Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Visit From Friends!!

Many of you know about the wonderful couple, Bob and Pat, who were the reason why we had so much contact with Finley's orphanage. This wonderful couple not only has a grand daughter adopted from Fushun (Finley's orphanage) but they also volunteer at the orphanage every year and were the only reason we had contact with our wonderful guide, Maggie, and Ms. Wang (Finley's nanny). They put me in contact with Maggie who in turn put me in contact with Ms. Wang. This couple is amazing and have not only given emotionally by volunteering at Fushun but they also have financially supported the orphanage by raising funds and purchasing much needed items. This couple helped improve Finley's live and the life of the rest of these orphans at Fushun greatly!! They have known Finley a lot longer than we have as they met her when she was only a baby and we actually found pictures of Finley on their blog. Also, Betty, their 14 year old granddaughter adopted from Fushun this past June, knows Finley well and loved her deeply. Finley essentially grew up with Betty and with there being only a few little girls in the orphanage, Betty and Finley seemed to really have a connection. We love this couple and felt beyond blessed when they told me they were flying out from Florida to California to drive the California coast and when they were in the LA area, they wanted to have lunch with us. Yesterday was the day we finally got to meet Bob and Pat and it was a wonderful experience. They are as warm and loving as I expected them to be and we clicked immediately. We had a wonderful lunch and would like to travel with them in the future back to Fushun. We would also like to have a reunion with all those adopted from Fushun. We had a wonderful time Bob and Pat-- thank you so much for meeting with us!!!!! We love you guys so very much!!!

Bob, Finley and Pat. Mia would not pose for a pictures and the boys did not come-- they were at friends houses.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Monumental moment

I am sitting here into the wee hours of the night against my better judgment watching American Idol. Ever since China and even since we've been home Finley still wakes up about 1 to 3 times and night. Since Kevin has been her primary attachment, he is burdened with the responsibility of putting her back to bed each and every time she wakes up. While it has been nice for me to be able to sleep through these episodes it has been a bit of a sad thing for me as well. It still hurts to know that I cannot be everything for her and although I know things are getting much better it still burns a bit to not be able to be that person she turns to in the middle of the night for her needed comfort. So as I am sitting here watching American idol I hear her wake up for the first time and is screaming. I mute the TV because I think I hear her screaming mama but I am not sure. I decide to go up just in case she is calling for me and sure enough she puts her arms up when I go into the room and jumped into my arms. I take her into the loft and comfort her for a few minutes and then she motions to put her back to bed. I put her back to bed and lay with her for a couple minutes and then happily walk downstairs feeling as if I just had a monumental moment or breakthrough with my daughter. I'm not sure if it was a fluke or if she was just too sleepy to know the difference but I will tell you in the 4+ weeks that I've known this girl she is never once ever allowed me to comfort her at night in any way- to the point I just didn't try. So whether it was a fluke or if she truly did want me, I feel amazingly excited and blessed that my daughter is finally accepting me as your mama.

By the way this whole message was dictated on my iPhone so sorry about any mistakes. Just was very excited and wanted to share and after midnight this is about the best I can do.

Monday, February 21, 2011

We have been very busy and sick-- uggg!!!

We have been pretty busy around here but things have been going really well-- with the exception of the flu that is being passed around our family. Finley had it first then it went to Kevin yesterday and me and Ethan today. It is not pleasant but only seems to last about 24 hours so we at least have light at the end of the tunnel.

The kids are back into the normal swing of things and we have registered Finley for preschool in Mia's class. I go back to work (I work part time 2 days a week) on March 8 so we are going to start Finley in the class on that day for 3 hours a day, 4 days a week-- just like Mia. Since I have to go back to work anyway, it will work out perfectly having her and Mia in the same class and based on her attachment and adjustment, I think she is going to do great!!! We are going to do a few days a week over the next couple weeks where we go in and spend half the time in preschool with me present just to get her use to it so I feel pretty confident that she will be ready on March 8. Kev goes back to work this week so things are going to get a little crazy but I am ready for it. I have been doing a lot of praying for patience and asking the Lord to give me control and keep me organized. I think things will be fine but having Kevin back to work is going to add a lot of change-- but I think it will be good.

