Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

June 2004

I've posted a picture of Lindsey on Gotcha Day, and some more recent photos. Now I'm going to post one of her from each month we've been home. We got home from China on June 10, 2004, and here are 2 pictures of her from later that month.

(Edited: I thought maybe Lindsey looked a little older in the picture of her with her Great Wall t-shirt on her, and I checked and the pic may be from July or August so I deleted that one for now.)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Proud mommy

I read a lot of blogs and so many people have lots of clever, witty, and interesting posts and mine are rather boring. So I will resort to posting more pics of my beautiful little girl for now. :-) It's late so I'm just posting this one and will do some more during the week. Background to this photo: for some reason Lindsey doesn't want me to take her picture most of the time. The little bugger will turn away from the camera so I have to be sneaky. Before I snapped this she was sitting on the floor looking snuggly in her jammies with her stuffed piggy and her blankie watching a show. "Oh how cute, I have to get a picture!" But as soon as she saw the camera she got up and started being goofy.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

O Christmas Tree

We finally put up our tree last night. We have an artificial tree that we've had for close to 15 years I think. We keep the lights on and put the whole thing downstairs when Christmas is over. We don't care to have it up forever and ever so we usually put it up about 2 weeks before Christmas and take it down on New Year's Day.

Anyway, Lindsey had a great time putting ornaments on. She went back and forth, back and forth, from the box of ornaments to the tree. The bottom of the tree is loaded with ornaments where she put all hers. We have some rearranging to do when she's not looking. :-)

My favorite ornament is one I made in kindergarten, 36 years ago. We traced our hands on red felt, cut them out, and decorated them with glitter and shiny things (not sure what they're called!). I remember trying to cut the felt with the safety scissors, not easy for a tiny little 5 year old! I wrote my name on the back. It's my prized possession and the first ornament I put up every year.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Two Months!

Two months since our LID - 6, 8, 10 more to go?

Thursday, December 08, 2005


My agency (AWAA) got 22 referrals today! They're for 2 groups in April with LIDs of 4/11 and 4/14. Another half month's worth of referrals, but we're 2 groups closer nevertheless! We were expecting this again. The CCAA actually has put on their website now what files have been reviewed and up to what date they have matched. That is really nice of them to put that on their site now.

There's been a lot of whining and moaning (sorry folks!) about the longer wait lately and it was starting to get to me. I know the wait is hard, especially for first time parents, but we can't let life pass us by while we wait. I choose to focus on the fun parts and the wonderful opportunity I've been given (again!) to bring another wonderful daughter into our family. The waiting time *can* be a joyous time, focus on the positive!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Thanks Secret Pal!

I got my gift from my Secret Pal yesterday (September05 DTC). I got a Hello Kitty pen, notepad, stamp, and hair clips; a CD of kids music; Quack the Duck book; and a ladybug frame and earrings (I don't have pierced ears though!). Very cute, thanks!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Brown Envelope

I forgot to post that we received the "brown envelope" about 2 weeks ago. One more step in the process. I've seen people post that they were happy to get it because then they know their documents are safe and sound in China. Well, not exactly. Remember this has nothing to do with the China side of things, with your dossier. It is from the US government in Guangzhou, indicating they have received your approval from the USCIS to adopt and are ready to process your child's visa when you get there. One of the requirements for the visa is the child's medical exam in China. The clinic is pure chaos, and on the wall is a sign that says "Quiet Please" or something like that. We got a kick out of that.

This pic has nothing to do with our adoption :-) but I wanted to post a picture of my awesome Westie, Chester. He turned 5 last week. We got him when he was 8 weeks old and only 2.3 pounds.

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Thanks everyone for your compliments about Lindsey. She really is quite beautiful if I do say so myself. :-)

She had a great time at the parade (we all did!). It was in the 20's but I wasn't cold at all except for my toes a little bit. Lindsey was adorable in her pink coat, pink snowpants, pink hat, pink mittens, and pink boots! :-) I wish I would have taken a picture but we had to rush out the door and when we got home we just wanted to get all those layers off! We brought her stroller and a blanket and my sisters came with their kids and blankets. So Lindsey first watched the parade on her daddy's shoulders and then we piled all the blankets on top of her stroller and she sat on top of them like a queen!

Yesterday morning we woke up to this:

It's almost all melted now though. Never fear, we WILL get more! :-)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Next year we will have one more little one at the table. I'm very thankful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lindsey - Now

Here are 2 current pictures of Lindsey. The top one was taken about a month ago and the bottom one was taken late this summer. She's grown so much! We're going to our city's annual Christmas Parade tonight, brrr! We went last year and she just sat in her stroller and watched intently. I wonder what she'll do this year.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Lindsey - Then

(Since there's not much to report on Adoption #2 right now other than waiting, waiting, and more waiting, I might start posting more about Adoption #1 for awhile.)

