Bringing Kennedy Home

Feelings, thoughts and other tidbits along the way to adopting our daughter from China.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Girls Night Out

A bunch of us "Westisle Alumni" are getting together for a night in Cavendish (that's PEI's most famous tourist destination for my blog friends across Canada and the US) at "Swept Away Cottages". How fun does that sound? It's been 16 years since we all graduated from Westisle High School and went our separate ways. Mind you, none of us went too far. We're still all here on PEI, but we don't get together very often. Everyone is married with kids ( kidless...but getting there) so it's difficult to get everyone together. Thanks to Lola for organizing this. I will definitely post some pictures tomorrow. Stay tuned.

13 months...

In the absence of "September 31", as of today, we have officially been logged in with the CCAA for 13 months! I can't believe it's been 13 months. In some ways it feels like yesterday when we were pouring out our life story to our social worker. In other ways it seems like we've been waiting forever. All things point to us seeing Kennedy's picture at the end of November. Fingers crossed.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Feeling the love...

THANKS SO MUCH for all the e-mails, phone calls and personal comments. Wow, it feels good to have so many people supporting us. You know who you are. You all brightened my day and I've started to see the brighter side of things again. I have to remember, this is ALL GOOD. There's no bad case scenario in this at all. We will have our baby soon. Again, thank you to all those who brighten my Monday. It means a LOT! xoxo

Let's face it...I'm a wreck.

Here I am...ready to wish another month away. Thanksgiving and Teacher's conventions should help. Getting together with my girlfriends for several upcoming dates will help. But it's pretty dire now. I'm anxious and can hardly talk about it. My friends at school were so excited when I told them the CCAA was into August took me by surprise! I don't know why. I guess they're just like me. For so long it seemed like a dream. It's been a year and a half since we announced this to everyone so I guess it is time to get excited. But with this process, my excitement is always guarded because I just don't know when that referral will come. Realistically, I don't think it will be the end of October. If it doesn't come in November, we will be very disappointed. But who knows. Thanks to everyone who is sending their well wishes. It means a lot. I know this is all starting to sound a little redundant so I'll try to spuce it up a little for my next post:)

Not great, but not terrible either...

It's 3:15 a.m. on Monday morning. There's a small hurricane happening outside I believe. Had to get up and go outside to pin a few things down on the deck so I thought I'd pay Rumor Queen a visit. This is the news she had for us. 18 days worth of referrals this month. You know, overall, that's pretty darn good considering the most we've had in recent memory is 15 I think. Still puts us 22 days away with a LID of August 31. It's rumored that the end of August has many referrals so it's difficult to predict what will happen. The chances of an end of October referral are slim I believe. Hopefully November...It's still hard to say. But this is the latest update...wanted you all to know. Thanks for all the support. Hope I can get back to sleep.

It's now 7:19. I didn't get back to sleep until after 5a.m. Hope my kiddies are very cooperative today...Perhaps this kind of sleep pattern is preparing me for child rearing????

Sunday, September 24, 2006

How's everyone doing, you ask?

Well, we had my dad over to Moncton last Wednesday. He met with all 3 of his doctors and they are very happy with his progress. The infection seems to be gone in his leg, so they will be scheduling him for his full knee replacement surgery around the end of October. Please keep your fingers crossed that everything goes okay this time.

My little sis, Amy, has been feeling somewhat better the last couple of days. Yay! Hopefully she is turning a corner and things will start looking up for her very soon.

My sister has purchased a new van! Now she can reliably cart her children all over creation for hockey season!! We're big hockey fans in our family so you gotta have good wheels to make it to the rink on time!

My neice, Paige, started kindergarten a couple of weeks ago and is absolutely loving it! She spent a few hours with me the other night. We read some books and did some writing. It's kind of funny because as soon as my neices and nephews get here, they always want to read books or write something...perhaps the teacher in me has influenced them in some way? I'll post about Paige someday...she's so beautiful and she cannot wait for another girl to be added to our family!

Dr. Chiang's book launch

Today, Jen and I went to Dr. Chiang's book launch at the Eptek Centre here in Summerside. His book is entitled "Chinese Islanders" and it is about Chinese immigrants to PEI. I'm so glad I went. It was really interesting to hear some of the history, a lady played Chinese music and ofcourse there was Chinese food as well. I feel like it is important for me to do these things for my own understanding of the Chinese culture. I felt so good leaving there today...and very close to our baby girl.

