Thursday, September 18, 2008


So here it is the third day after meeting Meika. It is truly remarkable how well she seems to be adjusting. She sleeps through the night (score!), wakes up smiling and does not appear to be grieving her departure from the orphanage at all. She knows who the Mama is, totally loves Lily, and copies everything she does (which isn't really a good thing) and is content and loving towards my friend Pegeen as well, but does seem to know which one of us is the Mama.

She laughs a lot, loves to be tickled and loves to cuddle. She knows how to feed herself, but isn't eating much at all, she only seems to want the bottle of rice cereal and formula mix. Any suggestions out there? The first day after I got her she ate pretty well, but today she doesn't want any food at all...except to play with it, she loves to get the spoons and a plate while we eat and practice eating without really getting much in her mouth. And when I try to feed her she laughs and shakes her head and turns away.

While we are in the hotel room she is very comfortable and plays alone well with the stacking cups and coloring book, or with Lily of course. But if we are out and there are other people around she won't let me put her down for even a second. The only time we have seen tears was when she was in the stroller and myself, Pegeen and Lily were all behind the her and none of us was talking, she didn't know where we were and started to cry, but once she saw me and I reasurred her, she was fine. She wants to know where we all are and if one of us gets up from the table at breakfast she will look around until we come back.

She throws herself at my legs and hugs me and if she is sitting on my lap she will through herself at my chest arms outstretched and try to hug me. If Lily throws out her arms Meika will run into them and give her a big old hug. What a sweetie!

She has a lot of energy and her personality seems to be a very happy one like her big sister. What a blessing these children are!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


So have I mentioned my fear of public restrooms? Well, it runs deep – very, very deep. Probably stemming from those early childhood memories where I am standing - no taller than the toilet, my mother at my side plastering the entire piece of cold white porcelain with prodigious amounts of scratchy toilet paper. “Don't touch the seat! Don't let your legs touch the sides! Don't hold on to any part of the toilet!” Leaving one small child precariously balanced with arms and legs outstretched and trembling upon the edge of what I was convinced was a giant germ ridden throne of death. Enough to give anyone a deep and abiding complex, complete with nightmares. Oh my yes, I actually still have recurring dreams about white tiled public restrooms, complete with loathsome crud and an urgent need to relieve myself with no where else to go. Horrible, simply horrible!

In China, “western” toilets are not common. A western toilet is the kind where there is somewhere to sit, and though I don't like for myself or especially my child to sit on a public toilet, and like my mother attempt to plaster it in paper, nothing compares to the experience of an Asian toilet, which is basically a porcelain, flushable hole in the ground.

So too late did it occur to me that Lily, my eight year old, might need instruction in the proper way to use a Chinese toilet. We were at the Lama Temple in Beijing and were told by our guide Thomas that this would be a better place to use the restroom before we went to lunch, it being relatively cleaner than the restaurants. For those who do not know, a Chinese toilet is flush with the floor. It is also white porcelain and flushes like a western toilet, but there is no where to sit, you must squat over the toilet, balancing precariously and concentrate on many things at one time; hitting the right spot, NOT hitting the wrong spot, such as your clothes or shoes. It would help if there was a handle of some sort to hold on to, but there is not. And of course, there isn't much room in which to work all this magic. And most restrooms don't have toilet paper, you must bring your own, and if there IS toilet paper to be had, it is in a role when you come into the restroom and you have to remember to get some before going into a stall or you're stuck empty handed so to speak.

So into the stalls we all went, the silly Mama not giving any instruction nor grabbing any toilet paper. And while I was busy and unable to do anything about it I hear Lily tell me she is sitting on the “floor” to go potty, isn't that cool?. “You're what?! Seriously? You're sitting on the floor?!”

Small unsure voice from the next stall, “”

“Lily, tell me the truth, did you sit on the floor to go potty?”

“Yes....I'm sorry! I didn't know!”

