Friday, April 20, 2012

my side of the story...

Last fall, a mom named, "Robyn" announced on a yahoo group that her family had been matched with a little girl from Guiping, the city where Cora is from. Cora's orphanage is pretty small and we've only connected with a handful of families with Guiping kiddos, so I was ecstatic when I read the news. I emailed this mom right away to say hello, and we've been talking back and forth ever since!

Yesterday that family flew home from China with their new daughter, and since they were traveling through Chicago, we decided to make a day trip to the Windy City and greet them at the airport. They live pretty far away and this would be a rare opportunity to meet them and reunite our Guiping girls. I was SO excited! I had been talking to Olivia and Cora about meeting their friend, Mamie, and had imagined the cute pictures we were going to (hopefully) get of the two China sisters together, once again!

Homecomings are exciting. I've been up in the air, eagerly waiting to land and see my friends and family that I knew were waiting there for me. I've also been on the ground, anxiously waiting to see my friends and to meet their new children. It's a pretty sweet reunion, either way.

So Robyn, if you're reading this, this is "my side of the story" - the story from the ground.

We got to the airport and checked our friends' flight status. Delayed. We found the "International Arriving Passengers" area and checked for another update. Delayed even further. The flight ended up being an hour late, and by the time they landed, Robyn was sending texts that they were were going to have to run to catch their next flight. We agreed to run right along with them. :)

Waiting for them was awful, though, because I wasn't even convinced we were in the right place. Assuming the worst, I waivered between wondering if we would even see them to wondering if we had already missed them. Fortunately Robyn kept sending texts, updating us about their progression through customs. Finally, she sent the text that they were re-checking bags, and I looked up and saw her behind the glass doors carrying her little girl! I started waving frantically to get her attention and called for Brendan to grab the girls. Knowing we were going to have to move fast, we made the split decision for Brendan to head for the elevator with the girls (and our huge double-stroller) while I greeted the family.

The "plan" was to meet upstairs to catch the tram to the domestic terminal, but when we reached the top of the escalator, we saw the tram was waiting and jumped inside just before the doors closed. We took off, and I looked out the window to see Brendan and the girls waiting outside. They had missed their ride, and with that we missed our shot at reuniting the girls... Really - it was only a matter of seconds.

But here was my friend that I had been emailing, calling, and (very recently) texting, standing right before my very eyes. And she was holding a precious, little bundle, someone pretty important to my daughter's past. It was almost surreal!

Now you need to know that Robyn and I can talk. I think for the first time ever, though, we looked at each other speechless. (Honestly, how do you pick something to talk about knowing you only have a few minutes? Especially after one of you has just traveled halfway around the world to bring home a child!)

We exchanged a few details while riding on the train and racing toward the gate. Their boarding passes weren't working for some reason, so we got maybe an extra minute to catch up as much as we could. And we managed to take one picture. So here we are. Our Guiping group minus my Guiping girl.


Stupid late airplane.

To sum up the day? It was crazy, chaotic, totally nuts... Not at all what I had planned or hoped for, but absolutely worth it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

girly girl

It doesn't get any girlier than this.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

yep - my girls rocked it at the dentist's office

It was a first for both the girls - a trip to the dentist's office. I wasn't sure how this one was going to go, but had a feeling it wouldn't be pretty. Sure enough, Cora started to whimper as soon as we walked through the door, "No doctor..." so I explained that this wasn't the doctor, this was the dentist, and it was way better. Didn't really convince her.

Olivia took the chair first, and though she was a bit timid, she was willing to cooperate.

She did awesome.

Cora wanted nothing to do any of it until she saw Olivia having all the fun, and then all of a sudden, she "wan do dat, too."

Don't believe me?
Check it out - even with a pick in her mouth - she's not screaming!

I was so proud of them. Complete cleanings and exams for both! What a sweet surprise for me!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!





(This kid exudes joy, don't you think?)

It's been a busy day with barely enough time (or space on the card reader) for a photo shoot, but we've had a wonderful time together as a family. The girls woke up to Easter baskets and breakfast (nothing special - just cereal.) Next, we headed off to church, followed by lunch (which was a little more special) at Gramma's and Papa's house. The girls got to play with their cousins and enjoyed a laid-back egg hunt. (Full baskets today!) We headed home and everyone got a nap! Leftovers for dinner and then a lazy evening.

And those dresses? Grandma followed tradition and made them for the girls again this year! (Wish I would have gotten better pictures to show the detail...) For Olivia's dress, I found a dress that I loved, we could not find a pattern for it, so Grandma "made do" and quite frankly, she nailed it. Thank you, Mom! I hope you'll agree - suits them perfectly!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

the hunt

It's that time of year again! It's spring and the grass is green and the leaves on the trees are growing and the flowers are blooming. And it's EASTER! We went to 2 egg hunts this year. Last week we went to one at a local church. They did a really nice job and had games and activities for the kids, and the girls had so much fun! They have been begging to go back. And since it was cold and rainy and not at all spring-like last Saturday, today we took the girls to the hunt we went to last year at the local fairgrounds. And today it was sunny and beautiful and perfect outside, but my girls did not have fun.

Here's how our day started.
Me: "Hey Cora, do you want to see the Easter Bunny, today?"
Cora: "No. He get me."
Olivia: "I wanna dance wif da Easter Egg Bunny. That make me so happy."

So we headed out to the fairgrounds, waited in line, and as we passed through the gates, Olivia started to whimper. We had passed the Easter Egg Bunny. We promised we would see him later and rushed over to where the eggs were hidden for our girls' age group, the 3-5 year old. (Cora is only 2 1/2, but we wanted to all be together. We figured she was scrappy enough and could hold her own!)

The girls stood ready to go as we stood behind the barricades. (No parents allowed with the 3-5 year olds!) They understood what to do. "Keen uh da Easter eggs." (clean up the Easter eggs.) We were ready!

And then the Easter Bunny showed up. As soon as I heard Brendan say, "Uh oh, look who's here." I heard shrieking from my youngest as she ran for cover. The whistle then blew and there was a flurry of kids running as fast as they could toward the eggs, while my youngest was running as fast as she could away from them.

And my other daughter?


Bless this man who helped point out an egg to Olivia.

It would be the only one she would pick up.

And Cora? Yep - still screaming.

So we walked away with two girls and one egg. Success.

Fortunately for us, Culver's was there handing out tokens for free frozen custard. They took pity on Cora - no eggs in her basket - and gave her a handful of tokens. So I'd say we made out pretty well. And as you can see, so would she.

But poor Olivia never got to dance with the bunny. Maybe next year.