Sunday, July 29, 2012

The "C" Word

My dad and his wife live in Houston.  I've mentioned him helping me with the Houston Consulate during our paperchase.

A little backstory, My Mom and Dad divorced while I was in High School.  Dad married P.J. after I graduated college.  Since I was never raised by P.J., I don't view her as my stepmother; I see her as my Dad's wife.  But that doesn't make her any less family.  We all adore her very much.  She's a wonderful woman and brings out the best in my father.

Anyhow, I just found out today that P.J. has 2 tumors in her breast.  She's having it removed on August 7th.  This surgery should take care of it, and it's not progressed anywhere, but the two 7mm tumors in her breast.  So good new, it's early and a good case scenario, bad news - cancer/losing breast.

With cancer taking Kay a few weeks ago, it is very hard to hear that P.J. has it.  However, this is a slow cancer and after this surgery, it should all be good.   her odds compared to Kay's are like apples to oranges.  She'll be checked every 6 months after and we'll be praying for her of course.  But it's terrible how cancer has come back into our family just as it had left.  I pray that P.J. will beat this and that she is blessed in getting it detected and taken care of early.  I know God is going to give us an amazing survivor!

On August 7th, please pray for P.J. that the surgery goes well and she heals quickly and that she will remain cancer-free there after.
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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Trying to Find that New Normal

I worry so for my husband.  He's been taking care of his dad, unable to grieve truly for himself.  His father broke down today during church service and said it's getting harder.  I feel so much for this family... my family.  But I can't help.  I just let my husband stay with his Dad and try to continue things at home.  I miss him.  His suitcase from Finland is over at his dad's still unpacked.

At least we were able to squeeze in a dinner with friends today.  This was planned months ago.  I asked my husband if he wanted to back out, but he thought it would do him some good.  So after church service we went out to eat.  We had a good couple hours, however his sister called and left 2 frantic voicemails telling him to get home to his father as she wasn't there.  So he left in a hurry.  I hope the dinner was a tiny break for him from all this sadness.  I hope he and his father find some peace tonight.  I know that neither of them are sleeping well.

Hopefully all is going well with our dossier at our agency.  I'm hoping it'll be DTC very soon.  Though I suppose it truly makes no difference if it's early August or late August when we are LID.  Whomever God picked out for us, we'll be matched no matter all this paperwork.   And Kay is watching over her.
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Fading Dream

I had a dream of Ashton last night.  That much I do know for certain.  However, the dream is as fragile as a bubble.  The more I try to remember the more I feel as the memories of the dream will pop and go away.  It's very fragmented and hard to remember.

What I do remember is that Ashton was a toddler, shy, but all smiles.  I only remember her and me together, no one else.  I think there was a bed and I think she liked the covers over her head.

I can't remember if I was trying to engage her into another outfit or with a toy, but I remember she wore pigtails.

She was the most beautiful girl.  And more than anything that I do remember was I felt calm and at peace, as if this was normal and nothing to worry about.  I wasn't fretting about having a kid or what to do.  We just were and were happy to be with each other.

I hate that I can't remember the details.  I remember my other dreams from last night vividly... but not this one.  And I even remember while dreaming that I'd want to remember this.

That's about all I can share as the rest is gone.  Her standing and burying her head in the bed is the most vivid image of all I can remember and her smile.  I hope to see that same happiness and carefree smile on Ashton one day.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dossier Checked

I got an email from my agency saying they are double checking everything that everything is received for a full dossier.  After that, it will take about 2 weeks for them to carefully triple check that everything is right.  They will then translate it and send it to China!  Then after China takes a week or two to review we should be LID!!  Yay!!  

Hopefully, everything is in place and we have a seamless transition to get our DTC!  It's in God's hands now how fast or slow it needs to go.
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Dossier Arrived at Agency Today

I just got proof of delivery from the USPS that my dossier arrived at my agency today!  Yay!!  I'm so grateful!  

I really wanted a LID date in the spring and no later than July, but it seems that won't happen.  Hopefully I'll get a LID of 8/8... as it is considered VERY lucky in China.  And with 8/8 that would mean "double happiness".  Let's hope that is true!  More than likely it won't be, but it'd be really awesome!

Any gambles on when my LID date is?
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For Ashton - Love Kay

This week has been hard.  Yesterday my husband was going through some of the drawers getting clothes his mom wore to send to her sister.

