Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happiest Baby in the World

And the parents are pretty thrilled too. I swear I've never met a happier baby. Not one tear has been cried in a very stressful day. Zara is beautiful, healthy, and full of giggles. We are so blessed and happy that she isn't traumatized. You should hear the hallways at the hotel. Definitely a different story. Here's hoping she'll remain such a happy little darling.

The trip to Civil Affairs was a real no-brainer. We met in the lobby, boarded a green bus, and 20 minutes later we stepped off the bus. Next we took an elevator to the 3rd floor of a government building and within 5 minutes we met Zara or Zara Noelle Lanxin M. She was wearing Santa pants!!! (pictures in the Travel Journal section of the blog).

Alina is so happy. She's been very affectionate, sisterly and protective. She's a huge help. When we returned to the hotel they were cleaning our room so we headed straight for the playroom (pictures in the Travel Journal section of the blog).

Well, that's it for now. Lots of site seeing, shopping at WalMart (War-Mart) and other fun things to come as we wait for Zara's passport to be processed. Then we head to the famous White Swan hotel in Ghuanzhou for Christmas. Happy Holidays everyone!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Good Morning Changsha!

Changsha is really amazing. Its enormous. We're on the 33rd floor of the hotel so all you can see out of the window is on on sea of buildings. We are enoying extremely diverse breakfasts with a combination of Chinese, Japanese and American cuisine. Alina's favorite steamed pork buns are everywhere so she is eating well and enjoying herself. We keep waking up around 4 am but managed to go back to sleep this morning until 7 am. I think we are almost over the jet lag just in time to meet Zara tomorrow.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Need a Little Christmas, Right This Very Minute!

How is it that everytime I make it to services at the Unity Church of the Hills they always seem to know exactly what I'm struggling with? This Sunday's service covered worry. Imagine that! I've worked myself into a frenzy with worry and anxiety over this trip to China. Ron also spoke of how Christmas and the love of family and friends can help resolve worries.

The service and the meditation definitely calmed my nerves. And it gave me a few tools to use in dealing with worry in the future. The big suggestion? Write down all of your worries on the left side of the paper and then on the right side list a series of responses and then put the paper away. Ron claims this allows you to put aside the worries. Then later on, go back and check on the paper to see how all of the issues you stewed over had resolved themselves. I'm going to give this a try. Will report on my results in a few weeks.

Our Itinerary - Holiday Travels in China

Here's our family's itinerary for the trip to China. I did a little research today and it looks like the hotels will be very nice. Even found a photo of Santa Clause in the Dolton Hotel in Changsha. Check out the pix on my photo portfolio at ......

12/14 Austin/Chicago UA6908 Lv. 640A, Ar. 913A
12/14 Chicago/Hong Kong UA829 Lv. 1008A, Ar. 350P on 12/15
12/16 Hong Kong/Changsha KA720 Lv. 215P, Ar. 340P
12/30 Hong Kong/Chicago UA896 Lv. 1135A, Ar. 1143A
12/30 Chicago/Austin UA7759 Lv. 300P, Ar. 547P

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Xie Xie to My Team at NetQoS

My lovely team at NetQoS threw the most amazing shower today. These guys are incredibly creative. They decorated the office in an Asian motif -- it was really beautiful--and served pink cupcakes and brownies.

I thought I was a seasoned shopper but these guys managed to find gifts that I've never seen before like a red and white onesie that said "Smart" in both Chinese and English. They also found a black t-shirt that says "Elmo is My Homeboy." I might have to go the Polkadot Whale and pick up "Word to Big Bird" for Alina. The piece de resistance (I have no idea if i spelled that correctly) was a large tiered diaper cake with red ribbons and a Panda bear on top. Plus they gave me all sorts of cute little clothes, blankets and socks.Zara will love them.

They also managed to find My Mei Mei (little sister)- a cute little book I read to Alina last night.

What a creative, fun group of people. I'll miss their stories and humor while I'm in China.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Packing, Painting and Preparing

Alina, Paul and I spent the weekend preparing for our trip. We crammed 16 days worth of clothing and medicine for 4 of us in 2 large bags that could not exceed 44 lbs.

While Paul was away collecting the final items for our packing list, Alina and I painted a welcome home Zara banner for when we return from China. We hung it on the room that Alina and Zara will share.

Next, it was baking cookies, candies and other treats for the Lil' Paws bake sales next week. Medical care for the doggies we take in is expensive so we have to host bakes sales, wrap gifts and otherwise fund raise to pay for the surgeries. Alina said she wanted to bake LOTS of cookies so that we could raise LOTS of money for the puppies. I agree.

Then I read a wonderful new book to Alina to prepare her for the new addition to the family. We baby sat a 15 month old last night and I saw that she was a bit jealous. The book offered a really touching explanation that love is infinite and will never run out. Hopefully it will help her understand that we have enough love for her and Zara and a houseful of dogs. The book is called That's How Love is by Joan Howes with pictures by Charles Shaw ISBN 0-938349-62-7. Paul picked it up at our the Unity Church bookstore.

Time to go back to Target yet again for more items. This time a booster seat for Alina.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Chasing the Sun

As I write this first journal entry, Paul and I are busily preparing to travel to China to meet our daughter Zara. Alina and her Nana (my Mom) will also be traveling with us. Nothing can describe how anxious I am to get that travel approval. I cannot wait to meet Zara face-to-face. We received the news that Zara was matched to our family on 11/2/06. Many other families who were also matched that day have posted the news that they have received their Travel Approval but we are still waiting. But, then again, we've been waiting for more than 2 years now. While we wait, I read and search for more answers on how to make this transition easier for Zara.

Welcome Home Zara

Welcome Home Zara
Alina paints a banner to welcome home baby Zara.

Meeting Zara

Meeting Zara
Here we are at Civil Affairs to meet Zara for the first time.

Good Dog

Good Dog
Fantastic book.

Zara Lan Xin

Zara Lan Xin
Zara's referral pictures received on 11/2/06.


We'll miss you sweet Boo.