Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Nursery Part 4: Windows

There is one window and four doors on the walls of this little room. The dresser had to go in front of one of the doors, a second entry door that is not needed. How I'd love to have a wall made there! In order to hide this door, I put a mirror on it and dressed it like the window. These were slapped up quickly last night, not even ironed yet. I LOVE them!

When the sun shines in, the butterflies are more defined.

Shade down, using a flash. I need to make tie-backs still, of course.

The Nursery Part 3: The Closet

On February 12, 2011, my best friend from junior high came up from the Santa Barbara area to help me prepare for Jei Jei and it was Closet Day! We hadn't seen each other in about 8 years. We started by demolishing what was in there since it was so terrible. Warped wooden closet rods, screws and nails sticking out of the walls everywhere, and, dull icky paint.

We picked up the parts I'd be using to redesign and build and then it was time for my friend to go. Around 8:30pm I realized that the closet had to be painted so I ran back out to HD and grabbed a gallon of paint. I phone J and asked if she wanted to help and she eagerly came over. Well, she'd never painted before, but did get the hang of it quickly. I'm a perfectionist, and she met my standard after a little practice. After she left, I killed time for another hour online, then painted the second coat. I went to bed at 5am, much like tonight!

Before. Notice the sagging rail that my right hand is on in the photo above this one? It's attached to the door jam, 6" from the wall. See in the photos below how clothes cannot be hung there? But, toward the back wall, the rod is anchored further out? Disaster!

Yes, let's build some rod holders with some crude pieces of wood that block the window. NOT! We ripped it all out, including numerous screws and nails that had been painted over for the last century.
I'm not kidding. The house was built in 1905!

Ah, nice new paint.

I finished assembling the first new organizer in the wee hours of the next night. Sammy helped.

In the daylight it's easier to see it. I need to block that window of the sun will fade the clothes. Across the back of the closet is 48" of hanging space at dress/coat level. The double hanging rods are each 30" long.

A narrow, shallow shelf from IKEA provides plenty of storage but allows enough room to still walk in.

The clothes on the back wall are size 5, 6 and some 7. The clothes hung on the high rod are size 3, and some will fit Jei Jei. The lowest rod has all the size 4 clothes. Originally, I planned to remove the closet door and put a curtain in its place, but this cold snap in the weather has shown me how poorly insulated the closet is and it would be like leave the refridgerator door open to the room. Next weekend, I'll plane the top of the door and paint the door and frame where my former roomates child peeled it off.

The Nursery Part 2: The Panda is Out of the Box

On February 5, 2011, several friends came over to help open the bunk bed boxes and set up one bunk as a twin. They were super heavy and, as you can see, truly took up all of my livingroom for the past month in that huge box and another one already cleared away.

I was able to get a very nice mattress from my old supplier from the days in the early 1990s when I had a furniture business.

Here's the bunkbed team, A and D, who have invited Jei Jei and I to their wedding in June, and J and A, who are already married. They have been so helpful and supportive of me through this and are very excited for Jei Jei to come home.

Don't ever come between me and my drill!

Oops! The furniture didn't fit as planned. Think, think, think...

I've got it!

I'll just take Jei Jei's panda out of the box.

Hmm, a trick box?

I get it, parent-proof!

This panda is the only battery-needy toy that Jei Jei has. It "sucks" the bottle and makes sucking sounds, plays peek-a-boo, coos and goes to sleep and snores. It was the very, very first thing I bought when I found out I could do a concurrent adoption and felt so strongly that she was old enough for this toy. I'll introduce it carefully so she doesn't get scared of it.

The Nursery Part 1: Painting

The painting marathon began Jan. 17, 2011 and still continues. It's been rigorous! My kitchen is the painting zone for most of the furniture, which has been hard, but the results are definitely worth it.

I began with Jei Jei's room. It's a tricky room, only 11' x 11' and with four doors and a window, something on each wall. I got four different samples of pink and none of them were right. Exasperated, I began to mix them and got the most delightful, soft, versatile pink ever, but only a tiny, tiny sample. I took it to the paint store and they were able to mix a match.

This is the best "before" picture I've got because
the extra furniture was all in the middle of the room.

My dear friend and one of my surrogate mothers, BE,
who I hope can come with me to China.

Yes, I feel as old and tired and fat as I look in this picture.
But not for long!!!

Next, I did the dresser, that I bought years ago, and the shelf, that I was given the week I moved into the house. Two coats of primer each and three coats of paint over a month or more.

The butterfly knobs are from Pottery Barn Kids.

My crib has the same bonnet curve as this shelf and the bunkbeds.

See the luscious pink on the wall?

Added Pictures

Tonight's job is to get pictures up. Go back to Jan. 21, when I signed my Letter Of Acceptance...

Notice when I smile how my right eye is smaller than my left? Just like my Jei Jei!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Consulate Appointment is April 7, 2011

Let the countdown begin...

