30 Aug 2010


Last night as I was heading to bed I stopped, as I always do, to give the girls one last kiss. I went to Lily first and layed next to her on the bed and stroked her face and kissed her cheek and I as I looked at her beautiful face I was suddenly hit by a wave of sadness as I thought about the first 14 months of her life. (this is not the first time of course) Who held my baby and looked at her with the love of a mother and admired every single inch of her being? Probably nobody.

As I thought more and more about her bleak and meager beginnings the burning hot tears started to roll across my face and onto her pillow. How can it be that my daughter lived in an orphanage for 14 months? This was just a few years ago and she lived in an orphanage with no parents and no one and nothing to call her own. Sometimes I allow these thoughts into my head, but only sometimes as they are so painful.

How can I have had no part of my own daughters life for 14 months? I would do anything to change that. How will it feel to be her when she gets just a tiny bit older to have to hear the words, I don't know, over and over again and realise the gravity of those words. I know it won't be easy for her when she starts to understand her past. I can only hope that we can make it as painless as possible, if there is such a thing.

I was recently told by a family member that all children are the same and that they only need 3 things, food, love and warmth and that you cannot change the past. I agree with this but only to a point however I didn't argue my case with this person and I won't as I know that even after all this time they don't get it. I once thought they did. Our children have a past, a history and we cannot change it, we have to deal with it. We no longer live in an age where we have to sweep it under the rug because it is OK now to have feelings emotions.

I am my daughters Mother but somewhere in China they have birthparents who were forced or quite possibly, chose to, abandon them and that is a reality that we have to deal with. I cannot imagine what that feels like. I cannot imagine what Lily and Rose are going to go through when they can understand the intensity of that statement. We won't pretend it isn't the case as that would be like pretending that they are not adopted.

Sometimes the reality of being an adopted parent brings me to tears, sometimes they are happy tears and sometimes they are not.

28 Aug 2010

A Little Bit of This and That.

Rosie wasn't quite as impressed with school on Thursday. When I arrived to pick her up she was crying, sobbing those big gulpy sobs and sitting in her teachers lap. Ms Maria said she had only just started crying and was really tired. It rained all day so there was no outside play and no painting, all the thins she loved from her previous day. Poor little girl was just not a campy camper. She has now decided that she does not want to go back. Urghh, I dreaded hearing those words but think I may have found a way to make it more appealing. I still think dropping her off on Tuesday will be prove to be heart wrenching for both of us. She did manage to catch a cold and by Thursday afternoon was feeling grotty.

I have a thing about bathrooms, they have to be clean. I am not talking about public toilets, let's not even go there in the interest of public safety but actual bathrooms. If you are going to be using a room with the sole purpose of cleansing yourself then it has to be clean to begin with. I cannot even brush my teeth at a sink in a place where someone else, other than my very own family has spat their toothpaste because I will gag. Yes I know it is really weird. In this house we had new bathrooms when we moved in so i was always fine but in other places where we have lived I never used the bathroom sink.

The caulking in our shower was starting to look, "not so bright and fresh" and it was really bothering me. I come from a long line of do it your-selfers, with my cousin Andie being a fine example. So, I decided to re-do this myself. A few websites, a few U-tube videos and off i went to the DIY store for my supplies. It looked so easy. Fuey! Taking off the old stuff was impossible and I broke the tool especially made for the job within about 4 minutes! So much for a quick job. I resorted to a straight edge razor and at times brute force. Once the old stuff was gone applying the new caulk was a piece of cake and now my shower no longer makes me shudder. I think I will attack the kids bathroom today as theirs could do with some freshening up also.

It has been raining here, alot. I didn't think Lily would have her riding lesson the other day but she did and there were floods and huge puddles everywhere much to Rosie's delight. Lily is now riding some really tough horses but she remains unfazed.
The foals
Rosie touching the foal. It wouldn't come near me.
I love this horse and so does Lily. He isn't fully trained yet but she has no problem on it. She uses double reins for extra control.

