Tuesday, March 27, 2007

'Twas the night before China and all through the house...

If I had even half a brain cell left I might be able to come up with something remotely clever in the Clement Clark Moore style, but I just don't have it in me. It's been a crazy, busy day and I'm just going to be so glad to get on that airplane and not have to think of what else to pack and where to pack it.

We have seven, yes SEVEN suitcases!! Half of those are for donations for two orphanages though.
We'll now be posting all of our trip updates on our www.tochinaformeilin.blogspot.com site. There's a link in the right navigation bar as well.
Off to bed...or to Walgreens to get a watch since no one in our house seems to have a functioning watch....HOW did I forget to think about a watch??? We don't wear watches anymore because we have our cell phones, I guess.

Goodnight. We can't wait to post from China!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Confirmed Travel Dates

Our consulate appointments were confirmed yesterday and we quickly began making travel arrangements. It isn't easy finding a good flight and a cheap flight on two weeks notice. We felt like we needed to move fast because prices were increasing by the hour. By the end of the day, they were over $1,000 more each ticket. We were fortunate to book them before they got outrageous.

We do have some sad news. Matt won't be coming with us this time. We really thought we could make it happen, but it seems impossible to make up almost three weeks of school work when you're a sophmore.

He was sick one day last week and he found it isn't easy to catch up on missed classroom time plus do his regular work. Classical education is pretty rigorous and he's a good student and works really hard, but I know that he'd be incredibly stressed out when he got home and probably while he was in China. Especially because we return home just one month before final exams and just a couple of weeks before 40 hour projects are due.

So, my mother has agreed to come and stay with him. I'm so grateful my mother's retired and can come to stay so he can be comfortable at home and with someone we completely trust. China just isn't going to be the same without Matthew though!

Anyway, the itinerary is the same as we'd expected, except we're leaving here on Wed, the 28th and returning on Thursday, April 12th. April 2nd is supposed to be Mei Lin Day!!

Counting down to Mei Lin!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

*****T R A V E L * A P P R O V A L*****

Karolyn at CHI sent an email this morning informing us that we have TA!!!! One year and one day from our log-in-date!

She's requested our consulate appointment and once that's confirmed, we'll be set!

Here's the tentative itinerary:

Tues, March 27: Leave the US
Wed, March 28: Arrive in BJ
Thurs, March 29-Sat March 31: Sightseeing in Beijing
Sun, April 1: travel to Kunming, Yunnan Province
Mon, April 2 : MEET MEI LIN!!!
Tues, April 3 : adoption process (notary and registration)
Wed, April 4 - Fri, April 6: Sightseeing and free days in Kunming
Sat, April 7: fly to Guangzhou
Sun, April 8: free day (Easter in China!)
Mon, April 9 : medical exam for Mei Lin
Tues, April 10 : ACS (consulate) appt (or April 11) & Farewell dinner
Wed, April 11: get visa back and return home after 8:00pm OR return home Thurs, April 12th. - This will depend on when the date of the consulate appt.

I can't believe it! It's happening for real!!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

One more thing....Update on Mei Lin!!!

(Okay, sorry for the excessive use of the dot, dot, dots.....).

We got an update on Mei Lin on Wednesday (Feb 28th). No new pictures or I would have posted them immediately. We did get measurements and it looks like she's a healthy girl!

I don't know exactly when the measurments were taken, but I'm guessing sometime in the last month, at 13 months of age.

She is 29 inches tall (up to Miyah's nose) and nearly 20 lbs (probably a pound or two of clothes on - they really bundle). We can actually plot her on a chart (unlike Miyah), and she's about in the 50 percentile for height and close to 60-70 percentile for weight.

She weighs only about six pounds less than Miyah and she's 2 years and 2 months younger!

It's really good to know that she's grown and is a healthy weight, especially with her heart defect.

Friday, March 02, 2007


......months since we sent our LOI (Letter of Intent) for Mei Lin (three months and three days to be exact). Three and a half months since we first saw her little face.

We didn't get travel approval this week, but I'm SURE we'll get it next week (well, pretty sure).

