Welcome to Baby Central

It’s now less than 21 days until we meet Alex. Things are kicking into high gear as the baby preparations continue. Alexandra’s furniture finally arrived. We spent the weekend arranging her room, washing loads and loads of baby clothes, and sorting her clothes for China. We still have quite a few finishing touches to add to her room, but we are making progress. Finally, it looks like a baby’s room instead of a warehouse for Babies R Us!

The past several months have been quite an education for us. We never dreamed that one little person could have so many things. We have learned about carseats, strollers, diaper genies and pack and plays.

And oh yes, we learned how to have fun in the toy store. Jay says that when the stickers on the interactive toys say “press here”, it is merely a suggestion, not a requirement. But what fun is it if the toys are not making any noise? I’m sure my philosophy will change after a few months with an active baby and a whole conglomeration of toys that make every noise known to man.

Last weekend we had a taste of things to come. We got to meet Katelyn. She had been in the states for just under 48 hours, but you would never know it. She was amazing. Her parents told us that she is shy, but you couldn’t prove it by her behavior or the pictures!

Katelyn took a little while to warm up, but once she got going, she was pretty funny. She had a blast scrunching up her nose and making funny faces at Jay. And she loved it even more when he made funny faces right back at her. Yes, we were the dignified party of five at the table in the center of the pizza parlor on a Saturday afternoon. Soon, that will be a party of six.

Katelyn has arrived!

Pam called at 8:30 p.m. on 9/12, 8:30 a.m. on 9/13 China time. They had just spent their first night as a family, and I am happy to report that all three seem to be adjusting well. Katelyn was napping in her daddy’s arms while I talked to her mommy. According to Pam, Katelyn is even cuter than her pictures and to quote Pam, “She is amazing!” The first couple of hours were a little bit tough, but once Katelyn was dry and her belly was full, she started playing peek-a-boo and smiling, much to her mom and dad’s delight! Jay and I are anxiously waiting to welcome Katelyn and our new friends home.

We will post photos as soon as we receive them.

The Fun Has Begun!

The excitement has begun! During the whole adoption process, Jay and I have met so many people and have made a number of new friends. Pam and Jerry are two of those new friends. I just got off the phone with Pam- she and Jerry are so excited. They are leaving for China tomorrow to bring their daughter Katelyn home.

The past week has been very busy and exciting, especially for Pam and Jerry. There have been many e-mails and telephone calls going back and forth- do you have enough diapers? Did you get formula for when you come home? Is your packing done? etc. Sunday we went out for brunch to celebrate. We had a wonderful time telling stories of the crazy things that we have done while waiting to bring our daughters home. Pam says we should write a book, but it’s far more fun to sit around the table with good friends and good food and take a trip down memory lane.

Pam and Jerry will be touring Hong Kong on their 11th anniversary. The day after their anniversary they will finally get to hug Katelyn for the very first time! I’m going to miss the nightly chats Pam and I have had for many weeks now, but I’m sure she and Jerry will have many wonderful stories to tell when arrive home with Katelyn.

Jay and I are deep in the throes of preparing for our trip. This past weekend we started trying to decide what outfits to bring to China for Alex. It seems so surreal, picking out the outfits that we will pack for our daughter! I would pick up one outfit and think, “It’s so tiny, I should probably pack something a little bit bigger” and then I would read the tag and discover that it would fit a baby up to 23 pounds. Then I would think, “Wow, she is going to swim in that. Last we knew, she was only 15.5 pounds.” Finally, we decided to bring some 6-9 month clothes, some 9 months, and some 12 months. Anything that is too small will be donated to the orphanage. Hopefully some of the outfits we bring will fit her. Worst case scenario- -we would have to go shopping in China. Now that would be terrible!

We got a call last night, the first of Alex’s two bureaus has arrived. Hopefully the second one will follow soon. Grandma and Aunt Sherri have made sure that Alex has plenty of clothes to fill both bureaus- and the closet!

Everyone is getting so excited. We talked to Alex’s cousin, Jeremy, the other night. He was all excited about a school project. They have to write to an international pen pal- and Jeremy is going to write to someone in China. He thought (and we agree) that it is so cool that he will be learning about the country where his cousin was born. I’m sure Alex will be eager to hear stories about her homeland some day.

Well, it’s getting late and I just thought of several more things to add to the to- do list. I want to update the list while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Good night all.

Still waiting

We are still waiting, and not very patiently. The latest rumor is that referrals will leave China some time this week. I hope it’s true, but I try not to put too much stock in the rumors. It doesn’t matter how soon they come, it won’t be soon enough. The waiting is getting very stressful.

We have been working on the baby’s room and trying to get things together for the trip. Some days, it seems like we get a lot done, other days it feels like we are moving backward. This weekend was very busy. We had a graduation party, a birthday party and two days of painting. By Saturday night, we were both exhausted. We went to Barnes & Noble to get a gift certificate for our friend’s son- and we wound up standing in the children’s book section going through books and deciding which ones we want to get for Alex. We had a great time! Sometimes we get so caught up in all of the things that have to be done that we forget to enjoy the process. After an hour or so in the book store, we were ready to get back to work on Sunday.

We finally got the first coat of wall color on the walls- I love it! Alex’s room is kiwi green- picture mint green with an attitude. Once we get the white trim painted, it’s going to look great. That room really needed a vibrant color.

We picked out a neutral color carpet (lambs wool) so that it would not compete with the green. We found a nice soft carpet that will be great for Alex to crawl around on- and it has a 25 year stain resistant guarantee. The saleswoman was giving us the sales pitch, and I told her that my biggest concern was that it be soft enough for the baby to crawl on. She looked me right in the eye and said “if I was your kid and you put this carpet in my room, I would be jumping for joy.”  With that, we made arrangements to have the guys come out to measure her room. The carpet should be in within the next week or so. Once that is installed, we can put the crib together and organize some of her stuff. We still don’t have any bureaus and we haven’t redone the closet, but we are making progress.