26 Aug 2010

The Memories Will Never Fade

How can it be that 7 years ago today the world was changed?
We were a childless couple in Hubei, China and had woken up after a night that offered very little sleep and were fighting a serious case of butterflies and nerves. We offered each other reassuring looks and hugs, but we both new that we wanted this more than we had wanted anything else but we were scared, bone scared. What if she hated us? What if she rejected us for months? What if she had RAD? No, no, it would be fine, we were prepared, we had planned for the worst and hoped for the best, yes, that is what we had done. Meetings, books, research, you name it. What if when we got there, there wasn't a baby for us because the government had changed their minds? Now that, that was our biggest fear of all. We had waited so long, jumped through so many hoops, been probed in so many orifices, orifices that were so still so raw, oh god I thought I was going to be sick. maybe a few more tears and I would be able to hold it together. All these emotions and at the very same time I wanted to run up to the roof and yell, I AM GOING TO SEE MY BABY TODAY, TOUCH HER, SMELL HER, HOLD HER. I was a hot mess and so was her daddy.
No time for tears suddenly our room was a gathering place for our group. Our guide was telling us to be ready and downstairs at 2pm and we would head to the civil affairs office to meet our babies. Smiles everywhere and chatter all you could hear was chatter but I needed quiet, time to process what was said.
On the bus as we approached "that building" silence prevailed and the closer we got the quieter we got and by the time we arrived you could hear a pin drop. Then we all scurried out of the bus all of us talking to our respective partners and I remember saying to Jacob, as he video taped me, "4 years, and it all comes down to this very moment". I took a photo of the building and we walked inside holding hands and grinning like schoolkids. The second we got inside the heat hit me. It was stifling. We were ushered into an elevator and we didn't all fit and I do not remember if we were the first group or the second but we all met up again and headed to the room. We could hear babies, our babies. Oh my gosh one of those babies was Lily, unless they had changed their minds, no, don't think like that she was there! One little girl walked out to meet us, it turned out to Sonja, Lily's China sister. We walked into the room and Kathy, our guide asked us to be seated. I remember, placing the diaper bag and gifts down and then just listening to her and the "official" talk. They talked for so long and their words were endless. Would they ever stop. I couldn't concentrate. The official would speak first and then Kathy would translate. I wasn't listening, not because I didn't want to but because I was incapable of. I knew I needed to, they were explaining how the process would unfold. I begged my mind and brain to cooperate but it refused. Thankfully Jacob appeared to be cognitive.
Something changed and everyone was applauding. First a man stood up, he was the director of an orphanage where 2 of the babies were from, next Mrs Li stood up, thankfully I caught this part as she was Lily's orphanage director. I applauded along with the others and it brought me back into the present. The heat was oppressive but it didn't matter because in seconds nothing else at all would matter. The Ayi's started to file into the room holding the babies and one by one they called the families to the front. I scanned the crowd and then I saw her. Dear God the world changed at that second. Nothing has been the same since and nothing has had the same significance. I listened for Kathy to say our names and then I heard it, "Jacobdawncope", just one word changed my life forever. Jacob took our baby onto his arms and his eyes filled with tears. He gazed from her to me and back. I stared at her. I wanted too smother her in love but knew i would scare her even more than she already was so I kissed my finger and stroked her face.
Li, Yu Ni was worried, She looked around for her Nanny, the person she had only known for 2 days but alas the only person she knew. She was leaving and Yu Ni was sad. It was heartbreaking to watch the tears spill from her eyes. We tried to comfort her. We knew her heart was breaking but at the same time we we elated, finally our dreams had come true. I knew at that moment that there is such a thing as love at first sight.
Adoption, at least adoption from China, is heartbreaking, there is no grace period to get to know the babies, just a handoff. Your dream come true is their worst nightmare. It resembles kidnapping when you actually stop and think about it, so don't!
Lily cried, big tears and we comforted her or at least we tried. At some point we went back down to the bus and Lily fell asleep all snuggled up on Jacob's shoulder. She finally decided to allow herself to get close-ish. Her next few hours were confusing, of course. They were confusing for us to. Does she need food yet, should we try a bottle again, oh my gosh should we ever put her down, no we must keep holding her, should we see if she wants a toy yet? On and on with the should we's. Poor child was a test project or at least I am sure that is how it felt. Her first few days were a daze. She slept a lot. Her coping mechanism was sleep. She was opening up and smiling, eating and doing all the things that babies do but you could see in her face she was wearing a mask. Our agency was fabulous, right there every single step.
As we look back on those first few days Lily was a champ it was us who were not. The biggest mistake we made was being first time parents but nothing could have changed that!
We made it, all 3 of us, and Lily thrived and has turned into who she is today partly because of us and those faltering first few days. Because of her we are who we are today and I wouldn't change being a parent for anything. I love it from the bottom of my toes to the top of my sometimes frazzled head.

