Thursday, August 30, 2007

America the beautiful!

Shiyu on the first day of school in her new Abercrombie clothes.
Doesn't she look so cute? Well all I can say is the last two weeks have been a BIG learning experience.

1. Registration took 4 days!! If you decide to host a student I advise you to take their immunization records to a doctor or the school nurse the second you receive the file(should have done this in May when that file arrived) She had to get a tetnus booster, and almost had to get a Polio/Measles....but we applied for a letter of conscious through the state to avoid this. But it could have all been avoided had we had someone look over the records when they arrived. It is also advisable to make them send you a very detailed transcript....something more than just Math, English, Geography. Needs more detail, maybe even some assessment test scores. Makes registration a whole lot easier.
2. It is hard to participate in a US History class regardless of your intelligence when you have not one speck of that history in your brain.
3. Kids are very, very resilant, and very strong.
4. Parenting is a very different job in China. Shiyu is shocked at how involved parents are in their kids lives, and in their school. I have had to sign every single sylabus that has been handed out....she has no understanding of this process.
5. Shiyu thinks that everyone in America must be rich, that we never have to wait in line for anything, that everyone is incredibly friendly and wants to be so helpful(except for her Math teacher-Bi$ch) Trust me I have tried to make sure she understands that none of this is accurate, and it only appears that way, and that she will get to see that this is not accurate.
6. We drive everywhere
7. That there is a store for everything
8. It is easy to learn to barracade yourself away from the dog so you can enjoy your breakfast in peace
9. That not all kids are created equal. Teenagers can be level headed, responsible, and can take on more than you would ever expect. So far this has been very different than having Taylor and Connor in our house. I don't know if this is a difference in parenting, or if it is a cultural difference, our it is just a personality difference. I would guess it is a combination of all of them. So far....she is the perfect child.
10. That we have a lot to learn about China
11. That the people in China think that George Bush looks like a monkey, and that they also think that most of the US thinks that he is a good president, and that we all want to be at war. We have had some very lengthy discussions about this, and she now understands that most of the US does not want to be at war, and that overwhelmingly our population is ready for a new president.

The list could go on and on. But this is just a few that come to mind. We are very lucky to have this opportunity. Let me just tell you how quickly someone becomes a member of your family, and quickly you become protective of that new family member.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


You must be thinking what a slacker I am....Not, I just have not stopped moving since last Sunday. This past week is a total blur, I have not had a moment to spare or to write a post.
All I have to say is if you are frustrated with the current wait times in China.....accept an exchange student to live with you for 10 months, and you won't have a moment to think about the wait times. I have been moving and doing constantly for exactly one week now. Don't get me wrong here, Shiyu(pronounced shhh- u- wee) is a wonderful addition to our family, we are thrilled to have her here, we are enjoying all the things we are learning from her.....but it has eaten this last week away like bagworms eats a tree..... it just disappears into think air.

So school starts tomorrow, she is working hard to get at least one of the summer reading books finished(Death of a Salesman) she will have a timed writing on it on Wednesday in English. So I am much more worried about it than she is. She is mostly just really excited to get the show on the road, and wear the new duds I bought her yesterday. I think she considered wearing the new jeans to bed!!

So I will write a real post in the coming days. Be prepared that our blog has gone from a blog about adoption, to a big white machine, to our many travels, to a new dog, and now it will be mostly about this amazing, brave 16 year old from China. Maybe someday it will make a full circle and be about a family adopting from China again:)

Hope your weekend was good, ours was full, fun, short!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

She made it safe and sound!

The girls made here a little late, but safe and sound, and no worse for the wear. We are so lucky, she is just great, and is so polite, and anxious to dig her heels in and make this a great experience. She is so little......and by the way she speaks Chinese. We are communicating just fine, but after a summer of emails, you forget that someone does not speak the same language. Anyway, she brought us some Chinese tea, a beautiful tea pot, and she made us a scrapbook of her family, friends, her home, dog, and some of the trips she has taken. So sweet, and her mom wrote us(in Chinese) a lovely letter about taking care of Shiyu, and that she knew she was in good hands. We hope someday that we will get to meet them.
Anyway, gotta go get her up from her 1 hour nap that I allowed(gotta get her adjusted to the time before school starts) and we are headed over to our friends house that is hosting too for swimming, and pizza.
Thanks for everyone's nice comments, and you were was fine the second I hugged her:)

Friday, August 17, 2007

She's leaving on a jet plane

Well our student will be headed for the airport in Chongqing in about 6 hours to make her long journey to Texas. I think her flight leaves at 2:55 p.m. and arrives here at 9:20 tomorrow night.

She emailed me to tell me her best friend had come over to stay the night and to celebrate her upcoming year, and her departure. How they had had so much fun, and how happy she was for her to have this experience.

She is 16 almost 17, and I am so impressed by the fact that she is so excited about this journey, this opportunity, and this life changing experience. I am not sure at that age I would have been mature enough, or brave enough to leave my parents, and fly 8000 miles to live with strangers for 10 months. What must she be thinking?? How must she be feeling? I worry that maybe her parents have encouraged this opportunity and her real desire is to stay at her own school with her friends, living with her parents just as all kids should do. Or is she thinking this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and will change her life forever....hopefully for the better! I can't imagine what must be running through her mind. Is she worried that she won't like us, or that we won't like her...I worry that she won't like us, or think that we are too strict, or wayyyyy too boring. I want her to feel comfortable in our house, and in her room, and with us, and at her new school, and with her new friends.....I worry about these things, and I am 40 years old with a lot of life experiences behind me. Does she not worry as much because she is too naive to worry?

