Sunday, September 30, 2007

Welcome Home Maddy!

Last night Robin, Marty and their sweet little Maddy finally made it home from China. This was my first airport homecoming. And it was amazing! Here's the blogger group waiting for the plane to land. Stacy, me, Heather, Sam w/Kieren and her husband, Andy. Stacy's hubs was there too but he was behind the camera. I-Con was supposed to join us but she's been under the weather lately. At the last minute, she cancelled so as not to expose Maddy to her germies. This post is kinda long but I wanted to get it all down for Robin and Marty so bare with me.....

First a couple of funny stories. The group of us bloggers met in a restaurant near the airport for dinner. I had e-mailed Stacy directions telling her it was about 10 miles north of downtown. She calls my cell to tell me that she thinks they're lost cuz they're already to Cin-Day Rd and haven't seen the exit. Well, that's just about the halfway point between Dayton and Cincinnati. I tell her that. She was confused. Then we realize that she thought we were heading to the Cincinnati airport (which is actually just over the border in Kentucky but that's beside the point) when we were actually going to Dayton International Airport. Oops! But her and Ryan made it before we even got seated for dinner so everything was cool.

While we're eating, there are 2 big tables of people next to us that start commenting about the beautiful Miss Kieren. They tell us how they're on their way to the airport to meet their friends who are coming home after having just adopted a baby in China. We say "Robin & Marty?" and they say "Yeah!" so we yell out "Us too!" What a coincidence! It was pretty cool. Turns out they were a group of church friends.

So we get to the airport and there are many friends and family waiting, several signs and some balloons, too. Very festive. LOL! Luckily, the flight was on time. Once we see on the arrival board that the plane has landed we line up on both sides of the hallway to await them. Other folks who are exiting are commenting on our signs. The signs say things like "Welcome Home Maddy" and "We love you Maddy" and "Welcome to America Maddy". People are saying things like "Man I wish I was Maddy. Look at the reception she's getting." We also got some "Go Bucks!" since so many of us were wearing our OSU shirts. There was just this great sense of excitement in the air.

The suspense continues to build as more and more people are exiting. We start yelling out to other passengers asking what plane they were on. We got through Houston and Atlanta before we finally got to the Chicago people. That's the one!! Word spreads through our group that this is their flight! More excitement builds. A group of young college girls getting off the plane recognize Sarah (Robin's daughter) and tell her they thought that was her mom they saw on the plane. They ask why we're all there and what we're doing. She tells them. So they decide to wait and watch the big arrival, too.

At least now we know they made the flight and it's just a matter of time before they round that corner. More anticipation as the passengers de-boarding starts to thin out. Still no Maddy! I jokingly yell out to one of the passengers "Have you seen Maddy?" I didn't expect a response but she asks if that's the little Chinese baby. We say yes and she tells us that she thought she saw them stop off at the restroom.

The flight crew then runs the gauntlet of our excited, nervous, happy welcoming party. One of the attendants asks if this is for the little Chinese baby. We tell her that it is and she gets a little teary saying "Oh that's so sweet. She's just adorable."

But still no Robin and Marty and Maddy!

We wait and wait and wait. No more passengers. Where are they?!

All of a sudden off in the distance we can hear these little rhythmic squeaks echoing on the tile floor. I look at Sam and yell out "Squeaky shoes!" Everyone falls silent. Then down the hallway we see them round the corner and a cheer erupts from the crowd.

Marty wearing his OSU jersey pushing the stroller. Robin wearing an OSU tee shirt. Maddy wearing an OSU cheerleader outfit and squeaky shoes holding momma's hand and walking on her own! In the pic above, you can see the back of Sarah's head as she waits patiently behind the red security line.

Sarah couldn't take it anymore so she steps over the line but stops short of the big "Do Not Enter" alarm thing. She's saying "Hurry up! Hurry up!" Finally, she scoops Maddy up and gives her mom the biggest hug. Tears are just flowing from many of us now.

Maddy meets her big sister for the first time as she wonders who all these crazy Buckeye fans are.

