Saturday, December 13, 2008

A post, at last!

Yes, we kind of fell off the planet for a while. It all started with our "wonderful" adventure at the Hanoi airport and continued from there. Actually the flights weren't bad but on the ground I didn't feel like we were flying the friendly skies at all. Annie managed to sleep on the plane (thankfully Rie and I had an extra seat between us), Rie and I on the other hand, watched too much TV. We kept waiting for sleep to come and it never did.

Once home Annie decided she had had enough change and went from my adventuresome trooper to a "don't ever put me down" 14 month old. Thank goodness she's a petite little thing. I had to put Annie down at one end of my parent's family room and run to the other end just to show then she can walk (and scream while doing it too). Things are getting better and my jet lag would be gone if I could just get her to adjust just a little bit each day but no one makes Annie sleep when she's not ready to sleep (and I swear she'll fight it just to prove that she can). I think one night at 4 am I may have promised her a car if she went to sleep but it's a blurry memory at best.

Tonight's the first night I've been able to really get on the computer but don't ask about photos, I'm not totally sure where my camera is right now and we never got the USB cable for my sister's camera so I suppose she'll have to send me a CD of them at some point.

Over the next couple of days I hope to find my camera and take some pictures of Annie in her new digs, that is if I can convince her that being on Mommy's arms isn't the best way to see the world. :-)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Leaving for Hanoi

We leave for Hanoi soon and all I can say is bring it on. I'm tired of the heat and very ready for some cooler weather (should be in the low 70's there). Annie needs to get on a schedule and I'm looking forward to not feeding her on my lap. Rie is out doing some last minute shopping and I'm in the room trying to pack. If Annie wasn't being so helpful it would probably go quicker. :-)

Posts I owe everyone -

Waterpuppet Show
Cu Chi Tunnels

Internet access is not free in Hanoi and although Thuy told us about a cafe close to the hotel that has wifi I don't know if I'll partake. I'm pretty worn out and I'm really starting to the like the idea of "when the baby goes down, momma goes down".
Monday is our Visa/Immigration interviews (more paper signing), Tuesday is a free day and Wednesday we head back home. Home sweet home!

The Zoo

Friday was the Zoo, the history museum and shopping. Let me just say first thing, Rie and I weren't thrilled about the zoo going into this adventure. Annie's really too young and we had the "you've seen one zoo, you've seen 'em all" attitude. Well we were wrong, we had a blast because you can get much closer to the animals in Vietnam than back in the states. So after thinking we'd stay maybe a half an hour, we stay up to our limit. There were lots of small children at the zoo on field trips and it was fun to watch them try to feed the elephants. We watched several types of deer being fed (since it's near christmas there were all reindeer to us), there was a hippo and some very cute bears. At one point, my official photographer (aka Rie my sister) was a bit behind Annie and I snapping pics so we sat down near the bears to drink some water and munch on cheerios. A few minutes later I heard Rie call my name, I answered but I doubt she heard me because at that point, Rie's friends the Gibbons Monkeys began to shriek. If you never heard them they sound like a car alarm but louder. Sure enough I turned towards the noise are there was Rie scurrying towards us saying "they aren't in cages this time".

The history museum was not bad but there's that A/C issue and after carrying Annie in a carrier throughout the zoo, we were both pretty wiped out. Shopping, let's just say it's always an adventure.

Yes I actually managed to grab a quick photo of Annie before she realized I wasn't within three feet of her.

Mekong Delta

I'm only on Thursday? How did I get this far behind? Oh yeah, we are going all day long and when we are in the hotel room, I'm playing with Annie, feeding Annie, trying to get her to sleep (it's definitely getting easier) or just plain watching her.

So Thursday we went to the Mekong Delta. Our tour guide was great, she knew five languages and happily she knew english well enough that she was even able to joke with us. It was very interesting to see the houses on stilts in the water where people live and farm fish (below the houses the water is netted so that they can stock it with baby fish and hopefully a good portion of them will grow to maturity for them to sell). Saw quite a few houses boats and yes the people live on them and now they aren't two stories with all the amenities. We saw coconut candy being made (yes mom I tasted it and I'm happy to report that the peanut version doesn't even taste like coconut therefore it was quite yummy). We also were able to sample some of the local fruit, some I liked, others not so much. However the highlight had to be seeing the gibbons monkeys. We were warned prior to approaching them that they are VERY quick and have deceptively long arms so most of us steered cleared. That is all of us but Rie. Yes they grabbed her leg not once but twice. She wasn't hurt and both times it happened so fast that only the tour guide had time to react. Yes we all laughed a lot over that. In fact, we are still laughing about it. The last part of our trip we got to ride part of a canal in low riding boats which hold about six people. It was great to be that close up to everything. Although a bit surprising to float by a young man who was crawling along the shore looking for fish.