I leave for China four weeks from today and meet my daughter on March 28, which will be the 29th for those in the USA!!!

My feet have not touched the ground since 4pm when I got the news at my travel meeting. I sat down and we began and then Karen produced a piece of paper with a flourish and said, "I have your tentative itinerary..." and started to go over it and my eyes skipped down a few lines to read, "March 28, Jie Jie's Day." Then I asked for a Kleenex and started crying before I could find one.

There are no words to describe the this feeling, but it's wonderful, dreamy, fantastic, oh-so-right, and more...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Travel Approval Came Today!!!

It took 4 weeks from LOA to get it, but my TA came today!

It's bitter-sweet because if I had all the money right now, I could travel in two weeks. I've paid cash for this adoption, and it happened so fast that I paid my agency fees and other related fees over just one month's time. That took all my savings.

Here's my dilemma:

Sell my stock, my only nest egg I've got left, and travel at the end of March, but have absolutely nothing to fall back on. Or...

Work until May 1, earn what I need, then travel on May 2.

Who wants to leave their child sitting in an orphanage for 2.5 months, regardless of how good it's supposed to be?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

46 Months Logged In

Families who just received their referrals had log in dates up to June 2, 2006, which means they waited 56 months, or, 4 years and 8 months to be matched to their child. Families who received their referrals last August waited 51 months. This means that in 6 months, the wait increased by 5 months, about 3.3 weeks per month.

Based on this model, I can expect to receive my referral for Apple no sooner than August 2012, or 5 years and 4 months from my log in date of April 15, 2007.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, My Precious Girl

Tonight as I will be getting ready for bed, my little girl will be waking up to celebrate her 7th birthday. I know that her special day will be celebrated in a fun way for her and she will feel loved and happy.

Somewhere in China is a mother and father who are grieving the loss of their daughter, who they clearly loved, remembering the day their little girl was born. My prayer is that God somehow lets them know in their very soul that their little girl has been well-cared for and loved all this time and is about to get another mommy who will love and cherish her as they obviously did. Her special need, before surgery, was significant, and they loved her and cared for her, keeping her alive and with them for 7 months.

I can only imagine how scared and broken-hearted they must have been, unable to get the medical care she needed. Even if they could have afforded it, the doctors at several big hospitals in her province simply didn't know how to help her. Her SWI, through Love Without Boundaries, took her all the way to Shanghai three times for the surgeries that she needed.

Happy Birthday, my daughter! We'll be meeting soon!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Further Translation

I had to opportunity to have Jie Jie's growth report translated by a professional who was born and raised in Hong Kong and there is so much more to it than the first translator gave me. To have it read with a Chinese accent was such a memorable experience; it felt like it was coming directly from the SWI director herself. The translator is so impressed she said that she'd like to adopt her, too!

So, here's a few more tidbits of information:

She has already lost some teeth and started to grow permanent ones.

Her paperwork was submitted in early 2006 too CCAA in the hope of finding her a family. The papework was re-submitted in 2010. (I don't know if she was ever listed for adoption until 2010 because 2006 would still be under the old CCAA director who was much more conservative about special needs adoptions.)

It's nothing short of a miracle that she was kept alive until she got medical care. People at her SWI tried for years to get her special need taken care of, taking her to many different hospitals and trying many different avenues. Finally, in 2009, they found someone who worked as a tour group translator who connected them to Love Without Boundaries and LWB arranged her care in what is probably the best children's hospital in mainland China. Thank you, Love Without Boundaries and her SWI staff who never gave up!

They consider her to be extremely pretty, which obvious to me, and extremely polite.

She is very smart, learns fast. After seeing something just once, she can usually figure it out and do it herself.

If you are a visitor, she is very polite and will bring you a chair immediately without being asked and will share food with you.

Her SWI wants her to be adopted and loved.

The translator said that by the way the document was written, it's very obvious that they love her very much.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Enter the Year of the Rabbit

Happy Chinese New Year!

I just learned something very interesting. Jie Jie and I were both born in the Year of the Monkey!

I have this book called The Secret Language of Birthdays and I looked up Jie Jie's birthday, which I know is accurate, and these are some of the things it has to say about those born on her day:

Display great ingenuity and well as imagination.
Find it natural to think creatively.
They like to make things around them run smoothly, not only for the well-being of others, but also because they then can guarantee themselves the greatest amount of personal latitude and freedom from inhibiting responsibilities.
Make no bones about their wish to have fun, but at the same time are very serious about principles and ideals.
Are sympathetic as well as empathetic, therefore feel the pain of others more keenly than the average person.
Like to be free to roam, to think as they wish, to let their minds play over all the wonders of the world.
Are intensely curious and want to investigate most everything around them.

About health, which is surprisely similar to my own:
Are extremely sensitive to the environment, and must be attuned to possible allergies.
Skin can be particularly sensitive.
Should keep active, vigorous exercise is recommended, with plenty of rest in between.