Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's Official

As of yesterday afternoon we are the official parents of Alyzabeth An in the eyes of the Chinese government. The documents have all been signed, the seals affixed, family picture snapped and all fees have been paid.

A note to Waiting Families:
I know you hear a lot about rising Orphanage Rearing Fees. While a few of the orphanages may have raised their fee, what is common and what I think may be adding to the present confusion about the cost, is the issue of the official exchange rate of the US Dollar to the Chinese RMB at the time of your adoption. The exchange rate fluctuates daily and as a result you will not know the exact fee until the day before or the actual day you complete the adoption at the Chinese Registry in your son or daughters province. Rest assured you are not going to be hit for thousands of dollars. The swing is in the low to mid hundreds at best.

Alyzabeth is still in major grieving mode. Alyson still cannot sit her down to play or walk without a meltdown. The same holds true when changing a diaper or when we put her in the baby carrier Aly wears for support. I can still feed her but not hold her which I expected.
She will cry whenever we enter our room and will only stop when Alyson walks her in the hallways or if we take her outside. We have switched rooms but it does not appear to have made a real difference. She falls asleep in Aly's arms while being walked in the hallway and then is brought to her crib and very gently put down at bedtime. She is not napping due to our adoption paperwork schedule. Hopefully, with that completed, we may be able to get her back on what we were told was her nap schedule of sometime between 1-3 in the afternoon. Last night she woke up crying and Aly was able to hold her and rock her back to sleep in the room. Things are tough right now. Family may have noticed we have not SKYPED or emailed. Meal time continues to be our best time. I think for two reason. She gets to leave the room and she likes to eat. Slowly but steadily. She does not like to be rushed and definitely does not like loud, strong voices. We have a very fragile, very gentle girl on our hands.

So. How are we doing? Exhausted but happy :) Aly has been remarkable and each family in our group knows what we are going through with our toddler. They are very supportive and no doubt extremely happy that it's us and not them :) Once we can get Alyzabeth out of Aly's arms and playing and walking and not crying in the room we'll be home free! That's not asking too much is it? :)
All in due time. We have a precious daughter and we know that in her time she will emerge and when she does she will find us waiting for her. Protecting her. Loving her... My heart melts when I see her with her mother. Lightly stroking her hair. Kissing her forehead. Humming a lullaby to comfort her. The mother daughter bond is nothing short of miraculous and something so unique, so beautiful to witness... I love them both so very much.

The video is a short look at the Registry office and the families gathered together at a dinner hosted by our CCAI guides Marie and Anita complete with a birthday cake to celebrate our family adoptions. CCAI has been very good to us and we continue to be very appreciative of all they have done and continue to do. It's a major stress reliever having them with us 24 hours a day.

Well, I better go. I'm sitting on the bathroom floor with the door closed while Aly and baby girl are sleeping to type this up. Because once you know who wakes up - well, the fun begins anew! :)
Life is good. Hopefully, We'll post again soon.

And for all those BTDT folks: Alyzabeth had her first BM!!! Hey, it can only help her to feel better :)
ac & fm & aa


Tammie said...

alyson and ford- thank you so much for posting the videos. i am a friend of the webbs so it is great to see ruth, brian and the boys plus abigail in there.

congrats on your little girl she is just precious.
praying for you and peace for her.
hang in there.

Cupcakes and Hairbows said...

Our first few days (with our Ally) sound like they are mirroring yours. Ally was 23 months and just sort of "shut down" - only eating, sleeping and kind of "existing" - looking back, we know she was in shock, somewhat. Just celebrate the tiny milestones with Alyzabeth. The orphanage visit was a turning point for her (that was on the 4th day after Gotcha) when we saw a smile and she began to show tiny signs of independence. Nothing major, just standing/walking/sitting without being right under one of us! We look forward to hearing of each little "step". I know these days are difficult, but you are doing great! She is just so cute! Take care!

Melissa said...

LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!
Maine LOVE coming to you!
xoxoxo & many many more,
Love, Mel

Briana's Mom said...

That is the exact registry office we were in when we met Briana! We only had a two hour harmonious period and signed all the papers that afternoon we met her. We signed as Briana screamed!

I hope Alyzabeth warms up more and more each day. Try to hang in there! She is just precious!

Sophia's Mama said...

Same as us....