Mom and Sheri are eagerly awaiting news. Every time I call them, the first question is “is she here yet?” -like they think I might forget to call them when the news comes. Believe me, the whole world will know about it when we finally get “the call”.

Weekly(?) update

Well, it looks like things are finally moving to the next step. This afternoon I got a pre-call from the adoption agency. Our social worker wanted to be sure she had work phone, cell phone, and home phone numbers that are up-to-date. She also wanted fax numbers and e-mail addresses. Sound like simple questions, right? WRONG. As soon as I realized who was calling, I drew a blank on all the numbers and e-mail addresses.

I thought, “Jay would have done better on this little quiz.” I called him to get his e-mail address and cell phone number. I told him I had just received the pre-call–it got very quiet. I asked Jay if he was still there, and all I heard was a deep breath and “it’s really happening.” It’s nice to know that my mind wasn’t the only one that turned to mush. Jay had to stop and look up his cell phone #.

The next call we should get will be the call from the adoption agency to confirm that the referrals have left China! We thought we had been busy for the past two weeks. Well, it looks like we had better kick things up a notch! We’ve accomplished a lot in the past 2 weeks, but there is still a lot to do.

We’ve been working diligently on the baby’s room. We stripped all 3 layers of paper, but the remaining adhesive has been a challenge. The paint store recommended applying a skim coat of compound over the walls, but that is well beyond our ability. We have wracked our brains and asked everyone we could think of for advice. Jay’s brother Howard suggested that we try a coat of Kilz to seal the adhesive and then apply the paint. We did a test patch, and it worked like a charm. Good job, Uncle Howard!

We interviewed several pediatricians and finally made a decision. We chose a pediatrician who has experience with international adoption. He is also a pedicatric clinical instructor at Yale.

We’ve also made some progress on the furniture front. The crib was not due in until October, but fortunately it arrived early. We still don’t have the dressers, but at least Alex has a place to sleep.

Today we started the daycare search. I got a lot of preliminary info and we are going to look at several facilities in the near future. We haven’t made any decisions yet, so if anyone has suggestions–feel free.

Well, I think that’s everything for now. We will add updates as things happen.

Weekly update

First, most exciting, and probably most nerve wracking, is we are expecting our referral within a month, if not sooner! The rumors are that people who sent their dossiers to China in January have already been matched with a child, and now it’s a matter of waiting for the CCAA (Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs) to decide to release the referrals. No one is quite sure when that will be, as China is in the process of restructuring the adoption program and they are moving faster than ever before. In the past three weeks, they have released two batches of referrals. Ordinarily there is at least a month between referrals. Every time we check the statistics, the wait is getting shorter and shorter. We are anticipating a six month wait, as opposed to the 12-14 months that they told us to expect when we signed up for the program. Don’t get me wrong, we are thrilled, and if they told us that we could have her tomorrow, we would be on the next plane. One of the issues that came up as a result of the shorter wait involves the nursery furniture. We ordered her bedroom furniture from Babies R Us at the beginning of June, but since it is a custom order it could take as long as four months to arrive. At the time, we thought we had plenty of time-My, how things have changed in 2 1/2 weeks! We do not know if we will be home when her furniture does arrive, since we could be traveling as early as this summer. Yes, I said this summer. Originally, we had been hoping to have her home before tax season started in 2/05. Now, we could travel as early as August.

Jay and I are interviewing a pediatrician on 6/22. When I called to make the appointment, I explained that we were adopting from China and did not know the age of the baby. The receptionist assured me that was not a problem and proceeded to ask “what is your daughter’s name, Mrs. Kendall?” It took me a minute to process that, as no one had referred to her as my daughter before (it’s been Alex or the baby) and they were going to be opening a file with her name on it- it seemed SO REAL!

And now for the second surprise. Alexandra could potentially become Alexander. China has referred 8 healthy baby boys in the last two batches of referrals. This is the first anyone is hearing of healthy boys being available for adoption. The chances are still good (approx. 95%) that we will have a girl, but it certainly puts an interesting spin on things. Up until now, everyone had been told that they would have a girl, so, like most of the other waiting families, we have been passing the time shopping. We have lots of beautiful little dresses and girls’ clothes. Like I told Jay, if we have a boy, I have no problem boxing up the girls’ clothes and shipping them to the orphanage that took care of Alex.

It seems like all kinds of unusual things are happening in China recently. We just read about two sets of twins being referred this time- and that is virtually unheard of. We had read some statistics that said that less than 50 sets of twins had  been placed for adoption since the program started.

This weekend consists of adoption and baby related activities. We are going to the annual picnic at our agency. We went last year and it was amazing. There were kids of all ages from all over the world (Russia, China, Korea, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Ukraine) . Some were old enough to tell us about life in their country and their trip to the U.S. We learned a lot about the different cultures and had a great time. Jay and I had lunch with a little girl (maybe 8) and a little boy (6) from Russia. They had such a great sense of humor that Jay and I laughed so much our sides hurt.

Sunday, we start stripping wallpaper in the baby’s room. We have the paint ready to go, but I don’t think we will get that far, as neither of us has stripped wall paper before, and we have no idea what is underneath.

Things change so quickly around here in terms of anticipated referral, travel, etc. that Jay has created a website for Alex.  Our plan is to make daily entries on the website while we are in China. We may not be able to watch TV, so it will give us something to do while the baby is sleeping (you like the way I assume that we will get a good sleeper?)

Ofcourse, if we hear anything, you will hear about it. We hope to post updates at least weekly until the referral comes. After that, we are going to play it by ear.