Sunday, February 28, 2010

We are officially a family!

Today was adoption day - we signed the official legal adoption papers and little Miss SY officially became our daughter!

We were curious if we would have a happy or sad girl when she woke up and saw us and well...snuggles and kisses all around.

It was a bit tough...we had to get up and leave early and princess just didn't want to get dressed or let Mama do her hair.  Brandon had to go to the bank to change money for the fees so I was on my own!  Welcome to Mamahood, huh?

When we arrived we noticed the Ayi and orphanage director were there, but Sofie was already velcro kid so I wasn't worried about it.  At some point Ayi took her and held her and played with confusing for this poor kid.

Suddenly, she didn't want anything to do with us...again.  Baba Brandon to the rescue!  Did I tell you what an amazing Baba he is?

When Ayi left, another meltdown.  Poor thing is so sick and had to get up early and was super tired too.  It was only about two minutes before she was a velcro kid to Mama again though.  I started her on antibiotics after lunch and put her down for a nap, so we are hoping she feels better soon.

We are supposed to go shopping tomorrow, but think we will hunker down and get this kid well.  Or Brandon will stay with Sofie and I will do the shopping.  Stay tuned!

What a difference a nap makes!

So we started family day on a pretty good note.  Hongyan was hesitant to come in the room, but eventually came in and engaged with us both in play and really good eye contact.

It went downhill quick when they tried to put her on our lap for our official family photo for the adoption record.  She wanted no part of it.  Then when the Ayi (Nanny) left, followed by the orphanage director, the meltdown started.  It was so, so hard to watch her so upset and scared and MAD!  It was after a good while of crying and screaming and just general unhappiness about her situation that she climbed up on the bed and passed out.

We ended our first family day with an entirely different child.  When she woke up a few hours later, she was sad to still see us and cried for a bit.  We just sat next to her and tried to comfort her when she would allow it.  Once she finished waking up, it was like a switch went on in her head - we were okay and she knew we were going to take care of her.  She let me pick her up and hold her and feed her, then started playing and laughing and singing...and engaging in much silliness.  She started calling us Mama and Baba and was just so durn sweet and cute!

We topped off the evening with a Baba song sung to Brandon while she carressed his arm and hand and a Mama song for me while she stroked my face.  It was...just...precious.  She wanted Mama to sleep with her so we snuggled down in the bed until she feel asleep and let her have the princess bed to herself.  She is a very heavy sleeper, but very restless so she is on her own!

What can I say...we had hoped so much things would go this way, but completely expected the worst, which we got a small dose of.  She is so, so affectionate and soaks up our love and kisses willingly.

Some more photos of the happy, silly little Miss Sofie Yan...notice her wearing Mama's slippers in the last photo.  She wants to do everything I do and is really super scary smart.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Our Beautiful Girl

We met Hongyan today and it was quite a whirlwind, so we didn't get many photos.  She is so beautiful...and precious...and sick and sad...and sound asleep right now.

It was an exhausting day for us all so stayed tuned for more tomorrow!

More Photos From Beijing

They are going to bring Hongyan to our room at about 3:30 pm - 1 1/2 hours from now!  Since we are sitting here eagerly (nervously!!!) awaiting her arrival, I thought I would post more photos from our touring of the sites yesterday.

Outside entrance to Forbidden City

And the Great Wall...when you see how steep those stairs are, you will know why only Brandon climbed them.  I have a major fear of was a bummer for me not to be able get up there!

Keep your comments coming - we are able to read them all here and it is fun to hear from you!

Friday, February 26, 2010

An Amazing Day

We awoke to snow this morning.  Snow!  There were sights to be seen so we bundled up and headed out.  And I mean bundled...I had five layers on top and three below.  It was very, very cold.

We started out at Tienanmen Square.

Then headed out to see The Forbidden City.  This place was so amazing...and massive!

And finished up at the unforgettable Great Wall.  Brandon spent a few hours climbing and made it to the fifth tower.

We are so humbled by the rich culture and ancient history of this country and feel privileged to have seen even a small part of it so far.  We also feel lucky to be able to incorporate China's culture in to our family.  The people of Beijing have all been very warm and friendly and we have really enjoyed our short visit here.

We will leave for the airport at 4:45 am and head to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia to meet our Sofie Hongyan at 3pm!  Be thinking of us and wishing for the best...say around 1am Cental time!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Our Free Day in Beijing

We wandered around Beijing a bit today.  There are still decorations up everywhere from Spring Festival and it is quite festive and beautiful.  We tried to eat at a restaurant our friend Traci recommended, but it ended up being quite an adventure and we never did find it.  But, ended up finding a little place and had a nice meal and some refreshing Tsingtao's.

Winding down now...listening to fireworks going off all around the district.  Tomorrow we will tour around so I will take lots of photos and post some for your viewing pleasure.


So we made it to the hotel - a mere 28 hours after leaving home. Piece of cake!

Tomorrow we are on our own and the only plan is to explore and find some yummy things to eat.

Good night...or rather, good morning!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


We made it to our hotel...a mere 28 hours since leaving our house. Free day tomorrow and no plans yet, except to explore a bit and find something yummy to eat!

Good night...or rather good morning!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Brandon is a happy boy

So business class is a big hit! Those long legs are quite comfy.

Waiting to take off for far so good!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

And...We're Off!

In a few hours anyway.  And yes, I am still awake.  :)

Thinking about that little girl we are already so in love with but who doesn't even know's bizarre and wonderful all at the same time.

