Talia's Tale: Our Adoption Journey

Watch for BBB posts, Big Brother Blog, to see what Toby has to say! See May's archives to get background info.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Good Bye and God Bless!


Well, I was going to wait until I was rested and had my housework caught up before I posted again, but it's 2.5 weeks later, and I've finally figured out that I won't be catching up on anything for quite some time!

We have a wonderful, beautiful, lively, bright daughter and we could not be more proud of how well she is adjusting. Big Brother Toby is doing very well, too, and is loving first grade ("except for the math and reading and writing part" - such a boy!). He's missing his time alone with me, which used to consist of days on end, and is now pretty much limited to the time after Talia is asleep and before he goes to bed (about 45 minutes). I tell him we can have time alone together when Dad is home, but of course he wants to spend time alone with Dad then. I tell him things will get easier pretty soon, and that I'm proud he is such a good big brother. Story: We were at the play area at the mall the other day. Talia wanted to sit in the little car and watch the other kids for awhile. A boy about 5 years old tried to push her out of the car. Toby was there in an instant, and I don't know what he said to the boy, but without touching him, Toby had him moving away quickly. Go Big Brother!

Let's see... Talia's vocabulary increases every day, although most of her English is spoken in a way that only immediate family can understand. However, her pronounciation improves daily as well. I just put her down for a nap, and her last words before sleep were "Mama, yuck!" Not, of course, insinuating that I was yuck, but offering her finger to me to clean off what she had found in her nose (ahh, the joys of motherhood ;) ). Her most common words: more, eat, Mama (said altogether). She can say: Mama, Baba, Talia, Toby, eat, drink, potty, more, all done, up, no, thank you, please, good girl, yuck. What more does a girl need? Oh yeah, I'm still working on "Shopping, please, Mama!", although she certainly does like to shop! My cousin Heather and her family sent Talia a purse, complete with keys, debit card, cell phone, mirror, lipstick, etc. (oh yeah, it's in the picture!). She won't get in the car without it! She gets out her keys before we leave the house, then digs frantically for her debit card when we get to a check out. If I happen to get a call, she must get out her phone as well. She's such a girl, I love it! Oh, and she has a shoe fetish, and wants to dress Toby (which drives him nuts "I can dress myself!"), is drawn to the color pink, and we're having SO MUCH FUN!!

As for motor skills, her fine motor skills are great, i.e. picking up small objects, feeding herself, etc. Her gross motor skills are better than I expected: She doesn't like uneven ground like grass, but is getting better. She's taken a couple headers on our steep driveway. But at the park, she can climb up the slides as well as the steps, and is pretty much fearless!

Of course she's not always the sweet little angel. She is a very typical 2-year-old. She throws the occasional fit, screaming and kicking her feet, usually connected with my not feeding her a third breakfast or another cookie, or not picking her up when we're doing something with Toby for a few minutes. She scratches at Toby if he ignores her. She still says she has to go potty when she's bored or wants our full attention, then laughs and shakes her head when we get to the toilet. I'd be worried if she didn't do these sorts of things, I just take them as indications that she's comfortable enough with us to be naughty sometimes.

Physically, she has had one good ol' American cold. She has gained 2 pounds, I think, and has quite the belly, although we found out today that she brought giardia with her from the orphanage, so once we clear that up (about 5 days from now), we'll see if some of that belly is bloating. Of course, the way she eats, I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see any change! We'll slowly work her into a more normal eating pattern, but for now, we just keep the snacks healthy and don't stress about it. Her pediatrician couldn't hear a heart murmer, yea, but we're still taking her to the pediatric cardiologist the first week of October, to see if she still has a PFO, and if so, whether we should do anything about it.

This will probably be my last post. I've been so surprised to hear how many people have been reading this blog! Thank you all so much for your interest and support. If you or someone you know ever wants more info on adopting from China, I'd be more than happy to share our experiences. We thank God every day for our amazing blessing in Talia. Our family is complete, and that empty place in my heart is filled.

God Bless You All,
Sandy, Mike, Toby and Talia

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Home Jet Lagged

We made it home Thursday morning after missing our connecting flight in LA by about 1 minute and having to get a hotel room. We're still extrememly jet lagged. I've been up with Talia since 3 am, and Mike is in bed after running a fever last night. I think I could sleep normally given the chance, but Talia still has her days and nights backwards, and Mike hasn't been able to sleep day or night.

