Referral day + 730

Two years.

Two.

In some ways, it’s like it was yesterday…and then I see a picture like this: Alex, with Miya, on the weekend of this year’s travel group reunion. Both girls are from Desheng.

Could somebody please shut those crickets up?

Okay, okay, I realize it’s been a long time. But we might be having company, so everybody who’s still here be on their best behavior, OK?

As a reward for your patience, here’s one of the photo montage clips from the DVD we put together in the beginning of 2005. Fortunately, technology has progressed to the point where we can post it, without clobbering the quality entirely, and without using up our monthly bandwidth allotment.

This is “Now We Are Three” and shows some significant events during the adoption process. As a further reward for your patience, here’s the “director’s commentary.”

The opening newspaper advertisement for Adoptions From the Heart is a scan of the ad that started us on the road to international adoption.

The picture of the house exterior was taken the first day we looked at this house. The pictures of Lauri and me at the front door were taken immediately after the closing. Yes, I’m wearing a PDA on my belt. Yes, I’m a dork.

The story of referral day was described in the August 4, 2004 entry.

Inside the FedEx envelope I’m holding is the letter of acceptance. I don’t know why we didn’t bother to take a picture of the address side.

The hip hammock picture is described in the August 22, 2004 entry. The bear has since been named “Ophelia the test pilot bear.”

The construction fence with the “China–please watch your step” sign: did I mention that, in July, we had contractors in to fill in the underground oil tank? And that it turned out the tank had leaked? And that, until they were able to get the equipment in to remove the tank, we had this gargantuan hole in our front yard?

And here’s the story regarding the Desheng SWI photos. Prior to our traveling, we contacted Adele Hall at www.blessedkids.com about sending a care package to Alex at the SWI. Adele’s service, by the way, was incredible. Included in the package was a disposable camera with a letter to the SWI staff requesting that they use the camera to take pictures of Alex and her friends, and to bring it to the Civil Affairs Office on the day we were to receive Alex.

On Gotcha Day, the camera was nowhere to be seen. We were prepared for this to happen, and although we were disappointed, we figured we simply weren’t meant to have pictures from Alex’s early life.

The next morning, when the adoptions were being finalized, several parents were handed items that had been brought by the SWI workers. The camera was pressed into my hands. The good news was that it appeared all 36 pictures had been taken. The bad news was that the body of the camera was wrapped at one end with black electrical tape.

My greatest fear was that someone had dropped the camera and performed a quick field repair. But what were the odds the film had been exposed and ruined? I told Lauri that we’d gotten the camera, but I didn’t tell her about its condition. I figured our best bet would be to hang onto it until we got to Guangzhou, where our chances of finding a camera shop which would understand my concerns would be the best. I hoped that they’d be able to salvage the pictures.

On our last night in Guangzhou, I took the camera to a photo shop and handed it over. As I did, I finally took a close look. The electrical tape had been used solely to affix a label to the camera, so the SWI workers would know who to deliver it to.

An hour later, the prints were ready. You can see some of the results here.

The final scrolling title is a line from “To Alexandra, on her first birthday,” the August 20, 2004 entry.

Happy 2nd Birthday!

August 20th was Alex’s second birthday, and the first one we got to spend with her. We got her a Disney Princess kitchen set. For reasons I won’t go into here, we began assembling it at 12:30 Saturday morning. We finished at 2:30 Saturday morning. (Give us a break, we’ve only been through one Christmas and one birthday–save your toy assembly horror stores for another time, OK?)

Alex woke us up at 7:30 singing “Happy Birthday” to herself. Fortunately, she only knows the first two words, so it was a short serenade.

She loved the party. I’m not sure she completely understood why we had assembled an audience for her, but she put on quite a show. She demonstrated “SUMO!”, “YMCA,” and spontaneously counted to 10.

Her Ariel cake was a big hit, but opening presents was the high point.

She didn’t want the party to end. Although all the guests had left, at 9:00 pm she was still going strong.

After a good night’s sleep, she was still in a party mood, and insisted on wearing a party hat to eat breakfast. Someday, we need to explain that birthdays last only one day. For right now, we’ll just let her enjoy it.

Referral day + 365

Amazing.

One year ago at this time, we were three quarters of the way through the list of phone calls we wanted to make to let people know about our referral. We had a passport-size photo, two 4×6 prints, and a medical history that was mostly in Chinese to introduce our new daughter.

So much has happened. But here’s the most compelling way to tell the story.

Here’s that referral photo:

And here’s Alex, at bedtime tonight:

Disco isn’t dead

Alex’s tribute to the Village People:

Guilty as charged

Yes, it’s true, we haven’t been active here for a while. There isn’t much of an excuse, except that life has gotten in the way…it’s all good news, of course, but NYADA has kind of slipped to the bottom of the priorities list. I’ve had the best of intentions, but like the man said: If you want to make God laugh, tell Him what your plans are for the afternoon.

We have gigabytes of pictures taken since we arrived home, waiting for tax season to end so I can cull, edit, and post them. Those of you who’ve seen the DVD have gotten a look at some of the pictures through the end of 2004, but Lauri seems to capture another 20-30 megabytes per day of great photos.