Monday, November 30, 2009

Calling All Airport Photographers! :o)

I'm working on a post about our homecoming and am trying to gather pics. Finally realized tonight that the easiest way to gather as many of those photos as possible is probably to put the call out here so....

'Hey!! If you were at the airport on Nov 14th and have pics you could share, can you please email them to me?' Thanks!!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mixed Veggies? thanks!

Hannah is a great eater but so far has let me know that baby food with texture is not for her! I tried one of those rice, meat and veggie mixtures earlier in the week without success. Today we tried mixed veggies. She gave it the old college try but the first two bites were met with gagging and a look of, 'C'mon mom....what are you feeding me?' I tried thinning it down a bit with water but she still wasn't impressed. She ate about 10 bites but you can see from her face and bib that some only made it in long enough to be spit back out. This goes on record as our official messiest meal to date but she still looks so cute and when she spits it out it's with an impish smile on her face!

Hannah's final opinion about mixed veggies! (We'll try them again tomorrow but I won't tell her that yet!)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hannah is 9 months old today!!

Today we celebrated Hannah being 9 months old! From afar I celebrated her 6th, 7th and 8th month of age and today for the very first time we celebrated one of these milestones together! It was a day of celebration....and also some tears.

I felt I was (and am) pretty prepared for this whole Mommy role but there has been one part that has taken me quite by surprise. The guilt I find I'm feeling over the time of her life that I missed. I know there is nothing at all I can do to change the time we were apart and it too was part of God' plan, yet it's there and I acknowledge it. Far more often than I thought would happen, I find myself questioning why XiaoFen does the things she does. Is it just her little personality? Or, is it something more stemming back to before we met?

She has this precious little thing she does with her hands as she's falling asleep and I've come to call it her 'sleepy hands' and is one sign, along with scratching her head, that my little love is ready for a nap/bed.

One hand at a time she will bring the bottom of the palm of her hand towards her face. At first I thought she was going to suck her thumb but no, it's just this action of bringing her hands up. Sometimes she will put in her thumb or pointer finger and chew on them a bit but doesn't really suck on them. When she sleeps, she sucks her tongue which is adorable to watch. This cute little action of bringing her hand to her face should be just that, a cute little comfort to her but instead it sometimes brings questions for mommy. Did she want to suck her thumb but was stopped? I don't think I would have questioned this except I saw a Family Day video of another family whose baby was from her orphanage and in it the travel nanny kept taking the baby's thumb out of her mouth. It broke my heart as you could tell this baby was comforted by this action but it was stopped.

You may say I'm totally over analyzing this and I very well may be but hey, this is where I'm capturing my thoughts and memories for Hannah and I to share together later. I hope her little habit is just one of comfort and try to think of it as that. Most days I'm ok...others, not so much and I just need to acknowledge those feelings.

Tonight Hannah also did something uncharacteristic and it caused me to cry gentle tears into her hair as I rocked her. She had been asleep for a couple of hours and as is quite common she woke just after 11. Our normal routine is that I comfort her for a moment and then she falls back to sleep, safely tucked in. Tonight I wanted to get something from the dresser so after she was asleep again I stood up and walked about 5' to get something. In that time she woke up and burst into hysterical crying. This has happened a couple of times since we've been together but is not a normal occurance for her.

I think that as I was preparing this post in my head, celebrating her 9 months, I was sensetive to the date and what happened 9 months ago tonight. I'm hoping and praying that my little love does not remember this but 9 months ago tomorrow was the night/day that her birth mother said good-bye to her and she was placed to be found.

As Hannah burst into hysterical tears tonight, complete with alligator tears and body heaving sobs very quickly, it broke my heart too! Could she possibly remember that time? How long was she alone? Was she sleeping peacefully or awake crying? Was she warm or cold? These are some of the many, many questions that float through my head in which I will never have answers to. I try not to dwell on them and most times I'm ok but other times, like tonight, the sorrow of unanswered questions is too great and the tears flow.

My heart also goes out to Hannah's birth mother who carried her within her for 9 months and then had to part from her. Did she think of her daughter today? Did she cry too? Oh how I wish I could let her know that her baby girl is well, happy and loved...SO LOVED and oh how I wish that I could thank her. It is her unselfish act that has allowed me to become the mother to my amazing daughter, Hannah XiaoFen!! I knew that I would love my baby girl but never, ever, ever did I realize how deep this love would be and immediate! Upon hearing the words, 'Congratulations, you have a daughter!' to the moment she was placed in my arms 25 days ago, she immediately grabbed hold of places I never knew existed and has only dug her way in deeper every single day!! I will be forever grateful to the Lord for bringing Hannah and I together. Truly she is a miracle I hold in my arms every day....and the miracle I feel even now as she rests beside me with her little foot resting against me.