I'm SOOO exhausted, but happy! Thank God my mom and dad didn't leave until this morning.

Toby is the great Big Brother we knew he would be. He's making paper airplanes with her right now. Talia seems to like it here, but doesn't like the fact that her crib is in a seperate room. She's used to her whole life (except the potty) being basically in the same room.

Ooop, Talia's here, Gotta go try to function.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Thanks

She fell back asleep, so I just wanted to add a big "thank you" to everyone who has sent comments and e-mails! Sorry I haven't been able to respond to all of them, but I do read them, and greatly appreciate your love and support! God Bless Y'all, and I'll hopefully see many of you Sunday morning!

Going Home Today

Don't know how long I have to type. Talia is sleeping in this morning, which is great, because our flight home doesn't leave until 9 pm, an hour after she's usually asleep. We're nervous about her being able to sleep for a long time sitting up, as the arm rests on our plane don't go up.

Wish me luck packing today. I may have gone a little crazy buying kids clothes!

Let's see... Talia has gone from sitting in the stroller sucking her thumb to wanting to push the stroller everywhere, which is really fun and cute, but it certainly takes us awhile to get anywhere! We went to the Budhist temple yesterday so she could get a special blessing. My view is this: There is only one God, called different things by different people. Budha is all about love/peace/harmony/etc., and I just can't help but think that He doesn't mind being a jolly fat guy to some people. I know some of you will disagree strongly on this, but after visiting that wonderfully peaceful temple, that's my feelings.

Oh, I hear rustling and a little voice. I'd better go. We get home Wednesday about midnight. See you soon!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Guangzhou aka Mecca

We're finally here at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou. The hotel and the area around it cater to we adoptive families, and it's fabulous. All of Talia's "normal" foods from the orphanage are here; oat porridge, congee (soupy bland rice with meat). There's a 7-11 across the street to buy water and milk and ramen (she ate bunches for lunch today) and juice, etc. There must be literally 30 shops within one block of here to buy baby clothes, squeaky shoes, jade, toys, artwork, and absolutely anything else a tourist/new parent might want. I'm trying to limit my shopping to while Talia is napping, so I don't drive Mike too crazy.

We can finally get Talia into a routine here, which she definitely appreciates. You should here this girl giggle!

They have a beautiful stream/ponds/waterfall in the lobby, complete with koi, which Talia loves to watch. There is also a large play room, sponsered by Matel, that we've been to twice already so she can play with other kids. This afternoon we are going to check out the pool. She likes to splash in the tub, so we'll see....

Talia is NOT a morning person. She likes to wake up very slowly, including after her nap. She is currently sitting on my lap sucking her thumb (which she doesn't do as often as she did 3 days ago), not wanting to do anything else. Fine with me. We don't have to do anything until Tuesday when we swear the oath to take care of her to the Chinese officials. Then Wednesday evening we finally fly home.

Better go be Mama some more!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Day 4 Rude Awakening

Poor Talia. It's Thursday, our 4th day with her. She decided to start exploring today, and came to a horrible realization: The world is full of "no".

Duh, we should have realized that thus far her whole world has been pretty much baby-proofed. There was probably very little in the orphanage that she saw, that she couldn't have. Whatever was in her crib, play area, whatever, was fair game. Now she can't have so many of the things she wants: "No, you may not have Mama's coffee." "No, you may not play with the outlet." "No, you may not whip that soaking washcloth out of the tub at Baba." "No, you may not play with that glass dragon in the shop." Our poor little girl had quite a few fits today. And I'm not talking "I can't have what I want so I'm going to pout" fits, I'm talking "I don't understand, I thought you loved me" fits. Heartbreaking. Luckily, she still quiets down quite fast when Mama holds her close and rocks her.

Of course, we had many wonderful moments today as well. She started to say her version of "Good Girl", something like "Ge Gr". She already says "Baba" a lot, "Mama", "Baaby" (Toby), and some other words which we don't know, but could be either baby talk or Shanghaiese, and are probably some of each. Our guide says she doesn't understand much Mandarin. She definitely talked more today, so we're fairly confident she's not going to be one of the adopted kids who goes mute for a year to take everything in.