The only bad part of the trip was that the road was very bumpy and it was quite a long car ride and Annie's stomach couldn't handle it get the picture. Thankfully another family traveling with us had an extra onesie because although I kept saying I needed to bring extra clothes, saying isn't doing. Unfortunately, I didn't have extra clothes and she was sitting on my lap at the time of the "incident". I think that's the only time in my life when we got back to the hotel and I got into the shower fully clothed. Woolite and some handscrubbing work pretty well.

Enjoy the pics (my camera is still giving me fits but I managed to take a few).

Friday, December 5, 2008

The sweetest.....

Just a couple of the cutie

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Meltdown, it had to happen eventually

[Yes I know I'm a bit behind. Let me just say that I have a new found deep respect for those who came here before and managed to post something each day.]

Back to the rest of Wednesday......

After Annie's medical exam, Rie, Annie and I made it down to the Ben Thanh Market. I had seen the market from the van (I've seen a lot from the van believe you me) and the american in me thought "Oh it's big that means air conditioning". I'm soooo naive. Yes, actually it's more than big it's huge. But there's no a/c and it's packed with tons of different vendors. There's no such thing as ADA compliance here so at times Annie and I could barely walk down an aisle with her in the carrier. When we first walked in, we were in the clothes section but that's not what we wanted so we ventured out. Well we found the food section and that's definitely not what we wanted. Remember the market is jam packed full and their no a/c. Well it was much easier to find the food section than to get out. I think all of us (Annie included) were breathing through our mouths to avoid as much of the smell as possible. Finally we found an exit and flew for it only to be hit by a ricksaw driver who really, really wanted to know where we wanted to go. Once we had recovered our senses we ventured back in and found a few great treasures. Many of them are gifts so I won't elaborate but I will say that Annie will have a great tea set when she's older and I think it cost me less than $10 US (I bought several items from that vendor and the grand total was $14 US). After a while though Annie started getting fussy from the heat and it's very hard to keep moving when you really have no place to move so although the adults weren't done, the kid was so back to the hotel we went.

And then the meltdown occured. Annie is great at everything but going to sleep. I don't know if she's afraid she'll miss something or has just never gotten the comfort she needed but she cries and kicks and generally turns herself into a mess. I'd had a sample of it before but this was definitely classified as an A-one meltdown. The fact that the only nap she'd had was in the van coming back from the exam didn't help matters of course. So Auntie Rie and I missed dinner with the group and Annie and I walked, we rocked, we laid on the bed, I rubbed her back and scalp (one of Annie's self-soothing mechanisms is to scratch/rub her head) and then we did it all over a few more times. Finally we gave up and ordered room service. Rookie mom move, I can't eat without her on my lap (no high chairs here) and what do I do, I order spaghetti. Let's just say the way I ate is not how I would do it at home. And yes Annie likes spaghetti and no I didn't drop any on her. She also decided that night that it's cool to feed mommy. Yes cool but hard to eat a full meal want piece of spaghetti at a time.

Shortly after dinner (which was capped off my a bottle of formula). we began the whole walking, rocking and head rub routine. After close to an hour, Annie was asleep and within 10 minutes I was too.

No pictures (do have some for Thursday's post though) but here's a link to a picture of the market.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pizza and Medical Exams

Last night the three of us checked out the pizza place around the corner (only one small street to cross this time) and we were not disappointed. It was cheesy, had a decent crust, quick and cheap. Annie too enjoyed gnawing on pizza crusts and entertaining the staff. Quite the ham my little girl. After that we walked across the street to the Saigon Center (an office building by day I think) that's all decorated for Christmas. Santa and his reindeer were there with many, many lights but I think Annie was more interested in the crowd. Definitely an observant kid. She misses nothing (including me trying to sneak some chocolate without sharing).

After dinner she had a bath in the bathroom sink. It's an oversized sink and well she's an undersized kid. Considering it was her first bath since the babies in the orphanage are cleaned in a shower type basin she did great. I think she would have had more fun if the water hadn't drained out so quickly. Tonight I'll see if I can get the water to hang around a little longer so she has a chance to splash.

This morning was the medical exams and as always she was a trooper. The Dr was surprised to hear she sleeps through the night (and yes I have my baby monitor ears going full force so I hear everything). He said she's tiny but strong. Also found out another tid bit of info on Annie's past, she's been walking since she was 10 months old!!!