Sleepless in Summerside

Ugh...It's 12:47 a.m. and I cannot sleep. Marvin is doing a night shift (probably wishing he could sleep) so I watched 48 hours Mystery and now I'm wide awake. I have school issues running through my head...and ofcourse wondering if we'll hear about referrals on Monday. Funny, I was falling asleep watching t.v. earlier and now I can't sleep.

Time to go back upstairs and maybe watch some late night t.v. I'll be dragging my butt tomorrow.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The next set of referrals...

Lots of people have been asking me about the next set of referrals...when are they coming? When will I know more? What does that mean for us? First, thanks for asking. It makes me very excited to know that people are #1...getting excited too and #2...starting to understand how this whole process works! Ofcourse I know how complicated it must be for someone who hasn't done the research that we have to figure out when we may go to China, so I'm glad people are starting to figure the whole thing out.

Well, rumor has it that referrals(that's the picture and info on your child...your first introduction to your baby!)were mailed out from China on Friday, which means they should be arriving on Monday. This will not be our referral, unless ofcourse there is some miracle that occurs. But it is expected that these referrals will go into August/05. How far? We don't know. Remember our date is August 31, so anything into August will at least put them in our month. I will let y'all know as soon as I hear anything.

I don't like doing "public" guessing, I ususally prefer to do it with only my husband, but heck, why not? We've been off the mark so many times, you know I'm not much good at guessing what the CCAA is going to do next...

So, if they happened to get to August 16, as Rumor Queen has predicted is there a chance that they would do up to August 31 next time (end of October)? So, yes indeed, there is a chance we may get our baby's file at the end of October. There's also a chance it may be the end of November or December. But all I can say is it's almost here and we are so excited :)

P.S. For those that have been to visit Rumor Queen, remember she's just that a "rumor" queen. Personally, I love her. She's kept me sane through much of this. She sorts through all the "rumors" and tells us what she thinks. She's a waiting parent also, just like the rest of us. If you don't want to hear the rumors, best you don't go there :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Family and Friends: Please Read

Friends and Family- Please read this!

Janet posted this on her blog and I thought it was a very worthwhile read. This will give you some indication of the issues/situations we need to be ready to face as we travel to bring Kennedy home and help her to adjust in the months afterward. Thank you all for your continued love and support :)

What to Expect When You're Expecting (from China)..A MUST Read for Adopting Parents

Below is a letter from Amy Eldridge, from Love Without Boundaries, addressing the recent adoption disruptions and parental preparedness. If you are reading this, think about posting it on your site - a waiting parent who reads your blog may benefit from it.


I have been so saddened by this situation. I most definitely wish there was a way to educate ALL adoptive parents about the truths of institutional care, however I have come to realize in my daily work that there are just as many parents who are not online reading everything they can find on adoption as are.

There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parents out there who have no idea what life is like for a child in an orphanage, and who head overseas to pick up their "China doll" only to be handed a baby who is unresponsive, thin, unable to eat..and on and on and on. While adopting my son last month, I walked several times over to the White Swan to talk to parents, and over and over I spoke with moms and dads who had no clue whatsoever about the issues their kids were having. I heard so many times things like, "she won't eat solid foods" (oral aversion), "she has no muscle tone" (muscle atrophy from lying in a crib all day), "she won't smile" (pure grieving from being taken from her foster mom). I guess since I live China 24/7, I assume everyone adopting does, too, which is not the case.

I talked to at least a dozen parents who didn't even know their child's orphanage name, and while I gently said "you might want to memorize that for your child's sake", at the same time I was trying to process how many parents get all the way to China without ever reading about post-institutional issues. It was sobering to me.

Babies in the NSN (non special needs) as well as the SN (special needs) path can have issues with attachment, motor skills, emotional issues and more. I think all of us on the WCC (Waiting Children China) list acknowledge that, while also acknowledging that all children (whether bio or not) can have these same issues. Living in an orphanage of course increases the odds.

