Bringing Kennedy Home

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

Sunday, December 31, 2006

16 month anniversary

It's New Year's Eve.
It's been 16 months since our file was logged in at the China Centre of Adoption Affairs. Wow! That's approximately 480 days. Crazy. It's been much longer than that however since we started waiting for our girl. Depends how you look at it I suppose. I've been waiting to be a mother since I was a young girl playing with my dolls. It's finally within reach. I can't wait for the clock to strike midnight and we enter into 2007...the year our girl comes home!!

We've decided our baby's full name will be "Kennedy Joy Clow". After discussing many possibilities, this is what we thought worked best. We have to submit her full Canadian name to our agency 3 weeks before we leave (for paperwork purposes) so the pressure was on. LOL.

Time to go tidy up and get some snacks ready for tonight. The Clow's will be joining us for some New Year's celebrations. Always lots of fun.

Happy New Year everyone! May 2007 bring you peace, happiness and joy and may ALL your dreams come true.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Countdown: 5 MORE WEEKS!

Only 5 more weeks, that's 35 days until we leave PEI, destined for Vancouver, then China! Time is passing relatively quickly for us. We find this part of the wait less painful. Although we know Kennedy is waiting for us, we have her picture to look at and finally we know when we are going. Let's hope the next month flies by.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas Eve

Here we are. Finally it's Christmas Eve. Always such a joyous time for us, getting together with friends and family.

It's 11:00 pm. Marvin is gone to work the night shift. He'll arrive home at 7 am, get a few hours of sleep, then we'll open our gifts. Most every year, Marvin works some part of Christmas day. He says next year he'll be sure to take it he can enjoy it with Kennedy. She'll be 21 months old then. Now that will be fun!

It's Christmas day in China right now. Kennedy is spending her first Christmas with a family that loves her as their own, I'm sure. I'm guessing that they know she will be leaving them soon. It will be hard for them and for Kennedy. I am going to do my best to find out about her foster family. That will be her best chance at connecting to her early life in China. I know other families have done it and I'm not above paying the money to get someone to research it for us. If we don't do it now, the opportunity will pass and there will be no going back. We owe it to our daughter to do this for her. By the time she is old enough to think about doing it, things will have changed and it would be impossible. This is one of my goals for 2007.

40 days until we leave the Charlottetown airport bound for Vancouver and then China. Every now and again it just hits me. Our baby is waiting for us! It's the best feeling ever.

Merry Christmas everyone! Special holiday wishes going out to our family who we wish were here with us...Bev, Randolph and Asia; Wendy, Ellis, Chelsea and Anthony; Marlene, Chuck, Chip and Daniel. We are always thinking of you guys, but especially at this time of year. xoxo

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's official!

It's official! Today I signed my leave form at work. After Christmas, I only go back to work for 13 days...I will officially leave my job on January 24. Now that is hard to believe. At Greenfield, we are like a big family. It's going to be hard to leave for 9 months. However, I'm only 3 minutes away and I plan on visiting often. Also, my grade 2 partner Jennifer is starting her maternity leave tomorrow, so we'll be off together! That means lots of lunch dates and playdates with our babies this spring and summer. Jen is due in early February, so I'm guessing she will have her baby on the day we get Kennedy (Feb. 5). It certainly wouldn't surprise me...we tend to do things as a team (teach grade 2 together, both adopting from China, having our babies at the same time...). It's amazing how this has all worked out for both of us. We figured out a long time ago that we have a special bond...Love ya Jen!

So, the countdown is now at 43 days to travel, 46 days till Kennedy is in our arms. Wow! Thank you to every single person that has shared in our excitement these last two weeks. We've had phonecalls, e-mails, it's really been amazing. Finally our time has come. It's a magical feeling and what better time to celebrate than Christmas?

P.S. And on that note, we didn't send out a single Christmas card this year. Can we use the excuse that our minds were elsewhere? It's the honest truth. Our sincerest wishes for a wonderful holiday season with the ones you love :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Kennedy's Quilt is Complete! Horray!