Still haven't figured out the inability to upload photos. Rie's memory stick fits into the camcorder but last night I still couldn't get the pictures to upload. My camera is giving me fits (and if it doesn't start behaving it may find itself left behind when I leave). I did get pictures of Annie in the sink BUT now I can't find the USB cable. Last I remember I took it away from Annie last night...sigh

When I find the cable I'll add a few pictures to this post so be sure to check back.

Have I mentioned was a joy this little girl is?

It's Official!!

At about 10:30 am local time, Annie officially and legally became my daughter. The G & R (Giving and Receiving) Ceremony turned out to be quite anti-climatic. Just some signing of papers and that was it. Getting Annie at the orphanage yesterday was the "real" thing for me. She was brought to me, we got to sit with the Assistant Director for a little while and she told us a few things about Annie including how much she was loved and enjoyed, that she's a good eater and that she's very smart. They are so right on that one. She doesn't miss anything. She's also an entertainer. We spent pretty much all day yesterday either playing with her (because we wanted to, not because she can't play by herself) or just simply watching her in fascination. So yes that's why all everyone got yesterday was a picture. That and the fact that she only took two 15 minute naps the entire day.

It's hot here in Vietnam as you can imagine. Doesn't bother Annie of course but the rest of us are oh so happy for air conditioning. As I mentioned earlier I have never seen traffic like this in my life. Thuy, our in-country facilitator, says that there are 10 million people living in Ho Chi Minh City but she thinks there are more because it's very easy for people to come here and find a job to support themselves on $5 dollars a day! One of the tours that she has arranged for us is to see the real Vietnam. The Rex Hotel is definitely 5 star here and we are quite sheltered. We (there are two other families traveling with us) are all looking forward to seeing more. Although I already feel like I saw a good sampling going to three different orphanages on Sunday.

Now pictures, we are going to have a bit of a delay with pictures. Rie forgot the cable to her camera. When I found out I said "no worries I have mine, they are pretty universal now" Wrong. And yes she's taken the bulk of the photos. However here are a sampling from the few I've taken . Enjoy.

Talking on my phone, got my keys, what more could a girl want?

Minor (very minor) traffic

The courtyard of Annie's Orphanage

Can you imagine seeing wiring like this in the USA???

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hello? It's me Annie.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sweet Potatoes & Scooters

In total sensory overload right now. In fact I'm so overwhelmed it's hard to write about what's important - Annie! So let me get this out of my head and on the blog really quickly. I HAVE NEVER SEEN TRAFFIC LIKE THIS IN MY LIFE. There are scooters everywhere, and I mean everywhere and little tiny stores and people and did I mention the traffic? And let me tell you, crossing the street is like sky diving, definitely not for the faint of heart. Rie and I were cringing the entire time. Thankfully the hotel is across the street from a market but of course it's a wide, crowded boulevard.

Okay now Annie. We did get to visit with Annie for a little while today and she is even cuter in real life than in pictures. She has eight teeth, is teeny as she looks in pictures (but very healthy), hair's a bit out of control but she's affectionate and ready to play. I was on the verge of tears walking into the orphanage today but as soon as I saw her I knew everything would be fine. She's curious, active, alert and WALKING. She also let me pick her up without hestitation (and yes as soon as I put my hands out and she held hers up, she had me). She's just adorable. Rie and I had so much fun playing with her. Just one more night in the orphanage and then a new life begins for both of us.

Okay it's I don't know what time and I need to get some rest so that's all for today. I'd post pictures of her but she was constantly on the move so all we got was a blur. Guess we'll have to take photos of her sleeping. :-)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Leaving Soon

My bag is packed and all that's left is packing my carry-on (which of course includes my laptop so I suppose I should make this quick). I'll be meeting my sister at the airport and hopefully by the time the plane takes off, the excitement of seeing each other will have warn off enough that we'll be able to get some sleep. Hopefully. Not looking forward to the long flight but at least it's shorter on the way back when I'll have Annie. It's hard to believe than in less than 30 hours I'll actually see Annie in the flesh for the time. Yeah!

PS Thanksgiving was great, definitely a bit too good as noted by the fact that my jeans are a bit too tight. Sigh...

Monday, November 24, 2008

A dashed (basketball) dream

So Annie probably won't be a basketball star after all. I received an update on her updated height and weight tonight and while she's still a little tyke in comparison to american kids, she's no shrinking violet either. She's 27 inches tall and 17.5 lbs.
Now I just need to double check that the clothes I'm packing aren't too small (versus before when I was concerned about everything being too big).