This is Lindsey on Gotcha Day (5/31/04). She was so serious like this for the first 3 or 4 days we had her. Now she is all smiles and a whirlwind of activity. She can be a real challenge (she's 2!) but a huge blessing also. I can't wait until her sister Allison comes home.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Ladybugs Part 2

There's a dead and dismembered ladybug in front of our fireplace. Now what does THAT mean? ROFL Hey if you're going to get all giddy when you see a live ladybug thinking that means good things for the adoption process, then you can't say the dead ones are meaningless!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

One month down, ??? to go!!!

We've been logged in for one month today! After how disappointed I was to get an October LID, the first month went pretty fast. I know the rest of the wait will go fairly fast too. I am determined to enjoy the journey and not get caught up in the ups and downs of the process (well not TOO much anyway!).

That said I can't help but be a little disappointed that the wait times have gone up several months. When we started adoption #2 the wait from LID to referral was about 6 months, then it went to 6-7 months, then most recently we got an email from our agency that the estimated wait is now 8-9 months. The weekly update on their website (http://america-world.org/weeklyupdate/) now says 9-10 months! If it takes 9 months or more our homestudy will expire and we will need an update which means more $$$ to the agency and $75 to the State of Wisconsin. As if money isn't tight enough. Sigh. However I know anything can happen and things can speed up and GOD IS IN CONTROL AND WILL PROVIDE!

AWAA along with many other agencies got referrals on Thursday, but only for 2 weeks worth of dossiers (LID 3/17 and 3/30). For the most part since I've been a part of the Chinese adoption world (about 2 1/2 years) they've sent at least a month's worth at a time.

I watched another Chinese movie tonight - Yellow Earth. I didn't really get it. It wasn't as good as Beijing Bicycle.

We're still waiting for the infamous "brown envelope". This comes from the US consulate in Guangzhou, China. When they receive our approval from USCIS here in Milwaukee, they send out a brown envelope with some forms (they don't need to be filled out until we get to China) and a map of Guanzhou. Our case number is also on there. It's not a big deal if you don't get one. But it does show that they received our file and are waiting for us to come next year so if we don't get it we just have to let AWAA know so they can make sure our file was received. The forms can be obtained in China or from our agency. Last time we got it about 3 months after our I-171H was issued so that won't be until the end of this month this time. Friends of ours who received their I-171H 2 weeks before we did just got their brown envelope today. It's fun to get something mailed from China!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Beijing Bicycle

I watched a Chinese movie tonight - Beijing Bicycle. It was pretty good! Interesting, brought back a lot of memories of China, sort of a strange ending. But I guess there are some political/class messages to it that of course I missed. I've never watched a movie with subtitles before. So that was fun. I'd like to try to watch a few more while we wait (and wait, and wait, and wait....)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ladybug Craze

I have a confession to make. I don't really like the "ladybug craze" associated with China adoption. I guess at one time someone on this big adoption email list I belong to (APC) saw a ladybug while waiting for referrals and shortly after that referrals started coming in and ever since then the ladybug has been a "sign" that good things are happening in the adoption process. SOMETHING like that! I'm sure I don't have that exactly right or maybe that's completely wrong, but nevertheless people go crazy over every ladybug sighting and post their news "I saw a ladybug today! Referrals must be coming!" and everyone goes ga ga.

Please no offense to those of you who get into that! But I just don't. It's starting to get a little old. Referrals come when they come and ladybugs have nothing to do with it! I know it's all for fun so call me a party pooper if you want but those are my feelings on the subject.

"Every party has a pooper that's why we invited you! Party pooper! Party pooper!" That's me (ducking and running!).

(Edited to add: I know, I know, I have a ladybug up there on my ticker. I did choose it because of the association with China adoption. I don't mind a ladybug reference here and there. It's the crazy stuff, the constant posting of "ladybug sightings" that bug me.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

LID Explanation

I finally heard a reasonable and very possible reason why my LID took so long. It used to be that my agency (AWAA ) sends the dossiers to China, they get logged in, THEN go to Bridge of Love Adoption Service (in the same building with the CCAA) to be translated. But now the dossiers are getting translated first and THEN logged in. Some agencies translate the dossiers here in the US before they go to China. So those would be the agencies whose dossiers got logged in more quickly than ours.

I'll have to look into this some more, ask those with fast LIDs and those with long ones who their agency is and what their translation policy is. If my "research" doesn't support the above explanation, then we're back to who knows what the CCAA is doing over there. :-)

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Packing - Clothes

I don't know how interesting or helpful this will be, but I thought I'd go through all the categories of "stuff" we brought to China, one at a time when I get time.