'The LORD has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes'!!!
Psalm 118:23

Hannah at 9 months of age:

  • height: 28 1/2" (90th percentile on the Asian charts)
  • weight: 16lbs. 7.5oz. (50th percentile on the Asian charts)
  • teete: zero - but soon I'm guessing
  • eats very well!! She's enjoying stage 1 baby food and enjoys most veggies and all fruit. She's not crazy about baby food with texture yet but I'm slowly introducing it to her and at least now she just makes a silly face rather than gagging. :o)
  • Begins each night sleeping in her crib
  • wakes within the first 1/2 hour just to make sure mommy is still right there. Fusses a tiny bit but is normally comforted by some shushing and a hand placed on her belly
  • will wake for the 2nd time normally between 11pm and midnight. This time she needs a little more comforting which I'm happy to give. We rock in the rocking chair for a while and then she's once again tucked into bed. If she's not tired, Hannah will play quietly with her taggie for quite some time! A couple of nights ago I went to sleep at 1:00 but she was still wide awake, quietly playing. I left the nightlight on for about half an hour and she played with her taggie and then when I woke up at 1:30 I quietly said, 'It's bed time sweetie' and turned out the light. That was it until morning.
  • She sleeps really, really well and our current sleep pattern is for her to fall asleep between 9:00 and 9:30 and with the exception of the 2 awake times above, she will sleep until somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00 in the morning. Mommy is getting far more sleep than she ever has and is quite happy to sleep late too!
  • If Hannah wakes before me in the morning she may do 1 of 2 things. Some mornings she fusses a bit to let me know she's up and it's time to get our day started and other days she'll play quietly with her taggie until I wake up.
  • She currently has 4 8oz. bottles a day plus 3 meals of babyfood and cereal at breakfast
  • Snacks consist of Cheerios (broken in to 3 pieces each), Gerber Puffs (also broken up) and Mum Mums - although they're guaranteed to trash any outfit she has on so they're a rare treat.
  • When Hannah and I first me 25 days ago her core stomach muscles were weak and she could barely sit up. Now she's sitting up really well when I sit her up although still tumbles over on a regular basis so I build 'Fort XiaoFen' with 3 pillows and she sits in there
  • She isn't trying to crawl yet but I'm guessing it won't be long
  • She learned to roll over on Friday, November 20th and hasn't stopped since. At first she just rolled back and forth but now she rolls quite a bit.
  • She forgets how heavy her little head is and bangs it on the floor occasionally while rolling. Mommy gives lots of hugs, snuggles and kisses even when she doesn't cry. Letting her know Mommy is here and that I'm not going anywhere!!
  • She knows who Mommy is and treats me to gummy smiles often and even some slobbery kisses...which I love!
  • She's currently in size 9 mos clothes although can still fit into some 6 mos sleepers but not for long.
  • Her current wardrobe is a number of adorable baby pink outfits that are all mix and match...depending on lunch spillage and spit up mishaps. Soon enough she will be in 'big girl' clothes so while I can I'm enjoying dressing her in cozy outfits suitable to a cool Canadian fall.
  • Hannah's favourite toys are still the small, rattle type toys. The sectional ball with the spinner in it, a turqouise dog with beads on it and a flower with ladybug rattle are her main favourite toy
  • She has toys in the family room, on her change table, in our room and a variety of other places. So far she's ok with saying 'good-bye' to them when we leave a room and greet the new toys waiting for her in our next room
  • XiaoFen loves, loves, loves to be in the Snuggly. She spends time in there every day and I have yet to have taken the stroller out of storage in the basement but that will need to change soon as Christmas shopping begins. I can do a few hours carrying her but more than that would be a challenge. I purposely chose a stroller with a handle that flips so that she can see me when I push her. I'm guessing that will be introduced soon as another option when we're out.
  • Hannah is ok with me being out of direct eye sight for little bits of time but I tend to talk to her (you're shocked I'm sure!) when she can't see me so that she can still hear me
  • She has taken really well to her bucket car seat. I'm guessing her being in the Snuggly so often on the bus and in taxis in China helped her with the feeling of being confined.
  • I miss our travel in China as it was such a treat to hold her in my lap, kiss her fuzzy head and have her fall asleep in my arms
  • We don't have a set nap schedule right now but she normally gets 2 naps a day. These are usually either in the car when we're out or, in my arms after lunch if she falls asleep drinking her bottle. She has napped in her crib but not often yet
  • My little love is a snuggler!!! She's cozy right in for a good snuggle either when getting sleepy, in the snuggly or just when I'm holding her. I love it!!!
  • she's a happy smiley girl who will share her gummy grins with just about anyone if they're around long enough for her to warm up to them from the safety of mommy's arms.
  • As we're working on bonding Hannah hasn't been held by too many people yet and when she does mommy is always right there and if she begins to fuss she immediately comes back to my arms. The bonding and attachment seem to be going well for the amount of time we've been together but I'm still being super, super cautious and will be for some time. Until at least the new year I'll be the one to do all the feeding, changing and comforting and 99% of the holding.
  • Sadly I have to start teaching piano this coming week and it breaks my heart that I'm going to be away from her if even for little bits of time. My mom will be watching her upstairs and will know that if she fusses to bring her to me but we should be ok. I teach for 1/2 an hour, have a 1/2 hour break then teach for another hour. The other day will be a little harder as it's a 2 hour stretch. I'll have to wiggle her schedule around a bit so that she's fed before and after I teach but I'm sure we'll get our groove on. It's only for 3 weeks then we're off for 2 weeks for Christmas vacation.
  • when I first met Hannah she stuck her little tongue out a lot. After a couple of days it seemed to stop and now it's back again....and adorable!
  • She is a real chatterbox and makes the cutest, most adorable sounds! Her only 'word' so far is still dadada but I'm working on 'mamama' but nothing so far.
  • It's fun to dress her in little sleepers with decorated feet. It had never occured to me that she would find this feet so interesting and she loves to talk to them and play with them!

