Sunday, September 30, 2012


We are home safe and sound.  After a lovely meeting of family at the airport, we went home to our clean home (thanks, Mom and Dad!) with dinner waiting (thanks, Mom and Dad!) and attempted to get some sleep.  The flight...well, it's over.  Wasn't horrible, wasn't fun...and it's over.  We got through it, and the best feeling ever was passing through customs.  L continues to do well, although sleep is confusing and difficult right now, and will continue to be for a while, I'm sure. 

There's no place like home, and we are so happy to be back as a family of three.

Ok, another attempt at pictures!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Final Day--Packed and Ready

Today was mostly preparations for tomorrow--the Big Flight Home.  We leave our hotel at o-dark-thirty to head to the airport in Guangzhou.  We fly to Beijing, then have a 5-hour layover, then straight to Seattle.  Total travel time from takeoff in Guangzhou to landing in Seattle is around 20 hours, but after we land we get to go home to our own house, with our own rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and animals that we miss tremendously.  The second flight begins at 5PM China time, so we are hoping that after takeoff, a busy day, and some dinner L just may fall asleep.  That's a lot to ask, but here's hoping!

So we are pretty well-packed, other than nightclothes and toiletries, and our suitcases are weighed and zipped up.  We went back the store today to purchase extra toys and snacks so L just maybe can handle such a long flight.  He's also gotten sort of interested in some of the apps we have on our Kindle, so maybe that will help for a minute at a time or so.

We also have his Chinese passport in hand, US visa inside, and a packet of information that we cannot open, but will hand customs in the US as we enter the country.  This will make L a US citizen. 

So this is it!  Come on, USofA!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 6 - Consulate Appt

Today was the Consulate appointment, which is the last official step before we are allowed to return to the US with L in tow.  We were ushered into the US Consulate, which is in a tall office building surrounded by coffee shops and travel agencies, with the main locators being several small signs and a metal detector.  We joined about 30 other families in a large conference room, where we sat for about an hour waiting for the group oath to be taken.  L ate a snack and practiced his new English words ("Hulooooow" and "Bye-bye bus!") while we waited, and then began to play in the small plastic house at the back of the room.

The adoption officer came into the room--or actually, spoke to us over a microphone from behind bulletproof glass--and explained the paperwork we need to enter the US, what the oath means, and next steps.  We all stood up, raised our right hands, and essentially promised that the masses of paperwork we submitted is accurate and honest.  Then each family was asked to come to a window--sort of like at a bank--and go over paperwork and discuss final details.  This was the point where L completely lost it.  I would guess that most families of toddlers avoid places like the DMV for hours on end, and we've been pretty much spending long periods of time in such places for the past 10 days, and he is just done-done-done.  So in the process, he hit Cory and bit him on the shoulder, which are two behaviors we hadn't seen yet (he later checked Cory's shoulder, and kissed it).  So Cory took him to the back of the room, and gave him some crackers, and he quieted down and fell asleep.  The adoption officer helping me asked, "Can your husband handle this situation?" and I said, well, yeah.  He said, in all earnestness, "I would NEVER be able to handle it.  I would just leave it to my wife."  I thought that was pretty funny and surprisingly honest. 

But in the end we got through it fine, and I think this is the last of the big government buildings we will need to hang around at while we are here.  Thank goodness for that.

Tomorrow we pick up L's visa, and other than that, we will just hang out, pack, go to the pool, and enjoy one more day here in Guangzhou. 

One day and a wakeup, and we are on our way home.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Guangzhou Day 5

Another somewhat tiring but mellow day down.  We spent the morning at a local-ish garden/playground/museum on the outskirts of Guangzhou.  This was supposed to be a quiet, touristy excursion, except that, by my estimate, at least half of China's schoolchildren were also in attendance.  They were adorable in their matching uniforms, and very, very interested in us.  I had the following conversation one or two hundred times this morning:

Child: Hello.  Nice to meet you.
Me: Nice to meet you, too.
Child: What is your name?
Me: Molly.  What is your name?
Child: (insert name)
Child: Have a great day!

Next Child: Hello. Nice to meet you.

And on, and on, and on.  I taught English in China a while back, and remember how important it was to practice skills on actual English-speakers, so it was fine and funny.  L, of course, had to get in on the action by calling "Hulooooooooow!!" to everyone, and the schoolkids responded appropriately  and kindly to him.  So that was especially nice.

