seemed somehow appropriate considering the circumstances...) and slept most of the rest of the way. That is definitely the way to travel - too bad we can't afford to do it more often!

Thanks to those of you who are reading and posting - I appreciate all of you more than I can say.

Today we take a tour of Beijing's Forbidden City and Summer Palace. Tonight we have dinner with a woman and her husband who I connected with through the awesome Beijing CWI Yahoo group - she's also adopting through my agency, and we meet our kids on the same day! Tomorrow morning is orientation and tomorrow afternoon... ta da... is Quinn time!!!!!

After all this time, I can't believe it's finally here. I also wonder if I'll ever again have a chance to sit down at my computer and leisurely type away as I watch the sunrise. Unlikely, I suspect. But really, do I care? Not on your life!!

Note to you bloggers out there: How do I post pictures in the text instead of having them all show up at the top of the post???? The bottom two pictures are of us on the plane. The top one is in the very fancy Beijing airport. A Chinese-Hawaiian woman on our flight took it for us. We told her we were in China to adopt a baby and she was very happy for us. She said, "I had three Chinese babies!" Cracked us up.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Worries, and relief

Tom and I were lucky enough to have breakfast Friday with a child psychologist who just published his 35th (!!) book on parenting. Tom photographs his author portraits, so he arranged a meeting.

I had read one of this books for new parents and had TONS of questions.
I agree that kids should sleep in their own rooms, but what about newly adopted kids? Won't Quinn feel abandoned once again if he wakes up and we're not there? I agree that withholding attention is a good way to stop a tantrum - if your behavior doesn't get you what you want, why bother? - but is that realistic with a kid just out of an orphanage? I agree that parents need to show their kids they're always there for them, but that doesn't mean meeting every need exactly when, where and how the kid wants it met. But isn't that different for a kid who has never been able to rely on anyone to meet any need?

So I wrote up my list of questions and fired them off. An hour later I had some good strategies under my belt. Some of the things I read elsewhere were confirmed - like using a baby carrier to force as much physical contact as possible to facilitate bonding. And some things I had worried about were disspelled. I was left with one overriding message: Relax. Enjoy it. I'm going to be a mom - that's cause for celebration!! If the worst happens, deal with it. But don't wait for it. Expect the best.

Okay. Deep breath. Relax.

We're almost there!

Our TA arrived on Sept. 24 and we leave on Oct. 29. Gotcha day: Nov. 1. We're super-excited and super busy. And super behind: the crib that was supposed to be super easy to assemble took us most of Sunday, and it seems like every time I go to the store - even with a list - I forget at least two things we desperately need.

Now the big struggle is deciding what to take with us. For months I've been collecting a pile of toys, clothes and baby gear we might want to bring. That pile is now covers a rather large dresser and is about two feet deep. Yikes. What will we need? What can we leave at home? The answers will become very clear on Nov. 1!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Love this!

A friend in Florida just sent me a link to this web site. If you like cross-stitch, check it out. Click on "adoption" and I bet you'll be placing an order before you know it. I know I will!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thanks, Mom

My mom called last night to say her friend Charlotte, whose husband is a doctor, is very worried about Quinn having tainted milk. That freaked her out, so she asked her pharmacist what he thought. Here's what she told me: "He said that, at 15 months, if he's getting the tainted milk, he'll probably die or be on kidney dialysis." Gee, thanks, Mom. That's helpful.

Would we reject him if he has kidney disease? No.
Would we back out of the adoption? Of course not.
Do I know whether he's been drinking tainted milk? No.
Is there anything I can do about this from here? No.


(She did call today to apologize. And she's a great mom who can't wait to meet her first grandchild. But, pleeeeeease!!)

It' official - we have TA!!

We are all approved and ready for travel. Hooray! TA arrived on Sept. 26.

Gotcha day: Nov. 2!!!