The CCAA had told our agency that they were sending out travel approvals before Chinese New Year (two weeks ago), but apparently didn't get around to it. There are a few agencies who received travel approval today, but nothing here. So, we've been told we'll most likely travel at the very end of March into April.

My new goal: To simply live in the here and now.

It's hard to explain, but I know most anyone who's adopted will understand when I say that it's natural to put everything in your life in the context of the trip to China and the new "baby" coming home...so much so that I tend to dwell in the future without enjoying the present. It's especially difficult when we're nearing travel because I need to prepare. I've literally lived in China-preparation-mode for the last three weeks. Every thought is laced with Chinatrip...ish...ness...

....How many packages of antibacterial wipes do we need for six people for 2.5 weeks? More importantly, how many Pepto tablets do we need for four people times three meals a day (taken prophylactically) for 16 days...? Will our visas be here in time? I need to tell so-and-so at church we won't be here to serve at the end of March. I should get two bags of dog food so we have enough while we're gone......

These things whirl through my brain at warp speed and I scare myself (and my husband) when out of nowhere comes one of these thoughts out loud.

I'm pretty well packed except for a few odds and ends (and clothes - minor details like that), so I'm hoping to relax and think in the "here and now"...enjoy life "as is".

I was thinking about this yesterday when it was obvious we weren't getting TA, and then someone (Michelle S.) on one of my adoption yahoo groups posted this quote...

"Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until
something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the
bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a
conflict. Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does
something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be
completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be
where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where
we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later,
and somewhere else. Let's be patient and trust that the treasure we
look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand."
--Henri J.M. Nouwen

It's a blessing to have so many great cyber-buddies hanging in there with us. We've never met, but they're an amazing source of support.

Tonight we went out to eat at PF Changs and were wonderfully surprised to find that they're currently featuring foods from the Yunnan province...where Mei Lin is living and where we'll be traveling soon. Here's a blurb from the website:

Flavors of Yunnan
The Yunnan Province is the most southwest province in China and is bordered by Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Tibet as well as the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Guizhou and has one of the most diverse ethnic populations in China. The region has a wide range of weather conditions from snow-capped mountains and glaciers in the north to a mild spring climate in the central part to tropical rainforests in the south. The diversity of culture and climate is reflected in Yunnan cuisine. Some of the most unique foods found in the Yunnan Province include its famous cured Yunnan Ham (similar to Spanish Serrano Ham), cheese and dairy products, numerous varieties of mushrooms and chilies as well as fermented items, hearty noodles and pu’er tea. The Flavors of Yunnan menu is reflective of the unique ingredients found in this province.
-->The Flavors of Yunnan Menu
“The Yunnan Province isn’t well known to most people outside of China so we are excited to introduce these new flavors to our customers. We spent a significant amount of time in the region trying the different foods and visiting with local chefs. Based on our experiences, we have created a menu that is delicious, diverse and reflective of the region.” Corporate Executive Chef Bob Tam.

I had the Zodiac Noodles (click for the recipe) and it was really good though I nearly needed CPR after I accidentally ate one of the red chili pods!! OH MY G_SH!!!! Those things are lethal. The dish wasn't spicy otherwise. Miyah loved the noodles, so I think she'll survive Kunming (in Yunnan). Kunming is known for their noodles, especially "Over the Bridge Noodles" and she loves noodles.

Here's the story behind "Over the Bridge (or Crossing the Bridge) Noodles":
Once upon a time there was a scholar who settled into a cottage in preparation for official examinations. His wife had to cross a long wooden bridge over a lake to bring him his meals. In winter, his food was always cold by the time she got to the study bower. Oversleeping one day, she made a curious discovery. She'd stewed a fat chicken and was puzzled to find the broth still hot, though it gave off no steam the oil layer on the surface had preserved the temperature of the broth. Subsequent experiments showed that she could cook the rest of the ingredients for her husband's meal in the hot broth after she crossed the bridge.

This is a traditional meal in the Kunming area. Sort of like a fondue restaurant with communal hot broth for cooking the cut meats and vegetables in the hot pot at your table.