I'm sure there is more and I will add as I think of it but that's the list for now. If you're still - good for you! This list ended up being much longer than I'd anticipated but these are details I want to be sure to capture for the future.

Here are some pics from our Family Day on November 2nd

and then today, November 27th when Hannah turned 9 mos old.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Meeting a New Friend plus 'Strollers and Stars'

Today Hannah and I went to some wonderful friends' home for lunch. Hugh and Donna were my Sunday School teachers when I first started attending Calvary back in 1995 and some of the very first people I got to know at the church. They will always hold a special place in my heart as they reached out to me and got to know me in my very first days there.

When I first began Hannah's adoption I was excited to share the news with them and they have prayed faithfully for both of us over the past almost 5 years. Today their were tears of joy in their eyes and mine as they met Hannah XiaoFen for the very first time!

You can imagine my delight and surprise when they shared with me about a year ago that they had a new granddaughter coming home from China early in 2009! It turns out that their daughter Diane (whom I had met on a number of occasions) and her husband were also adopting from China and had been matched with a wonderful little girl whom we now know and love as Gracie! The friendship Diane and I had quickly grew after that as we shared this wonderful bond!

This morning Hannah and I drove to Hugh and Donna's for a delicious lunch and visit together! What fun it was to share with another friend who has also been in China this year and you can imagine the goosebumps I got when I realized that Diane and her family were in China meeting Gracie when Hannah was born!!!

It was fun to see Grace and Hannah together! Hannah was entertained by her new little friend and Grace was adorable when we arrived and she said, 'Hi Hannah!' Heh....Grace has been 'following' the blog on mommy's knee and recognized Hannah when they met! Not bad for a little love who has just turned 2!

The girls took time to pose for a few pics for us before we ate lunch. It's so sweet the way their hands and linked! We're looking forward to more play dates in the future!

After lunch Hannah and I headed out to try something new. We met my parents at a local theatre to take in a 'Strollers and Stars' performance which is where the movie theatres open in the afternoon for moms and dads to attend popular movies with their babies. Great idea! The sound is quieter, the lights are dimmed rather than completely off and there are even change tables with diapers and wipes provided. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well attended the movie was! I'm guessing there were 30 - 40 babies with moms, dad, grandmas and grandpas. We went to see the new Sandr* Bu11ock movie, 'Blind Side' and it was excellent!! Highly recommended to all! I'm guessing after Christmas Hannah and I may take in more of these afternoon movies.

What fun Hannah and I are having enjoying this time of getting to know one another and introducing her to those who have been praying for her for years. SO thankful for the time I have off work to spend with my sweetie!

PS - Happy Thanksgiving to my friends to the south!!

Tip: Blog Navigation

With my precious love in my arms the content of the blog has somewhat changed including many more videos. I want to continue to include these so want to offer a suggestion for those who find the blog may be 'jumping' a little.