I think the easy out is to say that agencies have to do more, as well as social workers, but I do think that most of them do try to give information to the parents but often parents don't want to hear it or else think it won't happen to them. Again, I am often surprised to talk to parents leaving soon and to realize they are not prepared. One family was adopting from our foster care program, and when I told them that the child was DEEPLY attached to the mom, the father said, "guess she might cry for an hour or so then?" An hour or so? She had been in foster care for over a year! I tried to explain that this little girl was about ready to lose everything she had ever known, and that they should not expect her to be sunny, happy, and full of personality after an hour. I told them to please remember the 72 hour rule.......that after 72 hours they would probably see her spark, but that she would probably grieve for a long time after that as well.

I think for many adoptive parents, they just don't want to read the "bad stuff", and so I do think that ultimately it is the parents who are at fault for not doing more to educate themselves. There certainly are books galore out there about post-institutional issues. I equate this to when I was pregnant with my kids and I would read "What to Expect When Expecting", and I would get to the C-section part and always skip it. Each and every time I would jump to the next chapter as "that wasn't going to happen to me". Well, on my fifth baby, when they were rushing me in for an emergency C section, I sure was wishing I had read that section earlier! But at that point in the OR, while they were strapping my hands down to the table, it was too late, and so I felt complete panic when I could have been prepared. I think adoption from China is very similar to giving is much more rosy to only read the happy stories on APC, but I now encourage every family I meet to read the harder ones as well, because if you are the family who is handed a child that is limp and listless and who looks autistic, what you have learned in the past will help you make the right decision for your family during those very emotional first few days.

I have been called many times in the last few years by parents in China worried about their children. I agree that having a support network to help you through the initial time is essential. Everyone should go to China with at least one phone number of someone they can call if they are panicked upon meeting their new child. I remember feeling so alone when I was handed my daughter and she was so tiny and limp. Because our foundation often helps with the kids who have been disrupted, I am aware that sometimes there are children who have much more serious issues than originally reported..and that is such a hard thing for a parent to get to China and then discover their child is truly autistic or has serious mental delays. I think everyone on both the China and international side would agree that it is absolutely wrong of an orphanage to not be honest in their reports, and no one would excuse that, but I also know without a doubt that the majority of kids who are disrupted are just suffering from institutional issues and would catch up quickly in a loving home. It is always a very sad day for the orphanage and everyone involved when a child that they know is absolutely fine, but perhaps thin and grieving, is returned by their new parents for being "delayed".

I think far too many people believe their child's life is going to begin the moment they meet them. The truth is, and everyone must realize it..a child's life is going on RIGHT NOW in China, and all of their experiences are shaping who they are. The vast majority of aunties that I have met in China are such kind and caring people, but it absolutely is not the same as having a mom and dad at your beck and call. I have had new parents call and say "we didn't think living in an orphanage would affect her at all", and those statements truly puzzle me. How could they not contemplate life in an orphanage?

Walk through Babies R Us and you will see every gadget known to man to make our children's lives here as ideal as possible. Now Americans have two way video monitors, so that when baby awakens not only can mommy see when to immediately rush in and comfort him, but she can talk to baby so that he doesn't even have one single second where he feels alone. How many new parents would have a newborn and then put that baby in a crib 22 hours a day on their own? How many would only feed their baby, even if they were really crying hard, every 8 hours? Or prop the bottle in her crib and then not watch to see if she ever really ate?

Of course no one would do that..we feed newborns on demand, comfort on demand, love continuously..and whether people want to recognize it or not, that is NOT the life of an orphan in an institution. ...even when the aunties are as good as gold. I remember one night when I took some volunteers in for the night shift in an orphanage, when normally just a few aunties are working. One mom looked at me with tears in her eyes as she slowly realized that it was absolutely impossible with just two hands to feed every child, to comfort every child, to soothe every baby who was crying. She said her heart was aching to realize that her own daughter most likely had many, many times where she cried without someone to comfort her.....and she told me that for the first time she finally understood why her daughter had such a deep seated fear of being out of her mom's sight.

The aunties are trying their absolute best, but that doesn't equal mother/child care. I remember being in an orphanage in the north this past winter and the aunties were so proud of how they had 6-8 layers of clothes and blankets on every baby to keep them warm. They were swaddled so tight that they couldn't move, but it was freezing in the orphanage and so the aunties wanted the babies to stay as warm as possible. What alternative did they have? It really was freezing there..I was cold in my wool coat, so the babies couldn't be up and about with just 1-2 layers on, with the ability to move their arms and legs. To stay warm they had to be immobile, and so of course all of those kids have weak muscle tone. But the aunties were truly trying their best, and when a parent is given one of those beautiful children on adoption day, I am sure they will go back to their room with concern and say "she can't sit up by herself..she can't put weight on her legs". That is absolutely the truth, but she also survived 10 degree weather in a very cold province and she will catch up soon enough with parents to encourage her.

