Monday, September 17, 2012

Best Summer Ever!!!

I can honestly say that this summer has been the most amazing summer of my life.  I thank my lucky stars every day that I was chosen to be "mama" to this beautiful child from China.  She is so much more than I ever dreamed she would be and she has shown me happiness and love like I've never known before.

Many times over the six years that I waited for her people would say "she will be worth the wait" or "once you get her you will forget how long and how painful the wait was".   Truth is, I have not forgotten how long and painful the wait was.   It was horrible and more than once I was ready to throw in the towel.  If someone had told me when I started the paperwork that it would be six years before I was matched with a child, I know for sure that I would never have gone forward.  And what a mistake that would have been!!  This sweet baby girl has rocked my world in the best possible way and I would wait sixty years for her if I had to!!

It's hard to believe that Maggie and I have been together for three months.  I look back at the photos from the first week we were together and she looks like a completely different child than she does today.  She was so tiny, malnourished, scared and fragile.  Fortunately, we began to see changes within the first 24 hours and she has continued to blossom ever since.  I look at her today and can't believe she is the same girl that was placed in my arms three months ago.  She has gained weight, is walking more than crawling and is the happiest child I know.  It's a rare sight to see her unhappy or crying.  I can't help but be happy when I'm with her.

Although I was fortunate to have the summer off to spend with her, tomorrow I must return to work.  I'm not going to lie...I am dreading it.  The thought of not being with her all day, of someone else tending to her needs, holding her and loving on her, makes me so sad.    We did a few trial runs with the sitter and the daycare this week and although at times it was hard for her, I know that I cried more than she did.  I love this child with my heart & soul and every ounce of my being and I don't want her to think for even one second that I'm not coming back for her.

Our summer in photos -

Swimming with Uncle Tim

Chillaxin with Aunt Beth

 Quiet time with cousin Jill

 Lots of fun with Uncle KC and Aunt Jodi

 Getting some good advice about our crazy family from cousin Liam

Snuggle time with Aunt Sue and Aunt Mary

 Hangin poolside with our favorite friends and neighbors

 Play dates with with my favorite red head and her adorable cousin

Big and Little R's from Florida (who I miss so much) came to meet my girl!

 CT Dragon Boat Festival 

 NYC for some yummy miniature cupcakes

The American Girl Doll store - yes, I bought her one :-)

The Central Park Zoo

 We visited family at the Jersey Shore and sat on the bench 
that was placed in honor of our amazing Poppy

 Maggie LOVED the carousel (once we got off the horse and sat on the bench)

 We went to the park and discovered that she LOVES the swings!!

 Back to the Jersey Shore for some R&R on the beach

Dipped her feet in the ocean for the first time!

 Walks on the beach with cousin Jill and Aunt Katie

 Watched the Labor Day Parade in the front yard of our new house :-)

 I love the USA!

 More swinging

First day at daycare :-(

Best. Summer. Ever!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Two weeks home...

It's hard to believe that we've been home for just over two weeks now.  I already can't remember or even imagine life without Maggie.  She brings so much joy not just to me but to all of our family and friends.  My girl is happy 99% of the time and she lets you know by grinning and waving to just about everyone we see.

The first few days home were a little tough.  Maggie woke at 3:30am happy as can be and ready to start her day.  Since I couldn't resist her sweet smile and her waving to me from her crib, I obliged.  By 10am we were both ready to go back to bed!  Thankfully that only lasted a few days and then we were on a pretty normal schedule.  Most nights she sleeps through the night but will occasionally wake up for a middle of the night bottle.

We had our first visit to the pediatrician the day after we arrived home.  Maggie is a tiny little thing weighing only 15 pounds.  It makes me sad to think that she didn't get enough formula or nutrients while living in the orphanage.  Our goal right now is to get some meat on her bones!!  We are still working on getting her to eat and seem to make a little more progress each and every day.  Puffs have become a favorite and she is starting to eat baby food like a champ!  Unfortunately, she only only gained 1.5 ounces in the two weeks we've been home so we are going to meet with a nutritionist and an occupational therapist to help with meal time.

First ride in the stroller - we took a walk to Grandpa's house

Madison and Karsen were the first to get Maggie to actually put food in her mouth!!

 3:30am play time :-)

She still LOVES the water and had a blast in the kiddie pool that Uncle Tim bought her!

 My beautiful girl on July 4, 2012

Maggie and Uncle Tim - she had so much fun with him and we were so sad to see him go :-(

 We celebrated her 1st birthday with family and friends - again!

Turns out she LOVES ice cream cake and it was one of the few things she would put in her mouth!

