Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We're off to Pennsylvania to spend the next few days with Monica's family. Of course, Christmas would be nicer with our little girl, but this one will still be awfully good. After all, it's the first one where we won't have a million relatives peppering us with "Have you heard anything yet?"

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone. Maybe I'll share some new Flip videos when we get back....

Monday, December 22, 2008


Let me preface this by saying that I bought my first camcorder early in 2006. We had just submitted our dossier to the Chinese government, and at that point we were expecting that we'd be traveling to China before the end of the year. So, every new father needs a camcorder, right? But of course, the adoption took just a bit longer than expected, and in the meantime that camcorder became, well, totally obsolete.

And then my darling Monica told me about the Flip. It has enough internal memory to record an hour of video, so there's no need to use tapes or DVDs or anything like that. It's tiny--about the size of an iPod--and it plugs directly into the USB port of my computer, so I can dump all of my video directly onto my hard drive. It's powered by an internal battery that recharges just by plugging it into the computer. It's incredibly easy to use, with only about a half-dozen buttons. Turn it on, push the big red button, and boom--you're recording. And perhaps best of all, the latest version of the Flip records in HD, and even in low light the video looks great.

So I decided to give myself an early Christmas present, and it arrived this afternoon. Here's a simple little video I threw together in about two minutes. I even added a soundtrack using an mp3 I had sitting on my hard drive. Dang, I love technology. And this little gadget is going to come in VER-R-RY handy in China.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Yesterday marked one week since seeing Stanzi's face for the first time and it feels almost like I've known that face forever. The three years of waiting have evaporated and, even in the gloom of a typical Ohio winter, there's sunshine on the horizon. I'm able to stop looking back on the wait and start looking forward to our trip to China.

We had our pre-adoption consultation at Oak Adoptive Health Center on Tuesday and all of Stanzi's paperwork looks A-Okay. No red flags. We spent 2 1/2 hours with the pediatrician discussing all sorts of stuff from travel to vaccinations and melamine. Once we have our travel dates we'll make an appointment for Stanzi's first "in person" visit. She'll go to Oak a few times and then transfer to a more local doctor, assuming she doesn't have any serious issues. The staff at Oak will consult with our local physician for a smooth transition. Mary Ellen and Dr. Kempf were absolutely wonderful and I'm looking forward to our first visit with the baby.

I think the stress of the last six weeks has finally caught up to me and I'm coming down with a cold. It's funny, but I can be relatively healthy during times of high stress and as soon as the stress is released I get sick. Well, I'll have to suck it up because the next ten days are going to be nutty. I'm not getting out of Christmas this year!

Our poor little Ruby (pictured above) is sick, too. She seems fine except that she's been vomiting a lot. It's always just liquid but she clearly has an upset tummy. Ruby has a tendency to eat things she shouldn't (rocks) so John is taking her to the vet this afternoon to have that tummy checked. It's probably nothing, but better safe than sorry with the holidays approaching.

Well, off I go to do a little cleaning. Once I get the rest of my house clean, I can concentrate on the nursery. It was about 50% completed when I turned it into a giant walk-in closet/storage room. Let the nesting begin!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dogs and Babies

We have two yellow labs named Lotte and Ruby (shown with Santa there to the left; note that Lotte--the one on the right--seems less than excited about the chokehold St. Nick has applied). One of the big questions we've had is how our little girl will react to them, since it's likely that she's never encountered dogs before. We're not terribly worried about them; as a breed labs are known for being wonderful with children, and every time we've had kids over to visit things have gone very well. But we want to make sure that the first meetings between baby and doggies go smoothly. Does anyone out there have suggestions about how to introduce Stanzi to Lotte and Ruby (and vice versa)?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Wow, what an emotional roller coaster the past several days have been. It's very strange that in the midst of all the joy and happiness there's a whole new batch of anxieties and fears. Today I took the time to complete the most recent round of paperwork for our agency. There's a lot of signing and a little notarizing. One thing I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around is Stanzi's medical report. John and I have to sign it and return it to the agency. I guess that's basically to confirm that we accept the contents of the report. I should mention that it's written in Chinese and it's 5 months old. We could wait until after our pediatric consultation on Tuesday, but I'm not sure that would make me feel any better. I mean, if we find out she's probably not "healthy" would we turn her away and wait for another baby? No. I can say that with absolute certainty, and yet I'm terrified. Maybe it's simply a fear of the unknown. Maybe I'll feel this way until she and I meet in person, but I hope it just fades away as our travel date approaches. Another fear I have is that I'll drop the ball and forget to do something that needs to be done before we can travel. What if we can't leave for China because a required task slipped my mind? Okay, I know that this little fear is much more irrational than worrying about my daughter's health, but it nags at me all day. Maybe the holidays will take my mind off of the worries and accentuate the shear thrill of having a baby. With that in mind I'm posting one of the other photos we have of Stanzi. Is she adorable, or what?

Friday, December 12, 2008

What we know

So, in a couple of months we're going to be bringing this little person into our home. Of course, we want to get as much information about her as possible, and the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs has helpfully provided several documents to help us here. Unfortunately most of them are in Chinese, and since our knowledge of Mandarin doesn't go much beyond "Ni-hao," we mostly have to make educated guesses--that is, until next week, when we take the documents with us to Akron our Pre-Adoption Consultation at Akron Children's Hospital. Meanwhile, here's what we know:

She's been institutionalized since the day after her presumed birth.

She's a deep sleeper (YES!).

She holds her head up while lying on her stomach.

She locates the direction of sounds, and visually follows moving toys.

She follows people's movements by moving her head from one side to the other.

She's quiet, is fond of reading picture books, is "obstinate sometimes," and is closest to her caretaker.

"She goes to bed at 8:00pm. She wakes up once or twice each night and falls asleep again after her caregiver changes her diapers and gives her a little milk. She wakes up around 6:00am in the morning." Not bad.

"She poops once a day and urinates a number of times." Good to know.

"She is a very pretty little girl." Well, like, DUH. Just look at her photo!

Okay, now off I go to grade a stack of final exams.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Introducing Constanze Elaine

She's finally here! After 33 months we have a daughter. She was born on February 20, 2008 (exactly 2 years after our LID). She is in an orphanage in Yujiang County, Jiangxi Province. All of the information we have on her is from July so it's a bit old. Regardless, my favorite tidbit is that she is "obstinate sometimes". I think my dad is hoping I get a little karmic payback! We have an appointment with a pediatrician on Tuesday. She specializes in international adoption and will be able to give us an idea of how big our little girl will be when we bring her home. Of course we plan on discussing many other issues as well, but I'd like to know what size clothes she'll need!
Honestly, I loved this kid long before she was even conceived. After seeing her photos my heart is bursting.