Archive for October, 2006

Another Anna Update!

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

We didn’t get our consulate appointment today, but CCAI hopes it will come tomorrow.  So, we’re still up in the air regarding our actual travel date.  We’re still hoping for next week!  Our visas should arrive tomorrow, and the bank has our money ready, so we can go as soon as they’ll let us!

We received a little update on Anna today, with new pictures!  Her hair looks the same as it did in the photos we received in early September, so I’m guessing they were taken about the same time.  She’s such a little cutie!  Joe and I are so lucky to have a beautiful daughter.  We really don’t deserve it, but I’m not complaining!

Her update states that “she can say many words and some 4-5 word sentences.”  We’re missing so much!  Get us over there!  “She seems to be more extroverted.  She is affectionate to her familiar persons.  She enjoys tricycle,” (thank heavens Mom and Dad brought us one when they visited!) “playing with sand and musical toys.  She does not get fussy often and when she is upset, they will take her playing outside or give her some favorite food.”  OK, how much in heaven can I be?  Musical toys!  My house is filled with musical toys!  “They call her Qin Qin and her neighbors like to call her Xiao Bai (little white).  Her favorite foods are candy, biscuits and ice cream.”  Oh, she’s going to fit right in.  Candy and ice cream?  I think we can oblige!  Her latest measurements at 18 mos are 80 cm tall (31.5 inches) and 10 kg (22 pounds).  Here are the promised pictures:

Look at her little toes sticking out of the hole in her sock!  It’s a good thing I panicked about the socks!  I’ve got lots and lots of little sweat socks for her.  One of my staff members this afternoon remarked that it looks like she needs a more industrial grade sock.  I think I can fix that!  Anna, here we come!!!

We Travel NEXT WEEK!!!

Monday, October 30th, 2006

=D Hooray!  CCAI called us at about 12:30 EST to let us know that our TA, or travel approval (or assignment, I’m never sure which) arrived this morning!  That means China has approved us to travel to come pick up Anna! Our agency is requesting a US Consulate appointment on November 20, for us, when Anna will get her visa.  We have to be in the province of Guangxi for approximately a week before that to do all the required adoption paperwork, so they are projecting a departure date of November 9 for us!!!  Now, let the panic begin! =O

I’ll write more later as things occur to me, but right now I’m too excited come up with anything clever to say! :roll:

Smilies Update

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Just for kicks, I’ve been searching around for different smilies to use in the posts and the comments.  It’s hard work for blogging illiterates like myself :sweat:.  I’m hoping they’ll be available as a pop-up for those of you posting comments, but I’m not certain yet.  Don’t panic if they aren’t; I’ll keep plugging away at it. :wink:  Meanwhile, enjoy looking at these cute smilies I found! :love: :clown: =P

Northeast Kingdom Community Orchestra

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Just a quick note to invite anyone who might be in the area to our orchestra concert on Sunday, November 12 at 7 PM, in the Twilight Theater at Lyndon State College, Lyndonville, Vermont.  We’ll be playing a few Mozart Divertimenti, Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture (based on 4 German drinking songs, quite a fun piece!), Khachaturian’s Adagio of Spartacus, Schubert’s overture from Fierrabras, and Leroy Anderson’s Sandpaper Ballet.  Admission is by donation, and we usually have a few homebaked cookies to share.  We aren’t the London Symphony, but we try hard, and we make pretty listenable music most of the time!

If you check back later, I may have managed to edit this post to include an image of the poster for our concert.  I’m at work, and the poster is at home, so no go for now.

Weekend update

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Lots of rumors flying around at the end of the week, but no real news.  With regard to the adoption, our agency let everyone know last week that the travel director at the CCAA in China was “out of the office” the previous week, and was not expected to sign our TAs until Friday (yesterday).  So, we didn’t hear anything about our TA this past week.  Everyone in my group seems to be anticipating that we’ll get our TAs early next week, so if that’s true, we may know our travel dates by the end of the week.  Then, we’ll begin to climb the next hill on the roller coaster. 

Even though we are no longer in the non-special needs adoption track, I keep up with the happenings and rumors affecting some of the people we got to know who are still there.  Referrals for the month of October are presumed to be done and mailed, but no one has gotten them yet.  Folks are all in a tizzy because they don’t know how far the CCAA got through their stack of dossiers this time.  There is a huge group of people whose log-in-date was August 24, 2005, and they are reputed to be right on the bubble this time.  They are all very anxious to find out whether they are included this time or not. 

Joe’s parents are up in Littleton for a weekend visit, mostly to see daughter Renee who recently moved here to take on the Practice Manager position at my clinic.  We had lunch with them, and we’re now sitting in the clinic waiting for the pager to go off (on-call again this weekend.  Ugh!) 

Oklahoma played Missouri today in Columbia, and apparently had no difficulty winning 26-10.  I didn’t get to watch it, but it’s TiVo’d.  Souned like Mizzou was having turnover problems, and the Adrian Peterson-less Sooners were able to capitalize.  It’s nice to show that we can beat a ranked team for once.  Let’s keep it up, Sooners!  I don’t want my new little daughter to have to be ashamed of her mama’s alma mater!

