Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Well, I can tell you what his name ISN'T

In the interest of family solidarity and happiness, I asked my husband to reconsider the name we'd originally chosen: Owen.  He said that it was his least favorite, but if it's what I wanted, he'd learn to love it.  "O.K.," I told him, "so I'm calling L.L. Bean and will have it monogrammed on a Christmas stocking.  If I do that, we're committed.  You're fine with that?"  "Yes," he said, "name him Owen."

I called L.L. Bean within the hour and felt at peace that the decision was finally behind us.  I planned to keep the name a secret from the kids until we decorated for Christmas.   They'd find the new stocking in the box with all of the decorations and ornaments, and they'd cheer and celebrate and we'd sip our hot chocolates and make a toast to our little boy.  At least that's what I'd imagined.

And then I got this from my husband....
"It just doesn't look right."

Lyle said he'd tried to like it.  He'd really tried, but it just had no meaning for him.  Each one of our children's names has meant something to us, something beyond us just liking the sound.  And so the name Owen wasn't meant to be.  For us.  But if you happen to know of anyone expecting an Owen, let them know where they can get an awesome deal on a stocking.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Thanksgiving to Remember

Contrary to popular opinion, when I said we were sleeping at Lyle's dental office, we were not sleeping in dental chairs, although I do appreciate the image.  We were in the spacious staff lounge and had brought an air mattress from home, so we were hunky dory.

Unfortunately, the power still hadn't come back on at home by mid-morning on Thanksgiving, so we loaded the car and drove 2 hours east to Lyle's sister's house.  The dinner was fantastic, the company couldn't have been better, and being in a home with electricity was simply divine.   We heard that night that our power at home had come on and we rejoiced.

We woke up Friday morning to a phone call alerting us that a pipe had burst in our rental house next door and the cute little cottage was now more akin to a swimming pool than a domestic residence.  We took only enough time to change out of our pajamas before we hit the road.  Thankfully some friends and neighbors helped bail (literally) us out and we moved furniture into our garage and slogged sopping carpet and pad to the dump.

Did I mention that the turkey was really good?  It was a Thanksgiving to remember.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Have you ever watched that show "Everest" and contemplated your odds of reaching the summit?  I've always known that I wouldn't make it past base camp.  I have toes that freeze when the temperatures plummet below about 70 degrees.  So when we lost power on Monday and the temperature outside was in the teens, I knew we were in dire straits.

Bruder was huddled up with friends and the rest of put on coats and hats and multiple layers of socks.  We do have a gas fireplace, four of them actually, but they all have electric switches to turn them on rendering them useless.  Yesterday we brought sleeping bags and and pillows and lots of board games to Lyle's dental office and we've been here since, contemplating Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Because He's Cute.....

And because things are relatively quiet here on the home front, I thought I'd share Xi Xi's baby pictures.  I only have two.  Actually, I have three if you count the grainy black and white newspaper finding ad, which is hardly worth counting.  I can't even imagine having only two pictures of Bruder's whole babyhood.  During his first year, I probably averaged at least two pictures every day.  And that was even before digital cameras!

Most boys who are abandoned in China have a visible special need and our Yun Xi was no exception.  Cleft lip and palate, club feet, and other limb differences are common amongst the boys in China's orphanages, but Yun Xi did not have any of those things.  What he did have is what doctors in China called a "vascular malformation" or hemangioma on the inside of his left cheek.  Hemangiomas are relatively common and not a great cause for concern.  In fact, they often go away on their own.

When Xi Xi was nearly 8 months old, though, he spent a week in the hospital where an oral surgeon performed two operations to remove the hemangioma.  From the smiling face I see in post-surgery photos, it looks like he did a great job.   Still, I think his chipmunk cheek was rather endearing.

Not surprisingly (to me at least), my dentist husband is eager to get a look inside his son's mouth to see where they performed the operation.  There are many things in Yun Xi's file that could have been more detailed, that I wish were more detailed, but let's just say they were quite thorough in their description of the removal of the hemangioma.

Lyle found it fascinating reading.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Made it!

Back in July, when we respectfully asked China to allow us to adopt Yun Xi, we were given a deadline of 90 days to have all of our papers signed, sealed, delivered and logged-in in China.   Several agencies said there was no way it could be done.  Our agency however is made of sterner stuff.   "Let's do this warp speed," they said.

In 90 days we had to (just a sampling):

*Get notarized documents from California, Oklahoma, and Utah.
*Have physicals.
*Get police clearances from all of the places we've lived since age 18.
*Have a social worker make visits to our house.
*Get friends and family to write letters of recommendation.
*Do on-line training.
*Get fingerprinted.
*Make countless trips to the notary.....she'll be getting a Christmas card.
*Visit the Secretary of State's Office in Olympia.
*Send documents to consulates and embassies in San Francisco, Houston, and DC.
*Wait for all of the government agencies to stamp, sign, or do whatever they needed to do to the above documents.
*Etc., Etc., Etc....

Our deadline was October 23rd.  I knew when we sent our papers to China that we'd be close.  Depending on how long it took on the China side to log-in our papers, we may or may not make the deadline.  Well, just this morning I found out our log-in date.  It was October 22nd!  We made the deadline by ONE day!  It makes all of those overnight fees and courier charges worthwhile.

So on this momentous day, I'll share another Yun Xi picture.  This is a rare photo of him not in full-out grin, but the grin is obviously right under the surface.

We're still hoping to travel in March.  I planted some daffodil bulbs last week and thought of how happy and bright they would look in the spring, welcoming our little Yun Xi home.