Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's Official! She's Ours!

We just received word today from our adoption agency that China has approved our adoption of Madeleine Grace! Just to remind you what a long journey this has been, here is a recap of our timeline:
6.2.06: Dossier sent to China
6.8.06: Dossier logged in with the CCAA
7.27.07: Dossier passes review
12.15.08: Letter of Intent sent to CCAA for the adoption of Madeleine
12.29.08: Pre-approval received from CCAA
1.22.09: Letter of Approval received from CCAA
Seems short, doesn't it until you realize that we started this journey in 2006! We are still in waiting mode as we have to wait for the Chinese government to issue travel approval (TA). That will probably take four or five weeks considering they are on holiday all of next week for Chinese New Year. At the same time, we will be waiting for US Immigration to approve our application to adopt internationally. That can take about 90 days although we are going to see if they might be able to expedite the processing of our form. No guarantee, but our agency says they will try. Once we have TA from China and USCIS approval, then our agency will be able to go ahead and schedule our Consulate appointment (CA). I was hoping for travel in April, but I'm not counting out May. So stay tuned.

And now, without further ado, let me introduce our lovely daughter, Isabel's big sister (by seven months), Madeleine Grace:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Historic Day

I don’t think I have ever watched a presidential inauguration ceremony live. Most likely it’s because I never had the opportunity since up until this year I would have been working. Today, Isabel and I viewed history in the making. We watched the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama. It was quite moving.

Any ceremony of this kind is inherently moving with all the pomp and circumstance, and any change in administration brings high hopes for a fresh start, a new direction. But Obama fan or not, one cannot deny the special significance of this moment in time. President Obama summed it up best when he said sixty years ago, his father would not have been able to dine in many of the restaurants in Washington, D.C. because of his color. Today, his son took the oath for the highest office in the land.

Isabel will not remember this day, this event. She will not remember that she applauded when Barack took his place on the dais. She will not remember that she danced around the family room when Aretha Franklin sang. She will not remember that she made the sign for airplane and said “bye bye” when the helicopter bearing former President Bush and his wife took off over the capital on its way to Andrews Air Force Base. But I will remember these details. And someday I will be able to tell her that though she has no memory of it, she bore witness to a moment that changed the course of history in our nation and in our world.

I’ve always been proud to be an American and grateful for the liberties and privileges we have, but I’ve never felt the sense of hope I do today. Perhaps partially that is because I now have a child, and the future of our world has become much more personal for me because that future is my daughter’s. My prayers today are with our newly inaugurated President Obama and his family and his administration. The days ahead will not be easy, but I feel very confident that we have a leader who is up to the tasks at hand. Happy Inauguration Day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Got Nothing

Monday seems to be the day that I usually post something about Isabel. Today, I'm sick, so I don't have the energy for anything. This nasty cold came upon me very suddenly Saturday night after the Wild hockey game. One minute I was fine, and the next minute I had a sore throat and stuffy nose. Really, it came on that fast. Anyhow, I'm feeling a little sorry for myself because I feel so lousy...I have the temp in the house turned up to 74 and the fireplace on, and I'm still cold...but mostly, I am hoping and praying that Isabel doesn't catch it from me. I'm holding back on the kisses which is VERY hard to do, and I'm washing my hands like a fiend in hopes that this bug doesn't spread. It's hard to be a mom when you're not at the top of your game. All I want to do is crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head and sleep, but little ones in the house do not allow that. Mostly, I feel like I'm cheating Isabel because I just have no get up and go. We did go to music class today, so at least she had some fun and got a bit of stimulation. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day. When I am feeling up to it, I have some funny video to post of Isabel walking her baby in the stroller. Stay well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Funny Things Isabel Knows and Can Do

Isabel amazes us daily with what she knows. In fact, I am quite sure she knows a lot more than we are even giving her credit for. Here are some of the things she’s learned lately.
When she gives anyone a kiss, whether it be me or Daddy or the cats or a stuffed animal, she makes a big MWAAAAAH sound. It’s so funny.
She knows that a cow says mooooooo, a sheep says baaaaaa, a kitty says meow (in a high, squeaky voice), and a puppy says fffffffffff (her version of woof.) She will tell you each of these sounds when you ask.
I haven’t really done a count, but my best guess is that she knows somewhere around 30 signs. The most humorous one is the sign for cold. You make your hands into fists, and then bend your arms up, and shake them like you are shivering. Isabel adds to it by gritting her teeth and shaking her head. Honestly, it looks like she’s seizing.
She is doing a lot of dancing these days. Any music will spur her to turn circles, sometimes until she’s dizzy. She can also dance on command. And jump. She will jump when you ask her to. And she will alternate between jumping and dancing when prompted.
Cooking is still a big thing. She makes several dishes a day, and Daddy and Pooh and Piglet and the cats and her baby and I do a lot of taste testing.
Anybody who is small enough and can sit still long enough will get a ride in her umbrella stroller. I think she’d love to wheel the cats around, but they’re not having it. Mainly, Bitty Baby and her pink teddy Fuzzy get the rides. Our carpet doesn’t have vacuum tracks. It has stroller tracks.
When it’s nap time, Isabel will go to the refrigerator to signal that she wants her milk, and then she’ll walk to her room. She generally knows when she’s tired and ready to sleep.
This probably is going to come back to haunt us, but we’ve taught her to say, “No, no, no, no, no” to the cats when they get up on the kitchen island or a counter. She shakes her finger and admonishes them firmly. As she gets older, we are quite sure we are going to hear more of those no’s probably when we don’t want to.
At night, all we have to do is say the word “bath,” and she is off to the bathroom, no questions asked. She loves bathtime with Daddy.
Isabel can point to all of the following body parts when asked where each is: head, nose, eyes, ears, hair, belly button, hands, feet. When asked to show her teeth, she will bare all of them and chomp up and down sort of like Jaws.
In the cold, dry winter weather, lip balm is a necessity. When I tell her we have to put her lipstick on, she will purse her lips in anticipation. What a girly girl!
When she’s playing with her kitchen, she will make a shhhhhh sound (like running water) and pretend she’s washing her hands in the sink.
She consistently makes the signs for “please” and “thank you” at the appropriate times.
I read recently that it takes a person the rest of his or her life to amass the amount of knowledge accumulated in the first three years. Isn’t that incredible? No wonder kids get so darn tired. That’s a lot of brain work.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Just How Close is Too Close?

Isabel does not watch much television. In fact, very, very little. There is one show that's on after lunch that we watch occasionally. It's called "It's a Big, Big World." Other than that, she watches her signing videos, which she LOVES, and that's it. Oh, we've seen a half an hour of Kung Fu Panda. I am dying to know how it turns out.

Anyhow, the rule when Ibby watches tv, which as I said is not very often, is that she needs to sit about five feet back. Usually, we pull up her chair to the appropriate spot, and she lounges there as she watches her show.

Today, she asked to watch "Signing Time," which she does by making the sign for "sign" while also making a long ssssssss sound which also stands for sign. And then she walks over to the tv cabinet, giggling happily. (Like I said, she really loves her signing videos.) As I was getting the dvd ready to play, she began to pull her chair into position. She, however, decided, I guess, that she's been sitting too far back. I didn't have the heart to tell her to back up. She was so darn cute. So does sitting too close to the tv really make you need glasses? Hope not.