Monday, June 20, 2011

One Year Ago Today Across The Ocean Far, Far Away...

We decided to start a new family tradition- every year we will re-live our incredible journey to bring home Sasha Jade by watching ourselves on the computer from this side of the ocean... one year later and one year wiser... Your comments are always welcome:

Two days before Forever Family Day I visited Tian Tian and her foster family in their home in Liuzhou. How I was able to do this was nothing short of a miracle. Finding Tian Tian's foster family was like finding a needle in a haystack. I developed friendships with wonderful people in China during our paperchase and while we waited to travel. We were able to Skype many times with Tian Tian pre-adoption, to send care packages, to call, and facilitate an easier transition for her with the help of my dear friends, our "angels". I worked closely with an adoption/attachment specialist in order to do everything in my power to make the attachment process easy for Tian Tian and my other children. I sent Tian Tian many packages and a library of photo albums over the course of several months. Several friends of mine in China were kind enough to visit Tian Tian and her foster mother and deliver gifts and take video of Tian Tian for me. Tian Tian's foster family wanted to know as much about us as we did about them, and we were able to find out so much about Tian Tian's health and life in China. Because of the photo albums, packages, phone calls, and skype Tian Tian really knew us and was well prepared to join our family. Her foster sister made a cassette tape recording of a script I asked her to read. When Tian Tian first joined us I played the tape every night before she went to sleep, it comforted her. Here is the script:

"Tian Tian I want you to go with your new family. 
You are going to live with your new family now forever. They will never leave you. They will love you forever. You are safe.
I want you to be a good girl. Listen to your new parents
I want you to love your new family.
I want you to let your new family love you Tian Tian.
Let them take care of you. Mama Marla will take good care of you.
I will stay here, you are not coming back to live with me. I will always love you. 

You can visit me when you are older.
It is ok for you to let your new Mama love you.
I want you to listen to your new Mama Marla and be a good girl
Everything is going to be ok. You are safe
You are going to be happy and everything is alright.
I want you to let your new family love you.
I want you to love your new family.
I want you to be a good girl and listen to Mama Marla
I want you to be happy Tian Tian.
I want you to love your new Mama and Jie Jie and Ge Ge and let them take care 

of you. 
It is ok for you to go with your new family, it is ok to love them. Let them love 

you and take care of you. I am happy about this.
Jie Jie and Ge Ge will be yours forever.
I want you to be good and listen to Mama Marla.
I want you to be a good girl in school.
You are going to live with your new family now forever. They will love you 

forever. I am happy for you. You will have a wonderful life.
Tian Tian I want you to be a good girl and to be happy."

When I visited the foster family I was able to take a bag of Tian Tian's belongings 

with me back to the hotel room, and I had everything waiting for her on her bed 

when she arrived- her favorite blanket, toys, and familiar smells and foods- all 

very comforting during the initial grief and trauma.

Here are the photos of our first real meeting in China, at Tian Tian's foster 

family's home, two days before Forever Family Day, one of the most amazing days 

of my life....
 My first glimpse...
This was very surreal, there she was, the little girl I had dreamed about and who's photo I stared at every day
walking into the apartment and their is foster Baba

 all together- foster mama and foster sister
These are my favorite shots- Tian Tian asked me to put on her shoes

and then she gave me what I was waiting for- a smile!

offering me an apple

 now we are sharing chocolate

 foster mama is showing me the photographs she took of Tian Tian over the past few months and giving me some to take home

 more photos
 I made a photo book for foster mama with photos of Tian Tian in her foster family

 Tian Tian is so happy and excited to see AiYi Amy 

 more gifts- matching bracelets

 now a gift for Tian Tian
 a magic wand

may all your wishes come true

 I had lockets made for foster mama and foster sister with Tian Tian and foster sister's photographs in them

The red book with the panda on it is a journal foster mom kept for me
 We decided to go outside and walk to the park
Here is foster mother carrying the big pink bag that I sent full of gifts a few months before- only this time we filled it with food, Tian Tian's favorite blanket, her favorite toys, photographs, books, music, clothing, and later I discovered foster mama put a special red envelope inside with lucky money for Tian Tian- all of this was waiting for TianTian when she came to the hotel room on Forever Family Day
 This is priceless
 Even though the park was a few steps away Tian Tian loved AiYi Amy's car and wanted to take a ride

the sandbox

I will see you again 

in two more days 

sweet angel

we can hardly wait

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Thank you so much for stopping by! We love to hear from you and appreciate every comment! Your thoughts, well wishes, and words of wisdom will be preserved here in our blog, we plan to turn it into a hard cover book for our daughter.


IN CHINA: 6/12/10-7/4/10, OLD NEWS:

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Our Adoption Timeline:

Begin Home Study:
August 10, 2009
Liu Chun Tian
Referral Photos:
August 19, 2009
Letter Of Intent:
August 24, 2009
September 2, 2009
(in 9 days)
Home Study Completed:
October 5, 2009
I-800A Sent:
October 6. 2009
Immigration Approval:
November 19, 2009
(in 45 days)
Dossier To China:
December 18, 2009
Log In Date:
December 31, 2009
(in 13 days)
~Happy New Year~
Letter Of Approval:
(in 74 days)
I-800 Sent:
I-800 Approval:
Cabled 4-7-2010
Article 5
Picked Up 5-4-2010
Travel Approval:
Leaving On A Jet Plane:
June 12, 2010
Forever Family Day:
American Citizenship:
July 4th, 2010