Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's a GIRL!!!

And we are head over heels in love with her!

Life has been pretty crazy lately. We received and accepted a referral of a little 20 month old girl. We have decided to name her Madeleine. We had about 2 weeks before we had to leave for Poland. Our flight to Poland wasn't bad. We flew United to Newark and just barely had enough time to get to our departing gate and hit the restroom. We flew LOT to Warsaw. This flight itself wasn't bad. I only have 2 complaints: 1) it was hot. They didn't have the individual air streams that you find on the planes. 2) it was a little difficult to get water when they weren't serving food and/or beverages. Mike slept for most of the flight (as usual). There was this lovely old lady on my other side. She struck up a conversation and we talked off and on throughout the flight. 

We arrived in Warsaw and went to get our luggage. One piece didn't make it, so we had to go the the LOT service office. Mike filled out the proper forms and we went out to meet our driver. We had a 4 hour drive to Czestachowa. Even though we were tired, the drive wasn't bad. There was some pretty countryside. Magda was there when we got to the hotel. It was a nice hotel. Our room was small compared to U.S. standards, but it was clean, it had a bed, and it had a regular shower. We took a couple of hours to rest and freshen up before we met Magda in the hotel restaurant. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours talking. She explained how our next several days would go. It didn't take much to fall asleep that night.

DAY 1:
We got up the next morning, ate breakfast, and left for the orphanage. We met the director of the orphanage and she told us a little more about our daughter's background and retold some of what we were already told. Then they brought our daughter in. It's funny, the things that run through your head at monumental moments. The first thing that popped into my head when I saw her was that she is so much smaller than she looked in her pictures, they cut her hair, and she was beautiful. Then they put her in my arms and I felt like I was in a dream. I wanted to ask Mike to pinch me. We have been waiting for this for almost 10 years and I just couldn't believe that this was real. She didn't fuss or anything. In those first moments, my heart melted. I could have cried. She has the most unbelievable blue eyes. Looking back at the photos and video, we both wonder what's going through her mind. She watches everything very intently and focuses very well on whatever she is doing. At one point, I swung her up into the air. She would either love or hate it. She LOVED it. I got an attempt at a smile, but it didn't take long to get a full fledged smile followed by laughter. We took her for a walk. They gave us an adorable head scarf for babies to put on her for our walk. I hope to get a couple on our second trip for her. They are too cute. She was quiet for the walk, but you could see her look at everything and absorbing it all. The stroller was one with the seat facing us, but I think she would have preferred one looking out, so she could have a better view. When we brought her in, it was time for he lunch and nap. And time for our lunch and We went back to the hotel, ate lunch, and took a nap. I first had to email my mother to tell her all about our first visit.

When we returned in the afternoon, there was a physical therapist there. She showed us the exercises she does with Madeleine, with Magda translating. Most of he therapy is to help her to walk. She walks with assistance and stood by herself a couple of times for about 20-30 seconds. We spent the afternoon playing with her and helping her walk around the room. Mike swung her up on the air several times and she just loved it. We had her smiling and laughing. Her laughter is one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard.  We played ball. I read her a story. It was a simple one about what animal makes a certain sound and you open a flap and it shows you the animal. She quickly figured out how to open the flap and went straight for the flap when I turned the page. She gave me more kisses. Gotta love those kisses. They are the best! They had a radio playing in the room and at one point Mike started dancing with her. I have a picture of their first father-daughter dance. We hated to leave for the evening, but that's how it goes.     

DAY 2:

We started our visit with lots of kisses! Can't complain about that. (big grin). And after each kiss she would just smile this huge smile. Gotta love that! We helped her walk around the room some more and then she stood by herself for about 20-30 seconds. She loves the musical toys. One in particular is the Leap Frog phonics bus. She was playing with that (she seems to like the letters in red the best) she started to wiggle her butt to the music. We just laughed. She started making faces and she thought it was funny when we stuck out our tongues. I have video of that. She was fascinated when I snapped my fingers. She just stared at my hand and then she touched her thumb to her fingertips and then ran her thumb across her fingertips. It looked like she was trying to figure out how to snap, but is that just a parents wishful thinking? Either way, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  lol.

She was tired that afternoon. Apparently, she didn't sleep at nap time. We still got kisses and smiles and giggles. She stood even long by herself. Yea!  We met the lady who was holding Madeleine in the original pictures that they sent us. She was very nice. We had the opportunity to watch her with several other children and Madeleine and she is very engaged with them. She didn't speak much English, but she was able to tell us that Madeleine loves music. That thrilled me since music is one of my greatest passions. This afternoon, when she pushed the buttons for music she not only wiggled her little bottom, but she also started to shake her shoulders and bounced to the music. We wanted to measure her feet so we would know what size shoes to buy her. She did NOT like that, but we got the measurement. We went to take her for a walk, but it started to sprinkle, so we stood under the covered porch for awhile. Mike pushed the stroller back and forth and she thought that was a lot of fun. We got big smiles and laughs.

I briefly spoke with Ramie that evening. She and Vito live near us and we had already met for dinners about 2 months earlier. They are a great couple and Mike and look forward to meeting their daughters. They had arrived in warsaw a little before us and saw the driver holding a sign with Mike's name on it. We are sooooo happy that they are finally with their daughters and that Julie and Jim are with their son.   