We got back in the afternoon, had a late nap, a quick dip in the pool, and an early Cantonese dinner (YUM!!). 

Tomorrow is the day we've been waiting for: our appointment at the Consulate.  This is where we take an oath to take care of L and finish paperwork.  His Chinese passport with a visa to enter the US should be available Thursday, and then we will wing out way back home. 

So, so close.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Guangzhou Day 4

Today was another mellow day for us.  We joined up with the other families traveling on our general schedule, and trekked to the medical clinic to have the TB tests read. Everyone passed--one little kiddo in the group was borderline, but all was fine in the end. 

After this, we traveled to Shamian Island, a European area of Guangzhou where the US Consulate used to be located (and thus, where many adopting families would stay).  Shamian Island is quiet, beautiful, and green. While it is very, very humid and hot here, we had a nice stroll along the main area called The Bund, and did a little souvenir shopping.  After lunch at the famous Lucy's, we headed back to our hotel, where L went down for a nap.  He slept badly last night, seemingly having nightmares or night terrors, so a nap was definitely in order.  We are hoping for a better night tonight.

We planned on staying in for a dinner of instant noodles and fruit, and this turned out to be an inadvertently excellent choice.  We ventured out after his nap to Trust Co, which is essentially WalMart, and it began to rain.  Now, we are used to rain--I mean, really used to rain.  This was something else entirely, sheets of downpour turning the roads into rivers.  We quickly finished up our shopping, which included some new construction-vehicle toys and a play bus for L, some new snacks, and wipes (he's potty trained, but is a pretty messy eater at times).  We were soaked by the time we got back to the hotel, which is when the craziness really began.  Lightning and thunder cracked across the sky about every 30 seconds for several hours, the lights flickered, and the rain is still coming down.  We are seeing some flashes now and again, but the fireworks have mostly passed.  This, plus L deciding to take a ginormous poop in the bathtub, made for an exciting evening.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, will be another quiet day.  The group is heading to a park with a big playground on the outskirts of town for the morning while we wait for L's US visa to be processed.

L continues to do well.  He seems interested in us, wants only us to hold him, is concerned when we are not around, and identifies us by Mama and Baba.  He is showing more control issues around food--all of the food on the table is his, right?  He does not stop eating until all of the food is gone, so we are giving him kid-sized portions of everything until he can understand when he is full.   Things to work on.  On the plus side, he's now eating all kinds of veggies and fruit, especially corn, watermelon, peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  We'll keep giving him as many veggies as we can until he realizes he can say no.  We also figured out the name situation, as he doesn't respond to anyone using his name, even native speakers.  I finally showed him a picture of himself, and asked who it was. While the name he used is correct, he pronounces it completely differently from the numerous other versions we've heard--he drops most of the consonants and has a different order of names than we'd seen in the past.  Once we got that down, we've been able to get his attention far more easily. 

So things are fine here in our weird little international adopting world.  L is a joy and we are so fortunate to have him as our son.  He gets cuter by the minute, is outgoing and friendly, and is super smart and interested in everything.  He's amazing, and we are so lucky. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Guangzhou Day 3

Today was exactly what we were hoping for, operating entirely on our own schedule.  L slept for about an hour more than we've seen, probably because we weren't up moving around and getting ready for the day.  We took a trip outside to see more of the area, and found (cue chorus of angels) a Starbucks.  It was such a treat, and apparently if you don't specify the type of milk in your latte, it is made with whole.  Yumminess ensued.

We had some lunch in our room, then L went down for a long nap.  This afternoon, we went swimming, and he proved far more daring than yesterday, going in the big pool and leaving the steps while clinging to one of us.  We think he's never really played in water before, but is absolutely loving it.  Tonight we had some dinner, a long bath, some play time, and he's down for the night.  He's a big-time index finger sucker, with his finger sporting a huge callous--and I swear it's a lighter color, as if he's sucked the life right out of it.  But it's a good indication for when he's getting tired, so we can fend off meltdown behavior at least a little bit. 

I think L enjoyed today.  He seemed more relaxed, slept sounder, and was less concerned with us leaving him-- he's gotten upset with the game peek-a-boo in the past week, but today found it highly entertaining.  He has officially learned a new word: "Hu-loooooow!!!", accompanied by a big wave  and is very proud of himself.  He has yet to learn the word "no", but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.  He did throw a hissy fit about losing iPod priviledges after he threw it on the floor, but it was over relatively quickly and we moved on with the day. 