All the glory goes to my dear friend Leah on this one. Leah dedicated herself to coming to my house once a week to work this beautiful quilt for Kennedy. It turned out exactly the way I requested. Leah, thank you so much! You did a wonderful job and I am so lucky to have you for a friend. I cannot wait for Kennedy, Lauren, Anna and the new baby to play together!

Here it is! By the way, Yaz couldn't wait to sit on it. He thinks it's his. Little does he know......

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Kennedy's care package

We put this picture inside the box so that they would immediately know who it belonged to. She is in foster care so we hope it will get to her safe and sound.

Photo album that my friend Trudy picked up for us. We filled it with pics so that Kennedy can look at us while she waits.

These are the items we sent in her care package: camera, candy for her foster family, cuddle blanket and photo album. Her name is attached to everything to be sure it gets to her.

A photo of Yu caijiao with her name under it in magnetic letters and mommy and daddy beside it.

A photo of many of the children from China who have come home to PEI, along with some of their siblings. A photo of Yazzy, her dog.

A photo of Grammie and Grampie Milligan on the left and Grammie Clow on the right.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What A Week!

Safe to say, this has been the most amazing week of my life to date. I think the week of February 5, 2007 will probably top it, but this week has simply been amazing!

Monday, we went to Charlottetown to get our first glimpse of our daughter. That was such an exciting day. Tuesday, we received a call from Charlottetown that Kennedy's complete translated file was ready for us to view, so off we went to Charlottetown to pick it up. It was amazing to read about our baby and her development over the last 8 months. Tuesday night we went to visit Kevin and Catherine who will be travelling with us to adopt Roshandra. We compared notes and shared in each other's excitement. Wednesday, it was back to work for me. I also made a visit to my school board to make arrangements for my leave. Thank you Mary Fran! Marvin made some phone calls to doctors, travel agents, and even had the Christmas tree up and ready to decorate when I got home! Leah came over to work on the quilt. She says one more evening and it should be complete! I cannot wait to show you the finished product. Today I worked and Marvin took Kennedy's file to the clinic to be looked over by the nurse. She thought everything looked just fine. He also mailed our care package for Kennedy to FOI so Yulin can deliver it on her trip to China next week. Then it was back to Charlottetown again to sign our official acceptance letter for Kennedy's adoption.

Needless to say, it's been a very busy week. Throw in a couple of Christmas concerts at school and I'm exhausted! Big thank you to my husband who was off this week and took care of so many important things on our "To Do" list. Below are some pictures from Kennedy's care package. The directions are to keep the box small so we included: a disposable camera, a photo album and a cuddly blanket. We took pictures of her picture with her name in magnetic letters to make sure it all gets to Yu caijiao.

No pictures for now. Blogger is not cooperating...sorry!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Countdown to China: 51 days

My sisters say I'm obsessed with counting things, but it helps me get through this process that has become all about waiting. Hence, the new countdown. In 51 days we will be on a plane to Miss Kennedy! Yay!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Up close and personal

I just wanted to post her picture again, this time up close and personal. We are absolutely in love with her. We look at her picture and chuckle. Today we found out that she is presently in Foster Care and has been with her foster family since she was 10 days old. We are thrilled to know she is with a family now, although it will be difficult for her to leave them. There will no doubt be a grieving process for her. We will be there to help her through it.

Kennedy is described as an "extrovert" and being restless and active! We better start working out now. We're gonna have our hands full, I can just tell. She loves listening to music (just like her daddy), has a good appetite and is a moderate sleeper. In September she was 15 lbs (at 5 months).

Thank you for all the wonderful comments on our blog. We cherish every one of them!

China Bound on February 3!

Below is a tentative schedule for our trip!

Nanchang, Jiangxi
Sat, Feb 3 Depart from Canada, Air Canada flight Vancouver to Beijing.
Sun, Feb 4 Arrive in Beijing
Mon, Feb 5 Fly to Nanchang, receive the children in the afternoon
Fri, Feb 9 Fly to Beijing,
Thu Feb 15 Depart for Canada
Thu Feb 15 Arrive in Canada, Thu evening Feb. 15

Monday, December 11, 2006

Video from "Kennedy Day"

Introducing Miss Kennedy Clow!!