If the girls are at home-- they are naked -- all day everyday. I remember the boys doing this too but we are working hard to at least keep undies on them-- but they prefer nothing-- uggg!!!

Kev has been cooking a lot of Chinese and making amazing dumplings-- They eat tons of Dumplings in Finley's province. We are now a family of 6 so we sit at the dining room table most of the time. I love eating in there. Plenty of room and it feels nicer.

Chinese Dinner!!!

The girls are loving their easel and enjoying painting. We do it outside but it is a favorite for them!

Mia loves to paint

Finley and mom at the play area at our local mall!

Finley got her hair cut this past week by my friend Heather. She did a short bob as we are trying to grow her bangs out and make it more like an all one length bob. With Finley's texture being more coarse than Mia's, her hair holds the round bob look very well and looks adorable most of the time. I love this look on her!!!

From the back

Playing with Botchie

We had a Chinese New Year celebration with my Lucky Mommies Group last night. We met at Paula's house for crafts and stories and then went to dinner. We had a great time and we appreciated all the work these wonderful ladies put into the celebration!! Here Finley is making her craft and you can see her hair-- kind of.

All of the girls on the couch for a picture!

Too cute!!
We have a busy week but I will check back in soon!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Finley got to hang with Mia at Preschool

Mia is in a wonderful preschool program through the school district I am a psychologist in. They allow her to be in this highly sought after program because I am an employee within the special ed program and this is a half special ed- half regular ed program. It is amazing and her teacher is tremendous with 2 aids and a class of 12 (6 special ed- mostly speech kids- 6 regular ed). It is 3 hours a day 4 days a week and the growth they see in these kids is nothing short of amazing. The cool part is the teachers loop with the kids in their classes meaning Mia will be in her class again this next school year (2011- 2012) because the kids stay with the same preschool teacher until they enter kindergarten. We have been kicking the idea of putting Finley in the program towards the end of the year. We think it will be awesome for her language and she does very well in these types of environments. I spoke with Mia's teacher the other day about our hopes but was realistic that they have a very long waiting list for this program and I didn't know if they would be willing to add another kid to Mia's class later in the year. Turns out, they just had a regular ed kid leave and the director of the preschool, who I also know professionally, decided if Finley wanted the spot that they would give it to her and that we could take as long as we need to place her-- meaning we can wait a month or two before she starts-- YAAAAA!!!! While I know I have emailed with a few of you about the preschool idea and bonding (thanks for the input), we really feel that in a month or two Finley will be ready so we decided to snag the spot and put down our deposit. We don't know how long until we will put her in-- maybe a month or two-- but we know we want her to be in the program and that we want her to have Mia's teacher and be in Mia's class and that is what will happen. Also, since Finley will not be entering Kinder for essentially 2 and a half years (2013-1014), she will get to have the same teacher that whole time-- an amazing special ed and early childhood credentialed masters level teacher who loves Mia and Finley both!! So, yesterday when we were dropping Mia off, Ms. M asked if we wanted to show Finley the classroom since she will eventually be in there. We thought it was a great idea and sure enough, Finley loved every minute!!!!

She came right in and sat at the table and Mrs. M got her a dotted name worksheet to practice writing her name. She obviously knows how to hold a pencil/ crayon but I don't think has ever traced her name.

The wonderful Mrs. M helping her trace-- oh the concentration!!

Play time

Circle time-- sitting next to Mrs. F- one of the amazing aids.

She didn't do the motions to the song but she watched intently. Most of the other kids have been in the class since August so they are very familiar with the songs and the routine--

One of the centers. They are studying George Washington and they were paining their hand and arm and making a cherry tree. Today they are decorating the tree and putting the finger tip red cherries on. Finley seemed to really like the paint.

Making the tree

Building the log cabin George lived in-- watching Mia make her tree

Mia getting painted

Making the tree

Finley is a very good listener

Building with Mia

They had an activity where she would give a direction to color the trunk brown-- then they would-- then color the cherries red and so on. Finley did amazingly well and followed every instruction exceptionally well.