Getting There (and a bonus)

Well I'm getting there. I "think" I'm done shopping (please let me be done shopping as it is definitely not my idea of a good time), Visa has been called, I have plane tickets, hotel reservations, an entry visa and an empty suit case just sitting the guest room waiting to be filled. Baring something I've forgotten I'm down to laundry, packing, making some extra copies of my paperwork and figuring out the new camcorder. Not too shabby since I still have almost four more days (yeah the odds are 50/50 that I'm spacing on somthing)!

Other than the "packing project", I'm in charge of the yams and stuffing this year (and I consider the stuffing a success if it takes just like Mom's, yummy). Oh yeah and two more days of work.....sigh.

PS Got some more pictures of Annie today (I know I wasn't expecting them either). So here are a few of the very last pictures we'll see without Mommy in her life. :-)

Yep, looks like I better keep an eye on my cell phone.
Is this a sign that my baby is already walking?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rest In Peace my sweet Mia

Thank you for teaching me that it's the small things in life that really matter, whether it's a game of fetch, snuggling when it's cold, playing frisbee on a beautiful day, that's it okay to ask for some lovin' or just letting someone else know you are there for them. But most of all thank for you for 14+ years of unconditional love.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

She's gonna be a basketball star!

That is if the height I was given today is correct. Measuring in at 31 inches she'd be around the 85th percentile (for big American babies) but my svelte daughter still weighs a trim 15 pounds and doesn't show up on the charts for weight. Yes in four months she's gained less than a half a pound. Oh and in the same period (if her height is accurate both now and in July) she's grown over 4 inches! Obviously I'm not taking a lot of stock in her length but in case she's all legs I am going to bring mostly dresses. If it looks like a short dress that was meant to be a longer one no will be the wiser.

31 inches I'm only 5' 4", I'd at least like a few years where I can be the taller one. Sheez....

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Anyone know how to induce it? Is there a pill? Can I buy it in a store? Do I need to dance naked under a full moon? Is it only available online? It is something I should have been genetically given? Has it not been FDA approved so I'll need to cross the border to get it? Does wearing one of those bands or bracelets work? Just tell me, I'll pay it, I'll do it, I'll drive miles and miles to get it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm getting stuff done but it's not out of a compulsive inner desire to prepare for Annie. I'm doing it kicking and screaming the entire time. This is not like working in my yard I can do that all day without realizing the passage of time. Despite the fact that the clothes are cute, the toys are fun to play with (and don't even bother to mention that they aren't for me and that playing with them only takes up precious time), and everything is little it is just not my forte. I've tried telling myself that this is for Annie, whom I'm already head over heals in love with but this is.........

Is it a shot with a big ole needle??

Friday, November 14, 2008

Vietnam, here we come!

Friday November 28th we take off for parts unknown (well unknown by me). After crossing I don't know how many time zones, flying close to 10,000 miles, and walking up and down the plane aisles countless times, we will arrive in the birthplace of my daughter, Ho Chi Minh City. And most importantly of all the G & R Ceremony* will be held on Monday December 1st and at that point, she is officially and legally mine, Mine, MINE!!!

After the ceremony, my sister and I will have about 10 days to do some sightseeing, take Annie for a cursory medical exam, apply for her passport, do a little shopping, eat pizza in Vietnam and then we head home to begin life together.

Now I just have to make sure that I don't put off (everything) today, what I can do tomorrow.

* G & R Ceremony - stands for Giving and Receiving Ceremony. It is the formal occasion in which Vietnam legally hands an adoptive child to his or her adoptive parent(s). Although it's called a ceremony, I've heard it's mostly the signing of a few papers. Regardless it's something to celebrate and cherish.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


All I can say is that I am truly blessed. Another baby shower was held for Annie today and I am again overwhelmed by the generosity of people. Annie is definitely going to be spoiled and she will have a variety of things to keep her busy (and yes I am going to keep at least one large box, I'm no fool, I still remember playing in a box for weeks...oh wait that was last month with the crib box, um never mind). While I've always known from the first time I saw her picture how much she is loved by "the fam", I had no idea how much of an impact she has had on those outside of my inner circle. I have been given so many wonderful things that have had me near tears and truly touched my heart. Not only has adopting Annie opened up my heart to a new love it has also reopened my eyes to the warmth, caring and generosity in the people that surround me, both at work and in my personal life. I definitely have been fortunate in that these wonderful people are not only helping me get ready for Annie but most importantly celebrating this wonderful event with me.