Lily's Referral photo
Lily on Gotcha Day 2003

Lily's first anniversary of Gotcha day. Some the families flew out to Seattle for a reunion and here she is with her China Sisters.
Lily is trying to escape and has a heart on her shirt.
One of my all time favourite photos of Lily. I LOVE her smile. It is from Nov 2004 when she met her Grandpa for the very first time and she just beamed from the first time she set eyes on him.

25 Aug 2010

~ Smile ~

When my camera died it's unpredicted death on Monday hubby took it, along with it's extended warranty, back to the store to see if they would mend it or replace it. So happens that they took one little glance at it and handed him a credit to go and choose a new camera.
Since he knew that I didn't care for that one he rang to see what I wanted. He didn't give me anytime to think, he wanted an answer "right then". I had no clue. I hadn't planned on my camera packing up and therefore had not been perusing cameras. Fortunately I had noticed that a friend had a nice one a couple of weeks ago and remembered the name, so decided to get the same one.
I got the Sony Cyber Shot and even though so far I have only taken about 10 pictures, for a purse camera, I love it. It has some really silly features on it, one being the smile detection feature. Once the camera detects a smile it automatically takes the shot.
Monday was a crazy day what with it being Lily's first day of school and my busy work day so by the time I got around to looking at the camera it was 11pm. Jacob and I were checking it out and tried out the smile detection feature. Apparently you have to say a big CHEESE in order for it to detect that smile!

I have no idea how we didn't wake up our children we were laughing so hard and so loud at these silly photos! Really, I think this feature should be called "teeth detection" cos unless it finds your teeth it wont work.

24 Aug 2010

Rosie's First Ever Day at School ~ updated

Wow.......we just dropped Rosie off at school. Just a few minutes ago and I am still reeling from the shock of it all. Rosie marched into her classroom as if she owned it. She handed her little lunchbox to Ms. Maria and gave her a hug and when asked whether she wanted to to play Leg0's or colour she chose colouring. We knew better than to hang around so we gave her a very quick kiss and ran for the door. I told her that I had to go and do the ironing. I know that sounds lame but it is what I have to tell her at night when I put her to bed so that she knows where I am. She smiled, gave me a kiss a I fled, with tears in my eyes. I am so very proud of my girl. My little girl who won't let me leave the room for fear that I won't return.

I'm ready for my first day. This is my lunch. Kinda big when you consider how much I eat. LOL
This is my back pack. Mummy snuck bray bray in it for me.
This is daddy and me at my new school, The Creative Learning Centre
Mummy looks ready cry.
Here I go, into my classroom to meet Ms. Maria.

Here she is at the colouring table.

My baby isn't here with me she is somewhere else. This is huge, MONUMENTAL in fact. I keep getting tears in my eyes and this day isn't even about me it is about her. I am so proud of how far she has come. I have worked so hard with her to get her ready for this day and I know there are some people in this family that thought for sure this day would be a disaster, I thought it would be much worse than it was. I think Thursday will be harder but I have a bag of tricks for that day also.

Rosie...you rocked it! Good job Peanut!

Rosie had a fantastic first day. No tears were shed at all! As we were waiting outside the door to pick her up the teachers helper came out to take a little boy to the bathroom and Rosie spotted me, she bounced up with a huge smile on her face and was told to sit down again ( I think) she did so and kept looking at me and smiling. We were a few minutes early, just a few, and she went right back to what she was doing. Once she was bought out to us she was so bubbly and could not wait to tell us about her day of painting, drawing, loads and loads of bikes, the swings, the trains, the story of the mad boy, etc etc. As we walked to the car I almost fainted when she uttered these words. "can I come back, alot alot?" Sure you can sweet girl.
She is napping right now, exhausted from all that fun. Think I might do the same...I'm exhausted from my eyes sweating so much. Ms. Maria said she was so very proud of you and so are Daddy and I.