Then she meets her Grandma (Robin's mom). Sarah is in the background hugging mom some more. Just because they go off to college doesn't mean they don't still miss their mommies!
See what I mean?
At last the sisters are together. Finally. Maddy did beautifully. No tears from her. She looked a bit shell shocked after their long trip and seeing all these crazy people in the airport. But she was amazing. She'd let others hold her for a few seconds but always wanted to go back to momma.
At one point, she walks over to Marty and holds her arms out to be picked up. He picks her up and puckers up. She leans in and gives him a big kiss. I just melted. She's a daddy's girl already. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in the moment of watching it that I missed the photo op. So you'll just have to use your imagination.

It was so amazing to be able to witness all of this first hand. I was so happy to be a part of it. But considering my mood of late, it was a little bittersweet, too. I had a slight meltdown when Robin asked me if I wanted to hold Maddy. The tears started to flow a little but luckily she wanted to go right back to momma so I had a moment to try to pull myself together. Marty came over, gave me a big hug and told me that it'd be okay. I remember blubbering a little about the wait being so hard. He just said "I know it is. Hang in there." I felt bad for a second about being such a bummer but then I realized that it was okay. Cuz they get it. They understand. So I pulled it together and we went on with the celebration.

It was all so wonderful. Such excitement. And absolute pure joy to see this little girl home at last with her forever family. The pics don't do her justice either cuz Maddy is even more beautiful in real life. Marty and Robin looked exhausted. But happy. Very happy. Even when they found out that only one piece of their luggage made it, it couldn't wipe the smiles off their faces.
Click here for more pics.
Welcome home!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Much Needed Thank You's

First to my Secret Pal. No matter how long it takes me to say
thank you to her, she just keeps sending stuff. I'm grateful for that. And for her patience with me. I truly am one of the world's worst procrastinators. So thank you SP for the wonderful gifts this month and for putting up with me. Who knew when we signed on for this we'd still be sending stuff over a year later? But it's a wonderful story to tell our girls someday.

The little chocolate ladybugs came at the exact right moment. Sadly, they were quickly devoured by the PMS monster. LOL!
I love the piggie ensemble. Too cute! And these are my first baby spoons. They're just so little..... smile.
Next to the I-Con, who included me in her little duckie extravaganza. I've never had the girls examined. Well, not by a licensed doctor anyway. (wink wink) I guess I am now of the age where I need to schedule my first appointment to squoosh them into that machine. But in all seriousness, women need to be more aware of breast cancer and how beneficial it can be to catch it early. So go get a mammogram, ladies!
This was waiting in my stack of mail when I came home from vacation a couple weeks ago. Gotta love anything penguin related. This is an adorable little board book for my girlie and some book marks for momma. Thanks for thinking of me, Kris!
This showed up yesterday from the wild and crazy Heather. She knew I was feeling blue and sent me a little pick me up. It was almost too pretty to unwrap.
Look at this cute little key chain. That's my girl's name. Sweet!
It's now the new home for my car keys.
I adore this. It made me laugh out loud when I opened it. First, it's my most favorite colors. Second, the saying was just too damn funny. Anyone who knows me is aware of my margarita hobby. LOL! So this is perfect. I absolutely love it. And you made me cry with that card, girl. Thanks so much for brightening my day.
Thanks to everyone who commented on the post below, sent e-mails or called. It's comforting to know I'm not alone in these feelings. I'm grateful for the support. And don't worry. I'll be okay. We all hit the skids occasionally. That's all this was. I'm sure there will be more as I continue to wait. But I won't ever give up. Quitting is not an option for me. I'll keep waiting until China calls. Cuz that's where my daughter is.

I'll get my shit together soon. Cuz I can't stand to be depressed and feeling sorry for myself. Just not my cup of tea. So this won't last long. I'm working on pulling it together. And will be back to the Ms Sunshiney Pants that you all know and love real soon. Promise.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Feeling Blue

I've been down lately. I know we all go through it. Although I've made peace with The Wait for the most part, I still hit a slump every now and again. I'm just feeling a little lost and sad the last few days. I think spending a week in Mexico with two adorable little girls has helped to put me a little out of sorts, too. It was harder than I thought it'd be to return home to real life.
Alone. I'm not a mom yet. And have no idea when I will be.

