Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Moving along

Congratulations to all the families who received referrals this week! It really makes me excited to get mine! Many people are now thinking referrals will speed up some more, but I'm still feeling like they are going to stay about the same as they have been, and don't plan to get our referral until next year. I hope I'm wrong though!

We applied for Lindsey's passport yesterday. The clerk wasn't quite sure what documentation to take. I brought everything under the sun just in case - birth certificate, COC, adoption decree, Chinese passport, etc. - because I have heard different clerks seem to ask for different things. So in the end she just took the birth certificate but said they may write and ask for her COC (Certificate of Citizenship). I said that was fine, we have time, and I would prefer not to send off the original COC if I don't have to! She said they are taking about 8 weeks to process. I was looking at my passport and noticed it was issued the day Lindsey was born. I don't think I had noticed that before.

Here's a pic of Lindsey once again feeding a goat, this time at a local zoo. We went last week when hubby was on vacation.

And one of her coloring:

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Back in action!

I shut my computer down and put it in the closet on Saturday, June 17 at approximately noon and didn't turn it back on until yesterday at approximately 8 pm. My break was about 7 1/3 days long, and it was GREAT! It was great not to be obsessing over the wait, checking the RQ site every 5 minutes, hoping for some bit of good adoption news with every check of my email. LOL And while I was gone, good things happened! See, it's NOT the ladybug sightings that bring referrals, it's when I'm off the computer! I think I've discovered a new adoption good luck symbol! Oh brother.

So this is old news, but I HAVE to post this, since I have an October LID. Here it is:


I'm still trying to catch up on emails and blogs. As soon as I do, I might just take another break! It has been so good for me. I'm enjoying the summer so far.

Have a great week everyone! It should be exciting with referrals rolling in. My agency will be getting over 30 I believe.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Taking a break.....again

Okay this time I mean business!!! I have some things I need to do on this computer over the next day or two, then I'm putting this baby in the closet for awhile! I need to get off of here and get some things done in "real life". The wait will still be here when I get back for sure! (ugh)

I'll post again in a week or so. I doubt I'll be able to hold out any longer than that. LOL

(Krista, I sure hope I come back to news of your TA!!!!!)

I'll leave you with some pics of Punker Dog (a/k/a Chester, my 5 year old Westie, the BEST dog!)

Monday, June 12, 2006

8 months

I am struggling with what to say. I don't want to be negative and whiny. I'm happy we made it to 8 months. But are we even halfway there? I just don't feel quite as excited at the 8 month mark as I did all the other month milestones. I need some good news to perk me up! (Unfortunately I don't think there is any for awhile yet.)

Wrapping up my trip down memory lane:

To answer the question about the jet lag, it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected! Like I said we got home Thursday, June 10, 2004, at 5:30 a.m. After our long ordeal, we actually felt energized once we got home. We thought "hey, maybe we can just stay up all day then, go to bed tonight at a normal time, and start getting our body clocks adjusted." Ha! By mid to late morning, I was more tired than I have ever been in my life! :-) That first day was rough. But by the end of the weekend, I think I was feeling pretty much back to normal. Lindsey was sleeping through the night within a week of being home so that helped. She had a bad cold when we first got home, Ben was sick, my MIL was sick, and the weather was cold and rainy. That didn't help with our adjustment at all! The whole first summer is a bit of a blur, and things got better and better after that.

So I'll be blogging in the present once again, waiting, waiting, waiting..........

Isn't he cute?

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Coming home! (June 9, 2004 - Wednesday)

Hard to believe 2 years ago today, we were leaving China. We reversed our flights from the way over - Guangzhou to Shanghai, Shanghai to LAX, LAX to O'Hare, O'Hare to home airport. Well, that was the way it was supposed to work anyway! First flight went fine. We had a longish layover in Shanghai. Poor Ben was so sick by this time (went to the doc when we got home - he had a bronchitis and a sinus infection!). He was feeling nauseated so someone gave him a prescription med for that, totally helped his nausea but wiped him out! He had to sit down in all the lines in Shanghai. So we finally board the plane that will take us to the US.

That flight went pretty well (it's a total blur as I look back). Lindsey was fussy since she had a cold (was much better from the night before at least) and slept fitfully on and off all the way home, as did I. After a long flight, we finally landed on US soil! YEA!!! We were soooooo tired, but happy to be in the good old U.S. of A.