On a less sappier note, my brother will be happy to hear that I have received numerous "noise makers" (and somewhat naively I registered for many of them). Being the aunt, I have been known to give gifts that keep on giving in the form of the same sound over and over and o v e r (e.g. I gave my niece the most adorable Clifford the Big Red Book that actually barked). Yes karma, it can be priceless.

PS No travel date yet for those curious.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


On this day we pay homage to the people who are served our country past and present. Some sacrificed their lives, carried out orders no matter how risky, others supported troops, cared for the ill, built roads, guarded bases, cooked for the many and I'm guessing somewhere a real Radar O'Reilly worked diligently to keep everything afloat. It is because of them that we can still say we live in the best country in the world. We are free to speak our minds, practice our religion of choice, vote for our leaders and choose where we live and how we live.

A special thanks to my Mom, Dad, Bro, bro-in-law, best bud and best bud-in-law, who all at one time or another served our country (and in one case still serves). The flag will hang in front of my house in your honor.

Monday, November 10, 2008

All I have to say is.....

Tetanus, Hep A, Hep B, flu shot and now typhoid OUCH!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Shopping & Packing.... already getting old and I've barely started! Went to Walmart this afternoon with three different packing lists, threw a ton of stuff in the cart, checked each list what felt like a zillion times (and yes you will be glared at if you do that at Walmart on a weekend, or maybe it was my mumbling to myself) and I still forgot stuff. And let me just say that the organization in the baby department was severely lacking especially for me the poor soul who needed to look at everything, read the labels, compare brand a to b and so on. So tomorrow after work, I'm off shopping again to get the rest of it. Ha! Who am I kidding, I know I won't be done tomorrow, I haven't even begun to figure out clothes for myself or Annie.

Got down the suitcase I took to Germany a few years ago and it suddenly looks so puny. I went in November (which means sweateres) and came back with a bunch of souvenirs so logically I know my eyes are lying to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm okay with washing clothes while there and I have an very large army duffel which will be an additional suitcase for the trip back but right now I'm finding the whole thing overwhelming. I'm a "pack the night before" kinda gal and I strongly suspect that's not going to work this time. And the clock continues to tick.....

But hey my toes look purdy and just looking at this face makes it worth all this and more.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Travel Date - TBD

I suppose I should have posted earlier that I don't have a travel date yet (and yes I'm more than okay with that for now). Originally the agency requested that my sister and I leave this Saturday (yes today!) along with two other families. I think just getting approval from our goverment had me so overwhelmed that I could not grasp what that really meant. Thankfully my sister knocked some sense into me. So for numerous reasons that I won't go into, I called the agency back to let them know that while I don't want Annie to have to wait longer in the orphanage that she has to, we'd have to be the first in the next travel group rather than the last family in the current one.

So now we are in a holding pattern. We could leave as soon as the 15th it just depends on when another family is approved to travel. My gut says the 22nd but there's nothing concrete in that just a feeling.

Regardless the clock is now ticking and I spent virtually the whole day shopping. Now let me just say for the record, shopping is not my favorite activity. Thankfully my best friend is still in town, and anything with her is fun. It is also an adventure as neither one of us have a sense of direction so heading anywhere we aren't familiar with usually results in seeing a few extra blocks of an area, and the entire layout of stores as we can manage to get ourselves turned around without any effort. Today was no exception. We spent time looking at camcorders, getting a few items for the trip, looked for more baby clothes (don't know Annie's current weight and the liquidation prices at Mervyns are far from a bargain so we walked out empty handed), did a little shopping for me and now I'm home in front of the fire. My feet are screaming at me and I've been trying to tell them that pedicures are on the agenda for tomorrow (and yes probably more shopping bah!). All in all it was a good day and yes I have my priorities straight I mean you have to have pretty toes for the trip. :-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Baby Shower

And a surprise one to boot. And one of my bosses (yes I have two either I'm so talented that I'm in demand or I'm such a handful it takes two people to handle me, I refuse to ponder which is closer to the truth) totally pulled me in by asking me about my favorite topic (yes money well in my case it really just the numbers). We talked about a few things then he said one of the board members was down the hall so let's go talk to him about it. I start to walk into the gym (I work at an old elementary school) room and I see all these pink tables and people everywhere. All I can say is that I was completely overwhelmed. My mom was there, my best friend, her mom and a ton of people from work. My first reaction was to bee line the other way. I know that I'm a big ham, but only in small groups, not crowds. Obviously my best friend would have tackled me had I tried so I walked around the room saying hello, thank you and probably smiling like an idiot. Then I saw this huge table of gifts. All I can say is that Annie has many, many friends and fans. She received books, blankets, a few clothes, a wading pool, a cute little pink trike (with blinkers!), a cake made of diapers, a bunch of toys.... and well things I can't even remember now but here are pics of some of the items that were displayed for me on the stage:

Yes, I love spending time in my yard (its my manna from heaven) so now I have many ways to keep her occupied, if I can just a place for everything!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Dance

Yep, I'm doing the happy dance and I don't think it's because I'm walking bare feet on cold tile. I actually managed to sleep through the night without my usual 3:30am e-mail check. Woke up and went to the computer, scanned my e-mail with blurry eyes and noticed hmmm Kohl's is having another sale, LL Bean is offering a free gift card with purchase and netflix received my movie. And wait a minute that's a new e-mail address but my eyes are so blurry what does it say? Hanoi? It's from Hanoi and there's approval in the subject line. So I skim through the e-mail and I begin the happy dance.

Waiting for a call from my agency about possible travel dates. Yeah there will be another stocking on the mantel this year.

PS By the way, it is virtually impossible to dial a phone while doing the happy dance even if it is the same number that your parents have had since you were two years old!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Election Night...

- and the political commercials will finally cease (but warning the holiday commercials are on their heels).
- the Prop 8 people (both for and against) will stop staking out major intersections all over the state (CA). Note to those who feel strongly enough about an issue to stand on street corners with your signs. To sway other people towards your view point it's probably a good idea to pay attention to how you dress, how you behave and to stay out of traffic since cars are BIGGER than you.
- polling places are packed all over the country. Despite how divisive this campaign seems to have gotten, it's great to see people voting and most importantly caring about our country. Despite the beating this country's reputation has taken the last few years, I still believe this is the best place on earth to live. And yes, I often choke up when hearing the national anthem.
- and tonight I'm going to watch anything that I have taped on my DVR or that's on Discovery or the History channel, I am DONE with this political season. :-)

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Referral Call

Since this blog was started well after I received the referral for Annie, I thought for posterity that I would back track a bit and write about my recollection of "the call".

Before I do this I need to give a little history (and it's a bit complicated so bear with me). On September 1, 2008 the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the US and Vietnam expired and until a new MOU is signed, there will not be any new referrals. About two months prior to September 1, the US government came out with a statement that unless Vietnam's Department of Intercountry Adoption issued a letter stating essentially that "Child A has been referred to Family X" prior to September 1, a referral would not be allowed to proceed to completion. While this letter has always been part of the process it was normally just part of the documents that are gathered at some point along the line, it's never been required to go from first base to second base. This new kink obviously pushed the "drop dead" date from September 1 to a month to several weeks to a month earlier since "the letter" was now a very important piece of paper.

Now without further ado, the call. It's Thursday July 24th, mid morning, I'm at my Fair Oaks office (yes I work out of two locations) and the phone rings. Of course there's no caller I.D. so I have no idea who is on the other line. I answer with my usual "what!" (kidding) and it's Pam from the agency asking me if I have a minute. And I of course I know exactly what this phone call means. It means that the agency is calling everyone near the top of the list to let them know that they will not be receiving a referral. So as my stomach drops toward the floor, I hear Pam mention something about a baby girl and would I like to hear more? Did you know that it's almost impossible to think or listen when your stomach is hovering around your knees? Somehow I manage to say "okay". Pam then continues to tell me the following (I'll also note what I actually wrote in a very shaky hand):

Birth date 10/11/07 (via C sec seation)
Arrived at the orphanage after a month long stay at the hospital on 11/12/07 (I wrote 11/12/08)
Birth weight - 5.95 lbs
Weight on 10/30 - 8.31 (okay I'm only guessing what this scribble means)
Tested negative for a punch of diseases (noted by a bunch of minus signs on the paper)
She's very cute (noted by a somewhat off kilter smiley face)

Then there are a bunch more scribbles that I have no idea what they mean. I don't know if she was telling me more or I was doodling because of nerves. In addition, I also recall saying "okay" a lot. Pam also told me she had some medical information for me to review and pictures to see if I was interested. I said yes to the medical and no to the pictures since I knew that until I knew that we had "the letter" nothing was official . So for 4 long weeks, I told only two people and waited and waited. Not sure if it was real, not sure if the referral would fall through, just plain not sure and eating a lot of peppermint patties to boot.