It has been an absolutely INCREDIBLE day! We will be getting more information tomorrow. Right now, here is what we know:

Born: April 1, 2006 (on her cousin Asia's birthday!)
Presently residing in the province of Jiangxi.

So, she is now 8 months old and will be just 10 months old when we meet her for the first time. We are thrilled to bits!

THIS IS IT!!!!!!!

Oh my goodness! We finally got the call! It came at 11:00. It is now 11:41. We're off to Charlottetown.

HUGE thank you to my friends at Greenfield for taking over for me! I couldn't even think straight once we got the call...

I'll post pics asap. I am totally freaking out!!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday morning...

It's a beautiful Sunday morning. Sun is shining and it's relatively mild. Marvin worked a night shift so he's catching some zzzz's. The house is very quiet, just me checking some blogs and working on my "to do" list.

As I mentioned on my last post, my best friend's little girl is sick in the hospital. They will be there another week or so. Keep praying for her please! I hope to go and see her today and bring her and her mommy and daddy some treats to cheer them up!

Marvin continues to deck the halls. He absolutely LOVES Christmas, as I do, but decorating for the holidays is something he really enjoys. He gets it honestly ofcourse. His dad also loved to decorate and now his brother Dale has taken over the decorating duties next door (Dale and my mother-in-law live next to us). Also, our neighbours have incredible Christmas displays too. It's worth a drive by for those of you who live nearby.

It's almost Monday. You know what that means. Hold our breath and wait for the phone to ring. I hope it's sooner rather than later...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Another long weekend

We're hunkering down for another l-o-n-g weekend! But I'm more optimistic today than I have been lately. We've received messages from a few people letting us know about their past experiences so we hope our referral will soon be here.

I'm feeling a little under the weather tonight. It would be no small wonder if I get sick. There is absolutely every kind of sickness circulating through our school...

Going shopping with my two sisters and my dad tomorrow morning. This is a tradition we have been doing for some 30 years. I'm so happy that my dad is feeling well enough to get out for a little walk about the mall. Ofcourse, dad gets his shopping done in record speed, so we'll be done in no time!

I need everyone's prayers for a special little girl named Darcie who is sick in the hospital. She will get better, but please pray that she feels better soon and her mom and dad stay strong too.

A HUGE thank you to everyone for all the supportive messages we've been receiving. It has really helped us get through this tough time.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Update from our agency

Our agency has reported to us that they called CCAA and found that our referrals were mailed out. When they will arrive is still a mystery. I've turned a corner into great frustration, and emotions are running high tonight. I just cannot understand how two files from PEI would be so far behind all the others coming to Canada. I'm still willing to give it to Friday (the "one week later" idea that people have been telling me about would still make sense.) Anything after that and I'm assuming our referral has gone to somewhere other than PEI. I don't know what else to say...

Before you look any further...

THE BABY BELOW IS NOT OURS! LOL! She is the daughter of my friend, Shea in Saskatchewan. I realize, if y'all are like I am, you just scrolled down to the picture and thought it was our referral. SORRY!

Shea's daughter: Yu, Cai Hua

Introducing Shea's daughter, Yu, Cai Hua! Isn't she sweet? Shea is in my travel group and lives in Saskatchewan. We have been e-mail friends for about a year. She teaches grade one and I teach grade two so we have a great deal in common. Shea's mom will be travelling to China with her. Here are some other tidbits about her baby:

Name: Yu, Cai Hua (surname comes first, then given names)
Birthdate: April 21, 2006
Location: Xinyu, Jiangxi

These pictures were taken when she was 5 months old:

This is a recording...

There is still no news. I'm starting to sound like a broken record. Please, Canada Post, China Post or Santa Claus, bring us our baby's picture!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The wait continues...