Rather than navigate with the mouse and the scroll bars on the side, using the 'up' and 'down' arrows will hopefully help the jumping.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Agency Christmas Party!

Sunday was our agency's Christmas party and Miss Hannah was the belle of the ball! When I walked in with her sleeping in her bucket car seat people immediately gathered. Their first response was that it was a long time since a baby had come home young enough to fit in a bucket car seat! The wait for my precious may have been long but I am forever grateful and thankful to God for her young age! She woke as soon as we got there and we enjoyed the music being provided by one of our China travelmates, Robert. Great job Robert!! It was so nice to see you, Bonnie and your adorable Serena!

Before we left the party I wanted to capture a few special pictures. Hannah and I with Deborah, the director of our agency. I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am for this wonderful lady who helped me every step of the way. She and I originally met in January of 2005 and in November of 2009 we stood together with God's precious miracle between us! Thank you, thank you, thank you Deborah!!! My heart cannot begin to express my gratefulness to you!!

Also at the party was Angus who had presented Hannah's referral to me and showed me her pictures for the first time on August 29th. Here we are on that day

and then now!

What a treat to be able to introduce Hannah to these people who have played such an important part in she and I becoming a family. My agency, Open Arms to International Adoption, is the greatest!! So happy that that is where God opened the singles slot for me!

And, since posts are just better with video, here's one I took of Hannah playing after we returned home from the party.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin! My Baby is Rolling!!

As we visited with Chick and Pea on Friday and played with their cool toys, I was reminded of a playmat that I'd been given for Hannah by a great friend a couple of years ago. At the time I wasn't sure if she might be too old for it when I brought her home but at 8 1/2 mos. she loves it!

As soon as we got home we headed to the basement and immediately found the mat and mommy put it up. I placed Hannah under it and she loved it! Kicking her feet, grabbing things with her hands and oh my.......rolling over!! Life as I know it has just changed!!

Around the house I build what we affectionately call 'Fort XiaoFen'. I take 3 pillows and put them together in a triangle, add toys and Hannah and she has a place to play for a few moments while mommy tries to get a few things done. I'm never far away as she still tumbles over and is unable to get up on her own but it does give her some freedom to play and me a moment to do dishes, make bottles or get dressed.

I was recording her fun on the play mat Friday and caught her learning how to roll over! So fun!!! It's now 3 days later and she still rolls over when playing on her mat but has yet to really try it elsewhere on her own. I'm sure it's only a matter of days though! So much for Fort XiaoFen that we currently build on my bed. That one may need to move to the floor soon!

First Play Date!

Friday, Hannah and I headed to Grandma and Grandpa's for lunch and then on to visit our friends Chick and Pea and their mommy and daddy. When I walked in the house K1 and I just hugged and hugged as we gazed at our 3 little loves sleeping in their car seats at our feet. Miracles all 3!!! (They were all covered in their matching blankets too! Thanks Auntie Dolores!!)

Ahhh....we've waited for and talked about this so long and couldn't be happier feeding our littles beside one another! (I love how this picture captures Hannah's little eyes. We make great eye contact during bottle feedings and I have increased her to 4 a day from the 2 she was getting in the SWI.)

After lunch it was time to play. Pea and Hannah enjoyed his aquarium toy and had a lot of fun. For Hannah it was a brand new toy and for Pea I think she had it jumping and moving more than normal which kept him entertained too.

Sorry Pea if my little girly climbed over you a little. She was so excited to get to the butterfly above you that sometimes she forgot her manners. :o)

Chick was there and enjoyed the fun from her bouncey seat and next time will be in on all the fun! Hannah and I are already looking forward to our next play date!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My New Bedtime Routine....and I Love It!!!

Life has taken on many changes in the past 19 days, one major one is my bedtime routine.

I've been a TV gal for as long as I can remember but lately it's just not so. I'll be honest and say that there is much I'd like to watch but I've quickly learned that when the TV is on my girly stops what she's doing and watches the TV. Be it eating or playing she'll stop and watch the action which has caused mommy to keep it off most of the time. I've gone from watching at least 4 hours a day to probably a total of about 6 hours (while she's been sleeping) since Hannah and I met. There is a PVR downstairs loaded with lots of great programming like Amazing Race, Survivor, 18 Kids and Counting and more....but for now they'll just have to wait.

Hannah's sleeping patterns here in Canada have not been quite as settled as they were in China. I hear that's quite common. After midnight she sleeps like a rock and I am grateful for that but before midnight she is more unsettled. I'm trying to get her to bed a little earlier each few days and it's working but she still wakes up a few times. The first wake up is normally within 30 mins of her going to sleep. At this point she's in her crib and I'm sitting on my bed about 2 feet away. She wakes crying and sometimes she calms herself and goes back to sleep and other times she needs a little rocking and cuddling. Never a problem!