Then on Thursday August 21st, I found out that everything had fallen into place and these are a couple of the first pictures I ever saw of my adorable little girl. And yes I was in love immediately. Can you blame me?

Sunday, November 2, 2008


As some of you are aware Annie, turned one on October 11th and although she's not physically here with us, a birthday party was a must. Ironically at the about the same time (although on the other side of the planet), Gina and Keith who were in Vietnam to pick up their adorable sons Sam and Eli managed to deliver a present for Annie. While it wasn't really meant to be a birthday present, sometimes fate takes care of things for us and in this case, fate had perfect timing.

Cake for Annie, hope she likes chocolate as much as her Mommy.

My birthday present!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Annie's Room

Word of warning, I am NOT a good photographer so I do reserve the right to replace these photos with decent ones at any time. That of course assumes I manage to take a good photo.

Also the creamy blobs are clouds, while they look great in real life, they don't photograph well (or I don't photograph them well). And yes there are angels around the entire room. I've been collecting them virtually my entire life.

Friday, October 31, 2008


The doorbell rang twice tonight, just twice. Maybe 10 kids in all. All I can think of is how when I was a kid we went trick or treating with pillowcases. No grocery bag, or puny plastic pumpkin, it was a pillowcase. I wouldn't even be surprised to find out that my brother used a king sized pillowcase. Of course we always ended up with either a belly ache or in a sugar coma but what a small price to pay for all that chocolate and other various goodies? So my question is halloween better now with kids attending organized parties or back in (my) good ole' days when we went out unchaperoned and the flashlight we promised we'd use thrown in the bottom of our pillowcase? Trick or treaters I'm sure they get less belly aches but are they missing out on the adventure and freedom of what halloween used to be?

Obviously no word about Annie this week. I mean would I really be standing on my soapbox pondering Halloween old and new, if I had heard??? It's the end of day 34 in the I-600 approval wait. Darn Columbus Day, I forgot to omit it in my count last week, I didn't get the day off and in "my world" that means a holiday it is not.

PS Leftover candy and Weight Watchers, an oxymoron?

Hello USA

Are you ready for me?

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Packratalga - usually a heredity disease most severe in cases where both parents are suffers. However, some cases have been diagnosed in patients where heredity does not appear to be a factor. Most common symptoms - full closets, stacks of papers in numerous locations and in more severe cases, the inability to park one's car in the garage due to stored items the sufferer feels that they "just might need someday". Incurable and the severity often increases with age. Treatment, none although in rare case symptoms may be temporarily relieved by sending a victim away for the weekend and CLEANING HOUSE.

Yep, that's me. I have clothes I'll probably never wear again but if you ask me "yes, I'm definitely going to wear them", books, a lot of books, that if I wait long enough I'll forget "who dun it" and recipes that use ingredients I don't even like.

Anyone know how to induce the urge to "nest" in adoptive moms?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bad Hair Day

Okay on us, it would be a bad hair day, on Annie it's just plain cute.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Finished voting this evening, put two, count them two stamps on the absentee voter envelope and it's ready to go in the mail tomorrow. My vote will count, I will have a say.

Now I know what you are thinking and no I'm not talking about Dancing with the Stars. I'm talking about voting to end all of the those dang ads that end with "I'm Joe Politician and I approved this ad".

See US government I vote too!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Annie's Day

[it should be noted that I'm feeling a (little) cranky today, had breakfast at my favorite hole in the wall and my stomach wasn't into it, so 'cuse the attitude. Also I realize that this blog is supposed to be about Annie and I will do my best to oblige but it's kind of difficult when she's on the other side of the planet from me. Yep there's the attitude again.]

Annie's Day
- Got out of the crib, but not for long enough
- Held and loved by the nannies, but there are too many kids and not enough nannies
- Had some food, but she's so tiny she probably could and should have eaten more

Please don't get me wrong, from what I've heard the orphanage Annie lives in is clean, music is played and I'm sure they do as much as possible with their limited funds. I'm also confident that the nannies give 110% and are giving all of the babies some of their time but the kicker for me is that she's in a METAL crib, I've only once seen pictures of her with any kind of toy nor have I ever seen her with anything that she can snuggle with. LET ME BRING HER HOME. She's been in an orphanage for almost a year now (and prior to that a hospital), she's never experience any kind of home life, people have come and gone in her life and it's time that ended for her.

So US government, I pay my taxes, I contribute to the betterment of society by working for a school district, I even recycle, I drive slower than my mom in order to save gas, what do you say, let's just wrap up whatever you are doing in Vietnam and send me the e-mail that will either make me jump for joy or cry like a baby with joy? Please?