Don't be afraid to use the stroller we found out that Sophia had been used to being in a stroller and found comfort there even in our room (she also hated to be in that room). Riz would push her in the stroller and tip it back and kiss her over and over after a short time she would smile and expect the kiss. The other thing that helped was music. We played music in our room and would dance around after a few days she would just watch and then smile. Do you have the Chinese Lullaby CD...If not get it that helped too....

Catherine said...

Praying for all of you. So glad that your little muffin knows she is safe in mommy's arms and that baba is right there besode her too. Praying for strength for Aly as she carries Alyzabeth An each day and praying for your little girl's heart as daily she learns to trust you more.

Love to all. xoxoxo

Truly Blessed said...

Ford & Aly,

I know it's a little rough right now, but it does get better -- Alyzabeth is doing what she needs to be doing at this time (you don't want to rush this stage!). I know it's hard on Aly (especially on Aly's back!) but I also know it's hard on you -- it's so frustrating not to be able to do more to help. BUT, you are being incredibly supportive and helpful, I can tell from the way you write (and video everything -- you won't know just how precious those videos will be until you've been home a few months -- and all of your travel group is clamoring to have copies made!).

Like someone else said, I love that our friends Brian & Ruth & their kids show up often in your videos-- they're fun to see!

Alyzabeth does look like such a gentle, fragile child. She's going to knock your socks off as the days go by as she gets more adventurous and comfortable with you. But expect it to be a slow process (we've been together with our Ella for just under three months and she's still showing us more of her personality every day).

Have a great night's rest!

Elisa. said...

Hi guy's, in our travel group last year the couple in the hotel room opposite us went through exactly the same thing.
Their daughter was about the same age and she would cry the place down while in the room as was only happy in the hallway and outside.
It will get better....the next two days should see some improvement and more towards the end of the trip.
Plus when you get home and are in your routine things will be great.
Take care all of you.x

redmaryjanes said...

Sending more love your way! Hang in there Aly. I love seeing you and Alyzabeth together. Your love for her just shines through the videos. And Ford, you know I just think you are the best. I couldn't be happier for you guys.

Billy and Maggie said...

Your post left me watery eyed, your endearments and devotion to your wife and child really moved me. It's not many times that I read a mans sweet sentiments, it was so touching to read. We're hoping and praying that Alyzabeth will soon see what a great Papa shes got waiting to shower her with all the love, attention and security she so desperately needs right now. Really enjoyed the video, Alyson and Alyzabeth were made for each other!

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

I must say that I love the videos... makes me feel like I am there and what I am in for... hang in there... hugs to you all... take care...

PIPO said...

The video adds SO much to those of us following your journey. It is wonderful.

Continuing to think of you all as you transition.

Congrats on being 'official'!

Project Ni Hao said...

Sending good thoughts to you guys as you all continue to bond. The first few days are really tough with all of the appointments - hang in there!

Julie said...

Sounds like Alyzabeth was sent just the right parents to love and care for her and transition her to her new life. What a wonderful family you have.

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Sending great thoughts your way... Alyzabeth will start to warm up soon, she is just getting the trust factor down....
Love the video.. thank you for sharing your moments..

Don and Be said...

Oh the memories are fresh in our minds about the bonding time in China with JM. We feel for you guys. We also remember how encouraging it was to know that our friends/family back home were praying for us. Just know that we are lifting you all up to the Father and praying for Lizzy's peace and comfort. Aly, I know it's exhausting being the primary care giver 24/7 and Ford, Don knows how it feels to want to hold your child close.

JM did allow riding in the stroller but would cry when Don pushed her unless I held her hand. It did give me a break though.

Love you guys,

rubyiscoming said...

My friends, I'm sitting here in my bathrobe with tears, getting ready for work.

You are both amazing and this gorgeous and frightened little girl will heal...with your continued love and support.

I ditto all of the comments above. You guys are INCREDIBLE, LOVING and centered parents - I only hope I can be 1/2 the Momma that Aly is.

xxoo - hang in there!

Johnny said...

Congrats! And I hope your girl has better days ahead.

LaLa said...

So happy you are getting to update us. I know others said it but Aly should use a stroller soon as her back can't take it. I promise she will do fine with it and you may even get to push as Aly walks beside so she can see her. YAY on the poop : )

sea star said...

Congrats on the 'official' milestone in the journey. I come here first thing every morning to see how Alyzabeth An is doing. I love the video updates. Thinking of your sweet girl as she learns to trust you.