Then the word over at RQ about an anonymous agency getting referrals ahead of others is not sitting well with me. Part of me wants to scream that this is completely unfair. One of the reasons we all chose China was for the predictable, reliable process. We knew we were in a line and would get a referral when it was our turn. Now people are cutting the line. Not fair.

I count on that line. I need some kind of order to this process. I need to know how to plan my life, my vacation time from work, my budget. As best I can anyway. If this is going to just become some random unpredictable process where we have no idea when we'll get The Call, I'll go even crazier. Can you imagine living on the edge of your seat every day like that? I really don't think that'll happen though. It sounds like just one agency who is being given preferential treatment for some unknown reason.
Wish I'd signed up with that one.....

The thing that's really bothering me about it is the secrecy. Apparently this agency was mentioned in some posts on one of the Ya*hoo groups, but then the posts disappeared. Makes me wonder what's going on. Some are saying that when clients sign on with this agency they're told to keep things hush hush. I've seen the words corruption and ethics mentioned several times in reference to this whole thing. I can't form an opinion one way or the other without more information. But I know I don't like this. It just seems off to me. And I don't like the way it's making me feel.

Reading the comments at RQ, I had a very strong sense of people not wanting to rock the boat. They don't want to speak up and protest for fear that this will make the line even longer. Or it will piss China off and they'll close completely. I'm normally the type of person to fight for what I believe in. For what I feel is right. But I have to say, I'm leaning towards not rocking the boat either. I feel completely held hostage by this process. I don't want anything to jeopardize bringing my daughter home. I can't even imagine how I'd handle it if this all fell apart. Mia is already a part of me. I can't imagine losing her. And it pisses me off that I just have to sit back and take whatever gets dished out because I'm afraid.

When I chose this process with China, I knew that I'd have a baby at the end of it. No matter how long it might take. I trusted that. I put my faith in that. I believed it with all my heart.

But now... I'm starting to get a little scared.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

This Just Cracked Me Up

Ha ha! Get it? "Cracked" me up.

Yeah I'm a riot! Someone sent this pic to me and I thought it was funny enough to share with those of you who may need to start your weekend off with a good laugh.

Hey T..... did you lose another pair? LOL!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Vacation Re-cap

You asked for pics. Well, grab a snack and settle in. I don't seem to have good luck with the slideshow things so I just added a bunch individually.

First, let me clarify something. This was not a big party trip. I went to Cancun in '01 with 12 other girls. That was my party trip. BTDT, ya know. And we won't discuss what took place during that trip and there won't be any sharing of pics. LOL! In spite of my very close relationship with my Bubba, there was no drunken debauchery this time. Sorry to disappoint y'all. This vacation was all about relaxation. The plan was to just lay around, eat and drink, and play with my two toddler traveling companions.

This is Mia, her mother, Christine and her grandmother, Evelyn, on the plane ride to Mexico. She will be 2 years old tomorrow. Mia was adopted from Guatemala. Adorable, huh?
This is 18 month old Arianna and her mother Lee Ann. She's also from Guatemala. These two were my roomies for the trip. The girls handled the travel very well. We were so proud of them.
This is our view from the restaurant. We sat here everyday and looked out at the ocean. Check out how the windows open to let in the ocean breeze. Ahhhh....heavenly.
I was spoiled every morning with my fresh mango juice with breakfast.
This was the view from our balcony. They had a gorgeous pool. The resort was not very busy the week we were there. It was wonderful. There were some days we nearly had this whole pool to ourselves.
They just make this way too easy. I mean just swim up and drink? Seriously? It doesn't get much better than this people.
This is my favorite bartender. I tipped him a few bucks everyday. Most people don't tip at an all-inclusive resort. My advice is that it's well worth it if you want extra special service. By the second day, he'd see me and Bubba coming. His first words would be "Margarita senorita?" Although I did alternate pina coladas every other day. But only cuz he made a great one. He took excellent care of me. My drinks were made with the top shelf stuff. He'd fill the Bubba and then let me taste test. His next words would be "Mas tequila?" and I would respond "Si senor!" It was our special little game. Gawd I miss him. LOL!
Arianna was a natural swimmer. This kid loved the water. She was fearless. By the end of the week she'd taught herself how to float AND hold her breath under water. She loved when her momma would dunk her under.