We are just about 25 hours from her arrival, and I can't wait to see her, hug her, and introduce her to our life. I am not sure who's life will be changed more....

Monday, August 13, 2007

How did I get so lucky??

The secret pal strikes again. Man she rocks, and I am so lucky. She sends me stuff all the time. She has this amazing knack for knowing exactly what I like, and what I need. This months theme was something personal. There is some really cute stuff for the "princess" that beautiful blanket, and the Oink Piglet book. But most of the box was for the "Queen of the house" which included my favorite english breakfast tea(no I didn't care that it was Archer Farms) a cute new mug to enjoy my tea in, some calming bubble bath, a great new CD-which happens to have one of her favorite songs. It is Corinne Baily Rae, and the song which is #3 is "put your records on" so I can't wait to listen to it. I can tell you what I will be doing tonight. Thank you Secret Pal, and thanks for the book last month. She sent me "Your not my Real Mommy"
I can't wait for us to meet, and that desire grows stronger every single month, because it is like you know me so well, and we are already friends.
**she always wraps my gifts in the cutest paper, and even the box she sends it in looks cute. My mail lady always tells me that when she sees my box in her truck....she always thinks how lucky I am, and she always wonders what's inside(all because the box is always so cute)


This past Saturday was Miss Meggie's sip and see in Kansas City. I really wanted to go, and I really wanted to surprise "K" with my coming, but the fares were a bit high, and I have spent a lot on airfare this year going to KC. So I decided that it just was not going to happen. Well then my good friend "M" offered up a buddy pass on AA to go and surprise everyone at the party. Not only did she offer this pass to me, she insisted that I go, and she was just as excited about surprising "K" as I was. She checked the flights, she took care of getting me listed on the flight, she checked on me throughout the day. I can't thank her enough for allowing me the opportunity.
I must tell you it is very hard to surprise "K" and I was not for sure that she didn't have a clue of my impending arrival. She kept telling how bummed she was that I wasn't coming, and that she knew that I couldn't come, but that everyone would be asking where I was. So I boarded my flight early Sat morning, flew to KC(first class mind you) jumped in my rental car, stopped at Starbucks to pick up some iced lattes, and then knocked on her front door by 10:00 Sat morning. When she and the kids answered the door in their jammies, and the yelled OMG looks who is here....I knew that I had pulled it off. It was so fun, and I think everyone had a great time, and I am so glad that I got to go. Miss Meggie now weighs 7.5 lbs, and as you can see she is as cute as she can be. Her hair is still red, and she has a temper and a set of lungs to go with the red hair.
This is my friend Jamie....she has 3 adopted children, and would have loved to show you a picture of "K" and me, but there wasn't one that showed you how cute Miss Meggie looks. She was an angel at her party, and she received so many nice gifts.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Yeah, She is coming!

*****This has been edited for you all to see it for yourself that Gracie does ring the bell*****
This is how we housetrained Matty too, it works beautifully!! I was only asking her if she wanted to go outside, and then Mr D was able to snap the picture.

I just found out this morning that our student(Shiyu, aka Amy) from Chongqing was approved for her visa, and she is for sure coming to spend 10 months with us this school year. We don't have her travel information yet, but we are expecting her around the 18th.

I have a lot to do between now and then. The list is really, really big.

We are very excited about this opportunity, and we think this is going to be great for all of us. The experience became even better when we learned that our good friends that live just 15 minutes away and have 2 adopted girls from China are now hosting a student from the same province. I think this will be a great support for both girls, and will be so easy for us to be able to do things together with the girls.

So we will keep you up to date on her arrival, as I am sure I will have lots of great stories to share about this experience.

*Gracie is doing great, still no accidents. She has learned to ring the bell that we have on the back door to let us know she would like to go out, she has learned "get in your house"(her crate) and she has learned "sit" So we are off to a good start. Her hair is growing about as fast as she is. She weighed 13 lbs when we went to the vet, and I am guessing that she will be up several pounds by the time we go back next week. We'll see. She doesn't look quite as awkward as had been when we first brought her home.

*Thanks for listening to the whining yesterday, I really didn't mean for it to sound like really. I just had nothing really to talk about, and it just wasn't the best day. I am chalking it up to the AC breaking again, and having to go through yesterday fighting with the HVAC people, and sweating my ass off. So sorry if it came across as a pity party. No pity going on here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Absolutely Nothing

I have nothing people. It is hot, there is nothing on TV, I am trying to train a puppy, I can't wait for my college age step son to go back to college, we are in limbo with our exchange student(she has another visa interview on Thur) we just went 3 weeks without a/c downstairs(that was the soonest they could come replace it) and in the end I am just pissed off. There are days when this wait feels like it is flying by, and then there are days when it just seems too much to bear. Today is one of those days, and the reality of 2 mores years has me wanting to climb back in bed-but I can't the dog just chewed through my usb cord that runs from my computer to my big white doesn't really work without it, so I guess I am going to Fry's this morning to get a new cord. Sucks to be me