Tomorrow we go back to the clinic to have the TB test read.  As he has had no reaction to the shot, this should go smoothly and quickly. After the clinic, our guide is taking the families to Shamian Island, where the US Consulate used to reside, and which apparently has a European flair.  We have heard a lot about the area, and are excited to see it. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Guangzhou Day 2

Today was the dreaded medical appointment for L and the other adoptive parents on a similar schedule to ours.  This took place in an unbelievably crowded medical clinic, and consisted of four different parts: height/weight, ear/nose/throat, surgical, and a TB test.  Older kids also have to have vaccinations, but we can complete these in the US.  We also had his picture taken for his visa. 

The first three stations went flawlessly.  The doctors were fast, and as this was a Chinese clinic, he understood what they were saying.  They used squeaky dog toys to get the kids' attention, and it worked like a charm.  In the surgical station, they measured his limbs and head, checked his skin for problems (he has some "Mongolian spots" on his back, which should fade in time), and looked in his mouth.  L was born without his right hand, so the doctor spent some time looking at the area.  L was happy to oblige, lifting his shirt, taking off his shoes, showing the doctors his new Magnadoodle. 

The TB test was far, far easier than I had anticipated as well.  Those doctors were so incredibly fast, the entire thing was over in about 3 seconds flat.  I'm not kidding--it was amazing.  He started to cry, but it was over and he spent the next 10 minutes inspecting the little bump that comes with the injection, which has since gone away (yay!).  Some of the older kiddos had to have up to 5 vaccinations and had a pretty tough time, so we were grateful that we got off so easy with L.

We got back to the hotel in time for lunch and a nap, then went to the pool for a swim.  This was also a hit, as the hotel has a wading pool with about 2 inches of water in it.  L was scared of the big pool, even when Baba got in, so we'll work on that later.

In the afternoon, the group met to complete the paperwork needed for the visa.  This was quite a process, as everyone's is slightly different depending on their child's individual needs, the province they are from, and their age.  But our guide was patient and thorough, so that information is now out of our hands. 

After a pizza dinner, it was time for the new favorite activity of teeth brushing, then bed.

Tomorrow we have nothing on the schedule as we cannot proceed until the TB test results are ready.  This is very exciting, as it's difficult to continually find things to entertain a busy toddler in government offices, day in and day out.  Our plan is a relaxing day in and around our hotel.  More pool time, naptime on schedule, etc.  We have been counting down to tomorrow since we landed in China, so looking forward to it!

Friday, September 21, 2012


We survived our first plane trip!  It went pretty well, overall.  L loves-loves-loves all things transportation, and we realized quickly that he has likely never been beyond the orphanage compound, or least not often, as he is goggle-eyed whenever we leave our hotel.  So planes, trains, buses (oh, the buses!) and cars are just fascinating.  He always wants to touch parked cars and buses (such big wheels!), and the airport was just a wonderful adventure. 

Before boarding our flight, we decided to grab a bite at a cafe in the airport.  At this point, L was on overload, it was past naptime (and boy, is he sleep-scheduled!) so he began to lose it.  Just the average-everyday fit--throwing things, not wanting to eat, etc.  This is when we met The Smartest Woman Alive.  A waitress came over, calmly told him to sit still and she would bring him a treat. The treat turned out to be a plastic plate, a glob of ketchup, and a straw.  She showed him how to dip the straw in the ketchup and suck it off the end.  She was an angel from heaven, I tell you--this woman was absolutely had his number.  He was instantly transfixed, and we were able to have a short meal in peace.  The kid loves him some ketchup, that's for sure.

During the flight he played with his seatbelt, although he never undid it, opened and closed the window and his tray a trillion times, went with Baba to the bathroom, and played with a sticker book.  He was relatively quiet, fascinated by the experience, and ate most of the meal (yes!  a meal on a 2-hour flight!).