All that swimming can be exhausting! Is this not just the cutest thing?
Yeah you've seen this one already. But this is what Auntie K did while momma swam with her. Bubba and I'd spend some quality time together.
Here's all the chicas dressed for dinner one night. Trying to get the little chicas to both look at the camera at the same time was a losing battle this time.
This is Mia's fake smile she learned in daycare. If you point a camera her direction and tell her to say "cheese" this is what you get. She looks pained, doesn't she? Cute nonetheless.
More random cuteness. Love that smile.
This is the balcony of our room. The other girls were in the room next door. We'd sit out here sometimes and just admire the scenery.

Yes this was the scenery. Meet the entertainment staff. Every afternoon they'd line up here and do a little dancing. They'd holler up "Hola senoritas!" and we'd cheer them on. It was a little bit Chippendales but we loved it. Good times!
Here are the chicas in the matching dresses Auntie K bought them. Mia has her arm around Arianna. I just ate this up. So freakin' sweet. We were about to head out for dinner.
We spent a lot of time at the beach too. We loved it. There were several boats parked here because there is a reef that protects the beach. Makes the water much calmer. That's part of the reason we chose this resort. We thought it'd be easier for the babies to swim if the surf wasn't so rough. We didn't mind the boats.
Here's the fearless swimmer Arianna and I out in the ocean while momma was taking pics on shore.
Ahhh.... this is rough, huh? Hanging out under the palapas at the beach. What a life for little Mia.
I celebrated my 15 month LID-versary while in Mexico. I thought of my girl all the time. Spending so much time with the little chicas was so awesome. But it reminded me of what I'm missing. It was a little bittersweet. Now that I'm home I miss them terribly. And I've gotten a little depressed again about the wait. I'm sure I'll snap out of it in a few days. In the meantime, I'll just keep dreaming of the day when I'll take my own Mia back to this beach.
This is Chica Mia playing in the sand. That's her nickname. We call her Chica a lot. Which will help with the confusion when my Mia comes home. Small world, huh? Two little adopted Mia's in the same single mom's group.
You don't see this everday. Can you tell what it is? Three military guys decked out in complete army uniforms carrying huge freakin' machine guns just strolling the beach. Hmmmm..... I got up very early one morning to go sit on the beach and enjoy the sunrise. It was absolutely amazing. So peaceful. The pics don't even begin to do justice to the sheer beauty of it.
We rode the ferry into Cozumel one day. Here are the chicas just lounging in their strollers on the ride over.
We went over so I could swim with the dolphins. They had a special place to go to do that. Here's part of the pier where they were kept. This one was jumping up out of the water.
Here's Chica with her grandma checking out the dolphin lagoon which is behind her.
Check it out. This was pretty cool. I'd always wanted to swim with the dolphins but had never gotten around to it. Figured this was as good a time as any. Next trip to Mexico will hopefully include my own little chica. So I decided to do it now while I was still able.
This is the belly ride. You swim out into deep water and raise your arm out beside you. The dolphin swims up and puts his fin in your hand. You grab ahold and ride his belly while he swims upside down pulling you around. In spite of the look on my face, it really was fun! Just another random cute pic. I love this pose. Just chill-axin.
Those are pretty much the highpoints. I had a wonderful time. It was so nice to be away for a week with no schedule, no responsibility, just pure relaxation. I really needed a vacation. The girls did really well considering how out of their element they were. All the crazy traveling, the incredible heat, strange food, no schedules. We only had a few meltdowns and they were towards the end of the trip. I had a blast playing with my chicas. One word of advice for anyone traveling with a baby in an airport. Take a stroller and gate check it!! We never would've made our connections without being able to toss the girls in and run. It really was that close on the way down. On the way back, getting through customs was a nightmare. Thank gawd for the strollers! I got pulled out TWICE to be searched. Boy that was fun. But I finally made it home safely after a long 12 hour travel day. It does feel good to be home and in my own bed. Plus I realy missed my dog. Vacations are great but coming home is awesome, too.