To not acknowledge that living in orphanage circumstances can cause lower body weights, low muscle tone, inability to make good eye contact is very sad to me. Can it be overcome? Most definitely! The one thing I have learned over and over again about the kids in China is that they are fighters and survivors. But for some reason, people seem to want to ignore these issues in public forums.

Recently, one of our medical babies that we had met several times in person was adopted, and we all knew that this child was a "spitfire". When the family arrived and spent a few days with her, they decided she was too much of a handful for them and they wanted to disrupt. She absolutely was not what they expected. When they called their agency, they were told they had two choices: adopt the child, bring her to the US, and change their expectations of what they were hoping for, or adopt the child, bring her to the US and the agency would have a family waiting at the airport to adopt her locally. Option three of leaving the child in China was never once given. I admire that agency so much, as they were thinking of the child and the child alone. The family followed through with the adoption and handed the little girl to a new family upon her arrival in the US. As horrible and tragic and emotional as it was for everyone involved...I still feel this was the right decision for the agency to make. It was done in the absolute best interest of the child, who had waited a long, long time for a family. I wish more agencies would advocate for the rights of the child, instead of always seeming to give in to the parents, especially in those cases when they know with absolute certainty that nothing is permanently wrong with the child. Recently with another disruption, the agency I spoke with told me that it was "easier" to just get the family a new baby.

Sometimes easier does not equal right. The first baby who was rejected has now been labelled "mentally challenged" even though the agency knew the child was really going to be okay.

I think all of us, who do realize that delays occur and that babies can usually overcome them, should be these children's advocates by continually trying to educate new parents on what to expect in China. By helping them be better prepared, we just might help stop a disruption in the future. I love Chinese adoption with my whole heart, and it is my life's work..but I also want every family who goes to get their baby to go with their eyes open and to be as emotionally prepared as possible, for the child's sake.

Amy Eldridge,Love Without Boundaries

Thursday, September 14, 2006


After reading my friend Sandra's post about coffee and how much she loves it, I felt compelled to write about my own favorite indulgence...Pepsi(can you tell things are a little slow on the adoption front?) I now have my addiction down to a couple a day. But I fondly remember the days in university when I would gulp down a glass in the morning before my eyes were even open. I was never a coffee drinker so I always used that as my excuse to drink pop in the morning. Now, I have about half a can at lunch and one in the evening. I know it's probably not the best habit, but I can think of worse(and I've done worse). Now I'm off to watch Survivor and ummmmmm...have a glass of Pepsi. I think I'll cheer for the Asian team...

P.S. Prayers for my little sis who is so sick (with her pregnancy). Hope you get over that hump Amy. xo

P.S. Prayers for my big sis whose van broke down (it is unrepairable) and is looking for a new one to transport her 3 children all over creation as another hockey season nears. Happy hunting Kim. xo

If you have any prayers left, send them to me...I'm sick with a cold. It's the regular September cold that teachers get as they build up their immune systems for another school year. Hope I get better so we can go to Moncton on Saturday!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

On the eve of 9/11

I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday. I will never forget it.
I was teaching grade 7. It was just before recess. The older kids in the school went to the classrooms to supervise the younger kids. All the teachers came into a little room with a T.V. I had no idea what the images on the screen meant. The two buildings were standing. One was on fire. Then, suddenly a plane flew into the second building. Slowly, after listening to the broadcaster, I began to realize what was happening. I could not believe my eyes...

I called Marvin. He was sleeping, as he had worked the night shift before. I called my mother. I felt like I needed to talk to everyone close to me. For me, this was an attack on the world, not just on the people of the United States or New York City. It felt very close to home.

I literally spent the next several weeks, into months, consumed by 9/11. The stories of the victims were so overwhelming. Many people told me to stop watching it because it was just so sad. But I felt like not watching it was like pretending it didn't happen. It seemed that each person deserved to have their story heard.

Now, five years later, I wonder how far we've come...I still feel like there is so much instability in the world...