Normally after this cuddle time she's back to sleep but for the past 2 nights this sleep has only lasted about 15 mins and she's quite wide awake and happily plays in the dark beside me. Her little feet kick (as they're kicking the laptop now) and she chatters away and sometimes plays with the tags on her taggie which she likes to sleep with. I look down and these most precious little eyes with an huge gummy grin are looking up at me as if to say, 'Hey Mommy....let's play! I'm not tired!' I'm trying not to give in to it (although it's hard as she's so cute!) but realize we must get into a better sleep routine. Once midnight hits it's like a switch goes off and she's down for the count....normally until 10am! Now, I'm enjoying these late mornings but truly it does make it quite difficult to get things done and throws her nap schedule for the day too. I hate to but I might need to begin waking her up earlier in the day (oh yah....that means me getting up earlier too!) so that she can get onto a better schedule). We'll work on week. :o)

She settles really well once I do. If I needed more sleep I'd try to go to sleep when she does but I'd be wide awake in the middle of the night. For now I'm going to try and read a bit by the nightlight and see if she settles. Still working out the jet lag kinks but it's only been a week and we'll eventually get our sleep groove on. Until then....enjoy a little of what I see. Is there any question why I'm so madly in love? Even at midnight when she should be sleeping she's totally adorable!!'s 12:40 and I think she's gone for the night. A little more rocking and she was out like a light. Every other night one's she's asleep at this hour she stays asleep so here's hoping tonight will be like the rest!

good night friends.......

Thursday, November 19, 2009

First Doctor's Appt.

Hannah had her first doctor's appt. on Tuesday and she did great!! When Dr. Fitz walked in to see her he exclaimed how happy he was that she was finally here and she greeted him with a big gummy grin!

We talked about what I'm feeding her (currently formula, rice pablum, mixed fruit, bananas, and egg whites. Veggies were added later that day and more things each day. Peas and carrots were met with disapproval but sweet potatoes rock! (Thanks Deb!) Going to try the peas and carrots again tomorrow and see if they fare any better the 2nd time.) She has started eating in her high chair and quite enjoys herself up there! She seems dwarfed by the size of it but it happy as a clam and sometimes mommy is even able to get a few dishes done or bottles made while she plays before or after a meal.

I'm currently mixing her Chinese formula with a little bit of Canadian and slowly transitioning her to the Canadian brand. Dr, Fitz thought that was good so I'll keep doing it. So far, no complaints from my little love about the changes and truly, she's the one who matters! :o)

He weighed her and at 8 1/2 months she is currently 16lbs. 7.5 oz which is about 50th% on the Asian charts. As we thought, my little sweetie is long, measuring 28 1/2 inches and coming in around the 90th% on the Asian charts!! She was in the 90th% for height when I received updated info on her at 6 1/2 months so she's continuing the trend. Looks like she may be tall. Neat!! Her little legs are quite long and she fills out her 9mos sleepers well! Check out those beautiful long fingers too!

Her immunizations records were well kept and Dr. Fitz contacted a paediatrician who handles a lot of China adoptions and he said normally they just continue the immunizations on from there if they appear to be accurate so that's what we decided to do too. Unfortunately for Hannah that meant 2 boosters on Tuesday. Poor little lamb!! He apologized before giving them to her but she still cried....and mommy did too! It broke my heart to hear her cry but she soon calmed and quickly fell asleep in her car seat.

We booked her next appt. in 2 months so that the doctor could track her growth. We then headed downstairs to pick up containers for urine and poop samples. Welcome to motherhood!!

After stopping at home to grab some infant Tylenol we visited Grandma Perkins at the library for a quick bit while Hannah ate her lunch. She was none the worse for those 2 needles but I still hurt for her.

Fast forward to that night and she had a really rough go for about an hour and a half. Not sure if it was the needles or not but the cries of hurt were enough to break mommy's heart! After more Tylenol, rocking, walking, talking, calming, patting and singing she eventually settled and slept until 10 the next morning! Each night Hannah starts in her crib and wakes a couple of times but normally by about midnight she settles for the night, not making a peep.

We're doing as many have suggested and getting lots of sunlight during the day. She naps with the blinds open and we get out a little bit each day so it will just take time for our sleeping to fully adjust but truly, other than the fact that we're getting up at 10am we're both doing great and truly kicking jet lag in the butt!

