Saturday, July 30, 2011

Unveiling a new blog

I know that I have neglected the blog for far too long, and for that, I am so sorry. However, since parenting is a whole and different adventure than waiting and traveling, I think it warrants a new blog. This is the grand unveiling of And Now We Are Three, which will capture our stories and adventures. Please stop by and check it out. The first post, Slack or Reality Struck?, has been published. I promise to do my best making more frequent updates.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

From Slow to Hyper Speed

Wow... it's hard to believe, but Hana is 13 months old today! I remember there were several times during the wait that I felt like time was going backwards. Now that we have Hana, I don't have any idea where the last 5 months have gone. It seems like we just left for China to go and pick her up, yet we completed our first post placement home study last week. But, we are having a lot of fun, so I guess it just does prove that time flies when you are having fun!

As for Hana, she is amazing me daily! She is starting to walk, and she is starting to really get the hang of it. I think she will be pretty much running by Chinese New Year! She is also starting to really get vocal, and she has no problem telling me exactly what she thinks. She is also trying to mimic sounds, and she does have mama and dada down. She is also learning gestures, and she has learned to shake her head no and yes. Of course, she seems to use no much more frequently than yes. I guess we are already practicing for the terrible twos! She loves to play, and Peek and Where's Hana are two of her favorite games, and both never fail to get full belly laughs. Every day brings new wonders, and I can't imagine our life without her.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas

I know that I have been very, very bad about updating the blog since we got home from China. I really did have good intentions, but I am also realizing how little free time I have these days. I am selfishly putting a nap for me in front of updating the blog... but I will try to do better.

We have had a very busy few weeks, and it feels like things have been non-stop since Thanksgiving. We spent Thanksgiving at Jess and Mark's, and dinner was wonderful. Everything was made from scratch, and it was yummy. Hana sampled most everything, but I think the stuffing was her favorite.

The following weekend brought a little snow and a visit from Jess and Mark, who were going to meet Mark's parents for lunch on Sunday. We tagged along and introduced Hana to the Nelsons, who brought her a rubber ducky, which has made her bath much more fun.

By this point, I was ready for a bit of a break, but the next weekend was a big one... Hana's first birthday party! Unfortunately, she got sick the week before her birthday, so she wasn't quite herself for the party. In spite of being a little sick, she seemed to have fun at her party. She didn't really mess in her cake too much, but I can't say that I was too disappointed by that. She actually got more icing in my hair than in hers. I think she is a little young to get really excited over the presents, and she didn't really know what to do. Luckily, her cousin Micheal was there to help her out, so that made it go a little faster. She enjoyed all the company, but by the end, she was exhausted and went down for a nap.

The next weekend, which was the last before Christmas, brought with it lots and lots of snow. I got home around 4 on Friday afternoon, and I noticed the first flake hitting the mailbox. It started to accumulate within half an hour, and the snow continued until the next night. We got a total of 17.5 inches, which finally melted with the rain we had yesterday.

Well, that brings us right up to Christmas, which we hosted this year. My parents, Ethan, Jess, Mark, Megan and Michael came up for Hana's first Christmas. It was busy, but it was good. Hana still didn't really have the hang of opening gifts, but she did know how to play with them. Michael had his own gifts, so he wasn't able to help as much this time, but he did open one of hers and was quite disappointed when he pulled out a dress. He was clearly willing to hand that over to her! Judy and Sally came by for a bit to visit on Christmas day. I didn't get to visit much since I was in the middle of Christmas dinner, but they did get to spend a little bit of time with Hana, which is good. Dinner was a little later than planned since the turkey took longer to cook than I expected. Shocking... the internet was wrong! I made Jess and Mark a little late to get on the road, but at least the turkey was good. Of course, like Thanksgiving, the stuffing was still her favorite, but she seemed to like the mashed potatoes too. All in all, she had a pretty full day with lots of excitement and stimulation. By 6, she could barely keep her little eyes open, so we put on her PJs, and she was asleep in no time. I think that she enjoyed her first Christmas, which we have been looking forward to for such a long time. But she was definitely worth every bit of the wait.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We are home!

