Tuesday, June 30, 2009

5 Minutes!

This is one tired family, but finally all together! Tiff... thank you for her outfit and hair clippies! They are her favorite. She wore this on the plane home and as she walked through immigration. Nika really enjoys her silly sister. These two are extremely busy... this shot took about 7 tries! This was the last one. Milana kept running for the camera to see the shot before we even took it. Screaming YAAAAHHH was the only way we could get her to sit still. The kids thought it was so funny. By the end of the shots, they were all giggling on the floor. Grandma took this before we left for Taiwan... Donnie told Kole to make a silly face. This is what he came up with. I actually have 5 minutes to blog! Today is two weeks since we met Milana and just over a week since the children and all of us have been together. Funny thing is, I forgot I was bringing home a two year old. Silly me, how can I forget the super independent little 2 year olds going on 30! It's been a big adventure the last two weeks. Very emotional too as we found a few medical needs that we didn't know about that we taking care of. I was not expecting some of them so I had to adjust my mental mind-set and find specialists, take care of all 4 children and their adjustments to each other... Mind you Milana is two, teething and independent... all the while trying to connect with her and have her trust us by doing something that ticked her off greatly.... take away her freedom. Not so much take it away, but help her choose wisely with the freedoms she has and help her trust that we can care for all her needs. She wants to feed herself... sounds great right. but not when your other children believe it is a gift to be fed by mom, and Milana thinks it is torture. I mean, how can she trust us when she is a teenager and we ask her not to go to a certain party because of drugs, etc. if she can't even trust us to feed her?

Today... it is a great day! Today, something happened, clicked, fell into place, a small miracle. Today, the kids are not attacking each other, they are all wanting to share, saying please and thank you (that took a long time every minute of the day to teach to Milana and long hours of role play), and the other children are asking to sit by Milana instead of "MOM! Can you please move Milana?" or "Milana's being mean!" And here is my standard starting answer, I have found, "She doesn't understand. We have to help her." Milana is a joy... she is very sweet especially when she has learned our home manners. She wants so badly to be obedient and she is really starting to trust us.... thank heavens.

She has so many great talents that I know come from her foster family and some from her birth family. I love that she shares them with us. She also loves to teach us Mandarin and Taiwanese. Day-day is drink like milk, juice, water, etc. Bong is potty... she's knows both now. She also calls Hello Kitty: Goo Goo Miao. Feet are Wo-chi... we now use Chinglish and say, "I'm going to get your wo-chi's and she starts giggling! She says it in this deep growly voice.... wooooo-chiiiiii's. That's mostly her and her Dad's game. Oh and speaking of growling... she got tired of yelling at me in Chinese, so she resorted to growling at me like a Tasmanian Devil... she sounds exactly like a baby one... no joke. It's so funny and I feel badly laughing when she is mad at me.... but hey, she can't run in the street so growl all you want baby... but you just can't run free!

Adoption has to be the hardest thing in the world for children and this little one has strength that is so inspirational. I know she misses so many things from Taiwan, but I see her trying and wanting to be apart of all our lives. I can now say not only do I love you, but I am in love with you. So yes, we love having her here and excited to have her grow to love us as we love her. Has it been super duper fun the whole time, not exactly. But it has been life-enriching, eye-opening and a strength builder to grow our family. I haven't posted also because I was neck high in the thick of it... monitoring every moment to ensure all feel right as rain. Now, it's my turn! I get to go put on make-up! Yeah! Here's some adventures from the week.... yes, one day I will start to read others blogs and I'm sorry, I just can't right now. If you would like to leave a comment about any life adventures of your own, please feel free as I would like to know. I miss you all greatly. I'm sure you all understand though.

This is what you get when you have four:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Alive and Well, Home and Happy