“Okay, don't do anything else, have you pulled up your pants yet?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Hold it! Stop! Do nothing else!” I shout. I finish doing what I need to do as quickly as possible and rush to my child. She has indeed already gotten her clothes back up, which horrifies me further since now it probably won't make a bit of difference whether I attempt a clean up with wipes or not. Then I spot her backpack on the floor, oye! how it didn't get soaked I will never know. I try my best to wash her down while she strattles the toilet since there are now two of us in the small stall and no where else for her to go. Once she is as clean as is possible under the circumstances and put back together, I point to the foot petal that is used to flush the toilet and Lily for some unknown reason thinks I am pointing to the toilet itself and puts her foot right down in the center of the thing. Arrrrgggg! NO NO NO! This isn't happening! She has now stepped in the worse possible spot imaginable for someone as germophobic as me. Fortunately, I had invested in waterproof hiking shoes for both of us before traveling and soon have her hopping to the bathroom sinks. So there we are at a temple, me lifting my child to run her entire foot, shoe and all, under the tap. I certainly hope the laughing Buddhas were laughing at this spectacle. After taking a deep breath, the humor in the situation hit me and as I waited for my friend Pegeen outside I told our guide Thomas what had happened. I do believe he was horrified that I was even telling him about it, and possibly even more horrified that I thought it was funny.

So get busy all you soon to travel Mamas out there, start practicing your deep knee bends and squats, you'll need the extra training, believe me। And instruct those young ones, this could happen to any of you! Be vigilant. Be prepared. Mothers have enough complexes when it comes to their children without adding the fear of tumbling into an Asian toilet.

KKW ©2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Is this not the sweetest photo ever? We met Meika today! We flew from Beijing this morning, arriving at the orphanage very soon after we landed. Meika was crying as they brought her in the room and was screaming when they handed her to me, which got me to crying, although I would have been crying anyway, let's face it. Then she cried some more and kept reaching for the caregiver, poor baby! Finally, the caregiver asked if I had brought any food for her and I gave her some baby snacks. Yeah for dried apples! She still wasn't sure about whether she was liking what was happening to her, but stopped crying and reaching out for the caregiver. By the time we left she was clinging to me. We went back to the hotel and Lily got the first smile! After only about two hours of being handed this waling child she was smiling, laughing at Lily and actually walked up to me and lifted her arms to be held and called me Mama! Which of course got me to crying again, but only me this time.

What an odd mixture of feelings being handed a child which is now your own through adoption is. It is beyond description really. You have love of course, but also anxiety. Then there is fear and trepidation, plus unbelievable happiness. It is amazing how one person can feel so many things at one time. Five Spice Emotions; a mix of very different ingredients that make a harmonious whole, and one that makes your eyes tear up.

After the addition of Cheerios to the snack cup, we got out the stroller which she thought was just wonderful; her own personal rickshaw! We went to McDonald's, which was very close to the hotel and easy, but Meika wasn't impressed with the food, she loved the milk though. After coming back to the hotel she finished up some more Cheerios and milk and fell asleep next to Lily chattering away in baby talk. They are both asleep now and if I can stay awake long enough I will post this entry, I am exhausted on so many levels.

The updated photos I was given yesterday before seeing her made her look so much bigger and older, I barely recognized her, but of course in reality she is quite tiny. She is chubbier than Lily was though.

You can't even see her cleft scars at all. She is beautiful and sweet and thinks Lily is the funniest thing ever. I'm glad that Lily was able to get her to smile first, it made her very happy.

I am hopeful that she will continue to think we are cool tomorrow when she wakes up and finds herself in unfamiliar surroundings, surrounded by unfamiliar faces! But it will be okay, I know it will. Wow, I'm the Mama to two amazing daughters! I am blessed.