So for clothes: I brought 4 pair of capris plus the ones I wore on the plane, and a shirt for each. That was plenty, BUT, we spent a lot on laundry. I think next time I will bring one more outfit and maybe we can just have laundry done once and not twice. Our guide said we spent the most on laundry in our group! Ooops! It's funny because when you get the clean laundry back it comes individually wrapped in plastic, it looks like a little present. We had a good laugh one day when we went through our newly cleaned clothes "Oh look what I got! A new shirt!" "New underwear!" I think we were tired and slap happy at the time.

In addition to the 5 outfits I brought a sweatshirt (wore on the plane), pajamas, sweat pants for in the hotel room, slippers (they were also provided in all 3 hotels we stayed in, wouldn't need to bring them but I wore them on the plane so I'll bring again), undergarments of course :-) and an extra pair of shoes. Both pair were tennis shoes, next time I will bring a good pair of walking sandals and one pair of tennis shoes.

Hope you're not yawning too much after reading this most exciting post.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

September Moon Gazers

The DTC group I am a part of has a website!


We're on Page 3 of the Meet the Moon Gazers page.

I'm also in the OctoberDTC group but am more active in the September group where I started. It's hard to keep up with 2 groups but I have a September DTC date and an October LID. Doesn't the CCAA understand the difficulties they create for us when they log us in so long after DTC? LOL

I've added some links to other blogs, both families in my DTC group and other misc. blogs I'm following. Reading adoption blogs is my new addiction!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Packing Part 1

I'm not going to get into specific things to bring in this post, just want to share my pet peeve. :-) I don't like when people say "You MUST bring this or that" or "Do NOT bring this or that, you do NOT need it." There have been things that people have said are "musts" that I didn't need at all, and things people have said "Don't take" that I found very valuable. (like a CAR SEAT - more on that in another post - we brought one and will do it again).

Everyone has different likes/dislikes, different needs, and different experiences. So anything I share worked or didn't work *for me* - you have to weigh it out in your own mind and decide if you want to bring something or not. I'm not an expert either, I went to China once, so remember that too. Have a great day!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Thanks Secret Pal!

I got my first gift from my Secret Pal yesterday! (September2005DTC) I was just thinking on my way home from Target in the morning that one thing I will need more of when Allison comes home is hooded bath towels. Now I know I can use regular towels for the girls, but I like to use the child's hooded towels too. Lindsey has some plain ones (2 are from when Ben was a baby!) and one ladybug towel she got from a friend.

Anyway my SP gift is a ducky hooded towel with matching washcloths, bath mitt, and sponge. I also got some ladybug stickers and 2 teethers. These are the first new things I have for Allison. Like I said before, I won't be shopping that much. I don't need as much as I did before Lindsey came home, I don't have as much money as I did before Lindsey came home, and I don't know how old Allison is going to be. She may or may not need a lot of the baby things, she may just need toddler things. :-)

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Packing for China

I feel like I don't have much to say right now since all we are doing is waiting! Waiting for a long time yet. The whole adoption feels different (in some ways, but not in others). Last time I was so unsure of so many things, both about the trip and about having a little one again. "What is the best stroller, carseat, high chair, sippy cup, baby carrier...." on and on. Since we're asking for 18-24 months I really can't buy much for Allison right now (not to mention we have no money $$$$) She could be under a year, she could be 2. So I'm not in a frenzy to purchase things at the moment.

As for the trip, last time my obsession was packing lists! Now I pretty much know what I want to bring and not bring. I just may need to tweak my packing list from last time a little bit. Even though I don't have PLO (packing list obsession) this time, for some reason I still like looking at other people's lists. I thought maybe since I can't think of much else to say right now I could talk a little bit about some of the things we brought last time that were very helpful to have.

I think I will start with that next time though. Jay will be home from his Greek class any minute and I want to read some before I go to bed. So I'll leave you hanging for now! Good night.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

All moved in!

I started my adoption blog at http://www.xanga.com/kunstman but for various reasons decided to move over here to Blogger. If you want, go over to my old site to catch up on where we are at, then bookmark this new site to follow the rest of our journey!

To summarize where we are at in the process:

May 2 - applied to our agency, AWAA (http://www.awaa.org)

Mid-June - all dossier documents except homestudy and I-171H notarized and ready to be certified and authenticated

July 21 - homestudy sent to USCIS in Milwaukee

July 27 - fingerprinted

August 20 - I-171H received

September 9 - DTC!

October 12 - Our LID, finally! after a 33 day wait!

Grrr, I thought for sure we'd be logged in in September. I had not seen a LID take longer than 3 weeks before it was our turn. Now that I am over the initial disappointment (although I think it will always bug me a little until we get our referral!) I am just glad to be logged in and officially waiting for our referral in April? May? Time will tell!