The weather is somewhat frightful today, but no snow.  Of course, there’s no snow.  What was I thinking, even mentioning snow!  It’s about 40 degrees today, and raining.  I think raining is all it ever does here.  The only thing that varies is the temperature, year round.  There, now maybe that I’ve whined about it, it will decide to spite me by snowing!  I am supposed to be at church early tomorrow morning to prepare my choir to sing for the Reformation Service, so I imagine we will have a blizzard overnight.

AAaaaaaaaaHA!

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Yippee!  We passed our AAHA evaluation with “flying colors” today!  Our practice consultant was very complementary, and was very impressed with all the preparation we did.  She was actually moved by some of the documents we had written, such as our vision statement and core values, and spoke to us in such glowing terms that it actually made me cry a little. She assured us that she could tell that we were a very high quality practice, and we were doing a wonderful job for such a small practice. 

I’m so proud of my staff for all their hard work getting ready for this, and for all the wonderful things they do every day to make the practice run smoothly and professionally.  I’m so grateful that Joe and I have been able to create a workplace environment where they can take pride in their jobs and shine at special projects like this as well as their everyday tasks.  Kudos to Becky, Diane, Jackie, Jen, Jill, Dr. Priscilla and Renee!  Thanks for everything!

Now, I can focus on the travel plans to China I need to be making ASAP!

Panic attack!

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

OK, I didn’t have a real panic attack, but I am starting to feel a bit panicky about everything.  I’m trying to handle things in a nice orderly fashion, but the list seems to get longer and longer.  I think that when our AAHA inspection on Wednesday is over with, I will be able to focus a little better.  Today’s accomplishments: got up (not so easy as one might think, especially when covered with at least 3 cats), checked all my critical yahoo groups and e-mail for important news, made coffee, drank about 4 cups (all prior to any food – tummy getting a little rocky at this point), got visa applications ready, got all critical forms for CCAI ready, drank a shake, got dressed, went to the bank to get critical forms notarized and inquired about how long it will take them to collect the many many crisp clean $100 bills we will need to take to China (1 week, they said), drove to the clinic to make photocopies of everything, went to the post office to express mail passports and visa applications to travel agency and express mail critical documents to CCAI, ate lunch, went to Walmart to start trying to buy all the little kiddo supplies we’ll need while traveling (this is where I had my panic attack – what the heck am I thinking, adopting a little girl!  I know nothing about kids!  Will she want to drink out of a sippy cup or a bottle?  Oh, migosh, I’d better buy both! I don’t even have enough socks to take!  Seriously, it was walking down the sock aisle that did me in), went to the grocery store to pick up a few items for Joe and I (we have to eat, too), came home for 5 minutes to let out the dogs, had another shake, then headed out for band rehearsal.  I should have put all that in a bulleted list; would’ve looked much more impressive.  It’s a good thing I didn’t have to go to work today!

Now I have to focus on last-minute paperwork for AAHA.  I should be able to concentrate on that tomorrow afternoon since I only see appointments in the morning.  Joe has been busily writing mission statements and preparing a budget.  Dr. P has been working so hard on getting our controlled drugs in order, and writing up lots of things for the big inspection.  Everyone has been going over their lists and checking them twice, and cleaning madly.  I think we’ll be OK.  After all that, we have to be on-call over the weekend.  Sigh.  No rest for the wicked. 

My next job for the adoption trip is to fill out the travel questionnaires for the travel agencies and fax those out.  They’ll price shop tickets for us after we know our travel dates, and we’ll be able to pick and choose the best deal for us.  I’m sooo confused about how all that’s going to work out right now.  Fortunately, there are lots of BTDT (been there, done that) folks on my CCAI Waiting Child group, and they have lots of advice for us newbies.  There is even one unfortunate lady who is going to the same province as me.  I’ve already begun persecuting her with e-mails.  She’s very sweet and gracious … so far.  (Thanks, Jo!)

Stay tuned for the next free-association installment of insanity!

Smileys

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

{Note added later:  You don’t HAVE to use smileys.  :neutral:  If you don’t like the idea, feel free to ignore this post!  I won’t be sad :sad: or mad :mad: !} 

OK.  The use of smileys has caused great consternation amongst the three people that actually read my blog.  So, I’ve gone into my WordPress administration file (which involved me FTP-ing the file from the server onto my computer) and looked at what smileys are actually defined in my edition of the software.  (NOTE: always remove the spaces between the colon and the word or letter next to it.  Or, if you’re using the symbols, remove the single quotes from around the figure.  I can’t type it that way because then it makes the smiley. :lol: There has to be spaces around the symbol codes, but not around the word codes that are surrounded by colons.)  Here they are:

:mrgreen:  typed as   : mrgreen :

:neutral:                   : neutral :