While going to a couple of the drawers, his dad stopped him and said, that's Ashton's drawer.  Inside was a beautiful creme knitted jacket and beret with a opal stone and muted flower.  She had only known about the adoption for a month before she passed.  Therfore, I can't imagine that she knitted this in that time, but you never know.  There are no tags or anything.  And it's beautiful.  I love the tassels.

I hope she did make it for Ashton, but if not her thoughtfulness of thinkiing about her granddaughter is very sweet indeed. 
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

A New Life Without Kay

It has been a very hard week.  The viewing was Wednesday and funeral Thursday.  Everything was beautiful.  Everything was heartbreaking.

My husband has been with his dad this whole time.  He hasn't come home.  He, his dad, and his sister are trying to find their new normal.

What's crazy, is when we got back I came home alone and thanked our dear friend for taking care of the pups and didn't look at the stack of mail on our desk.

What was in the stack was my returned birth certificate from the Houston Chinese Consulate I'd been waiting a couple months for.  Our paperchase was done!

I finally found out the next day, Tuesday after work.
I was thrilled but depressed at the same time.  It was a HUGE milestone, but I couldn't share it with my husband at this time and it didn't have the same urgency with everything else going on.  So I just let it sit there with the completed dossier during Wednesday and Thursday as we mourned the loss of Kay.

Friday I made all the copies required and printed out our dossier pictures required.  Today I mailed out our completed dossier to our agency who will translate into Chinese and the send it to China.  That is called DTC (dossier to China).  So that will be a big milestone.  Shortly after we will be LID (lock in date, aka paper pregnant).

I believe Kay is Ashton's guardian angel now is is watching over her and protecting her until we can get her.  What on Earth Kay couldn't do, she is now able to do, she can watch over all of God's children.

I hope Ashton feels peace with Kay with her and somehow knows someone who loves her is watching over her with God's peace and love.  I couldn't ask for a better protector than her grandmother.  I can't wait to wrap Ashton in her Hello Kitty quilt and tell her that her grandmother Kay made it.
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Monday, July 16, 2012

R.I.P. Kay

(From left to right: My brother, my mom, my dad, me, hubby, Kay, her husband, her daughter)
We got home from our trip to London/Finland late last night, about 10 pm.  My mother picked us up and we drove straight to my husband's mother's home, Kay.  Kay was unresponsive, and had slipped into a coma for about 24 hours or so.  But she had hung on just for my husband to come home.  We held her hands and told her about our trip to Europe.

She passed early this morning.  The whole family was there with her.  She is finally at peace and shinning down on us with no more pain.  She is a glorious angel able to take care of everyone at all times as she tried to do in life.

Kay was married for 50 years and had a daugheter and son, my beloved husband.  She loved to collect bears and snowmen and sewed blankets for orpahns all over the world.  She loved to play rook and cook up a storm. 

Kay will be sorely missed.
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Last Full Day in Finland

Today all of us went to Suomenlinna a Fort on 6 small islands right off the coast of Helsinki.  We'd been looking foreword to this for some time.  Once we got there we had a picnic on the lawn.  It was SO WINDY there and it'd sprinkle rain off and on all day.

We toured around and was there timed perfectly to see a cruise ship pass between the narrow canal of the islands (Ms M made sure we were there at the appointed time).

We enjoyed the sites and the islands.  When we got back we started packing as we were leaving the next morning back to home and straight to Kay.

We called again, only to find out she slipped into a coma.  It was a very hard night for us all, and all we wanted to do was get home and see Kay.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Picturesque Town in Finland

Mr. A stayed home with Miss S and it was only my hubby and me with Ms. M.

Today we toured another picturesque town, but I can't remember the name.  It seemed very coastal, thought this one wasn't by water like Helsinki is.  Of course I loved hearing and seeing "all those damned seagulls" as Ms. M puts it.  I never saw a spotted one either.  I made my hubby take it's picture.
We were only in this town a few hours.  It was mainly a place to go shopping.  I found a few Christmas ornaments and we ate lunch there.  Then we headed back home and played cards.

Miss S ended taking a bath outside!  A very happy kid!  Then Ms. M and I walked Miss S around the neighborhood.  She rode her bike most of the way.

Didn't I say Figo was beautiful?