We made it home late on Friday, after a 27 hour journey. Hana did very well on the plane, and she only really fussed a couple of time, which was mainly from boredom. I think I would have too if it were socially acceptable. The trip started off a little rocky. When we checked in with China Southern, they had no record that we purchased a lap ticket for Hana. So, we gave our guide some money to buy another one. While she was purchasing that, the clerk who was helping us left, and passed our info to another agent, who found Hana's ticket, so we then had to get a refund. We did make it to the gate as our flight started to board. So... we could breathe easy, until we sat at the gate for an hour and a half past when we should have left. So, we arrived in Beijing late, where we had to get our bags and change terminals. That took about another hour, so Brian was getting a bit nervous. When we arrived at terminal 3, we had to check in with Continental, and there was a really long line. Luckily, Brian's status allowed us to go through the fast line, so that took a small bit of the edge off. We then had to go through about 6 layers of security, and we made it to the gate just as they began boarding our flight. But, we did make it to the plane that would get us back to the US, so we were able to relax a little. Until we realized that Brian got pick pocketed and his passport holder was missing. Luckily, the passports weren't in it since we needed them to get through security. There were two of our credit cards in it, which we reported stolen once we arrived in Newark, and the banks identified the activity as fraudulent and declined the charges, so we are not on the hook for them.

I do have to say, I was never so happy to arrive in New Jersey in my life. Immigration was our first stop, where we gave them all of Hana's paperwork from the consulate. The immigration official then stamped her passport, which officially made her a US citizen. The customs part was pretty quick, and we then went to our gate, where we waited for our flight. Even though our flight home was delayed, I knew that we would eventually get there. Even if we had to rent a car and drive the rest of the way home. Our flight did finally leave, and we landed it to Richmond around midnight, and finally made it home about 1:30 AM. Here is a picture of Hana as her first day as an US Citizen:

We are still struggling through a bit of the jet lag, but I think I am finally getting Hana's days and nights straight. I don't know that I will see a full nights sleep for a while, but as long as I get some of my sleep at night, I will be happy.

I want to thank everyone for all of the wonderful comments that you left for us while we were in China. We couldn't actually access our blog while we were there, so I enjoyed reading all of them upon our return. I hope everyone enjoyed reading about our adventure. I'm glad we were able to share that with everyone. Now, onto the next chapter....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our Last Day in China

Today we went to the US consulate to pick up Hana's passport and for the swearing in ceremony. As most of you have dealt with some sort of federal, state, or local bureaucracy at one time or another, you can pretty much get the idea of what the first 45 minutes of this process was like. The consulate is on the fifth floor of the building, so we navigated through the maze of escalators to get there. At the first checkpoint, we waited in line so they could check our passports. We then went to the next line, where we had to go through security. It was almost like airport security, but they didn't make you take off your shoes. However, they did not allow any electronics past security, so we had to "check" our camera. I was a little disappointed because I would have liked to get some photos, but I guess it's all in the name of security.

Once we cleared the checkpoint, we then went into this big room with a bunch of chairs and about 25 teller windows. Basically, just envision DMV, with the exception that the clerks at the consulate are behind glass. And like the DMV, we all just sat around and kind of waited until it was our turn. Our guide handed us a copy of her passport and our passports to verify everything looked correct. When it was our turn, we went to window 22, handed the clerk our paperwork and returned to our seats where we waited for another 15 minutes or so. Finally, the consulate official in charge of the adoptions came out and asked that everyone take a seat. She gave us a quick speech about the brown envelope and what to expect when we go through customs, as well as some things that we should do when we get back into the states. After that, she had the adoptive parents stand, raise their right hand, and take an oath that everything we provided is true to the best of our knowledge, etc... and once we were done, that completed the American, and final, part of the adoption. Of course, this is where we all got teary eyed. It was just so overwhelming. Finally, after so long, these beautiful babies are finally and completely ours, and we are finally able to bring them home. Of course, Hana is still somewhat in limbo until we land in Newark on Friday evening. We will have to go through immigration when we arrive, but the second that they stamp her passport, she will officially become a US citizen.

It's with mixed emotions that I type this since it will be my last blog from China. There are no words that can even begin to describe how wonderful this experience has been. I'm so glad we got to spend this time in China and learn about the customs and culture of her heritage. Tomorrow we begin our long trek home. I'm dreading the 26 hour trip, but I know that once we get to Newark, we are only a short flight away from a nice soft bed and lots of family and friends who are waiting for Hana to make her debut!