KKW ©2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Just a quick note to let all know that we arrived safely in Beijing after a day and a half of travel many days ago. The hotel here charges by the minute for internet connection so I am quickly adding this to say that I will hopefully be posting more soon and will try and grab a few moments to write. We have been busy touring and experiencing China from early morning until late at night and have done and seen so many interesting things already before even meeting my new little one that it could take me months and months to write up all our experiences. I am looking forward to it! But for the moment, between sheer exhaustion and lack of internet connectivity, the posts may be slow in coming. In the meantime, enjoy the attached photo of the night “snack” market where fried scorpions, starfish and silk worm cocoons were to be had. (did she or didn't she eat a fried scorpion? Check back to find out!) Thanks for checking in, more later, I promise!
KKW ©2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Leaving On A Jet Plane

(Sung to the tune of “Leaving On a Jet Plane”)

Oh our bags are packed and we’re ready to go,
We’re standing here outside our door,
Checking to be sure that we have everything.

Passports and paperwork, cameras and snacks,
Suitcases, IPod, books and backpacks,
Don’t forget the bottles and the Cherrios!


We’re leaving on jet plane, to go to China again
Ready to meet our little one waiting for us!

So many times I signed my name,
Paid the fees as they came,
Fingerprinted, scrutinized, stamped and approved.

But it’s worth every minute of what I have to do,
To hold you close and whisper I love you,
I’ve waited so many years to make you mine.


We’re leaving on a jet plane, to go to China again,
Walk the Great Wall on which we’ll roam,
But most of all welcome you home.

Will she love me, hate me or worse?
Will she be frightened to see me at first?
I'm terrified and excited at the same time.

Big sister too is waiting to depart,
Getting very antsy and ready to start,
But still not sure she wants to share her Mom.

But I know that once those little arms,
Reach for her sister to keep her from harm,
The love that is in them both will be set free.


We’re leaving on a jet plane, to go to China again,
Have I remembered everything?
Oh my, so much I have to bring!

And now comes the time to get on board,
Find our seats amongst the seething hordes,
And try to stay calm and enjoy this incredible trip.


Yes, we’re leaving on that jet plane, to go to China again,
Ready to meet our little one waiting for us!

Yes, leaving on that jet plane, and bring home baby again,
Oh how exciting life can be….baby are you ready for me?

KKW ©2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

You Know You’re a Parent…

...when you are easily confused.

With a second daughter about to come home, I made the decision to upgrade the car seat that daughter #1 sits in. She is petite, but too tall to fit into the 5 point belt system on the current seat and using only the lap/shoulder belt as a booster leaves her virtually floating behind the car’s seat belt. So I set out to find a seat that has a 5 point belt system for children over forty pounds, of which there are only two, both expensive and difficult to find. Fortunately, I tracked down the model I wanted at a local store and armed with gift cards from co-workers, a sale flier and a 20% off coupon, I was well pleased with myself for having saved so much on an expensive item. But once having purchase it, my mood quickly deflated as I then was faced with having to install the beastly thing.

I read the instructions; a booklet consisting of thirty-eight pages! Thirty-eight pages of instructions for a car seat? Their kidding, surly. I read it cover to cover, glancing furtively every now and then at the seat, sitting there mocking me with its many shiny new buckles, pockets and straps. Then I read it again. I checked to be sure that I was reading the English version of the instructions and not the Spanish. Yes, it did appear to be English, but still it didn't making sense to my befuddled brain. Each time I had reached the end of a step, the step proceeding had gone from my head. Here is an example of just one part of one step so that you can see what I was up against:

Route the child’s right latch connector through child’s left belt slot from the front to the back of the child seat shell. Route the child’s right latch connector across the back of the child seat shell. The latch strap must route over the harness straps on the rear of the child seat. Route the child’s right latch connector through the child’s right belt slot to the front of the child seat. Route the child’s right connector around to the outside of the child seat shell.”

That was just step 4g in Chapter 6. If that made sense to you, then you are a far better person than I and should be elected to solve all of the world’s problems immediately.

So I then tried to read and complete just one step at a time. I became entangled in the many buckles and belts. I struggled with space even to move since the seat alone took up half the back seat and I kept having to turn it back and forth from front to back in order to complete the steps, and oh, did I mention that I have a two door vehicle? So there I was, squeezed onto the floor of the backseat, kneeling amongst crushed Cheerios and broken crayons, booklet in one hand, hammer in the other (yep, this seat installation required a hammer, probably in case you reached such a state of frustration that you could whack something to release the tension), reading glasses perched on my nose because the print in the instruction booklet was so small that I needed reading glasses in addition to my contacts in order to see the print. My daughter, ever one to be helpful, stands outside giving unsolicited advice in between her repeated inquires as to whether I was finished with the installation so that she could try out her new seat.

