Wednesday, January 24, 2007

One Year Ago Today....

11:30 am came the phone call that would change our lives forever!

Phone: Ring!

Me (caller ID) Laura? (SW)

Laura: (teasing me and matching my intonation) JoAnn?

Me: News?

Laura: Referral!

I was able to conference Kurt in on the line and we got the news that we were matched to a baby girl who was born on 7/9/05 and was currently living in the Huai Hua SWI in Hunan Province. We would most likely travel in March. There were 19 other families in our travel group. Her name was Huai Shuang and it was reported she was healthy.

Now, I have to tell you that my brain basically stopped working once Laura told us we had a baby girl. I couldn't even tell you how old she was! (I had to get a co-worker to figure that out for me!) 6.5 months at referral! :) I was in shock that this day had finally come (although I knew it was coming!) and that she was so young! AND she was from the province I always secretly wanted her to be in... Ever since I'd heard of the tales of the "spicy" Hunan girls I've always thought it would be cool to have my own Hunan Spice Girl.

My agency is rather old fashioned and does not email baby's information or Fed Exp it to you. What they do is translate everyone's information and send it to their offices. You then make an appointment to go over every bit of paper they give you and this is when you see your child's photo for the first time. (BTW, I knew this all along and was perfectly okay with it. I needed a few days to digest all the good news coming our way!)

So, Huai Shuang was our baby and she was young and in the province I've wanted her to be in. But what did she look like? What would we call her? We had a few names we liked (I liked, anyway, Kurt wasn't quite sure) and would choose her name based on her photos. We finally saw her face on the following Tuesdsay.

I didn't care if I thought she was beautiful... I practiced saying "I don't care what she looks like, she's mine! and she'll grow to be beautiful! (I didn't have much hope that God would give us a young, perfectly healthy, great province BEAUTIFUL child.) That was asking too much. But my Angels in Heaven were looking out for us (Thanks Daddy and Dad!) .

And this is who we saw....Kelsey!

Kelsey, this wasn't love at first sight...we loved you the second we heard you were year ago today! (yes, Mommy is crying, but they are great big happy tears!)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

How Much Do I Love My Husband?

My husband, Kurt, is a reader of this blog. I have invited him to actively participate in writing it, but I think he's going to do his own thing. I really can't wait, because he's an amazing writer.

I know I've created this blog primarily for our Kelsey, but Kelsey should also know how much I love and adore her Daddy too. In honor of that and as a pre-Valentine suprise I dedicate this posting to the love of my life, Kurt. We will be married 10 years in May, so here are 10 things I love about him!
  1. I never know what he's thinking about. The other day he was sitting on the stairs with a "I'm thinking about something" look on his face. I asked him what he was thinking about and he smiled mysteriously. He doesn't always tell me :)

  2. He is amazing with Children! Every child, not just Kelsey!

  3. He knows a great deal about most things. If I have a problem or a question...he is my go-to guy.

  4. He has a fantastic memory! (okay, sometimes this doesn't work in my favor, but I appreciate the effort!)

  5. Kurt is thoughtful. He never says something he doesn't mean. And he's always truthful too.

  6. I can tell him what I need...sometimes it's just someone to listen OR pick up the baby OR give me 15 minutes of silence...and he listens.

  7. He shares baby duties with me. Kurt takes his turns at diaper changes, feeding, bathing and dressing. He is a hands on parent.

  8. He's funny. Not in a joke telling way...but in a silly way. We laugh a lot!

  9. When something is important to me, he listens and tries to figure out a way to make it happen.

  10. He is such a good person. He tries every day to do the right thing. He is a much kinder person than I am. He is polite and has excellent manners.

Notice, I kept these to the inside of my darling hubby, not the outside. Let's just say I think he's wrapped up in a completely adorable package! Tall, dark and handsome is how I describe him. He looks great in a tux or a sweatshirt or a Kings outfit!

I have been thrilled to be with him from the moment he showed up at my door with a dozen red roses on our first date in 1995!

p.s. Kelsey, one of the reasons I wanted to name you Kelsey is because it began with "K" for your Daddy!

To answer my own much do I love my husband? A lot! To China and back! :)Here are the two most beautiful and important people in my life...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

To Huai Shuang's Biological Mommy

Dear Mama,

Today our daughter turns 18 months old! Here in the US there is much rejoycing and happiness over this small milestone, but I wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you today.

First of all, I want to say publicly in cyberspace, thank you from the bottom of my heart (and Kurt's too!) for the gift of this amazing child. We named her Kelsey Frances Shuang and we love and cherish her deeply.

Kelsey is very healthy, smart and happy. You took very good care of her and I want to assure you that we plan to do the same for the rest of her life.

Our entire family, group of friends and community have embraced this lovable child. It really does take that village to raise a child. Our girl is warm, friendly and outgoing. She loves being out and about and has been that way since the day we became a family.

Kelsey has been walking independently for the last month, and shows great balance and natural grace. She is also a great climber and fearless in her quest to reach everywhere! She balances this fearlessness with her affectionateness. She is a snuggler and a huggy-kissy girl.

To our amusement, Kelsey has started to be really affectionate with her boy friends at daycare. She tempers her kisses with high-five fests, thank goodness!
We know that you passed to our girl quite a few gifts.

The easiest to see is that she is a beauty. Her eyes shine and sparkle. Her hair is dark brown and super straight and shiny. She has perfect skin and a rosebud mouth. She is slender and well portioned and has long slender fingers.

Kelsey is also really smart. She says a few words and know what we mean when we speak to her. She also knows what she wants and how to get most of it. She (I guess like most babies) is a creature of habit and prefers certain kinds of cookies and a specific cup for her juice.
She is adventureous! She is a great eater, there is nothing that she won't try at least once! She enjoys going different places and meeting people. She likes to check out the nooks and crannies of our home and loves holding things.

Kelsey enjoys nature... She loves puppy dogs and when she sees one she says "woof!" This is too cute. She also loves our cats (the "ga's") and is learning to "pet them nicely" and she is also amused by fish. She loves looking at the squirels in our neighborhood and also at the trees. Every walk she takes she comes home with leaves. I can't wait to see her expression when she sees all the flowers in our gardens this spring and summer!

She's also independent. And stubborn. These will take her places in life, but right now can be quite challenging. These "gifts" have shown me that I have much more patience than I ever realized.

I also want to make an open promise to you that we will do our very best to raise our girl to be a wonderful, joyful human being. She will have a good education, and be able to follow her own interests - whatever they may be. We will raise her to respect the choice you made and if someday somehow the two of you are able to meet, we will support her in this quest as well. She will understand that she is a very fortunate girl to have 2 sets of parents that loved her and wanted the best life possible for her.

She will visit China in the future and our hope is to show her how beautiful the world is.

We thank you and wish you peace and love and happiness. I dearly hope to meet you one day in person...maybe when our first grandchild is born.
Huai Shuang's Adoptive Mommy, JoAnn