I heard on T.V. tonight that 3,000 children lost a parent that day. They were interviewing children who say that five years later, their memories of their moms and dads who died that day are starting to fade. That is so sad. Thankfully, many of the children interviewed had worked through their pain and were moving forward in a positive way.

Sending out special thoughts to all the families who lost loved ones on 9/11.

Lots of little updates

I'm back into the school routine now. It feels good to be on a schedule again and I know it's good for my mental well-being. Sometimes I just can't believe that in a few months we will see Kennedy's picture for the first time. You would think that would have sunken in a long time ago, but my heart still skips a beat when I think about her coming into our lives soon.

In other sister, Amy, who is pregnant, is not feeling very well these days. We have a long history of sickness during pregnancies in my family, so hopefully this will pass very soon. We're thinking of you Amy!xo

My sister, Kim, and her family gave us a beautiful card this past week. It came at just the right time! Thank you Kim, Graham and kids for cheering us on and wishing us well. We know you are all as anxious as we are to get Kennedy home.

My neck is much, much better! I didn't end up going for the massage, as it started to get better on it's own and I didn't want to agrivate it. Thank goodness.

Dad had an allergic reaction to the medication he was on. They changed it and he is now on a different one...seems to be doing better. Keep your fingers crossed for no more setbacks, please!

If you are interested in seeing some beautiful referral pictures from the most recent referrals sent out, click here. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The end of the first week

First, I have to confess...Marvin was the mastermind behind the poem. So thanks for the compliments...I'll pass them along.

Well, what a first week it's been. I have a wonderful class of 10 boys and 8 girls. They are just a delight to teach...I know it's only been 3 days but trust me, I know a handful when I see one. I love my job, even with the challenges that are often presented, but these kids are so pleasant and's going to be a great year (or half year, depending when we go to China).

My sister-in-law, Marlene, sent me this link to a ladybug recipe that I think some of you may enjoy. I'm trying to think of something to replace the olives with (because I don't like olives). Any suggestions? You have to admit, they are cute!

Monday, September 04, 2006

'Twas the night before school started...

'Twas the night the night before school started,
And all through the house,
All my things were piled so high
I couldn't find my spouse.

My lunch bag was hung
by the refrigerator door,
in hopes that my husband
tonight would not snore.

Okay, I have way too much work to do so that's the end of my poem. I will leave the poetry to my dear friend Jennifer...she's much better at it.
Neck/back update: I went to outpatients yesterday. They said it was all in the muscle...recommended a massage and more of the meds I was already, my neck feels great! I hope it stays this way...

Better get my work done. 18 kiddies at my door at 8:35 tomorrow morning!
Wishing all my fellow teachers a great school year... I wonder how long I'll be working before we go to China...anyone want to take a guess??

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Guess who's going to be a big brother?

Yep! Cole is going to be a big brother! My sister, Amy and her husband Trent are expecting their second child. The big announcement was made this weekend. It's been awhile since there was a newborn baby around. Can't wait for the new arrival. Congratulations you guys!

Still in pain

Yes, by neck/back is killing me again today. Yesterday, I woke up feeling not bad. I went to my parent's house for the day and really felt like I had turned a corner. This morning I woke up at 5 a.m. in terrible pain, just like Friday morning. I've taken some meds that seemed to help me on Friday, but no results today. Guess that means I need to go to outpatients to see what they say. I can't imagine what I'll do on Tuesday if I feel like this...Ugh!

Friday, September 01, 2006

No Partying for me :(

So I woke up this morning at 3:30 a.m. with a huge flare up in my neck. It's been bothering me for a couple of weeks off and on, but this morning was the worst pain yet. I called Susie and told her I wouldn't be able to make it to Charlottetown tonight. As we speak, I know she's having a drink for me. How do I know, you ask? I just know :)
Sorry I'm missing the fun time Sue. Thanks for the drug advice. It's definitely helping with the discomfort. I'm gonna continue with the meds and hope it clears up.
I've been working all week in my classroom doing some major cleaning so perhaps that didn't help. I just hope I'm all fixed up for the kiddies on Tuesday!

Off to bed I go. Needless to say I didn't get much sleep last night. I watched tennis until midnight, woke up at 3:30, was up for a couple of hours in agony and my alarm went off at 6:30. Perhaps that's good practice for when Kennedy comes home...
Nighty, night!