Now the adventure begins!!! When we were getting to our gate at LAX, we heard our flight was delayed 1/2 hour. No problem. But we got on the flight on time. But then we were told, we couldn't take off - planes in Chicago were backed up because of weather problems on the east coast and in the Chicago area. We ended up sitting on the plane for FOUR HOURS as it got hotter and hotter and stuffier in there. By the time we took off, we knew we would miss our flight in Chicago but hoped for the best. We finally got to O'Hare only to find out our flight home was cancelled. So here it is after 10 pm I think, we can't figure out what to do. We were too tired to think straight! There was no one around to help us. They closed the customer service window and told us it would reopen at 3 am. We thought about taking a cab home (a 3.5 hour drive). All the cabs were taken. We went across the street to a hotel, all the rooms taken. So we plop down in the lobby of this nice hotel, feeling like hobos, slap happy, tired, and I just broke down crying. There were 2 businessmen sitting nearby, we got to talking and telling them our story. They said they were having a meeting the next day and had a conference room reserved - if it was okay with the hotel we could crash there for the night. We were all set to do that, but first we found a phone and my MIL called my FIL. He told us Jay's brother and his wife were on their way to pick us up! They were only about an hour away by this time. (When they heard our flight home was cancelled, they immediately set out for Chicago knowing we might need a ride home! GREAT thinking.) We were so relieved (although not too thrilled about having to drive all the way home after all the long flights!). Of course my BIL got lost trying to get out of Chicago and that added about an extra hour to our trip!

So instead of getting into our home airport at 10:10 pm on Wednesday night, we pulled into our driveway at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday morning. But we were HOME.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

June 8, 2004 (Tuesday)

****Note: I think I may be confusing some people - I am not in China right now. I am reliving our first trip to China, 2 years ago, to adopt our daughter Lindsey, now 3. We are almost 8 months into the wait for our second daughter, Allison. Back to the past........****

I didn't get a chance to write an email on our last full day in China. Let's see if I can remember how the day went. Had breakfast at the awesome breakfast buffet as usual, a little bleary eyed (as usual) and then Lindsey and I went to take a nap in the room and Jay and his mom went to get their hair cut on the lower level of the hotel. They came up late morning and just raved about their experience! They said I just had to do it. So I went to get my hair cut. I was shaking in my boots the whole time but it was fun. They washed my hair for about 15 minutes! Ah that was nice. I got a good hair cut - will definitely do this again on our next trip!

After lunch we got back on the bus and went to Shamian Island as we did the day before, and shopped. When we got back, we could see that Lindsey wasn't feeling too good. By early evening her cry was getting hoarse, and she had a fever and runny nose. Our guide went with us to the hotel nurse where she gave us various meds (the only recognizable one was 2 doses of zithromax). She gave Lindsey a suppository to bring her fever down. The "doctor visit" was an interesting experience to say the least! Then I had to pack because we were leaving early the next day. I never got a chance to post. I was sooooooooooooo tired by then and soooooo ready to go home.

No pictures to post right now, check back later. Tomorrow's post will detail our long and harrowing trip home. :-)

Edited 5/9 to include photos

Me getting my hair washed

Results of haircut, and Lindsey :-)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

June 7, 2004 (Monday)


Last night it took a little while to get Lindsey to sleep and she was up at 12:30, again. Every night she wakes up at 12:30. We waited a minute to see if she would go back to sleep but she was screaming. We gave her a bottle and she gobbled that up, and was back to sleep after about 45 minutes. Then she cried out again several times during the night but I just had to pat her head. We all slept until about 7:45. We don't have to go anywhere until 2:20 when we leave for the consulate and then to do some shopping. We're going to a Thai restaurant for supper. Tomorrow more shopping then HOME. I am so ready.

I forgot to tell you the story about the "hairy toys". When we got Lindsey we were able to ask her nannies questions and our guide Lineker translated. We asked what were her favorite toys and Lineker said "toys that play music or make noise, she doesn't like hairy toys." Ben said "do you mean furry toys? Oh yeah yeah Lineker said. So we laugh about her not liking hairy toys. I am the stuffed animal queen so we will have to get her to like them. Mum brought her an adorable Care Bear and she is at least touching it some.

I'm afraid my posts are getting boring. I am running out of things to say but I like to write each day. I guess just one more post tomorrow and then not again until we get home. HOME. My favorite place to be.


Yangchun Babies (Lindsey is second from left)

Room Service!

Always with the cloth

At the Thai restaurant (fun fun!)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

June 6, 2004 (Sunday)

Hi everyone,

It hardly feels like Sunday. No day seems like any day. I'm getting very ready to come home! I am feeling pretty good yet though about being here. I sure am ready though to brush my teeth with tap water, eat a bowl of cereal, easily get water to drink, and get into a routine!