It felt strange to leave Xi'an.  As we took off, L was watching out the window and said, "Bye-bye!".  I teared up a little--I really can't describe how it felt.  Our experience in Xi'an was so mixed.  We are so proud to have a little Xi'an boy, and the history and culture of the city is strong and rich.  I want him to learn about his place of birth and appreciate how much of an impact Xi'an has had on world history.  I think we just happened to go at a strange time.  The protests had pretty much taken over the city and we were advised not to leave our hotel unless with an official guide. While things were not openly hostile against us in particular, the hotel often kept the lights off in the lobby and big plants in the windows, armed police were everywhere, and protesters chanted and yelled late in to the night, most nights. The yelling into the bullhorn was loud, and the chanting was inexplicably mixed with extremely loud Christmas music (?).  Air raid sirens went off most of the day of remembrance, and whenever they went off the government officials would close the windows and shades (we were getting our notary services done that day), and people wore all black for most of the week with red arm bands.  I've been to Xi'an before, and absolutely loved it, so I really think it was just strange timing--a highly charged political situation and a difficult anniversary at the same time.  Again, nothing was directed at us (that I know of).  We definitely felt like we were walking on eggshells, but things overall went well there.  We certainly appreciate how hard everyone at the government offices worked to keep us on schedule; they went above and beyond for sure.  The fact that we have his passport in hand is testament to their dedication to their work.

When we landed in Guangzhou, we met our guide at the gate, and she led us to four other families from our agency who are all on roughly the same schedule, and who all came from the same province.  So it was nice to put some faces to names, and to see some others in our shoes.   

Guangzhou feels very different.  Our guide here made sure we were checked in, told us our dinner options, and then left us to it.  It is far larger, and clearly more cosmopolitan. It's hot and sultry here, and the hotel (Garden Hotel) is gorgeous.  We had a yummy local meal, and gave L his first bath.  We've been sponge-bathing him as we had hot water intermittently and only a shower in Xi'an, and a cold-ish shower for a kiddo who is afraid of water seemed like a really bad idea.  But here, hot water is plentiful and the bathtub is HUGE.  He absolutely loved it once I got in with him--we only put about an inch of water with about 5 inches of suds, and slowly added water until he got comfortable.  He is fast asleep now, and we are regrouping for the rest of the week.

Tomorrow, we go to the US Consulate where L has to have a medical exam and TB test.  We will finish his visa paperwork in the afternoon, and the group will have dinner together in the evening (I think).

And here is another attempt at pictures!

A nice, clean L

At the warriors
First meeting


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 5, Xi'an

Yesterday was much smoother and calmer.  We spent time with our knowledgable guide, Tom, who knows the city inside and out.  Xi'an is a major cultural center in China with a rich heritage. It's a city to be proud to be from, for sure.  We saw the city wall, which was beautiful and terrifying to the parents of a two-year-old boy, a Buddhist monastery with a lovely park right in the middle of the city, and the Xi'an City Museum, which traces the influence of Xi'an for the past millenia.  All fascinating stuff, and we are so happy to learn as much as we can about L's city of birth.  We are already looking forward to bringing him back someday. 

We were also successful in obtaining L's passport.  As we were a day behind due to protests and government offices were closed for periods of time over the same issue, we were prepared to extend our stay in China for paperwork purposes.  Somehow our guide was able to persuade the officer in charge to work later into the evening to get ours to us last night, as we fly to Guangzhou today to complete the adoption.  All US adoptions from China end in Guangzhou, as this is where the US Consulate is based. 

Question: Is there anything cuter than a two-year-old passport picture? 
Answer: No, there isn't.

So today, we attempt our first plane trip as parents.  And L leaves the city of his birth.  Again, complicated stuff. 

Wish us luck, and I'll post again from Guangzhou.

(Oh, and I have no idea what is going on with pictures. Maybe internet service will be a tad better in GZ).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 4, Xi'an

Today was long, tiring, wonderful, and difficult.  We started out going to the Terra Cotta Warriors, a national treasure of China.  The displays are excellent, and our guide is extremely knowledgable about the area and history of the museum.  We had a lovely tour, and then an absolutely delicious lunch full of local delicacies.  We busted out the Ergo, and as L is about 2 sizes smaller than we had originally thought, he fit just right and it worked well.  He didn't like it at first, but then realized that he pretty much had my undivided attention, and talked the entire time we were touring--of course, I didn't understand any of it, but this didn't seem to bother him in the least. 