The little ladybug blanket she's snuggled up with above has very quickly become her favourite. She doesn't mind others but as soon as I cover her with this one she snuggles in, grabs it and a sweet, sweet smile crosses her face. If her passport is ready by Christmas we'll have to hop across the border and pick up a couple at tar-jay. If not, we'll talk to Auntie M3 and I'm sure she'll be happy to help us out. ;o)

Back to the important stuff....we were successful getting the poop samples that evening but mommy was pretty challenged by those little bags to collect the pee. I tried 3 different ones and each time she ended up with a wet diaper and an empty bag. Heh!

Today as we were playing I had her diaper off and she peed on the change table. I was so happy and quickly got some into her little container and we dropped it off this afternoon. Hannah thought mommy was pretty silly when she was excited that she'd peed on the change table!

As I'm sure you can tell I'm loving, loving, LOVING being a mom and Hannah is the light of my life! I'm trying to get her to bed earlier but am the first to admit that part of the problem is that I hate to put her down each night. I'm working on it and slowly she's getting to bed earlier but I tell you, seeing her precious little face each morning still brings a wave of tears almost every day!

I am so blessed and cannot thank God enough for brining Hannah and I together. Wow.....WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spin Ball by Tiny Love

This great little ball was a gift from Hannah's Auntie Michelle and Uncle Mark. They sure knew what they were doing when they chose this toy! Hannah absolutely loves it and it will always bring a smile even when she's having a tough time!

It's by 'Tiny Love' and is called a 'Spin Ball.' They're not easy to find (I looked for one for ages but Auntie Michelle and Uncle Mark came through) but are well worth the search!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ahhhh! So This is Jet-lag!

I was almost daring to hope that we'd somehow skipped the whole jet-lag thing but tonight (night 3) we're up and wide awake at 2:30am.

The first 2 nights were totally opposite to what I'd imagined they'd be like. Night one my poor sweetie was totally out of sorts for a couple of hours. We were home, just the two of us and had followed our normal bed routine of a bath, lotion, cozy pj's, bottle and then bed. She went right to sleep but woke within half an hour and was oh so distressed. Kicking, screaming, flailing and more. It broke my heart as I tried everything I could but just could not comfort her. Finally after about 2 hours of this, around 3:30am she drifted off to sleep. Don't worry sweetie...mommy isn't going anywhere!

I woke for a bit around 8 and then again at 9:30 and thought I'd just lay there dozing until she woke up. You can imagine my surprise when we woke to the phone ringing at 12:15 in the afternoon!!

The second night was much the same. Bed around 9:30, slept for an hour, snuggled for half an hour, slept for half an hour, snuggled for an hour and then around 12:30 she drifted off not to wake again until 12:45 in the afternoon when I woke up too and gently woke her! So much for no more sleeping in! I haven't slept until noon in years and now we've done it two days in a row.

But....then there is tonight and I'm learning what true jet-lag is about. Hannah went down around 9:30 again but had a couple more snuggle times than the nights before. Then, around 2 she woke up and wasn't too keen about going back into her crib so she came in with me. I dozed off and around 2:30 woke up to find her laying awake entertaining herself with her little fingers in the air. As I lay there and watched her quietly play with her fingers it broke my heart. How many nights had she layed awake in the orphanage and rather than call out had just entertained herself?

At this point I had a decision to make and it was an easy one for me. Some may not agree but I chose to get up and we enjoyed a middle of the night playtime together. When jet-lag hits and you're just not're just not tired. You can tell by this pic that sleep wasn't to be had at this moment. Why make her play by herself when mommy was only too happy to do her part and play along? We enjoyed reading some stories together ('The Bedtime Story'....subliminal messaging? :o) and played for about an hour. Around 4 she'd relaxed so we decided to head to bed again and that was it until this morning when I had to wake her at 9:00 as she has her first doctor's appt. at 10:15.

Our days and nights are still out of sorts and we don't have any real routine down yet but it will come with time. Right now I am constantly amazed with how well Hannah is doing and the new things she does every day!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Home Safe!!

So much to share but for now, going to snuggle back into bed and wait for my precious to wake. Don't want to miss being there the very first time she awakes in her new home!

Will share more as I can. Thank you once again for all your prayers, love and support!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

*sniff!* Leaving China.....

And we're off....

Where has the time gone? 17 days have passed and it's time to say good-bye to China.....for now. As I was madly packing I was ok but now as I sit here with suitcases gone and final packing of the carry ons before me I'm in tears. It has been amazing, wonderful, a gift from God in every sense and SO much more. Words fail me and you know that doesn't happen often...or ever!

