Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hotels and Skype and clothes shopping

It has been an eventful few days! This weekend went incredibly fast. Sabbath was all about church and naps and resting up for the upcoming busy week.

The other highlight of Sabbath was a Skype call with our daughter, the first one after the adoption has been finalized. It was so amazing sitting there and talking with a child who I know is legally our daughter and that we finally get to meet in only a month. We showed her the suitcase we have for her and all of the clothes we're bringing to Taiwan. She asked if we could bring her entire wardrobe to Taiwan! Sorry, sweetie, but we don't have a suitcase big enough for that!

On Sunday, I spent hours researching hotels in Taiwan and getting our reservations made. I am so relieved that we have both flights and hotels for our trip! Only 29 days until we leave for Taiwan and 34 days until we meet our daughter!!

We also went to the mall Sunday afternoon and found another pair of shorts for me. Taiwan is HOT and there was no way that I could survive a week in 90 degree heat with jeans. We stumbled across a sale at North Face and found a pretty blue jacket for my daughter. I also scoured the shoe websites and found a pair of blue sneakers at half price. Now all we need is a swimming suit for her and she'll be ready to go.

We had a beautiful surprise this morning. I had been hoping that we would receive just one more Skype call before we travel. God is generous and gave us two! We have one scheduled on the 14th and another on the 27th, just two days before we leave for Taiwan. I am so excited!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Liftoff!

We have liftoff! We are now the proud owners of two tickets to Taiwan and THREE tickets for the return flight.

I am exhausted but elated. Between the heat and a personal issue and the stress of trying to make travel arrangements, I am exhausted. I don't know how people do this with little ones already home. My hat is off to mothers who go through this entire adoption process and parent at the same time!

My email inbox is getting really full and my kitchen table is a mess and my Chinese flashcards are piling up. But I was able to clean 2/3 of a kitchen cupboard today! Yippee!!

Tomorrow we're going to start researching hotels. We also want to come up with several ideas of things we can do or see with our daughter while still in Taiwan. The Hello Kitty Cafe is already on our list. We'll ask her on Sabbath's Skype call which of the ideas she's interested in. Hopefully that will give her a better idea of what will happen when the three of us meet. I cannot wait!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

It's official!!

I have been wishing and hoping and praying that we would be able to buy plane tickets in time for our Skype call this Sabbath evening. That way we can tell our girl that we are coming!

My prayers were answered! Our agency notified us this morning that the judge in Taiwan has issued Final Decree on our adoption. This means that the country of Taiwan legally recognizes our girl as our daughter. I am now a mommy!!!

With that notice of Final Decree came confirmation of our travel dates. We will be meeting our daughter on August 3rd and getting her visa on August 5th. I am so excited!!!

Today I emailed several travel agencies and had one get back in touch with me almost immediately. He and I have been emailing back and forth and we now have plane tickets reserved in our name. Once we get the "ok" from our agency, we'll pay for the plane tickets and be that much closer to travel. Hopefully we'll be squared away tomorrow!

Lilypie Countdown to Adoption tickers

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Deep cleaning and other goals

This week I decided it was time to get organized and get some things done. There isn't much I want to accomplish before we travel to Taiwan, but I would like to deep clean my house. I want to come home to a clean and organized home. So I've set some daily goals for myself:

30 minutes of exercise (trying to lose a couple of pounds)
60 minutes of Chinese (trying to become a tiny bit closer to fluent)
30 minutes of organizing/cleaning (beyond my normal chores)

So far so good! I've exercised both yesterday and today. I studied yesterday for 62 minutes and have 45 more to go today. And I've done 30 minutes of cleaning both yesterday and today. Here are a couple pictures of my progress.

before

after

before

after

before

after

I'm not sure the before and after photos look terribly different, but I did get rid of a few things. I am keeping the KonMarie principle in mind as I clean. "Does this bring me joy? If so, keep it. If not, get rid of it." I discarded some really old and ratty kitchen towels, outdated spices, and a few instruction manuals that are available online. And now all three of these cupboards are scrubbed down and organized.