Generally, he continues to do well.  He eats like a champ as long as the food is white.  Add color (ie, veggies, fruit, meat) and it's the universal shaking of hands and head--no, no Mama.  But yogurt, noodles, broth, Cheerios, bao-zi (steamed bread), and dumplings are filling and accessible--we'll deal with the lack of variety when we get home.  He sleeps well, from about 7:30 to 6:00 with a 2-hour nap mid-day.  Of course, travel across the date line will completely hose that, but at least it's a start.  He's been calling us "Mama" and "Baba", although he doesn't answer to any of the names he was called before, nor the nicknames.  Not sure what is up with that.  He gives us kisses, gives occasional hugs, and is very concerned if we leave his sight.  He loves to take things apart, including the remote control, mouse, and flashlight, and is definitely in the dump-and-fill stage. 

We did have a very difficult and somewhat unexpected experience today.  We hoped to see the orphanage that he was in, although we were also told he was in a foster home for a period of time, so we were never quite sure who he lived with, or when.  Our guide said that we could see the orphanage from a distance, maybe take a picture or two, but otherwise foreigners were not permitted to enter.  As it is located on the outskirts of Xi'an, we decided to head there after the Warriors tour. 

We were, however, invited to enter the orphanage itself.  As it generally looks like a government building, we didn't actually realize we were in it (or that we had been invited to enter it--we were big-time clueless at this point) until the foster parents ran out, scooped L up, and started crying and kissing him, and then took him to their apartment.  Because, as it turns out, the foster family actually lives on site in the orphanage itself.  Foster parents each have a small apartment, and the children live with them, which is a wonderful setup as the kids all get the family experience--it was definitely not a Dickensian, please-may-I-have-more kind of situation. At all.  So this clears up the placement question. 

It was also confusing, surprising, and a little shocking.  The Good:  We got little-guy stories about L, and they are pretty funny.  Several people told us that the orphanage director would only visit L when he was sleeping, as he is "too naughty otherwise".  We also got pictures of the three of us with the foster family, saw his bed and apartment, and met some of his friends.  Priceless.   The Difficult:  The transition was awful, heartbreaking. We had anticipated a tough transition the very first time we met him, as we had some indication that we might take L directly from the foster family.  As it turns out, this was not the case, and the original transition went smoothly and relatively happily.  He was attaching a bit, seemed to generally like having us around, etc.  This transition, however, was another story entirely.  He was screaming, the foster family was wailing, and Cory and I were desperately trying to hold it together enough to keep things somewhat upright.  After about an hour post-visit, L was more or less back to his usual self, and we had a nice, very quiet evening. 

I really have no idea how this will play out in the long run.  I know that meeting them was a gift.  Their love for him was absolutely clear, and they told us all sorts of things that we can pass on to him.  We can show him that we made a connection, and tell him about them and how much he was loved and cared for.  We were able to thank them for taking such good care of our son.  And that was also unexpected.  Adoption: the good, the bad, the confusing, the wonderful--it's a mixed bag, to put it mildly.

So, it was a big day.  A big, huge, exhausting, emotional day.  Tomorrow, we pick up his passport and go to a park.  And that's it.  Seems like the intense political situation has eased a bit (we're not going to sleep to the sound of chanting protesters tonight--yay!), so here's hoping tomorrow is easy and quiet.

Anyway, after that long and involved post...a picture!  (I could only post one--the internet connection keeps timing out).

Meeting L for the first time


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

And Then There Were Three

We met L, and he is perfect.  The transition went better than our wildest dreams, as he was clearly very, very loved and taken care of.  He is funny, smart, healthy, and happy.  I'm sure this is the proverbial honeymoon period, but we'll take it.
Welcome to the family, little L!  We can't imagine our lives without you!
We can't upload pictures right now, not sure why, but I will post some as soon as possible.  Just imagine the cutest Chinese boy on Earth, and there ya go.  :-)

Sunday, September 16, 2012


So the whole "we're becoming parents in an hour!" bit was, well, a load of hooey.  Turns out, there's a bit of a situation here, where students are protesting in the streets in front of government buildings--ie, in front of our hotel.  Soooo, we were told to stay in our rooms as a "big parade was going by" (hmmm) and we will try to become parents tomorrow, or the next day. 
We are perfectly safe, just incredibly disappointed by the day's events.  We were totally ready, had everything set out as best we could, and got to call literally as we were walking out the door to meet our son.  And, looking out into the streets, there really isn't any way it could have happened.  So, we try again tomorrow.
We stayed in, watched HBO movies, ate some pretty darned good room service, and went to bed.