This day was a hard day by the end of it.  Kay took a turn for the worse.  She was okay Thursday, but Friday, it just started going down hill.  Her minister came and gave her last rights, just in case.  We called while they were there so we said we'd call back.  When we did, she was asleep.  We said we'd call tomorrow.  We discussed going back a day early, but with flights overbooked and the extra fees, we said we'd be back Sunday as planned.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tallin, Estonia

Today was Mr. A's birthday!  And today was our trip out of Finland to the neighboring country Estonia!

We got on the ferry that took us there and it was beautiful.  however, this was the day I either got allergies in high gear or caught a minor cold.  I was blowing my nose like no tomorrow.  I asked for the closest pharmacy and found a place with the snake encircling a cup.  Went in side and saw herbs and old, old, medicines.  I was scared... then noticed I was in the museum part of the pharmacy!  Phew!  I was afraid they'd give me leaches!  I was able to get sudafed and went on with our day.

While there my husband and I were looking for the perfect nesting doll for his mother, Kay, and our Ashton.  Not until the end of our day did we find one for the important women in our lives.
We started off (after the pharmacy) at the main square.  We all got drinks and relaxed some after the long boat ride.  Then we decided to go to the the highest point where you can look over the city.

We started walking up.  There were many vendors on the sides selling artwork or playing music.

We got to the top, and I started really feeling the nose pour and Ms. M started feeling nauseous.  So we decided quick pics and go find something to eat.

We ended up finding an Italian restaurant.  you could eat outside, but the clouds were dark, we thought it may rain so we went in.  There was only 1 other group besides us inside.  It was amazing inside.  the ceiling was raised, and with big dark wood beams and the staircase was carved... it was gorgeous.  And the food was to die for.  I had some cheesy ravioli thing that was explosions of cheese in your mouth!  (I'm a cheese-aholic so this was PERFECT!)  Every one's own dish was their favorite... we did sample each other's.  And all the while it was pouring rain outside.  This was the perfect time to stop and eat.

By dessert the rain stopped.  We then decided to do some serious souvenir shopping as we wanted the perfect nesting dolls and perhaps a Christmas ornament to remember the day.

The detail in Estonia was amazing!  Very story-like, fairytaleque place.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Windy Wednesday in Finland

Today was us getting a quick Helsinki downtown tour on the way for Ms. M to get her hair done.
That's because today was professional photography day!  Ms. M hired a photographer to go to her mother's house and take pictures of us all.

So we went downtown and Ms. M took us to a place we wanted to see Temppeliaukio Church, aka Rock Church.  It is literally a Church semi underground made of rock.  It was very neat.  It had a copper top and the acoustics are supposedly astonishing.

Of course my husband saw candles and lit one for his mother.  He had been calling her everyday while in Finland.  She was very happy to hear from him, saying everything was good and she was trying to get on her feet again and get stronger.

It was very windy that day and I was wondering if it was as windy at her mother's house where we were going to get photos taken of us.  This is our "before" photo.

Downtown right near the pier, there is a fountain called Havis Amanda.  I guess it's a big deal once every year a university gets to clean the statue and then put their graduation cap on her.

Of course I liked the seals surrounding her.

Across the street was a beautiful place where we decided to step in and see their soup of the day.  It was amazing inside.  And the soup was some spicy meatball with vegetables.  Delicious!

We then walked to Ms. M's hairdresser and we waited outside.  We ventured around close by, but didn't want to get lost, so it ended quickly and we just sat and people watched.  Ms M came out in her curls.

We then got to the house where we all dressed up and Ms. M. ended up putting her curls (which all virtually fell out) into a ponytail.  We then drove quite a ways to her mother's home.  Her home is amazing!  I just thought of how my mother would love her gardens!  It was so neat!  I got to meet Ms M's sister again (we met a year ago in New York) and her children and Ms M's mom, who doesn't speak a word of English. 

Immediately we got to having our photos taken.   And seriously, it was windy, it was easy, and most of all here they are...  enjoy!
Mr. A running after Miss S


And right back at ya

She was full of energy!  It was hard to photograph her and keep her still.

The duo who started it all

Piggyback ride

Mush, mush!

Ms. S wanted to play in the sandbox, not pose with us

Much happier now!

This one we added last minute as one of our lifestyle photos for our dossier!

She loved to be tickled

I love this shot

She is a beautiful girl

Family photo

I loved them in the delphinium

The four of us

Miss S stayed behind (after the photo shoot) with her grandma as tomorrow was a big day for just the 4 of us.
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