My baby is dressed in a diaper, happily playing behind me as I prepare to give her one last bath before we leave for the airport in an hour. She is more than I could ever have hoped or imagined and a gift from God unlike any other. I arrived in China as a single gal with a dream in her heart and I leave as a MOM!!!!!!!!!! A mom to the most amazing baby girl in the entire world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One who is perfect for me in every sense! We are already a team and work together as one. This morning as she needed extra snuggle time I just strapped her to me in the sunggly and together we packed. She was laughing and giggling at me as I ran around the room like a mad woman and I'd glance down and receive the biggest smile ever and a little mouth opened in sweet wonder, fully accepting of the little kisses I placed upon it. Oh how in love I am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot begin to express my thanks and appreciation to all who have helped this dream to come true!!

To China for blessing me with one of their very precious children. I am humbled and honoured that you would entrust her to me. I will love her forever and promise to share with her the beautiful country she comes from that is made up of even more beautiful people!!

To Deborah at Open Arms who met me, accepted me onto the singles waiting list and at the perfect time said it was time to start.

I cannot begin to thank people individually as my heart is too overwhelmed to name all of you in person right now. The tears are flowing and as I hear my sweetness sit behind me happily blowing raspberries (her new trick since last night) I am too distracted by love to name people. I am SO THANKFUL to all of you who have loved me, encouraged me, counselled me, prayed for me and so much more. It is your love and more so prayers for Hannah and I that have brought us to where we are today. A family....blessed and brought together by God.

To my loving parents who from that very first phone call on January 11, 2005 when I called from Vancouver and said, 'Guess what? I'm going to adopt a baby girl from China!!' were 100% in support of me and prayed daily for both Hannah and I. It has been an amazing trip Mom and Dad and I cannot express to you how thankful I am that you have been here!!!

And finally, more than anyone I want to thank God who planned this time long ago. He has brought Hannah and I together and I will be forever grateful to Him for this daughter that He has brought to me. I will teach her of You at a very young age and together we will serve You as a family, fully devoted to you!

Love to each of you, Catherine xoxo

Friday, November 13, 2009

Peking Duck Dinner!

Thursday, November 12th, 2009 - Part II:

Tonight our wonderful guide Sara arranged for a Peking Duck dinner for our travel group. Six of the families were able to attend and it was a really neat experience! We went to a restaurant about a 15 min walk away but after the long, cold, wet feet morning, our family decided to take it easy and hailed a taxi. Never have we been in so many taxis as we have been in the past 2 weeks but they're very reasonable ($7 for a 45 min. ride) and also easy to locate as they're waiting at all the places we visit.

Before dinner I popped the Flip onto the lazy susan in the centre of each table and took a quick video of the great people we've been sharing the past 2 weeks with. It's been an amazing 2 weeks and life changing for all of us and I trust that we will stay in touch with one another as our daughters grow and we foster the friendships that have been born here. We arrived in China as a group of 25 and are going home as a group of 35 who will never, ever be the same due to the babies we have been blessed with as well as the time we have spent together here in China!

Dinner was a number of dishes that I'm told were very good. Heh, my chicken stomach still only tried a few but I did enjoy what I tried especially this hot sweet potato dish with candied sugar and sesame seeds poured on it. Oh my!!! Now that's one dish I'd love the recipe for!

At the end of the dinner the chef rolled the peking duck and carved it behind a glass wall. I tried a bit (we made it into kinda taco things) and it was good but I'm looking forward to getting back to food I'm more familiar with. I remember reading blogs of people who were in China and ate most of their meals at North American style restaurants and wondering why they did that. Guess what....that's totally me!! I'm not an adventurous eater and add to that the fear of getting sick from the food and not being able to properly care for Hannah, I've been pretty boring when it comes to food adventures. Dad and Norma have tried their fair share of new stuff but Mom and I have stuck pretty much to what we know.

Hannah also gave me one more dinner where I could eat...yay! She enjoyed much of it from my lap and then at the end was content to sit in her stroller beside me playing with toys and being entertained by a couple of the other kids that were there.

Sara gave gifts to each of the babies....these adorable, beautifully decorated headbands. Had to be fast but I did capture one pic of Hannah wearing hers. So cute!

Back at the hotel we had a bath and Hannah was ready for bed. Once she was asleep I was going over some paperwork that had just been returned to me and I noticed a small typo in her name. I quickly called Sara and she came down but said it was fine. It was just a space missing in XiaoFen and it would not cause any delays or anything to be issued with an incorrect spelling. Phew!!!