We'll be in Beijing in about...29 hours!

Watching The Snow Fall

Yep - it's snowing.  Big, fat flakes.

We're hoping it doesn't screw up our flights tomorrow morning.  Best case scenario, it does it's thing and melts so we don't have ice.  And, that DFW is not affected.  Thankfully, I got all of our errands done yesterday and was planning on being home all day today.

We'll have to leave at 4:30 am tomorrow to head to the airport.  So the plan is we'll stay up tonight.  We would have to get up nauseatingly early to shower and make sure we are ready, so what's the point?  By the time we board our long flight to Tokyo, it will be night time in China so we'll crash then and start working on the time change adjustment.

One more sleep, so to speak and wheels up in 23 hours!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Two More Days!

We are in pretty good shape!  Just a few more things to pick up and we'll be done packing.  However, I am freaking out a bit about the weather.  We are under a winter storm watch!  They are forecasting snow tonight and tomorrow and possibly ice Wednesday morning.  Are we still in Texas?  It was 78 degrees yesterday!  One of the reasons we chose to fly out of Dallas for the international portion of our trip was to avoid winter weather delays.  Anyone who has ever lived here will tell you that if anything other than rain falls from the sky in Texas, everything comes to a stand still.  It looks like Dallas will get the snow tonight and tomorrow morning, so keeping fingers and toes crossed we don't get caught up in delays!

I realized the other day that the most recent photos we have of Sofie Hongyan are four months old!  I wonder how much she has grown since then...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lunch with the ladies

My friend Maria was planning a nice Sofie lunch on Saturday, but ended up with two very sick little girls. So these two lovely ladies & I improvised and went out for a nice lunch. Thanks Lisa and Sue! We missed you Maria!  Hope your baby girls are feeling better!  And yes...I know the photos are sideways.  I've been working out the bugs on my Blackberry blog app.  :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

One Week

One week from's now Sunday in China...we will meet Hongyan.  I've been thinking about her a lot.  Well, I think about her pretty much all the time, but much more so today.  We were told she would be brought back to the SWI (orphanage) a week before we arrive, which means if that hasn't already happened, it will very soon.  We are hoping she was at least able to stay with her foster family to celebrate the New Year.  While we understand that this is how her SWI operates and respect that it is entirely up to them, we're not quite sure how we feel about it.

Hongyan only lived in the SWI for the first six months of her life before joining her foster Grandma and Grandpa.  It breaks my heart for her -- and them -- that she will have to leave them, as they are the only family she has ever known.  And to go from a loving family to an institution...well, I'm sure it is very hard and very sad for her right now.

We are so fortunate that Hongyan has been raised by a family that clearly loves her, as she does them.  The joy she will bring us comes at a cost to them and we are often conflicted about that.  There are just no words to properly thank them for what they have done for Hongyan.  But, we also know that if they wanted to and were able to, they would have adopted her as she would not be able to stay with them as a foster child much longer.  We know the best thing for this precious child is to have a family forever.  And we could not be more thrilled to be that family.

So, Hongyan's been on my mind...thinking about how she is handling all of this change and loss and hoping there is someone to comfort least until we can.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Call To Action

Please click here to visit the Joint Council on International Children's Services to learn more about the Families for Orphans Act and what you can do to help become part of the solution for the estimated 138 million orphans worldwide.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pack for two adults and a three year old...for 16 days in China...three different climates...cold, bitter cold and balmy...and a luggage limit of one bag and 44lbs per person...?  I hope you never have to find out...!!!

I've been working my way through the shopping and packing list.  We'll have time do some some shopping while we are there, but need to have some things (clothes, snacks, toys, bribes) on hand for the first few days after we first meet Sofie Hongyan.  She is pretty much packed now, with the exception of snacky things. 

I bought some of those space saver bags and they work great!  Problem is, they just make room for more stuff!  So the weight thing may be a problem...but that's what money is for, right?  Oh, and I had to buy new luggage.  Great, huh?  We had three very small (carry on size) bags and they just weren't going to work.  So I got some of these great hard-sided Delsey suitcases (65% off at Macy's!) that are super lightweight.

Oh, and did I mention gifts?  It is customary in China to bring gifts for people you meet and do business with.  So, we'll need gifts for the Director of the orphanage, nannies, foster family and province officials.  I am bringing some locally handmade really lovely soaps and candles for the ladies, nice razor and cologne for the men (made in USA) and some local chocolates for everyone.  The Director will get a lovely bath kit and Sofie Hongyan's foster Grandma will get this beautiful necklace with a swallow and locket made by an Etsy artist...I will put Hongyan's photo in it.

What's left to do?  Figure out which outfits to pack for Brandon & I...and how to get several uses out of each!  Buy a car it all picked out.  Get the chair for her room...again, already picked out.  Buy a baby sling/carrier - told we will appreciate having one of these in China.  Get on that plane!  Only 13 more sleeps...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Sponsor Child Update

Melody becomes more and more beautiful as the days pass!  It's always good to hear she is happy & healthy.

Melody Jan 2010

Melody is 10 Months Old.

Melody’s nanny wrote this update:

Melody enjoys sitting up by herself as she recently starting doing this on her own. She is able to use her hands to say “thank you” or “you are welcome”.    Melody is also learning to hold her own bottle when eating.  It is a pleasure to watch Melody grow and learn new things every day.