Ok, not completely well... still pretty nauseous but doing better with each meal. I actually was fine mentally and even food wise... it was just eating at odd times that kicked my bootie! I'm good though. AIT went well... 4 hours but well. Only had one more paper that was needed that was accidentally put in there from another persons file (it was an English translation that had another Sarah on it). By the time I arrived at the hotel to call... it was already taken care of and we were allowed to pick up the Visa on Thursday! Yippee! Then off to the zoo with torrential downpours and panda and koala views. Milana is spunky and silly and an arm work-out! She loves kids and copies them everywhere she goes. She giggles at them constantly. It's a good thing we have siblings at home! Friday was one last stitch effort to get gifts for people. We raced against the clock across town to the Handicraft Market again to get some authentic stuff. People weren't kidding when they said that is the place to buy stuff. Everywhere else is made most places other than TW. We never really got to a night market as my sickness and Milana's exhaustion kept us in after 7... but we did get to see a fair amount of shops just setting up on the streets when the sun goes down. P.S. Save energy until late.... everyone else in TW seems to know that it is just hot and humid in the afternoon and to come out after dark! Coming home went well. Milana slept most of the way on the plane... Daddy dozed happily on his chair and Milana spread herself across her seat and most of mine... I mostly had ten inches and the pull-down-table to sleep on... yeah... 2 hours of sleep out of the 12 hour flight! WooHOO!! Alll good though... it was so nice to see her sleeping next to me... wiping her feet all over daddy! And when they are sleeping... you can mess with their face! She is so cute! At the international airport... well.. LAX took a while figuring out what line we were supposed to be in. They were very kind and let us cut lines but still had a hard time figuring things out. Next... I guess we took too long and they snatched our luggage, unknown to us as we thought it was lost or stolen. So we searched forever and the luggage people said just keep going and hope it will check through. As I almost cried in the customs exit... a man pushing our luggage went by! I screamed and chased him down... STOP, That's our luggage!!! He worked there and gave it back after I verified us! Whew.... next off to the long trek around LAX... to security! Warning: Baby Formula resembles explosives it seems and then they have to swab it. Then get a false positive and start all over! Then to Starbucks for two $28 dollar sandwiches and sit in some seats to rest 45 minutes prior to take off. Yup... that took 3 hours of our 4 hour lay-over. Milana is a serious trooper. Then off to Vegas... short flight but I was beyond nauseous by now. On the way home I missed my kids so much and was so eager to see them. The missing of your children makes you ache... especially with no sleep. That was one of the longest 25 minute drives of my life. So here are some pictures to enjoy! finally. The eggs are a gift Milana and her foster family prepared for her siblings. We still don't have a pic all together... more bonding and loving on each other and so many people in so many places ... we'll get one soon! Hopefully today! Happy Father's Day Donnie!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Almost Home!!!

Hello, Sara is enjoying a little bit 'o the travel sickness. So this is Donnie letting you know everything went great at AIT today. We went and picked up Milana's Visa and were good to go!!! Then we attempted the Taipei Zoo....Poo Art, and visited the giant Pandas. It has rained all but one day so far!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

5 AM on AIT day!

Oh on the pictures on the last post... we are laughing so hard because she is trying so cutely to do the two finger picture pose... it was so cute.

Yesterday, was so full. Just one of those emotional days that remain with you for a life time and then some. Started off at 4:30 am where I just couldn't sleep. We went trekking off to the MRT...going fast because we were so nervous about missing our train. Sally... beautiful funny amazing woman... and TALL. She had these heels on to and I'm a shrimp! Sally met us at the train and we went the whole way down to Tainan. We chatted the whole way about everything. I told her that I knew Green Island Serenade... she didn't believe me and kinda coerced me to sing it be starting to hum it. So I sang it on the train... she started to cry and then I started to cry... she said it was perfect and that I completely surprised her. I asked her if I could sing it to Milana, yup.

Time to get off the train...shaky nervous hands. Grabbed cab and zoomed through the farming community, colorful little streets and alleyways and winding up at "We're here." She kept asking if we prayed... she kept saying she did. We all wanted Milana to be happy. They were already there when we were there but we had some papers to go through. I paced alot. Then all of a sudden, "She's here but she is extremely attached to the foster mother so we need to make sure we can establish a relationship." My thoughts (oh my goodness... I have two hours to get everything under control... tall order)! At first, she didn't want to come in and they kept trying to give her to me. I gently stepped back and asked if I could sing... Sally goes, "Now!?" So she announced... I started to sing and everyone joined in singing and clapping... It was amazing. Milana calmed down and went off the play with her foster sister. Many social workers came and me and the foster mom held hands on the floor as she lovingly gave us many gifts, notes, pictures, as tears occasionally streamed. She was so loving and true... Milana and our family are so fortunate and forever grateful for her.

Slowly, I started the relationship with Milana with fruit puffs and the foster sister just jumped right in... telling her I was mama and eating my food so Milana would know it was okay. She showed me all her baby photos (loves books)... then she started feeding me and then Donnie all her food. She laughs freely and once comfortable... she was everywhere. I held her foster mother for a long time and she just told me all about Milana. When it was time for her to leave, she was crying as they led her out the door. I stood there holding Milana who was crying for momma and couldn't handle it. I rushed out the door after her and gave her to here to hug and hold. Milana held her and squeezed her so tightly...I took pictures for Milana. Then we led her back through the door and distracted her with lunch. She did wonderfully. And she is potty-trained! huh? I never knew how important the word "bong" would ever be until now! Bong is potty. We stayed and created more of a relationship and she latched on to us to where when we went to say bye... she wrapped her legs around me tightly and really wanted in the car with us. She was so sleepy and fell asleep in the car. She looked for baba in the train... we kept pointing at Donnie. She warmed up on the train and played the whole way. She taught us Mandarin and we taught her English, shoe, hi, bye, mama, Daddy,... she loves running and screaming after Donnie, yelling, "Daddy, Baba!"