She laughs more easily with me, is less stressed when we're out and about, and has started people watching. She seems to like older children, yea for Toby! She wanted to share her Cheerios with any other kids she saw while feeding the koi today (see below). She is very kind-hearted. She is scary-bright when it comes to mimicing. She's learned how to screw and unscrew the lid to her sippy cup, how to use deoderant and suntan lotion (I have to be very careful she doesn't see me use the baby powder). I had to hide the toilet paper, because she quickly caught on that it goes in the toilet, so today she twice told us she had to go potty when she didn't, just to throw paper in the toilet. (In most places in China, and probably in the orphanage, TP is put in the trash can. Our hotel caters to Westerners, so we haven't been told to do that.) She knows where the formula bottle is kept, among other things. It's very hard to get anything by her.

We went to the Yu Gardens today, thinking it would be a place for Talia to explore and play. Yeah, right. It was all cobblestone paths filled with tourists. She did get to feed her Cheerios to the koi, and she liked that. She didn't want to walk, just wanted to be carried.

Mike and I just this evening spied a tiny park from our hotel room. It has a koi pond and a small grassy area, more grass than we've seen since we got here. There is no gate to get in, but there is a guard house. We're going to ask the concierge in the morning if we're allowed in. We'll feed a German sort of Cheerios we found to the koi, and try to get Talia to show us if she can run or jump or do anything other than "toddle", just to get an idea of how delayed her gross motor skills are (everything else appears amazingly on target or advanced for 24 months!).

Maggie, our guide, will meet us in the lobby at 2 pm tomorrow, to go to the welfare institute office to pick up the rest of our paperwork, then to the airport for the flight to Guangzhou! I'm so ready to get to the White Swan Hotel, which caters to adoptive families, and will have a play room and hopefully more of the food Talia is used to.

I'd better get some rest, Good Night!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pic!



She' recovering from a cold, and she's waking up from her nap, I think, so here!

Too Busy to Post

I can't find time to post all the amazing, wonderful, scary things, 'cuz I was too busy yesterday doing paperwork and worrying, and too busy bonding today!

Yesterday was tough. We were at 3 places doing paperwork til about 1 pm, which meant Talia missed her lunch and nap times. She basically lost it. She cried hard for a little while, then when I got her calmed down, she shut down. She just sucked her thumb and played with her eyelashes, her 2 self-calming methods. We got worried. Last night she cried in her crib until we put her between us, the cried in her sleep often. She quieted easily when we put our hands on her, pulled her close, rubbed her belly, etc., and slept for 14 hours!

Today we went to the place she was abandonned, a poorer suburb of Shanghai near a hotel. So sad, but we were so happy that we could see the place, take pics and video.

We made a trip to the jade market, then cut it short when Talia was obviously ready to go. We cancelled the rest of the afternoon (our poor guide, we keep changing plans on her, but we have to follow Talia's lead now that we don't HAVE to be anywhere). As soon as we got back to the hotel, she started smiling and playing and even talking a little (not that we could understand anything besides "Baba", can you say "Daddy's girl"?) We think she's figured out that as long as we're in this room, she's the center of the universe. I fed her leftover rice/meat/veggies from last night (we have a fridge, and can boil water, so I mixed boiling water in the cold food and it warmed up beautifully), then she was ready to lie down, and has been asleep for about 2 hours now. I think the name of the game is to let her eat and sleep as much as she wants these first few days, weeks.

Tonight we're going to meet our guide for dinner, then go on a one-hour river cruise, which will hopefully be fun for Talia, lots of neat lights to see, then back for more sleep!

I really do hope to post pics here soon...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Gotcha Day!!!!!!!!!

We have her and she's absolutely fantastic and I'm so exhausted I'm shaking but I had to tell y'all! Thank You, God, for Talia Ren Xiu!

She loves to be held but is very independent when it comes to things like eating and arranging her toys EXACTLY the way she wants them!

She knew who we were because we think she was shown the photo album we sent often. She recognized it with a smile and enthusiasm when we pulled it out in the hotel room. She didn't seem surprised to see us, and readily called us Mama and Baba when prodded by her nannies.

She loves to eat everything, is bigger than we expected, a solid 2T at 24.1 months old!

Mike has already gotten some big ol' belly laughs out of her this evening. She didn't want to go in her crib for a nap, but didn't complain one bit by 8 pm. We were all just exhausted, and I have to sleep now.

I'll try to post pics here tomorrow.....zzzzzzzz....