We just got back from going to a museum and a tea house. It's been raining all day so unfortunately we have to cancel our river cruise for tonight. It will be good to save some money but that would have been pretty cool. Instead we're going to get our kids together in the playroom. :-)

Jay, Ben, and Mum went to McDonalds for lunch. Lindsey is napping in her crib and I'm waiting for friends to call with lunch. I'm going to eat with them because I am hungry for pizza and fries from Danny's Bagels and the rest of my crew doesn't want to eat there anymore. They deliver to the hotel. So I'm going to share with the Arants. They have "western food". They don't call it American food here, they call it western.

I'm hoping to take a nap after lunch. Lindsey didn't get up last night but she cried out quite a few times and I just pat her head and she goes back to sleep. But I was asleep, awake, asleep, awake, all night. Yawn. :-) She slept from 9:30 - 6:00.

I miss everyone!


P.S. Ginny or Kathy: tell mom I don't know if I'm going to find a can of chicken chow mein. Haven't seen it yet. If she wants squid or something, that I can probably find. Ha ha.

In the hotel playroom:

Sleeping beauty:

Monday, June 05, 2006

June 5, 2004 (Saturday)

Hi all,

Today Lindsey had her medical exam, and photos done for her visa. She cried for both of her visa photos. :-) Her exam went well, it was very interesting. Lindsey weighed in at 16.6 pounds. She may be the smallest baby in the group. She's so cutsie cutsie. :-)

Last night we rented a stroller here in the hotel. We put her in it and she screamed. We got moving and she was a little better. Today she liked it a little more. She also sat in a high chair for the first time for breakfast this morning. She did pretty well. It was so much easier to eat breakfast. The buffet here at the China Hotel is awesome. The other 2 hotels had good breakfast buffets too but I think this one is the best. They have syrup for the pancakes and french toast. :-) The other 2 just had honey.

Lindsey hardly napped at all today. I hope she sleeps good tonight! Last night was the first time she required a bottle in the middle of the night (3:30 am) to get back to sleep. She cries out once or twice but I pat her head and she goes back to sleep. The comforters on the beds are awesome. I sure would love an uninterrupted night's sleep (don't laugh Mary Jo!!! LOL).

Instead of napping Lindsey has been playing up a storm today. She keeps standing up. Twice she took 2 steps! She doesn't even use her hands or anything to get up, she just gets up. It's so cute.

Tomorrow we are going to a tea house in the morning and on a Pearl River cruise in the evening. Monday is our consulate appointment and shopping, Tuesday we get the babies' visas and more shopping, then Wednesday we come HOME. I am finally getting to where I really want to come home. I'm not looking forward to the long flights though!

Oh I almost forgot, last night we went to a Japanese restaurant here in the hotel for dinner, with our group. I was pretty hesitant about it but we all really liked it! It was quite an experience. I just got some veggies and they had an excellent flavor. Mum had king prawn (like huge shrimp I guess) and loved it. Jay and Ben got some kind of ribs (nothing like American ribs Jay says). We all liked it. For dessert Ben and I had green tea ice cream! It was surprisingly good. I guess we like coffee ice cream so green tea ice cream isn't so odd. Jay had sesame ice cream. Weird. :-)

It's almost time to give Lindsey her bath (she hates it, screams). Then I have to clean up the room and get to bed. You are all just waking up on Saturday morning as I write this, and it is Saturday night for us.


In the department store with the ever present "cloth"

Department store

Outside the medical clinic

Sunday, June 04, 2006

June 4, 2004

Hi everyone!

We are now at the China Hotel. It is so nice. Each hotel has gotten nicer although our last one, Dong Fang, was very good too. They were working on the pool at that one so Ben hasn't been able to swim until now. He and Jay are swimming, Mum is sitting poolside. I was too but Lindsey was getting really hot and crabby. I brought her up to the room and she fell asleep taking her bottle (first time for that). She's sleeping now in a rather rickety crib for such a nice hotel! The one at our last hotel was nicer.

Lindsey is incredible! She is getting better and better. She laughs and giggles, smiles, talks, crawls, pulls up to a stand. We realized yesterday that sometimes when she is crabby she is just bored. We get out with the other kids and new scenery and she happily plays on the floor. This is a blast. The first part of the trip was so hard and now it is so much better. I am not even ready to go home yet. I will be so happy to get there next week though. It will be nice to understand what everyone is saying. :-)

We talked quite a bit with the Guest Relation Officer at our last hotel while we were waiting in the lobby to walk over to this hotel. Her name is Gigi Chen. She speaks English really well and is very beautiful. We got her email address. Well Jay did, he sure loves to talk to everyone.