She didn't like the busy MRT station and hid in my arms. But oh my goodness does she LOVE Hello Kitty... even the scary MRT couldn't stop her from screaming about Miao and pulling my face until we saw what she saw! We made it finally! Back at the hotel... she must have been on manner patrol... she loves cleaning up, bringing and sharing things with you. She hasn't broken down once... fell asleep on me lying on at bedtime....slept all night.... just the sweetest child. She loves to look at her pictures and can even talk about her foster mom and look at her so excited and with great love and sweetness. I am amazed at her view of the world and have learned so much from her already. We are so immensely grateful, fortunate, and amazed. It is all surreal and I am so excited to see all of the children together. I wrote all this so I can remember to write all my personal feeling down privately for her when I have time. I don't want to forget any event of the day. I don't want to forget the feelings that went along with this day. This post was detailed for me (hope no one minds).... I may take off some private things later for her sake... but for now....I needed to write. Much love to everyone.... we finally did it... It really did happen and now we start a new chapter. Wow!

Nika, Kole, Jadyn...soon, we love you... hang in there, we're bringing Milana home. Oh and Neu neu is Milana... she answers to that only. It means cute little girl. =0)

Meeting Milana Neu Neu

First Photo with Mom and Dad
Trying on Mama's shoes!
She ran to Daddy and jumped on his lap for a cuddle.
Such a beautiful cuddly sweetie.
Nika, Kole and Jadyn, there is so many many cuddles coming your way. You are going to have a blast with her. We will see you soon and we love and miss you so. And more photos (for privacy reasons... those won't be on here. )

We meet the most happy, inquisitive, smart little go-girl named Milana today! She is sweet, kind, silly, constantly moving, cuddly, giggly, and already very much warming up to us. She already calls us Daddy, baba, mama, and some other ramblings that I have no idea so she just grabs our faces and turns them towards whatever it is. We've had an amazing day and will tell you all about it soon but are tired so here are some pictures. =0)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day of Site-seeing

Let the Scooter Races Begin!

DaAn Park from our hotel roof Find Hubby Picture
Happy Little Army Man
Bunnies?! How did you escape Vegas? Oh you wascally wabbits.

The 50 Foot Woman who ate CKS
National Concert Hall Flavor
Happy Tired Delirious Sara at Longshan

Hello! This may be a sloppy post. It is 9 pm TW time and we were out all day. We did something a little untraditional and although we saw Chiang Kai Shek, Longshan, etc. we walked about 10 miles...just wandering. We'd hop on the MRT, get off at random stops and if we didn't find what we were looking for.... we went meandering through alleyways. Luckily, my sense of direction was there and I could find north etc. Donnie was so tired and instead of sense of direction... he was lost. He blinded followed me through all sorts of streets. Awww, isn't that trust! So we were going to find a night market, but we are exhausted. we had a taste of it while wandering after 5 pm and people just literally start setting up shop and the city gets busier and faster and more composed chaos of people just going everywhere. They were all so kind and just pleasant. No pushing, yelling, shoving, angry I gotta show you I'm tough looks that you always get in Vegas. We felt very safe and comfortable here. So enjoy the pics... I need sleep now. There is a view from the roof of our hotel (the park) as there is a small cafe up there with the cutest, smiliest, warmest Grandma who cooks you breakfast. The rest is sheer enjoyment and some sillyness. By the way...if you go to Ding Ding Pharmacy... take the taxi unless you are really adventurous during a huge torrential downpour and want to ask 5 people in wanna-be Mandarin where this address is. We did find it.... Donnie's soaked pants and all. Oh and here is a "Find the Husband" picture to keep you busy while you wait for Milana, Dad and Mom pics!

p.s. My exhaustion has gotten to me and I started a little pre-mom of four freak-out... it was more of a... I don't know anything about Milana really and how am I going to know what to feed her, etc. kind of nerves. Sleep will cure this and I'll be on top of my game tomorrow. Ha Ha like how I'm trying to booster myself.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

5 AM Mon. Taiwan!

We're here! Everything I write will be in TW time, easier for me. We arrived last night and at our hotel around midnight. I can't speak highly enough about our EVA pilot. It was the absolute smoothest flight. Everything about it. We left an hour late because they were waiting for a couple passengers, so the pilot caught us up by about 30 min. Nice.

