Wednesday, February 25, 2009


One of the funniest things about Emma is that she...I dare obsessed with feet. It is hilarious! Every time we read a book, look at a magazine or watch tv, she points out all the feet. She always wants to take off her socks and play with her feet and take everyone else's socks off and look at their feet. It is really pretty funny. We joke that she is going to be a podiatrist when she grows up. Yesterday, I surprised her after her nap with a foot book. I looked through old magazines and cut out all the feet I could find and glued them onto some card stock. She was so happy! We knew through the reading that we did before getting her that most institutionalized children play with their hands and feet a lot because that is pretty much all they had in the orphanage to play with. We just didn't think it would be like this!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Trip to Rochester!

Last week Emma, my mom, and I drove to Rochester, NY to visit my brother and his family. We had an amazing time! Emma did so great on the 9 hour drive. She was a real trooper. She had so much fun with her cousins, Jade and Sidney, that she is now incredibly bored with me at home. She played with their 2 siamese cats and ran around the house naming everyone to make sure we were all there. One day, we went to the Rochester National Museum of Play. It was so fun! They have Sesame Street and Elmo's World there so Emma was in Heaven. The grocery store was a huge hit, too. Jade is in the swim club at her school and we were able to go to one of her meets. She did such a great job! We are all so proud of her. We had to wait about an hour before Jade's first race so I took Emma and Sidney out to walk the halls of the school. She was doing great at first. The halls were colorful and covered with art and trophies. Then we kept walking and the farther we got from the gym and the pool the more sterile and white everything became. It was really quiet and a little creepy even for me. All of a sudden Emma started looking around really carefully. She was staring at all the walls and started to get a nervous look on her face. She was getting upset and wanted me to pick her up. She started to just grab on to me so tightly. then she started to say, "car. car." I didn't get it at first but then it hit me that the halls looked just like the halls in the background of her referral update pictures that were taken at the orphanage. I couldn't even believe it. She was so scared. I took her back to the pool and she was upset for the next 1/2 hour or so. Then after Jade swam her first race, I took her back out in the lobby. I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk and we went over to the edge of the hallway. She started shaking her head and saying , "no, no, car, car" and wanting me to pick her up. It was so crazy. I eventually had to just take her and sidney back to the house early. It was the weirdest thing. She totally had a flashback. That is the only explanation. I was worried that she wouldn't sleep well that night but she was fine once we got home and for the rest of the week. I guess now that she is getting older she will actually be able to communicate some of those things that she is feeling better to us. We actually drove through Canada because it is a straight shot from Muskegon. We stopped at Niagara Falls on our way home because it was such a gorgeous day...just freezing! We took a quick picture and grabbed some Tim Horton's coffee before heading back on the road. So, Emma has now in her 8 months of being an American visited California, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Canada and of course Michigan. She is really becoming a great little traveler which is a good thing since she has us two crazy travelers for parents.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sick Days

In the 8 months that Emma has been home, she has really only had 2 colds and the beginning stages of an ear infection. I have thought about how fortunate she...and I...have been that she has been so healthy. The poor little girl has so many other things to heal that it has been nice for her not to have to deal with being sick. This week she has been suffering from a high fever and a bad cough. She has been so miserable that all she has really wanted to do since Wednesday afternoon is lay on top of me. She has been shaking, crying and just all around sad. It has made me think about what her sick days were like in China. When she was sick, did her foster mom let the dishes and laundry pile up and just lay on the couch all day with her? Was she held in the orphanage by her young nanny when she was sad and shivering? Did they just give her some meds and move on to the next little one? She has physical scars that make me really question how she was cared for there. I have been trying to understand it from a cultural and situational sense and not from a "that's my baby" heart. Now that we have had some time to get to know each other and get through the initial struggles, I find myself thinking more and more about her life in China. I thought about it while we were waiting but it was so much more she born yet, where is she, what does she look like, is she in the middle of the terrible snow storms? I catch myself thinking about what the details of her life might be all the time.
My hope is that when Emma begins to ask these questions...which everyone says that she will...I will have an answer that will satisfy her need to know her past.

Friday, February 6, 2009

8 Months Ago Today!

During our 2 year wait for Emma, we had a website that started out as a way for us to keep friends and family current on the process. But, it really turned into a great outlet for me during that time. It allowed me to capture my thoughts during the whole thing so that Emma could one day know not only that I was thinking about and praying for her that whole time but also exactly what that sounded like. In October, our subscription expired and I thought we could do without it. I have really been missing that lately. So, I'm back online!
3AM finally walking through our front door

Eight months ago today we carried Emma through our front door for the first time. It was such an amazing moment to walk through the door at 3AM after hours (days) of traveling to see my family all lined up beaming with excitement. They just kept saying, "She actually moves! It's so awesome to see her actually moving and not just in a picture." At that time, Emma was 16 months old, weighed 21lbs and was about 30" tall. She didn't crawl, she barely spoke but she sure knew how to smile and laugh. Today she is 2 years old, 27lbs and 35.5" tall. She is running all over the place and talking up a storm. She loves to have tea parties with her toy food and dishes. I know that she was meant to be my daughter because she loves to sing and dance and watch The Sound of Music! Broadway here she comes!

I just can't imagine what I would be feeling right now if we were still waiting for her. The wait was horrible but every time she smiles and calls me MaMa it all goes away. My days are now filled with potty training, snack time and Sesame Street. I still think of Emma's birth family all the time though. Last week was her 2nd birthday. The week was very difficult for me. I couldn't stop thinking about Emma's birth mother in China. Someone sent me this 25 Random Things About Me thing on Facebook. What was supposed to be a fun light hearted list turned into my mind oozing questions. Here is my list of 25 Random Things About Me.

1. I can't stop thinking about Emma's birth mother.

2. I wonder what she is going through this week...knowing that it is her daughter's birthday Thursday.

3. I wonder what she will think about on Friday...knowing that 2 years ago she laid Emma at the gate of the orphanage to be found.

4. I wonder if she is young or old...married or single.

5. I wonder if she has Emma's eyes and lips.

6. I wonder if Emma has siblings in China. most of these kids probably do.

7. I wonder how long Emma was outside the orphanage before someone came to work and found her at 7am.

8. I wonder how long Emma's birth mom cried.

9. I wish that I knew her name.

10. I wonder where her birth family the city or out in a neighboring village.

11. I wonder if she walks by the orphanage and wonders if Emma is still in side.

12. I wonder if she knew what we know now.

13. I wonder where Emma was hiding, in a hospital, in a home, in a field

14. I wonder if Emma's birth father even knows she exists or... if he is the reason she is here.

15. I hope that Emma will love her birth mother when she is old enough to understand all of this.

16. I don't even understand all of this some days.

17. I spent 2 years reading everything I could find about Chinese women trying to connect with her and I still don't know her.

18. I wonder if she is educated...Emma is so smart...her birth parents must have something to do with that.

19. I wonder how often she thinks of Emma.

20. I wish that I could tell her that she is happy!

21. I wish that I could show her how beautiful she is.

22. I wish that I could know her.

23. I wish that Emma could know her.

24. I think that it is ironic that one of the reasons we chose international adoption is because the birth parents can't "find" you.

25.Now I realize how selfish that really is.