Yes, the wait continues. I made a few phone calls today and talked with Kevin and Catherine, who are also from Summerside and travelling with us. Nothing has arrived at the provincial office yet. They are waiting like we are. Where the heck is the mail? I do not know. No one has told us to panic yet, so we're not. But stressed out would be an understatement at this point. Even some of my co-workers are stressed out along with me!! Tomorrow has to be the just has to be. I will post it here as soon as I can. xoxo

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Process on PEI

There seems to be a little confusion about how this process works on PEI. Our agency has nothing to do with our file at this point. You see, here on PEI, the file comes directly from China to the province. So, our agency, FOI, is waiting for our file just like we are. So before anyone calls in the troops, don't worry, we're on the case! I spoke with the lady at our provincial office late last week and she told me she would call as soon as it arrives. Also, our friends from literally around the corner, who are travelling with us, called the province today. They are watching for our files. Nothing yet. We have been assured by many BTDT people that this is what happens in the Maritimes with the mail system. We're all anxious, that's for sure. A few more deep breaths should do it...

Still nothing...

Nothing. Zip. No word today. I have a feeling tomorrow will be the day. God, I hope so. The wait is painful now...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Mei Lin Comes Home

Mei Lin strutting her stuff at the airport!

Mei Lin's friends awaiting her arrival!

Qiao, enjoying her cheesies while she waits...

Julia, eager to meet her new friend...

Emily and Emma Lee having some fun together while they wait...

It was an amazing evening at Charlottetown Airport! Mei Lin and her mom and dad arrived home safe and sound. It was an emotional event for everyone: grandparents, friends and relatives and the adoption community, all waiting to welcome Mei Lin home. And in all the excitement, the first thing Natalie asked me was if I had my picture yet! Hopefully I will be stopping by the Arsenault house this week to show Mei Lin her new friend!

Welcome home Mei Lin. We are so happy you are safe and sound with your forever family!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Panic Button

I am slowly taking my hand off of the panic button. Late last night, I went searching for reassurance from those who have been through this before. Afterall, they are the people who have so much good advice to give. This morning I woke up to e-mails and messages on the blog reassuring us that PEI (Atlantic region in general) is usually a few days behind our friends in Central and Western Canada and that I shouldn't panic. So I have lightened my grip on the panic button. I will go see Mei Lin today, go to my staff party tonight, decorate tomorrow and ta-da, Monday will be here.

Special THANK YOU to Cindy and Susan for your reassurance and wealth of knowledge. You know I'll be coming back to you for lots more info next week, once I know where our Kennedy is!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Collecting my thoughts....

It's midnight. Marvin is gone to work the night shift. I'm looking at all the new referrals that have come out...WHERE IS OURS??? I'm a little scared. RQ is reporting that there have been a few people missed (no referral sent), but that's just a few around the whole world (perspective). I know I'm letting crazy thoughts enter my head, but this process does that to you. I called Marv at work. He's telling me to stay positive. I'm trying...

We received an e-mail from our agency. They state that there are 25 people in our group to travel to China. 16 from Ontario, 3 from Alberta, 4 from Saskatchewan, 2 from PEI. They receive the referrals for the Ontario people, while ours comes to PEI first. From what they have received so far, the babies are from Jiangxi Province and Guangdong Province. They said we'll discuss travel arrangements early next week. I'm sure this will just be possible dates as we won't have confirmed dates until CCAA sends them to us. Many of the baby referrals that I have seen so far are older...some age 2 or close to 2. It will be interesting to find out all of that information.

Gotta get to bed. I promise I will find out something on Monday. I'm going to start ringing some phones!!

Have a great weekend everyone.

I ALMOST FORGOT: I was driving home tonight and just as I got to the turn near my house, I looked up on the Apple Autoglass sign and it said:

Mei Lin is coming home tomorrow. I came home and cried telling Marvin about the sign. Everyone is so anxious to see this precious girl! We're heading to the airport tomorrow afternoon.

A l-o-n-g weekend...

Well, Friday is gone and no call. I prepared myself for that but after looking at Rumor Queen's site and seeing how many people actually did get their referrals yesterday and today, it's kind of disappointing. But that just means next week is the week. I spending this evening with my niece, Paige and tomorrow we are going to welcomeNatalie and Daniel home. Right after that we are going to my Christmas party for work, which should be lots of fun. Sunday, we are planning to do some Christmas decorating, etc. Monday will be here before we know it!

Thanks for checking in everyone and for all the calls and e-mails.

By the way, I was showing Paige all the referral pictures and she said "cute" for every one of them. She is simply going to keel over when I finally show her Kennedy's picture!!!