Now the LAS to LAX leg... we left 15 minutes late and arrived 10 minutes early.... for a cost. Pilot got adventurous and turbulent and was seriously zooming. Obviously, we're all good, but at least I know it wasn't just me who was nervous; the guy across from us had white knuckles from gripping the armrest!

Loved seeing the lights on the boats in the ocean as we came in at night to land. Airport was easy and laid out well. Very friendly immigration lady said, "Why are you coming here for vacation? Vegas is vacation enough!" Taxi's are easy to take and we were in a new car with leather. I swear it was a Toyota Camry... hubby said it was a Ford. We won't know because we forgot to look again before getting out. Drive spoke a little English (little). So far no crazy drivers as people have said. He obeyed all the rules and then some... way more then most Vegas drivers.

Hotel is great! I am very pleased and it even has a few nice surprises like a little individually wrapped loofah puff. When we arrived, the front desk woman looked at us incredulously and stuttered out, "You read Chinese?" Our papers we handed her for check in were all in Chinese. "No, but we do okay with computer." It would take to long to explain that reserving reservations online took two hours of copying a pasting into Babelfish!

Today, we explore! Can't wait to get out and wander. The only thing that is bummy the most is how much I miss my Nika, Kole, and Jadyn. You guys are taking mommy and daddy leaving like champs! I am so impressed with how well you adjusted. Thank you Uncle Aaron, Auntie Rakel, and Gran-mas for watching over them for us. Continue to have fun you silly kids and, yes, we really will bring home Milana for you.... and lots of hugs (Kole asked for two big hugs from Dad and then two big hugs from Mom).... we'll smoother you all with love and dogpiles soon. All our love, Mom and Dad.

Tip: Magic Jack is awesome! We brought a Magic Jack to call home with and it is great. It makes free calls to the U.S. and Canada and you plug it into the USB of your laptop.

Pictures to follow after we explore. Donnie...quit snoozing already, I'm all ready to hoof it .... there has to be stuff to do here at 5 am right!?

WE'RE FINALLY IN TAIWAN BABY! WE MADE IT! Tomorrow, at 7 p.m. your time Monday, we will be actually holding Milana.... whew... I'm in "labor" and it makes your head feel like you're on tilt a whirl. It's still very surreal ... until every now and then you get rushes of something taking your breathe away as you realize the gravity of it all. Mom and Dad are on their way to you, Milana. Many kisses and hugs await and so much more.

Friday, June 12, 2009

1 More Day and On the Road!

Hello! Yes, I am alive and well. Finally. I had a cold... a meaty one and now finally I am feeling better. Thank goodness. I was quite worried about leaving and being sick and not able to care for Milana but just in the nick of time, I'm better. My sister paid for a massage for me today and wow... maybe my cold was mostly stress! ha ha I've never left any of my children before so that has been weighing on my mind heavily.

It was one of those, "if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all" moments. I did have nice things to say but alot of complaints about being sickly. The kids are getting over their colds nicely as well. I am finally packed and finally have all our last travel details last night, like when to meet for the train to Tainan.

So now... after all is taken care of, I can stop being robot girl, taking care of everything and just get excited and enjoy the road. Here we go... it was so nice today filling out Milana's paperwork for her doctor's appointments when we get back and when they asked "relationship to patient".... I wrote MOTHER!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

One Year Anniversary

well... this post accidentally disappeared. It was about One year ago on this day, our daughter's picture was made known to us as our little Hsiu-Yu. And now soon she will be in our arms. We will soon have our meeting day as parents and child and soon with Nika, Kole, and Jadyn, a family forever. =0) We love you, Milana Lee Hsiu-Yu.

I had called my mother to ask her if she knew what day it was and she said "yes" sadly. I asked why are you so sad. Her reply, because it is D-Day. So I must say, to all those who stood for freedom 65 years ago, thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

9 more days until

Plane Day!!! Okay who else felt like they were going to faint,? Seriously? Smelling Salts! Single digits... aggggghhhhh Don't forget to scroll down to the next post and view the monkeys' videos.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Back to messing with blog

Hey, if anything is missing, I messed with my blog again. Don't ask why, other than I must be a glutten for punishment sometimes. If you notice your blog is missing from my side bar... I didn't delete ya!

Hey I actually think I may be on to something with putting videos on this crazy blog... I'm going to try one of the kids grooving (a year and a half ago).

Kole rocks those eyebrows to Def Leppard.

Nika at a Hananah Montana Concert with her cousins

Jadyn's turn to rock out