23 Aug 2010

First Day of School

Didn't matter how hard I tried I just couldn't stop it from happening!
This morning we accompanied our 3rd grader to her classroom. We knew exactly where to go and who all of her classmates were but we had no idea who the teacher was. The information was posted outside of the school at 6pm on Friday evening but Lily's teacher was listed as TBA. For the whole weekend we called her Miss Tiba.
We saw the Principal, Mr Diaz as we walked in and he looked about ready to suffer a stroke from all the stress and then we were greeted by many, Hi Lily's by various staff members. She gingerly opened the classroom door and a sunny voice welcomed Lily into the room. Lily returned the salutation and went in search of her desk. Her teacher is Ms. Llama, and is lovely. Lily only has 16 classmates and this year they have decided to keep the whole vision academy together all the time which is fabulous. Lily is beyond thrilled to have all of hr friends with her.
I am so happy with everything I saw in those few moments and if first impressions count, this is going to be a great year for our girl. I can't wait to go and get her and hear what she has to say.

My camera is suffering a slow death, ( i didn't know this when I took the pictures) so the photos I took of her this morning are very sickly. The big daddy imac is also unwell and all my photoshop programs are on that so I will have to post some really sad photos and doctor them up when big daddy imac is all better.

Somewhere between the house and school my camera went from feeling icky to being terminal! Zoinks!
Getting ready to leave the house
All set

Lily and Rosie in her classroom
Lily unpacking her bookbag

22 Aug 2010

That's That Then.

The girls are in bed, their uniforms are laid out, backpacks packed and ready by the front door and their lunch boxes are sitting on the island ready to go. All of this can only signal one thing, the end of summer vacation....sniff, sniff. Oh my it went so fast. I loved having Lily at home with me every single day.

I loved going out on adventures with both of them, seeing things through their eyes all the time. Not having to rush to school and rush home from school and rush to get finished with homework so that we could eat our dinner in a rush and get in the bath and get to bed at a decent hour so as to start the madness all over again. I think one day I will do a photo hour by hour of a typical day just so that I can document the insanity of our week.

This year marks a milestone for us as both girls will be going to school. 2 girls in 2 schools starting at different times in different places...oh yeah, more madness. Thank heavens for prophylactic migraine meds. LOL Lily steps into 3rd grade tomorrow morning and she is unfazed by it all. She wishes she didn't have to go as in her words school is boring. I don't think it really is I think that is a standard sentence used by 8 yr olds.

We had a wonderful summer filled to the brim with travel, friends and family and I wouldn't have changed a thing. I am off to drown my sorrows with some strawberries and pineapple dipped in melted white chocolate.

Public Service Announcement

I am going through my blog, post by post, attaching labels to each and every entry in hopes of making it easier to help me find relevant posts when I am looking for something. This means that Google Reader is going to be having a hayday.

I am really sorry. But when I am looking for something to show the girls it can take me hours. Now I realise what those pesky little labels are for....doy!

I am also about to turn the next section into a book so now is a good a time as any to edit it all.

Thanks for your patience.

19 Aug 2010

Hit The Brakes

Summer has flown by. I wish somehow I could just make someone hit the brakes and we could rewind back to the beginning of July. Monday marks the start of school. Lily will be heading into 3rd grade and Rosie will start Pre-K 3 but only 2 mornings a week. Make this madness stop, my girls are growing up much to fast. How can it be that I have a kid in 3rd grade and how can it be that my baby is leaving me for a few hours twice a week.

Last night we went to her open house and met with her teacher. Her teacher has a really thick Honduran accent and is hard to understand....not impressed. Sure we all have accents of some sort but it helps if you can be understood. Just saying. Thankfully the teachers aide is a lady that i remember from when Lily went to the same school and I really like her. Rosie made zero connection with her teacher so I am hoping she will connect better with the aide, Miss Lee. Tuesday morning might be all sorts of fun but I am still hoping for the best scenario possible.

I took lots of photos of Rosie in the classroom and have posted them on the fridge so for the next couple of days they will become really familiar to her...well that is the plan it remains to be seen if it works.

We have traveled non-stop this summer and it has been so much fun and we have really had a great time but if there is such a thing as too much traveling we did it. I swear I thought I had loads of time to do all sorts of projects and kick back and chill while Lily had no school and it has not happened, not one thing and not one ounce of chilling. There is always next summer I suppose. LOL Let this be a lesson Dawnie.

