Saturday, September 29, 2007

My, how we've grown

One of my support groups while we were waiting for Ting Ting was a yahoo! group for families who sent their dossiers to China in July 2005. We called ourselves the July Dragonflies. We had a website, and when referral photos came in they were posted there. Now we've set up a blog to show how our children have grown since they've been home. Most entries have a referral photo, a family day photo, and a more current pictures. It's a lot of fun to see how the children have blossomed.

So check it out!

(I just added Ting Ting's photos, so she's at the top right now. You all don't mind seeing her first, do you?)

P.S. -- Please take special note of the baby right after Ting Ting, originally known as Ba Hui Cong, who was under the care of the same Social Welfare Institute but joined her family a few weeks earlier.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just say "moe"

When she first came home, Ting Ting learned a few signs. She could tell us when she was ready for a bottle or when she wanted to eat (well, OK, that was most of the time). She learned the sign for "cat" and would make it with great exhuberance. She even adapted hand motions from songs to indicate "rabbit" and "spider."

But the first sign she learned -- and the one she used the most -- was "more."

She didn't do it exactly right, but she did it the same way every time, tapping her right index finger against her left palm. Because it was the first sign she learned, it would excite us no end when she first used it, so she quickly applied it to all kinds of situations. Pretty soon, it began to mean, basically, "I want." If she didn't think we understood her, she would point to an object and emphatically jab that finger against her palm.

But now our little girl is talking. In recent weeks she's moved rather rapidly from knowing just a few sounds to repeating nearly everything we say. She's starting to abandon the signs in favor of saying the words, but I believe the signs did their job by jump-starting her communication skills.

It's probably no surprise that one word she says often is "more," although she pronounces it "moe." She's using it much like she once used the sign, though: to indicate she wants something, whether it's technically "moe" or not. I think it's absolutely adorable, but I have to stifle my laughter when she says "moe! moe!" and begins stabbing her palm just in case I don't get it. Instead, I say helpful teaching-moment things like, "you'd like more what, honey? More grapes? More milk?" or "Oh, do you want to climb the stairs? OK, let's go up!"

I figured I was annoying her more than anything until the other day at breakfast. Ting Ting enthusiastically gobbled down her yogurt, then held the empty container out to me and said:

"Moe dis."

Yes ma'am, message received.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A big anniversary

A year ago today, on Lance's birthday, I nervously checked the internet early and discovered that we had been matched with a child. I can't even describe the excitement I felt as I headed off for work. Every time the phone rang, I jumped. Finally, about noon, I received THE CALL.

The next morning, we saw Rachel Shu-Ting's face for the first time. I had ordered a copy of her finding ad, and so we were able to read a little of her story. I still get chills thinking of those days.

We waited 14 months exactly from the day we were logged in until we received our referral. (It's worse for prospective parents now -- our social worker told me yesterday that they are telling new applicants that the wait could extend to THREE YEARS).

But even though our wait seemed to take forever, the last year has flown by.

Happy anniversary, Ting Ting. And happy birthday, Lance!

Ting Ting in the kitchen

Thanks for the cool new kitchen, Auntie Debi!

Daddy helped me put it together.

Now, let's see . . . what do we have to eat?

Maybe Martha has some ideas. I'll give her a call.

It seems to me that Mommy and Daddy do most of their cooking in this thing.