I began at six in the morning so that I wouldn’t be steamed alive while attempting this, it being summer in the south after all, but it’s taking so long that the sun begins to rise past the treetops and so does the temperature. It is at this point in my frustration that I fall to my knees (oh yeah, I am already on my knees amongst the Cheerios) and lament, “Why oh why, should it take the I. Q. of Einstein in order to install a piece of child related safety equipment?! Surely one shouldn’t need an advanced degree in engineering in order to keep one’s child safe? ”

Because it isn’t just the car seat that I have been struggling with as I get ready to travel around the world and back to adopt my second child, there has been the child safety gate for the stairs that came with a box of screws, some unrecognizable plastic pieces and two sections of gate, but no instructions! So there it sits useless at the top of the stairs.

Then there is the stroller, which, I must admit have come a long way in the 7 years since I last used one. It also came with a book of instructions that required a sit down, but didn’t actually instruct. It’s a stroller, not to hard to figure out how to open and close it, but it also has a sun canopy and the instructions said to “Attach canopy to stroller”. Okay, easy enough, but it didn’t say which way up and where the canopy was to be installed, it just said, “Attach canopy to stroller”. I know, I know, you're thinking to yourself, “this woman is an idiot! How hard could it be?” And yes, it should be quite simple, it's a stroller, there is only one logic place to attach it but I tried it one way and should a child have actually been sitting in the seat, the canopy would have worked well as a gigantic nose guard, but not to shade her from the sun. So I flipped it over and tried it the other way, but now it just stuck straight up and worked only to block my view of where I was going. So currently, stroller is canopy free.

And then there is the lovely gift that was given to me by a co-worker, a shopping cart cover. I didn’t have one of these with daughter #1 and always wanted one. I mean, do you KNOW what is on a shopping cart? It isn’t like they wash those things you know, they are rolling vehicles for homicidal germ gangs! So I was quite excited to discover that it was very simple to use, basically you drape it over the cart seat and put the baby in. Fantastic! I love it! After playing with all the little toys that were attached to it to occupy the wee one while shopping, I consulted the box to see that it conveniently rolled up for travel and the belt that holds baby to the cart, doubles as a handy sling to carry the cover to and from the store. How cleaver, I thought to myself. Then I tried to roll it to make the carrying sling possible. One way. Then another. And a third. I looked at the box. I sheepishly looked for instructions. Instructions for heaven's sake for what is basically a blanket? Great, my intellect has now sunk lower than a worm's belly button. And what did the instructions say? “Roll up seat cover and use strap to carry.” Brilliant, how?! You aren't telling me HOW to roll it in order to use the strap to carry it! You will be relieved to know that I actually beat this one - I took a deep calming breath and really tried to engage my worked, I got it rolled and ready. Turns out, it must be rolled into thirds first, silly me. Of course I am now terrified to actually use it for fear I will never be able to get it rolled properly again and I will have failed as a modern mama. Imagine my embarrassment should I be caught in the parking lot of the local Stuff-mart stomping upon my lovely cart seat cover in a fit of frustration.

I usually consult instructions as a last resort, I rather like trying to figure things out and if I get stuck, then I will refer to the directions, but lately this has been more of a hindrance to completing a project than a help. So here is a message to all you technical writers out there...have mercy! Please pity us poor, befuddled parents! Lend a helping hand to those of us who are instructionally challenged! Just keep it simple will ya for the love o' pigs?

(*Note: I just discovered online that there is an Ease Of Use Rating System for car seats and I looked up the one I bought. It got only 2 stars out of a 5 star system over all and the instruction booklet got only 1 star! So see? it isn't my Parent Brain after all. I feel so much better. Wish I had discovered this rating system before I bought the seat!)

KKW ©2008