Monday, February 20, 2012

Wow! Its a Big Day ... For Many Reasons

The big news here today is that Josie lost her first tooth! Yee Ha! That tiny little tooth has been wobbling around in her gums for the past two weeks. She was out with her Dad having lunch, bit into a tortilla chip and chomped down on something a bit harder than a chip. She told her Dad, "I think my tooth fell out". Sure enough, it did!

After getting the phone call reporting the big news, I went upstairs to my desk to record the date in our "Josie File". It's an electronic file that I use to keep track of all the milestones of Josie's life. (Thankfully, kept on a separate computer than the one that crashed!) I made my entry and then noticed that Feb 20 is actually a big day for another reason... It was 6 years ago today that we entered a cold conference room on the 3rd floor of the Wuhan Mayflower Hotel and met Chong Si Li ... you all might know that precious girl by the name she was given the next day - Josephine Lily. This is all we knew of our daughter before walking into that conference room:

(From our referral report translation) ...
Chong Si Li, F., was born on March 18, 2005 (estimated). She was found abandoned by a staff person named Mao Guo Xiang from this institute, at the gate of the social welfare institute (# 384 Yanhe Road, Tiancheng Town, Chongyang County) on July 10, 2005. The baby was then dressed in a light blue envelope neck vest and a pair of blue baby pants, lying in a carton. Beside her, there was some baby clothes, a bag of formula, a bottle of cod-liver oil, and a milk bottle. Afterwards, the Daqiao police station issued the Abandon Baby Certificate and the Certificate of the Baby’s Biological Parents or any Guardians Not Being Found.

On the first day of her being taken into this Institute for nurturing, Si Li received a physical check-up and was found normal and healthy. Because she was born in Chong Yang County, and because we hoped that she would never forget her hometown, and hoped she would grow into a beautiful angel in the future, we gave her the last name ‘Chong’ and the first name ‘Si Li’.

I know a lot of adoptive families make a big celebration of "Family Day" or day that their child became a part of their family. We never have. We tell Josie stories all the time of how long we waited for her and how excited we were to receive our first photos of her. We tell her that the nice people in China called us and said, "Your daughter has been born!" And how we couldn't wait to get to China to hold her and thank the nannies who took such good care of her when she was a tiny baby.

I cannot believe it has been 6 years since that day. It feels like a lifetime ago. I was so incredibly scared. Josie was so upset and very sick. Maddie was so excited to finally be a 'Big Sister' and James just seemed so calm. Wow, what a day. I simply cannot image what all of our lives would have been like had Josie not become ours. She is so treasured by the entire family - her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and our friends who are family! We are blessed.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

In A 'Holding Pattern'

First, I would like to wish everyone a Very Happy Chinese New Year! (Jan 23). Josie celebrated the Lunar New Year with her friend Katie. Katie's Mom, Jenny, is very active with the local Chinese Moms group. Jenny invites Josie to take part in nearly all their activities. We're lucky to have such wonderful neighbors!

James prefers the more 'Disney-fied' version of CNY. Josie and her Dad visited Disneyland and participated in all the CNY events offered. Photos by James:

Josie making a Chinese lantern

A dragon chain

Dragon Dance

The next few weeks will be torturous for all of us - Maddie is waiting to hear from the colleges she applied to. No matter how many times we tell her that the colleges don't mail acceptances until mid-March, she still runs to the mailbox everyday checking for those darn letters! Applying to college sure is different than when James & I applied... I'm quite upset by the whole process myself, so I can image what Maddie must be going through. Not fun.

Last weekend, we attended the LA Times Travel Show, held at the LA Convention Center. There were some awesome displays, events and demonstrations to see. There were booths representing countries that I never thought to visit, and booths from countries I can't wait to return to! I came away from the show vowing to take a proper visit back to Turkey and to finally visit Ecqudor, the home of dear Janina, the exchange student we hosted back in 2008.

One of our favorite demonstrations was by Chef Conor McClellan of the Rayanne House, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Given that 2012 marks the launch and destruction of the Belfast built Titanic, the Chef re-created two dinner entrees served aboard the ill-fated ship. How interesting! The first entree was Squab with a Champagne Saffron sauce and the second was a dessert. Here is the Chef working his magic:

The Taiwan Tourist Bureau had the largest display, complete with dancers and familiar Lunar New Year characters:

Today, we visited a local Farmer's Market in search of fresh strawberries - and we found a lot more! Incredible produce and locally produced artisan breads. There were also a few local artists and craftswomen displaying their wares. It was a great way to spend the morning with the girls! I'll only make quick mention of the near miracle it was to get Maddie out of bed before 11AM on a weekend morning :-)

Here's a bit of what we sampled:

And finally, for all you football fans - I'm going to try and insert a short movie below of my nephew, Jack, giving an exciting rundown of the Superbowl match -up. Jack gave the sports report at his school on Friday. I think he has a bright future in broadcasting!

Have a great Super Bowl weekend!