This morning Lindsey woke up at 6 a.m. and reached out to me to take her out of the crib. That is another first. She also put a toy in her mouth by the pool, another first. She doesn't put anything in her mouth other than her "cloth" and her bottle of course. I brought Cheerios, prunes, rice cereal, baby cookies--all things I will just take right back home with me, she won't take them. That's fine though. One of her favorite "toys" is a Kleenex pack. :-)

Tomorrow Lindsey has her medical exam. We weighed her again and came up with 15-16 pounds which seems more like it. 13+ pounds is awfully tiny. But she is a peanut. She is beautiful.

The largest park in Guangzhou is across the street from our hotel. We're hoping to rent a stroller and walk over there after Lindsey gets up from her nap. We don't have any official business today again. Lindsey's passport is coming today though.

Hope all is well at home. I really miss everyone! We were talking about what we are looking forward to eating when we get home. One thing we all want is a bowl of cereal! You can't drink the milk here, except for one brand I think and I'm not sure what that is. I'm not taking any chances. So far I haven't been sick and other than what I've already mentioned everyone is feeling fine. Thankfully Lindsey hasn't needed any meds at all.

Zai jian! (Good bye!)


With Gigi Chen, checking out of the Dong Fang

China Hotel

The view out our window at the China Hotel!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

June 3, 2004

Hi again!

Things are getting better and better here. I thought I'd be dying to get home by now. Although I'd love to be home, I'm happy to be here yet. Tomorrow we move next door to the China Hotel. Otherwise we don't have anything going on tomorrow (I don't think). The families from the other provinces will arrive here tomorrow too. It will be fun to see all their babies.

This morning we went to the Guangzhou Zoo. It was so hot that I didn't care about the animals too much. It wasn't as hot as yesterday but bad enough. They do have a panda there right now.

That's the only group activity we did today. Jay and Lindsey are both sleeping right now, it's 3:00 in the afternoon. I'm going to take a nap after I write this email.

Lindsey ate again this morning, a few ounces. She seems to only want an ounce or so at a time, and then want more 15 minutes later. Except on the bus on the way to the zoo, she ate 4 ounces at once, a record. Since we've been back to the hotel she only wants a micro amount at a time. But at least she's eating and she'll get better.

This morning Lindsey was still "serious baby". This afternoon she is a different baby! She is more active and has smiled and giggled and made many new sounds. Up to now she has only said "Ahh!" many times. This afternoon she said mamamamama and babababa, nananana, and made silly sounds with her mouth. She crawled across the room to daddy. She can pull herself up to a stand without holding on to anything. She doesn't really stand though. She is so wonderful.

I added some more pictures of Lindsey to the photo page. I realized we needed more pictures of her close up, with just her sweet face in the picture. Ben is taking tons of pictures yet. He is obsessed with taking pictures of one of our guides, Lineker. Lineker is one of those people who are funny without trying to be. He is always just moseying around while our other guide, Amy, does all the work. They are both so nice. I can't imagine being her without a guide. In Beijing at the jade shop, I couldn't understand something the clerk was trying to explain to me about my purchase. Lineker came up, said a bunch of Chinese, turned to me and said "they'll deliver it to our restaurant". It was just so funny. It would have taken me forever to figure that out.

I better go and get my own nap in before supper. I sure would love Pizza Hut again. I didn't care for the food in Beijing but found enough to keep me alive. :-) I can't wait to go to Schlotzskys, Papa Murphys, Chilis, oh all kinds of places when we get home. :-)


Here we are staying in a beautiful 5 star hotel, they were redoing the whole pool area and it was going to be just gorgeous, but look at the primitive "tools" they used to work on this - these are just an example

The zoo

Sleeping beauty

Sweet girl

Friday, June 02, 2006

June 2, 2004

Hi all!

Much, much better day today! First of all we had no official business to do today. Second we didn't have to get on the bus until 10:00 (as opposed to 6, or 8, or 9). Third, Lindsey ate! And she pooped! :-) And I am more rested, even though I didn't sleep well last night, just nervous about would she eat today, I think. We fed her first thing this morning and she took the bottle right away, ate about 4 ounces but threw about 3.5 oz. of that right back up. But it was a start.

We had breakfast then the group went to a beautiful park in Guangzhou. It was HOT. It was hotter than hot, it was humid. But it was nice and then we went to Pizza Hut. It tasted *exactly* like here at home (I had heard differently). It was sooo good. When we got back to the hotel we fed Lindsey 2 ounces and she kept it all down. They say the babies here like their formula hot. But she likes it cold. Right after she finished her bottle, she pooped, first time. :-) I changed her then she pooped again. :-)

She is very happy and content but still no smile from her. I think she is the only baby in our group who hasn't smiled yet, but she is more content then some of the other babies. She seems very happy despite no smiling.