When Sara was in our room I had some videos up on the computer. She had been busy with all the families on Family Day so hadn't seen Hannah's original reactions when we met. She was amazed at how well she had done and that she was looking at me and even smiling. Her response and I agreed 100% is that it was God!! Truly He layed the foundation and many, many people had and were praying for Hannah and He was answering our prayers. Sara has been doing adoption trips for 10 years and she said she had never seen a baby react so well. Yes! Truly God!!

Sara also brought me a couple of things that she had helped us order. First is a jade chop that has an ox on top and when stamped it says, 'HANNAH, Yong, Xiao Fen, 2009 2 27' Cool!!

She also brought me a beautiful scroll that I had ordered and had been painted by hand using Chinese calligraphy. It says, 'The LORD has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes.' Psalm 118: 23; Family Yong Xiao Fen; Love Mommy Cathy' What a treasure this is and it will hold a place of honour in our home.

The LORD has done this and it is marvelous in my eyes!!!!!!

Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City

Thursday, November 12, 2009:

Once again the night began with a bang as around 12:03 I heard the rumble of the clouds being seeded and realized we would probably wake up to freshly fallen snow once again. Drifting slowly, softly down to the ground, covering all in a beautiful blanket of white. Sounds so pretty doesn't it?

Well it was......but then we had to walk in it and the snow quickly lost its appeal! Our group may be made up of Canadians who know winter and how to handle it but, we're in Beijing and didn't pack for the north pole! Some like my mom had thought ahead to pack their winter coat while the rest of us made due by playing the many layers can I wear? Many of us are beginning to resemble the babies in the orphanages who are bundled layer upon layer.

Today when we went out I knew we were going to be outside for an extended period of time so Hannah wore:
- tights
- socks
- long sleeved onesie
- pants
- fleece lined snow pants
- padded jacket
- spring jacket with a hood
- winter hat that covers her ears
- mitts
She was then strapped to me and my little heater was wrapped in a blanket. She was toasty warm which was reflected in the 1 1/2 hour nap she had snuggly strapped to mommy as I walked through Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

The snow was still falling quite heavily so we brought umbrellas from the hotel and just followed one another through the sea of people, always on the lookout for our travel mates also carrying white and green Holiday Inn umbrellas. One thing I must say and you will see in the pics, is that the Chinese love beautifully coloured umbrellas and it really was quite pretty to see this ocean of umbrellas visiting these historic sites.

As per normal, the moment our feet hit the ground outside the bus the vendors were asking us to buy things. I hadn't brought gloves this trip and they sounded like a good purchase to make so I bartered and purchased some gloves. The other reason I did so was that I was hoping seeing me with gloves would mean that the vendors would stop trying to sell me their goods. Nope!! Once I had gloves they all thought I needed a hat! LOL!!

Both of these are amazing places with such history to them and the Forbidden City is filled with ornate, gorgeous buildings. In my head, as I prepared for this trip, I knew that The Great Wall would involve a lot of walking and stairs but I hadn't quite prepared myself for the amount of walking we would do at the other locations. It has been great and my back hasn't been sore since about day 3 but still... 2 1/2 hours of walking and climbing as the snow is falling is a workout for sure!! I was so glad to get to the bus at the end but also so glad to have had this opportunity. My parents have been nothing short of amazing and they showed this once again today as we shared this experience together!!

By the end of the trip we were all cold, wet, had wet, wet feet and were VERY thankful to see the bus! I'm still really glad I went but given my choice again, I think I'd choose a day when it wasn't snowing quite so heavily.

We went back to the hotel and got warmed up as I fed Hannah her lunch. I had to go back to the Silk Market for a fitting so Norma, XiaoFen and I hopped in a taxi and off we went. We decided not to brave the subway this time as it was later in the day and the subway would be busy and I just wasn't comfortable taking the baby on it with all those people.

The fun thing this time as we went through the market again was once again people remembered us and some even called out, 'Baby are you today?' Yes....we have made a name for ourselves at the silk market!!

I wanted to purchase pearls so went back to Candy's stall (#66 on the 4th floor if you're going to be at the market....she's a doll!! so friendly, happy, does beautiful work and honestly when she gives you a price you feel guilty accepting it and may even pay her more than her original price!!) I purchased some souvenirs and then had a necklace made for myself. Look how quickly and perfectly she restrings the pearls into a necklace, carefully placing a knot between every single pearl. It took her 5 years to learn how to do!!

Tonight was also a peking duck dinner for the group but it's 1:30am and I truly should get to bed! Will share that later!

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