Getting ready for some pool time

 Our cousin Jill came for a visit and when I looked out the window I saw the two of them having a blast - giggling, talking, singing and just getting to know each other.  We LOVE Jill!!!

 Had a great visit with some great friends

 Lots of play time

My girl has some CRAZY hair!!  Every morning she wakes up with a Mohawk!!

Lately she has been so funny when I try to put her down for the night.  I give her a bottle, rock her and sing to her and she just about falls asleep.  Once she sleeping I put her in the crib that she's been sleeping in in my room.  Last night I put her in the crib and was sitting on my bed watching TV.  All of a sudden I saw some black spiked hair pop up, then one little hand, then another and all of a sudden her face with the biggest smile and giggles!!!  I called Katie to come up to see and we were crying we laughed so hard. It was hilarious!!!  I just love my happy, happy girl :-)

She is doing so well and I really feel like she is already so comfortable with me, my family and our new home.  She recognizes me as the one who takes care of all of her needs and has just recently started babbling "mamamamama".  My heart melts.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Home Sweet Home!!

We said goodbye to our amazing guide Martin and we were on our way for a 24+ hour journey from Guangzhou, China to JFK in New York.  I was really nervous about how Maggie would do.  My poor girl has gone through so many changes in the last few weeks and now she has no idea what is about to happen!  We had a short flight from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, a five hour layover in Hong Kong, a 15.5 hour flight to JFK and then an hour and a half drive to Connecticut!  That's a lot for anyone let alone my poor baby girl.

Dad and Martin - these two became the best of buddies :-)

Martin, me and Maggie

Flight #1
NOT all...for the whole flight!!!
Thankfully it was only a 35 minute flight

Still fairly happy during our five hour layover!!  YAY!!

We were lucky enough to get bulk head seats with a bassinett.  There was a 3rd person in our row but she was nice enough to move to another seat which gave us more room for Maggie to get comfy.

She was charming everyone within ear shot with her babble

Resting up for our big homecoming - just a short 13 hours away!!
My girl was a champ on this flight!!!  I couldn't believe how great she did.  Other than a few fussy moments when she couldn't get comfortable she was so great!!  When the plane landed several people, including the flight attendants and the pilot, told me that they were so impressed with her and how well she did. 

Once we got through customs and immigration, my girl was a US CITIZEN!!!!  We couldn't wait to get out to see our family and friends that were waiting for us.  We got such a great homecoming as we came through the doors!!!  The best surprise was that my brother Tim flew in from Utah to meet his new niece!!!  I was videoing as we came through the doors and Katie was videoing from the other end.  You can tell in both videos the exact moment that I saw Tim!!!

After almost six years of waiting and dreaming of her...Maggie is HOME at last!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

China - Day 13 - LAST DAY IN CHINA!!!

Today was our final day in China.  As much as I want to go home, I can't believe that it is really coming to an end.  In less than 24 hours I will be boarding a plane for the USA with a beautiful baby girl that I am so honored to call my daughter.  I'm surprised to say that I have mixed feelings about it.  I am ecstatic that I will be coming home to family and friends that are already madly in love with this child that they have never met, but sad for all that Maggie will never know.  Although I know that her life with me will be much better than she ever could have had in the rural area of China where she is from, I am sad for all that she will never know.

I am sad that she will never know the circumstances that led her to become an orphan.

I am sad that she spent the first year of her life in a orphanage.

I am sad that she will never know who her birth family is.

I am sad because I am certain there is a mother out there that yearns for the child she carried for nine months and hopes that she is safe and warm and loved.

I am sad that her birth family will never know how much she is loved already.

I am sad.

But, yet...I am so happy.

I am happy that I have been blessed with such a beautiful and gentle child!

I am happy that she already recognizes me as the one who loves her and will meet her every need and that she cries when I walk out of sight!

I am happy that she is the first thing I see when I open my eyes in the morning!

I am happy that my sweet girl has come so far in such a short time!

I am happy that I have been chosen to be her mom.  Forever!

I am happy!

My happy, happy girl!!

I love her right down to her sweet little toes

 We went swimming again today and I'm pretty sure that just like me, my girl is going to love the summer time!!  She had a blast and was kicking and splashing all over the place.  We spent some quiet time together just enjoying our last day in China and I told her over and over again how much I love her and that I promise to take care of her forever.

Goodbye China Hotel!!!

Tomorrow morning we will be picked up at 7am to begin the final step in a long six year process.

Thank you to everyone who followed our adventures in China.  We loved your emails, comments, texts and phone calls and it made me realize how lucky I am.  How lucky we are.

I'm bringing my girl home...Maggie at last!!

Much love to you all!!!  Next stop - USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!