PS To my new cyper pal from New York "G", I'll post pictures of the nursery in the next day or so.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Weight Watchers (again)

First off let me say that my mom is a skinny-mini, I am not (yes mom I know you don't consider yourself a skinny mini but you are wrong, you are, always have been, always will be now get a hobby). My dad snacks his way through the day, I can not. Hello, where is the justice in that??

Any who, I digress as this is not meant to be a post about about the fact that my parents did not pass on their awesome metabolisms, this is about weight watchers. For those who have never had to diet, please go eat snacks with my dad, the rest of us know what dieting is about. It's not fun, it's frustrating and did I mention it's really no fun? Truly weight watchers works, I've successfully lost weight on weight watchers twice I've just never figured out how to keep it off. And I think I've finally figured it out, I'm a completer (also a consolidator but I'll cover that another day, poor Annie what a mom she's getting). I'm not a person who goes on journeys. I set out to do something and I get it done, I needed to lose weight, because really aren't the buttons on pants meant to be buttoned and not just covered with a long shirt? So I lost the weight, then woo hoo I was done, finished, checked that project off my list. Did I mention what gift I got myself for losing the weight? Yes being the logical person that I am, I got tivo! Love, love, love the tivo. Add the tivo to eating like I did before (don't forget my true "love" for veggies) and a very comfortable couch and you can see where this is going. Of course, being the achiever that I am I gained it all back plus another ten. Take two on weight watchers, lost the original ten, plus half of my original loss and then [insert ominous music] ...yeah adopting is stressful. Adopting from Vietnam is even more stressful. Ice cream is good, cookies are good and still there's the couch. So here it is almost the end of October and it's time to try again. I know that the next couple of months are going to be an "adventure" so I'm trying to keep my expectations low but if I don't lose some weight I'll be alternating between two pair of pants all winter because I'm not buying any more clothes in "that" size ever again.

I even have a great leader at my local weight watchers, in fact today she came dressed in superman pajamas because she said that with the week she was having, she needed some superpowers. Can you see why I like this woman? Heck, I'd share brownies with this her and I don't share my chocolate with many people.

So it's weight watchers......again....

PS Happy Birthday Daddy!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Things Annie's better off not knowing....

1. Trust me, I'd do anything to take your nap for you. I'm a sleeper and dang it I'm good at it.
2. There are a lot of vegetables that I just plain don't like. So please don't notice that on some nights the dog is much happier sitting under my chair than yours.
3. Although I'm going to encourage you to try new things, your mommy is a chicken and even now won't do some of the things I'm trying to get you to do.
4. I had PB & J just about every day in elementary school. Once in a while your grandma would convince me to try something else, I was almost always disappointed.
5. Since I'm a true blue accountant and have all of the quirks that go with it, I will have a hard time watching you not stay in the lines when you color. However, I'll do my best to not offer to "help".
6. Yes, I will have you make your own bed when you are old enough but frankly I still don't see the point.
7. I do not have a sense of direction, so please be open to taking the "scenic" route from time to time.
8. I love you more than you'll ever know, so saying no is going to be hard, please don't push it and never ever learn how to do boo-boo lip, I'm a sucker for it.

Day 30 and counting

So today is day 30 of my wait for the oh so important I-600 approval. Not that I was expecting a quick approval, but really I would have been okay with being wrong for once. The nursery is done, mentally I'm ready to say goodbye to my current life and gleefully start a new one. Today I started my travel vaccines and all I have to say is OUCH. I swore I'd never get another tetanus shot unless I stepped on a nail, and there I was sitting in the doctor's office asking for one. Of course while I was there, my Dr told me it was time to get a mammogram and they had just opened up a walk in clinic for them in the same building. In fact, it's usually very quiet on Friday afternoons so I should just scoot right down there after I get stabbed a few times with needles. Hmmmm, it's late afternoon on a Friday so it's either margaritas for TGIF or a mammogram?? Tough decision. Care to guess which won out? Yep, I headed to the walk-in clinic. However, I must say I was extremely pleased to be told that there was at least a 60 minute wait. So with a smile, I told them I'd return another day. Hey the waiting room didn't even have any old National Geographics. :-)

PS For those of you not familiar with adopt-speak, we only count business days when speaking of how long the wait has been for I-600 approval (i.e. the last mountain that must be climbed before I get the go ahead to travel).

Pieces of my heart...

Annie Mai

My beau, yep he's a keeper...

Mia aka Bob BARKer

Lacey, rest in peace my snuggler