Following the instructions

Taking her paper to her cubbie-- Mrs. M made her a cubbie with her name on it already-- too cute!!

Lining up to go to the next center-- Mia let Finley be line leader-- Finley liked being line leader :)

Looking at items that start with an "S" with Mrs. M

Mrs. M with her Sunglasses

Finley with the Sunglasses

She started having a lot of fun towards the end of our time in the class. We stayed about half the 3 hours and would have stayed longer but I had to run a few errands so we had to leave. Mrs. M was giving them High 5's and we do that at home all the time so Finley was excited about the 5's

Making her "S" with curves. She really opened up and had a great time. I'm going to take her again today for a bit so she can finish the cherry tree. We might go part days for a month or so just to get her use to it before she starts full time. We will play it by ear when she starts but I think another month before starting is about right-- we will see. We are just thrilled things are working out as well as they are-- in all aspects of Finley's adjustment.
We have her big neurosurgery appointment on Friday. I will let you know how it goes. Also, Finley gets her hair cut into a cute bob today. I will take pictures-- yaaaa!!! The mane will finally be tamed!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Finley's First Disney Trip!!

Living in Southern California brings with it a mandatory right of passage-- every child must have their first Disneyland experience within 1 year of birth or 30 days of residing in Southern CA! OK, maybe it is not a written rule, but it is what many many many Southern Californians do on a regular basis for great fun and enjoyment and I am lucky enough to be a part of Lucky Mommies-- an adoption group that likes to frequent the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH!!! On Friday we took the opportunity to celebrate Chinese New Year at Disneyland as they were having great festivities in honor of the Lunar New Year. We met a bunch of our Lucky Mama's and my mother in law Mary also joined us for the day. It was a great time and Finley's first-- but not last-- Disney experience. The temperature was in the 80's (yes it is February-- our weather all week has been in the high 70's and low 80's--feels like late spring) and was actually a bit warm but still very comfortable. She had a blast and really seemed to enjoy things. We only made it on a few rides but she was wide eyed and especially loved SMALL WORLD. She was chattering and pointing the whole time. It was very cute! It was also a lot of fun to introduce Finley to all her adoption friends.

On the tram ride into the park. Finley didn't know what to think at that point but sat there very still with very large open eyes-- Can you imagine how her life has changed in a short 3 weeks-- wow!!!

Had to do the traditional Disney shot-- too bad Finley was looking away but at least we have documented her first trip

And with Mary (mother in law)

The dragons at the Lunar New Year Celebration-- very cool!!!

Doing the arts and crafts in the CNY celebration area

Some of the performers-- the girls, especially Mia, enjoyed watching them

Watching the show

Mia, Finley, Becky (Becky's sister Katie was at school), Sophie and Georgie

Adding the mommies (me, Karen, Paula and Susan)

Finley waiting in line to see Mulan and Mushu

Finley and Mia with Mulan and Mushu-- Finley was not sure about Mushu but eventually got use to him

Becky and Karen had to leave but as soon as they left, Karen B and Kaylee and Tanya with Gracie and Kyle showed up (Kaylee was not in this pic yet). Finley likes to look around and not at the camera as you can tell in many of the pics.

Mia and Finley with Chinese New Year Micky and Minnie

Gracie, Georgie, Sophie, Kaylee, Finley and Mia with Micky and Minnie

Waiting in line for Small World

On the boat ready to go. She was so excited!!

This was how the whole ride went-- pointing at everything trying to get Mary or my attention to show us what she is pointing to. It was so cute and I loved seeing her enthusiasm.

Hideous picture but had to put it in for documentation-- Makeup was not on my to do list that morning

Kaylee and Gracie

Not sure what she was thinking-- mad or happy or what but I thought it was kind of cute!

All smiles for Finley after the ride was over-- she loved it!

Mary and the girls after Mr. Toads Wild Ride. Finley was just wide eyed the whole time taking in what was going on

We really had a nice day. I wish we could have stayed longer but it was meant to be a short trip and I needed to get home to pick up the boys from school. We will go back again very soon!!