If we have a few dollars extra before we leave, I'd like to buy a spice rack. My spices are almost all bulk purchases from Whole Foods so I have a ton of little baggies on the bottom shelf of my cabinet. It is a mess! It's hard to cook because I have to pull out handfuls of baggies and sort through them to find the spice I'm looking for. I'm doing to do some research to see if the bulk spices are actually fresh or if I should just buy jarred. If I go to the bulk route, I want to buy glass jars to store what I purchase. If I go the jarred route, I want to toss out everything I have and buy the staples I need. Either way, I'd like to organize the spices so that I can start teaching my daughter how to cook.

Half an hour still until the Women's World Cup game between Japan and Netherlands so I'm going to sneak in some Chinese studies before the game.

Happy cooking!

Friday, June 19, 2015

MIA

I know I've been completely MIA recently, which is funny because I was finally getting into a good blogging rhythm. But this week has been very emotionally charged. This week was my second time participating in Heather Forbes' Mom's Conference. Heather spends several days leading us through some emotional work, digging into the past and working toward forgiving and healing from childhood scars. Then she teaches strategies to deal with the present and look forward to the future.

It's a fantastic conference, though it knocks my emotional legs out from under me for five days straight. I worked through some specific issues during the first conference and then continued the work during this conference. I can tell that the first conference made a positive difference because the second was difficult but was not quite as painful as the first.

I may post more about the conference but I haven't decided yet. I learned a lot but it made me feel very vulnerable. I'm not sure I want to share that vulnerability online, though maybe some of my observations and experiences could help someone else. Who knows? I'm not sure when the next Mom's Conference will be but I highly recommend that women attend. Heather is an inspiring mentor and I've learned a lot from her.

Monday, June 15, 2015

I love mail!

Today was an awesome mail day! First we received our travel packet from our agency. I'm shocked and impressed by how much information this packet contains.


Reading through it, I started feeling overwhelmed at how many decisions have to be made before we travel. I had to remind myself - one step at a time! One step at a time!


Then we received our Zulily order, which contained two pairs of shorts for our daughter. It was really hard to find shorts that were modest!


I was so amused at how our order came in two packages and they were two different shades of blue. One was delivered by OnTrack and the other by USPS. Efficiency? Not really!


We bought both of these tops at Macy's yesterday, both on clearance. I'm a bit worried they will be too big for our girly, but at least they are light material and will work well with the Taiwan heat.



We bought this cute purple suitcase a couple years ago when we made some really short trips. Hopefully she likes it because it's now hers!


Though to be honest, I'm wondering if we will even need a separate suitcase for our daughter. Her clothes are so small they seem like they will fit in our suitcase!


But, the airline gives us two free checked bags each and we're only taking one suitcase for the both of us and one for her. She'll probably like having something of her own to travel with. We also ordered her a backpack as a carry on. It won't ship for another two weeks though. I can't wait until it gets here!

Is it the end of July yet?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

AIT letter

One more tiny step complete. Our AIT letter arrived today.


This letter gives notification that our daughter is "likely to qualify as an orphan for the purpose of eligibility for immigration benefits as an adopted child of US citizens." What's odd to me is that they don't make the final determination until after our adoption is finalized in Taiwan.

If for some reason they determine our girl is not eligible to immigrate, it will be too late. By that point, she will already be legally recognized as our daughter by the country of Taiwan. *insert sarcastic voice here* Oh no. We will have to move to another country. Whatever will be do?" */sarcastic voice*

My husband and I have tossed around the idea of someday moving to another country for a couple of years, just to experience a part of the world. Yes, it would be a shock if we were forced to move rather than making the decision ourselves. But after the initial panic response, we'd be excited for the opportunity. Of course, this is highly unlikely to happen. I'm pretty sure that everyone involved in our adoption is certain that our daughter meets the definition of an orphan and thus will be granted permission to immigrate to the United States.

I am slightly disappointed that we have not been able to finalize travel dates yet. We need to confirm our AIT appointment (where our daughter gets her visa to come to the US) so that we can confirm the day we meet her so that we can buy a plane ticket. But the agency in Taiwan has not yet confirmed this date and our coordinator is now on vacation until Wednesday. Hopefully we will have plane tickets in hand by the end of the week.

Then I can start the countdown for how many more days until we meet our daughter!!