DAY 3: 

She was sooooo tired when we arrived in the morning,  She was a little fussy at times. They brought her a bottle of some sort of pureed tomato soup in a bottle. The lady there showed me how they hold her to feed her. You put the arm next to you behind your body and lie her back in your arm and hold her other arm next to her body while you feed her with your other hand. She does NOT like that. She ate some, but then started to cry. You could tell she was sooooo tired. I felt horrible for making her cry b/c we tried to feed her a couple times. I almost cried myself.  They put her down for her nap early. The lady who took her didn't speak English but was able to communicate to me that they would put her down for her nap and for us to come back at 2 ( an hour earlier than scheduled) and we could take her for a walk. Unfortunately, it was raining when we returned. That's okay, we played and cuddled. I sang to her (I did that every day).  We played peek-a-boo. She liked that. I also played pat-a-cake. She didn't want me to help her do it, but she just watched  my hands and when I finished she would clap here hands until I did it again. At one point, we were playing on the floor and I was repeatedly saying "hello" to her (don't know why) and she said what sounded like "hel-lo" twice. We have it on video. Whether she was mimicking me or not, I don't know. But that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  LOL! Mike held her and played with her and swung her in the air. I loved watching him with her. It made m heart swell with joy. When Mike told me that our ride had arrived, my heart just dropped. She gave me lots of kisses followed by smiles after each one. She gave Mike kisses. Then came the worst moment, I had to hand her over to one of he caregivers. It took ever ounce control that I had not to break down in tears. We love her and she is our daughter and now we have to leave her. Not knowing when we will be back.... Once in the car, the tears started to flow, I made myself stop because if I let myself go, I wouldn't stop. 

We went back to the hotel to get our luggage and start our 4 hour ride back to Warsaw. I spent most of that ride looking at the pictures that we took. The Marriott by the airport was booked, so Mike found this great hotel in the city, but still close to the airport. It was the Hotel Rialto.  It is decorated in the art deco and art nouveau styles. Gorgeous!  I was very glad that we went back to Warsaw that night instead returning the following morning and having to directly get on the plane home. When we got to the airport, it seemed like every other person had a cold.  On our return flight we had an empty seat next to us which was nice. It seemed like almost everyone was drenched in perfume, though. OMG! I was so lucky and thankful that it didn't trigger a migraine. A tid bit of info when flying the Polish airline...everyone claps when the plane lands. With a bumpy landing we arrived at JFK. Just like last yr, when we were returning from Poland, our flight was delayed. After boarding the plane and moving away from the gate, the pilot come on speaker and told us that he was returning to the gate so we wouldn't cut into our 3 hr limit that was allowed for waiting on the runway. We were told that we could leave the plane, but not go far from the gate. Mike got off to get some water and something to eat. People weren't off the plane 5 minutes before they were told to return to the plane. I started to get a little worried because Mike was one of the last people to return. There was one woman who almost got left behind. We still had to wait over an hour on the runway. Instead of arriving in Charlotte around 8:40pm, we landed around 10:30 and got home at 11.  We were glad to be home, but we missed and still miss Madeleine.

Now, we wait! Oh, I hope and pray we don't have to wait too long.       

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dossier is in Poland

It's been a while since I've posted. Obviously. LOL. Let's see what has happened since July. We had our biometric appointment. I was told to expect the immigration office to have a very long wait even though we had an appointment. The night before, there were some bad thunderstorms and we lost power. We both set our phones to go off very early. We didn't want to be late. The power came back on around 3am. Mike said that Lacie woke him up to turn off a light that came back on with the power. I guess it was disrupting her beauty sleep. We got up without any problems. I had my coffee, jumped in the shower and got my make-up on when the power went out again. Don't know why. It wasn't storming anymore. Didn't get to dry my hair, so I threw it up into a ponytail and said, "the heck with it". We left the house later than planned and got stuck in the Charlotte morning traffic. We were certain that we would be late. We made it there with 8 minutes to spare. There was almost no one there. I wondered if power outages had something to do with that. We got our numbers and sat down to wait. While we were waiting, we were treated to the very "lovely" partial view of a young man's behind when he stood up. It was NOT a pleasant sight and boys and men (young or old) should NOT wear low-rise skinny jeans. I was kind of worried when the lady took my fingerprints. She kept having to do them over and over again, but I guess they were okay. We got our approval quite quickly. We were very happy about that.

Mike drove to Raleigh to have everything apostilled. When he got there, the lady told him that they couldn't do the employment letter because it hadn't been notarized in NC. So, she gave him the name and address of a place that could notarize it. It was a bail bondsman! LOL! Everything was taken care of and our dossier has been sent to Poland. I am so glad to have that done with. Now, we wait.

While waiting, we've been getting things in order around the house by cleaning closets, cupboards, reorganizing, de-cluttering and whatnot. Mike finally cleared out his office, which will be our future daughter's bedroom. We purchased furniture and it's been delivered and set up. While we've requested a little girl under 2, the crib converts to a toddler bed to a day bed to a full size bed. We're cover whether she's in a crib or bed. I picked up the paint this past Monday.

We ordered the RosettaStone Polish and it arrived yesterday. I've done a few lessons and boy, is it a difficult language to speak. I will keep at it and hopefully, I will get a handle on it... eventually.

To those traveling to Poland very soon: Have a safe and wonderful trip!

Have a great Labor Day weekend!