She loves to suck on a cloth diaper. She starts sucking and usually falls right to sleep. She's slept all night both nights, crying a little a few times in the night, but I just pat her head and say some soothing mommy words and she goes right back to sleep.

I forgot to post pictures last night, sorry. We went to another family in our group's room to visit and went straight to bed when we got back. I will hopefully remember to post some when I finish this email. Jay is here and Lindsey just fell asleep so he can help me.

We *think* Lindsey may only be 13 some pounds (note from the present: found out at her medical exam that she was 16 pounds). I weighed myself then weighed myself again holding her and subtracted the difference. The scale is in kg but we got an approximate conversion. She is tiny but I didn't think that tiny. So either the scale is wrong or her referral information was wrong. It said she was 14 pounds at 5 months. The 12 month clothes fit her well. She is so beautiful. I can't wait for you to meet her.

There's tons more to say but I'll go and do the pictures. If I forget remind me to tell you about some of the funny ways our guides say some English words. Quick example: formular (formula) and breakferst. Our guides are AWESOME. Talk to you again soon!


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Lindsey!!!!

Before I go back to the past again, I will stay in the present and wish my sweet girl Happy Birthday! Lindsey is 3 years old today! Today is also the 2 year anniversary of the day she legally became our daughter. She had her 3 year checkup at the doctor this morning, where she got her second HepA shot (sorry baby!). She weighs almost 27 pounds and is 1/4 inch shy of 3 feet tall. :-) (10% for weight, 21% for height) Saturday is her Dora themed birthday party with all her family.

We didn't really get to celebrate her first birthday even though she was with us. It was only our second day with her, she wasn't eating, we were busy and exhausted and we didn't do anything special. I thought we would just do something once we got home, but that first summer home was such a blur, a difficult adjustment for us, and we never did get around to throwing her a first birthday party. Sorry again pretty girl! Oh well the important thing is she was part of our family for her first birthday, and she wouldn't remember the party anyway.

A picture of the birthday girl this morning, then back to the past.....


June 1, 2004

Lindsey HuaWu Kunstman is one year old today!! She is also officially, legally our daughter and Ben's little sister. Ben has a sister, wow, I can't believe I can say that. It is as awesome as us having a daughter. He has been the light of my life for almost 14 years and it is hard to describe my feelings about adding another child to my heart. Ben is staying in a room with Grandma and last night I just missed him so much. He is going to sleep in our room a few nights on the rest of the trip.

Today we had 2 interviews with Chinese notaries and then went to the police station where they did whatever they do :-) while we sat there and then they took our picture. So Amy told us the Chinese part of our adoption is done and Lindsey is our daughter in the eyes of both governments, China and the US. When we were waiting for our turn at the police station I turned to Jay and said can you believe we're in China, in a police station??? This is so wild. :-)

I am sooooo tired and so overwhelmed. No one told me this trip would be so hard. I'm enjoying myself and loving the experience but it is very difficult on me physically and emotionally. The hardest thing at the moment is that Lindsey will not eat! Please pray that she eats soon, I am so worried about her. She did drink some water several times but after the first time threw it all up, all over me. I've been initiated. :-) That happened this morning at the Civil Affairs Office. She's kept it down since and is sleeping right now.

Jay, Ben, and Mum left about 15 minutes ago to walk over to the China Hotel. I just got up from a nap and have to clean up the hotel room, it is a disaster. I have either been too busy or too tired to keep up with it.

Other than Lindsey not eating she is doing great. She is very quiet and reserved, still taking it all in I suppose. She hasn't really smiled yet. I'm sure she will open up in the next few days. She just LOVES to scratch at things with her little fingers (and her LONG fingernails, we haven't had a chance to cut them yet). She scratches at every texture. She just sits quietly and scratches at her toys and books. She has started to suck on a cloth diaper to soothe herself. She is taking her nap with her diaper in her mouth.

She cried for her bath this morning. The nannies said she loves her bath so I don't know if that's not true or it's just that she is getting used to us. She sure smells good now. :-)

Since Jay is gone right now I can't upload any pictures right now. I'm not sure where they are on this computer. I will do that tonight for sure so check back soon. I am starting to recognize the little girl from the referral pictures but let me tell you she looks SO different. She is so so so so sweet and cute. You will love her little face.

I'll write more soon!

Eileen and family

Lindsey with her cloth diaper (she still loves these to this day!)

Lindsey and her big brother Ben

Our wonderful guides, Lineker and Amy