T-minus 30 minutes

We are here safe and sound. Internet connection is very spotty, but the hotel is nice and the service is excellent.
We meet L in 30 minutes. I can't remotely explain how it feels, so won't try. But should all go as planned, we will be parents in about an hour :-)!!!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

At the airport!

Did you ever think you'd see this day???  Completely surreal. (And I'm posting from my phone so if this looks especially wacky, sorry!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

RQ List

In the world of Chinese adoption, the Rumor Queen website, AKA ChinaAdoptTalk, is a wonderful resource for information, questions, stories, and support.  There is also a thoughtfully and carefully organized spreadsheet called "Steps to TA (Travel Approval)", which we have ever-so-slowly been working our way up over the last 9 months.  Today the list for this week came out, and we are at the very top, and instead of listing the next steps, it says "Safe Travels!". 

That's us, MSJ2007.  How awesome is that?  It's going to be strange not to analyze the list every week--seeing which families have passed us by, how fast everyone is getting individual documents, and where we are in line.  But I'm ok with that. Very, very ok with that.

Today is my last day of work before (dun dun dun!) maternity leave!  I will be working from home part-time after L comes home, which was more than supported by my employers. 

Two days and a wakeup!

Friday, September 7, 2012


We received our itinerary for our trip, and it's intense.  Two weeks of pretty much straight meetings, appointments, medical assessments.  We have one day off in the second part of the trip, and I have a feeling that will be very, very welcome.

The basics:

9/14-9/15: Travel to Xi'an (Seattle-Beijing-Xi'an)
9/16: Take temporary custody of L
9/17: Sign official adoption paperwork
9/18: Apply for L's passport
9/19: Spend time at significant places in L's life around Xi'an
9/20: Visit orphanage, pick up L's passport
9/21: Fly from Xi'an to Guangzhou.  This is where the US Consulate is located, where all adoptions in China end regardless of agency.
9/22: Medical appointment for L, including TB test and all vaccinations (yikes!)
9/23: Day off
9/24: Medical clinic results
9/25: Paperwork/appointments as needed
9/26: Visa interview/oath at US Consulate
9/27: Pick up L's visa at Consulate
9/28: Fly home (Guangzhou-Beijing-Seattle)

We looked up our hotels, and they both look very nice.  The hotel in Guangzhou is across the street from a Starbucks, which is a huge bonus for these overly-caffeinated Seattle-ites.

We have some luggage, and our major fees are paid.  Now it's on to actual packing. 

Holy freaking smokes.

6 days and a wakeup!

Monday, September 3, 2012

His Room

Warning:  Little Boy room pictures to follow.  Please feel free to skip this post--I've done it plenty of times myself. 

We finished L's room this weekend, and are really happy with how it turned out.  We went with an under-the-sea theme--shocking, I know.  We also tried for soothing colors that aren't too cold--tough with blues, but in Seattle, warmer tones can make a big difference. 

I scored this crib/toddler bed from Craigslist (where has Craigslist been all my life?), which we are leaving as a crib right now, but will change to a toddler bed if that is more appropriate.  We are pretty sure kiddos L's age are still in cribs in the orphanage, but he did spend some time in a foster family, so it's a bit of a mystery as to exactly how he is used to sleeping.  Crib, toddler bed, co-sleeping--whatever works for him, works for us. 

The duvet cover is the one thing I splurged on--it was on sale, but still pricey--it features scuba divers and brightly colored sharks wearing snorkels.  It spoke to me.  And the words on the wall make me happy.

We added some lanterns in the corner--

This Etsy purchase was the first thing I bought for L, and is at the entrance of his room.  In between the larger words "I love you from here to China" are the names of major Chinese cities.  Xi'an, where L has lived most of his life, is listed, as well as the Silk Road (Xi'an was on the Silk Road in days of yore) and Guangzhou, where we will end our adoption process in China.


We created a nice little reading area (complete with cat, but what in our house isn't?).  This chair/ottoman set is the one Cory's dad used to read to him in days of yore.

And last, but not least, is my favorite part of the room: a picture of a fish Cory drew for L.  As an art school graduate, Cory is a talented artist, but has primarily worked in black-and-white.  He branched out in this picture of a Moorfish, which he chose as they are the bearers of happiness. 

We are feeling more and more ready to meet L and become his parents.  The condo is clean as a whistle, animals bathed, freezer full, and all of the other little things that are nice to have in place before such a huge change. 

We are officially leaving the 14th--8 months to the day since we got pre-approval to adopt L.