Miss Lily has the crud. She had a sore throat last night and woke up this morning barking like a seal and sounding like a pubescent boy. A quick trip to the pediatrician and she was diagnosed with an inflamed trachea. A condition she possibly contracted on the plane last weekend. She is on a 3 day course of meds and should be fine after that. The chances of Rose catching it are slim...phew!

I love spending time with the girls and will truly hate sending them out the door and off to school next week. That said I could never home school...now that would do me in and would not do them any favours whatsoever!

Turn the clocks back, hit the brakes...I just want a little more time with my family, please.

16 Aug 2010

Wrong Hotels and Suspicions

Jacob and I always stay at the same hotel chains. This last minute trip came about because the hotel room was going to be free, the air fare was free so all that left was a hire car. Heck we would have been mad not to do it. Not sure if you know this or not but the Northeast portion of this country is really patriotic, a lot more so than Florida at least. Lots of streets are named, Centennial and Independence etc etc. Where am I going with this you ask? Well it is simple. When Jacob asked me to book the hotel I asked him what the street was called and he thought about it for a nano second and then said, Independence Way. I looked it up on the website and found it and never bothered to check the city. I booked it checked my points and bam, done deal! Once we got to Boston and were in the car we put the address in the Sat-Nav and off we sped. As we neared where we thought the hotel was Jacob commented that nothing looked familiar and blamed it on the GPS taking us a different way when suddenly Miss GPS announced, arriving at destination, on leffft. (she has a funny way of saying the word "left".) I looked at him, and he looked at me. It was indeed the correct chain of hotel but it was not where we usually stay so I went in and asked if we had reservations there. We did! Uh oh! They offered to move us to the other city but we said we would stay there since American had left some of our luggage in Miami and would be sending it to this hotel at some point. Jacob was familiar with the area so we were fine and dandy! What twits!

The other part of this heading refers to suspicions. Hypothetically speaking, what would make you more suspicious in an airport; a woman carry a small unopened bottle of Gat0rade or a person with 2 small knives and a roll of duct tape?

Whenever we travel we always take the kids car seats with us, always. I actually think it pisses off my family when I schlep them all the way to England but frankly I don't care cos their safety comes first. We wrap them securely because I know what the belly of an airplane looks like and it is not pretty and I know first hand how employees handle luggage and that is not pretty either. I reinforce the area of the seats that will make contact with other objects with duct tape so that the fabric doesn't get messed up. Yes, I am a freakmeister.
When we arrived at the airport I started wrapping them whilst Jacob waited in line but they moved so fast that he was checking our luggage whilst I was maniacly wrapping carseats. I was about to put the knives and the duct tape in the checked bags but they were gone so I had no choice to put it in my carry on and hope for the best. Oh my.

As we headed though security my bag was pulled! Big shock. I was pulled aside and asked a few questions that I sorta answered. Finally Mr. TSA whipped out a bottle of Gatorade from my bag and showed it to my accusingly. I apologised told him there were 2 and bowed my head. He told me I only had one. I hated to argue? I mean I only packed the bag myself and have 2 kids so you would think I would know but who am I to argue! (plus I had that knife plus hubbies plus that tape ~snort!) He scanned my bag again came back and said, you must have 2! He whipped out another, scanned my bag again and then handed it back and bid me good bye.

Holy smoke he totally missed 2 knives and a roll of duct tape. Now the duct tape alone is not a problem but with those knives I could at least have taken out the pilot I am sure. If that were my intention. TSA........what a joke!

They are called Maniacs for a reason.

Saturday morning we hopped into the car and headed north to Maine. I really do love that part of the country and think I could live there....in the summer! The winters would kill me. I would have Dom's oil truck parked outside my house on a weekly basis meeting my demand. This time around the weather was perfect, just perfect.
After a brief stop in Freeport we headed here:

Jacob spent every summer as a lad at this very spot and being able to bring the girls here is really wonderful. Cousin Joan now lives here in her family home with her father, Jacob's Uncle Bill and nothing has changed at all, not one thing. Well they have all grown older and moved away and the dock has blown away a few times and been rebuilt but other that than that it remains unchanged. It is the closest you can get to heaven while still being here on earth. Now our girls get to experience it to.
I think photos will be enough to show how we spent the day as words really are redundant.