:twisted:                   : twisted :

:arrow:                     : arrow :

:smile:                      : smile :    OR    ‘

:cool:                       : cool :     OR     ‘8)’

:evil:                        : evil :

:grin:                       : grin :     OR     ‘

:idea:                      : idea :

:oops:                     : oops :

:razz:                     : razz :     OR    ‘:P’

:roll:                      : roll :

:wink:                    : wink :

:cry:                      : cry :

:eek:                      : eek :     OR    ‘:o’

:lol:                       : lol :

:mad:                    : mad :

:sad:                     : sad :     OR     ‘

:!:                         : ! :

:?:                        : ? :

Anna’s home in Guigang, Guangxi

Friday, October 20th, 2006

Now that we’re pretty confident we’ll actually get to go pick up our little girl soon, I thought I’d post some info about where Anna’s home is.  She is in a foster home in Guigang City, in the province of Guangxi.

Guangxi is located in south central China, near Hong Kong (which is just a tiny little place on the southeast coast of China, attached to Guangdong province.)  I only bring up Hong Kong because I think many people are familiar with its location (other than myself, with whom I am a bit displeased as I prepare this post this evening, because I seem to know absolutely nothing about Chinese geography, and am having to look up every single little thing before I write it down.  What the heck was I doing all that time I was waiting?!!  Obviously nothing productive!)  Hong Kong is also likely the port city through which we will enter China, and where we will spend a day or two adjusting to the time change, so we’re not all covered with 20+ hour recirculated airplane air travel grime when our poor little daughter has to meet us for the first time.  Eeeewwww!  Everyone knows Joe and I are scary enough even when we’re all clean and pretty. 

Guigang (Guicheng on this map) is sort of in the southeastern portion of Guangxi (quite central really, now that I look at it.)  I don’t really know much about Guigang itself (guess I’d better work on that, too) but I belong to a Yahoo group who have all adopted girls from Guigang, so I’ll be picking their brains shortly.  Guigang girls are all reputed to be absolutely beautiful, thus Anna’s amazing looks.  Guangxi province has a population over 40 million.  The primary ethnicity is Han, with Zhuang being the largest minority.  People in Guangxi speak a number of languages, including Cantonese, Xiang, Hakka Chinese, Tai, and Miao-Yao.  Apparently, there are more places in Guangxi where people are fluent in neither Mandarin nor Cantonese than anywhere else in China.  Guess those Mandarin language tapes aren’t really going to be all that helpful!  Guangxi is subtropical; average daytime temperatures when we’re likely to be there in November or December will be in the 70’s or 80’s.  Nightime temps rarely drop below 50.  It’s humid and rainy there, although we’ll be there during the drier part of the year.  Whew!  My sense is that it is primarily an agricultural province, and not a very wealthy one.  We will likely stay in the capital city of Nanning while we’re there.  We may not even go to Guigang, as Anna is not in the orphanage there.  We hope we’ll get to take a day trip or two to see some of the countryside.  There will be about a 6-7 day stay in Nanning while we complete the provincial requirements, and then we’ll travel to:

Guangdong province, which is immediately to the east of Guangxi.  The US consulate is in Guangzhou.  We will likely stay in the White Swan hotel in Guangzhou where so many Americans have stayed with their new Chinese daughters (and sons).  We will be there for 4-5 days completing all the US requirements for Anna’s US citizenship. 

We’ll then travel by train back to Hong Kong and depart for the US.  Anna will be a US citizen as soon as she sets foot on US soil. 

Now I have to sit down and study my travel packet, because it seems there’s a lot I have to do in the next 5 days.  The visa applications seem to top the priority list, so I’ll start on that this weekend.  We’ll likely have the travel agencies that CCAI recommends take care of our travel plans for this, our first trip to China, because there’s just so much I don’t know about traveling over there.  I’m usually a travel-arranging whiz, but I’m not comfortable with something of this magnitude yet.

I should put in something really ridiculous here to reward the hardy souls who actually made it to the end of this post, but I’m too tired to be creative.  How about, anyone who reads this far, please add a comment with three smiley faces (you can use the smileys of your choice!)  :-D :P

News, news, NEWS!!!

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Hip, hip, hooray!!!  I just got an e-mail from CCAI, telling me I can download the ever-popular Travel Packet II tonight!  This is the thing that all my compatriots were receiving on Monday.  It’s not approval to travel (yet), but it does mean that our agency has gotten notification from China that our dossier has passed review, and is now in the “match room” waiting for the travel director to sign our Travel Approval.  Folks are currently estimating that it may be about 2 weeks before we get the TA, and then traveling can occur 2-4 weeks after that.  So, the maximum time we might travel from now should be around 6 weeks.  That’s early December at the latest!  It looks like we really will have Anna for Christmas! 

Whew, had to take a little break there to run around the room giggling.    Well, I must be off to run the errands that HAVE to get done today on my day off.  I’ll add to the blog later tonight if I learn anything else interesting!