Kathy said...

Hi, My heart is sad for Alyzabeth. I hope that things get easier for all of you. This is my biggest fear when we go to get Emma in a few weeks. She will be 20 months old when we get her. I just might need some advice from the both of you and Susan and Riz.
Sending hugs to all of you.

Anonymous said...

glad to hear that everything is finished with the adoption. Now comes the good stuff. She is blessed to have you guys as her parents and I know you feel blessed to have her in your lives. Ford I know you will have it all on video so keep posting. With best wishes, Gary Burkett

3D said...

Congrats! I am so happy that it is all official and that special little girl is part of your family officially and forever.

Enjoy this time as hard as it is. Sounds like you are. Finding the positive. It is once in a lifetime!

Keep smilin!

Nina said...

Alyzabeth An is lucky to have such attuned and prepared and loving parents!

And congratulations on her first "production". Once that discussion starts you know you're officially a parent (again).

Thank you for sharing your experience via video. It's great for us to actually see what we can expect in a couple of months, as well as to enjoy sharing your incredible journey.


bbmomof2boys said...

You guys are doing awesome!! She'll come around. Tiana has been home now for 3 months and still goes into shutdown mode from time to time. She was 26 months old on metcha day. We are praying for you and your sweet girl.

When you get to Guangdong let us know who your guide is. I'm hoping it is Grace as she was ours and I would love to get in touch with her.


kris said...

The bond of family IS amazing, you are part of that too :) It just takes some time is all... Congratulations on this very important day!!

a Tonggu Momma said...

Bonding is such an amazing, yet difficult process. Y'all are doing all of the right things! As you know, just keep telling yourself that Alyzabeth's grief is such a good sign. (The Tongginator's China cousin RedFish was this same way, although adopted at 12 months. She cried and grieved the ENTIRE trip. The only thing that helped was getting out of the room. Mrs.Fish walked the halls at night, singing Amazing Grace over and over and over again. But once they arrived home, things improved dramatically.) Blessings to you!!!

Sammi said...

We will say a prayer that Alyzabeth's grieving soon ceases. We know how difficult this time is for all of you, but what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. She will be fine. You will be fine. Just love her unconditionally and allow her time to grieve for all that she has lost. Love crosses all language barriers. A smile is a smile in any language. Your family will be just fine!

Melissa said...

Hey, can you video AA while she sleeps? I would love to see that! And I do unsderstand if you don't caus eit may wake her up!
All my LOVE

Jill W said...

She is just so beautiful! The videos are fun to watch! Thanks for sharing.

Beverly said...

yea!! for the BM. Yes she should feel lots better physically. Just to let you know Ford, I know how you feel. My daughter bonded with my dad(traveling with me) while in China and hated me even being within 3 feet of her. Things change but takes time.

Norma said...

Loving the videos Ford. You are a dear sweet Daddy and a pretty good husband I am thinking. Already I see a tiny little spark of change in Alyzabeth. She is scoping out Mom a tad in that brief bit I saw on the vid. Bet you can't wait to get her in your arms!
Take care.

Gail said...

Love the videos.
Alyzabeth is so very cute.
The BM thing is ALL GOOD! : )
Happy Birthday Babies!

Doreen said...

I had the same thing with DD#1 back in 02. She wouldn't stop crying,seemed to hate me but would not let go of me. By the time we got to Beijing, I had her on a regulat routine (sight seeing was forgotten) and she had calmed down.Give her as much time as she needs,which I know you are doing, and she'll settle down. What a little doll.
Doreen in Montreal single Mom to Faith-Jiangxi & Mia-Sichuan

Vivian M said...

Congratulations on becoming a forever family! It will get better a little every day.

m said...

Stopped by for my daily cry. She is so beautiful and so are you guys with her. I can't wait to see Alyzabeth, Livi, Kylee and Stella racing around, terrorizing our family gatherings. Aly you look like a natural. We are already in love with her and can't wait for you to get home. Aly said I could be Mimi and Carl, Pots, and we are holding you to that. Stay safe and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Congratulations on the adoption of your beautiful daughter. I know it will get easier every day.
Love you! Marsha

Debbie & Barry said...

Should be morning there, so I think it's her birthday by now...Happy Birthday Alyzabeth An!

Congratulations to you all!!

Deb, Barry, and Sophie