This is the dock leading from the back of the house down to the water and this is where we spent our time.

Rosie getting warmed up
Rosie Kayaking
Lily Kayaking

She went in!Loving life

The view out in to Cascoe Bay
Rosie sitting on the floating part of the dock. They all got their faces painted in Freeport

I mentioned that the weather was perfect, well that doesn't mean that the water temperature was. It was a frigid 68 degrees. Our water here is 88 degrees at his time of year. Lily wanted to swim with Joan and when Joan dove in Lily followed....it was the shortest swim in the history of swimming!

She did then get back in and swam all the way to shore with Joan!!! I was impressed. She took a noodle but even so it was freezing!
Crazy Maniacs
Lily and Joan on the rocks there..somewhere
That is how far they went
Other nut jobs in that cold water!

Of course when Rosie saw Lily swimming she wanted to get in which meant one of us had to brave the water. Hell it was not going to be me!

I think he nearly had a heart attack!

We had such a lovely day. Joan thank you so much.
Joan shared some of her beach treasures with the girls before they left and they are so happy with them and carry their little boxes so carefully. Something to treasure always and remind them of you.
Joan, did you have to tell Lily that you think she needs a Kayak of her very own! Oddly enough it is something that Jacob and I have been talking about getting for ages now.
Oh if you are wondering what Jacob has on his face....wonder no more!
It's a Maine Lobstah, they're wicked good!

Going Backwards

Well we are actually back from our trip to New England but I want to post each day separately and even after 4 years of blogging I still have no idea how to post date blog posts so bare with me as I play catch up.

Friday morning we woke up and met the worlds bestest Aunties, Fran and Shell for a spot of Shoppy before heading out to lunch at our favourite Chinese restaurant in town, Kowloons. One of the employees was loitering close by and we mistook him for a server and asked him for a drink, after a few minutes he plucked up courage and asked about the girls, He was a middle aged Chinese man and after quite a long conversation he pulled out his wallet and showed us a photo of his daughter, Ashley, age 10, also adopted from China. Such a great story and a really nice man.

The girls love their Aunties and just delight in spending every single second with them. Following lunch we headed to Salem Willows for more fun. Sadly because this trip was so short we had to say our good byes much to soon and head on to our next adventure. Time with you both is never ever enough and to think that you just might be headed our way is to much excitement to 2 little girls and their parents to take so you better not be telling tales.
Thank you so much for the wonderful time and for all the lovely things. Rosie is wearing her necklace like some sort of trophy and keeps saying, I can't beweeve Auntie Fwan gave me all deese fings.

Rosie in disguise whilst shopping

Look at Rosie smile, she loves her Auntie Shell
Silly Lily

happy Girl
The best Aunties! This picture just makes me smile

Salem Willows has an old fashioned type of carnival place and a Chuckeecheese sort of thing etc etc. There is nothing at all wrong with my camera it is just that these rides are the old kind and go really freaking fast! I am talking make you want to puke kind of fast. The kids loved them! WE were laughing so hard cos you barely focus on them as they whizzed by at warped speed.

Finally one that was slower!

Friday evening we headed to Rob and Glorias for a BBQ with some other friends, Eddie, Pam and their twin boys Jake and Spencer. Good times. Oh the girls were so happy to see Live and Dommy, so so happy. It is almost nauseating to see the affect those teens have had on Lily. LOL Great people, great food and fabulous weather, does life get any better?
Rosie and I
Eddie, Looking very serious.
Pam and Gloria, right the world, we did alot of that.
the girls having their dinner
Silly goose, Rob. Jacob asked him to smile and then said he didn't like so to try again. This is what he produced.

Somewhere, somehow we ended up having arm wrestling contests. It's a teenage boy thing.
Here are the twins, Jake and Spencer. Dear Heaven are these boys cute or what? And so sweet. Don't think they would like me saying it to the whole world though, not good for their image at this age.
Shhh, don't tell a soul but Livie took him out, fair and square!

That pretty much ended that day and we drove 2 very happy and tired, little ones back to our hotel. The wrong hotel but that will be explained in a post shortly.


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