Monday, August 23, 2010

Together at last

Granted, it's about four months overdue but better late than never...this is the story of my family's first visit to our side of the world.

The first thing one must learn upon arriving in China is how to eat with chopsticks. Most locals assume that other nationalities have no clue how to use them, so it's actually a pretty common questions that we're asked. So first item on the agenda was to make dumplings for lunch (with the help of our amazing househelper, of course!)

We spent about four days in our city and showed off the best spots to my family--1000 Buddha Mountain, Big Light Lake (sounds a lot cooler in its original language), meat-on-a-stick alley. It might not be the prettiest city on the planet but it's home!

Then we flew out west to see the Terracotta Soldiers. Neither Kevin nor I had ever been before, and it was pretty impressive.

We celebrated my 27th birthday in Xi'an with no other than Moroccan food. Hmm...eating middle eastern food in a tourist city in hindsight, maybe not the best idea. In fact, the hummus was nearly inedible but it was still better than rice for a change.

Then we took a flight back east to the capital. I can no longer count on one hand how many times I've made the tourist rounds in this city, but I've learned a helpful thing or two along the way so I was more than happy to play Tour Guide Barbie for my fam.

There was one day while we were in BJ where the skies were unbelievably blue. Like bluer than I think I've seen since we moved here almost two years ago. If you find your own appreciation of blue skies and puffy white clouds waning, I suggest you come spend a week with us. Then you'll understand why I spent more time taking pictures of the sky than anything else that day. Yes, I suppose the ancient, eastern architecture is impressive as well but did you check out the color of the sky?!?!

We took pedicab tours of the old neighborhoods, trekked around the Summer Palace. I forced my family to eat at more Western restaurants than they probably cared for (except my dad, who never really got the chopstick thing down). We climbed the Great Wall, haggled at the Silk Market, enjoyed each others company...what more could I have asked for?

Chen mo shi jin

Translation: Silence is golden.

But maybe not so much in the blog world. I'm not even going to attempt to explain away the five month blogging absence so instead I'll just pick up where I left off...

The last blog I wrote, I made a cake. It's hard to follow that astonishing feat but I'll try to give a month-by-month play-by-play.


Kevin & I applied with International Adoption Guides to adopt from Ethiopia. Adoption has always been one of our long-term goals, so it just felt like a natural step to move forward. More on the adoption front in later blogs...


My granny did in fact pass away. My family & I contemplated my flying home but the only flight I could find had me arriving less than 12 hours before the funeral. In the end, my parents decided it would be better for me to stay put. It was a hard decision for me, but it was one I had come to terms with when we moved here last year. Every once in a while, I have the urge to give her a call and then I remember that she's not at home to answer the phone. When I got married, my "something old" was my granny's wedding ring. I wear it now to remember her.


We found out that we were pregnant three days before our social worker was supposed to fly to our city to conduct out adoption home study. Our social worker recommended that we reschedule the home study for the time being.

Three weeks later, my family (mom, dad, brother & sis-in-law) came to visit for 10 days. It was really special to get to share with them the news of our pregnancy in person instead of through skype or email. Not to mention getting to show off our new country and travel to a city Kev & I had never been to. More on that visit in a later blog also...


My family left. I didn't think I'd cry but I did. At the airport Starbucks no less. A week or so after we got home, we went to the hospital to check on the baby. I thought I was 10 weeks along but the ultrasound only measured 7 weeks with no heartbeat. The tech said I either counted my dates wrong or we had lost the baby. Come back in a week, she said.


We went back a week later to receive confirmation that we had in fact lost our little one. The next few weeks were spent grieving, helping my body to recover, and piecing life back together once more.

Shortly after the miscarriage, we decided to pick back up the adoption. We already had all our necessary paperwork gathered for the home study so we were able to quickly reschedule with the social worker.


Kevin was originally supposed to fly to Malaysia to take a class. However, the plane ticket I was planning on buying ended up not working out. All the other flights were close to $700 or $800...yikes! We decided to hold off on taking the class, which ended up being very providential because that we the exact week our social worker came. We did hours of interviews with her and had a blast (sometimes it's just fun to spend time with a new English speaker!) She had our home study report finished within a few weeks!

The next week, Kevin's brother Chris, his wife Sarah, and their baby boy Jonathan flew over to visit us. More on that later too...


Our adoption dossier is finally ready to be submitted to Ethiopia! We're now on the waiting list for two babies 12 months or below. Hopefully, we'll get a referral any day now, which will be a picture and brief medical report of our potential wee ones. Then we'll fly out to appear in court, and then turn around 6-8 weeks later to bring them home. Like I said earlier, more on that later...

So that's the synopsis of what's been going on our side of the world. Hopefully, you'll hear from me again before 5 more months pass.