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Friday, February 6, 2009

China! Part Deux

This post is part of a Q&A series. Check it out here.

Jules said, "The wait sucks! How far into it are you?"

Two years, seven months, 23 days, six hours and five minutes. Not that I'm counting or anything. Because I'm totally not. To put it in perspective, the Tongginator was still one (though nearly two) during our paperchase. She enters kindergarten next year and will probably be a first grader by the time we travel.

Soliloquy asked, "How many children are you planning to adopt? Is there a plan?"

The husband and I used to answer this differently, but of course we all knew who was going to win. Me. I said three children; the husband said two. Then, in 2006, my brother-in-law BLC lived with us for six months. During his extended stay, my sister KitKat and their three children joined us on many a weekend, often for three or four days at a stretch.

And that's when I learned the difference between man-to-man parenting and parenting using a zone defense. Man-to-man parenting pits one child against one adult. Even when only one adult stands within the vicinity, man-to-man allows for one arm per child. Once you hit three children... well... three children requires an extra arm. And an extra side of one's lap. And an extra parent.

Either that or a heck of a lot more patience than I possess.

Along about Day 100 of Hotel Tonggu, I admitted defeat. I turned to the husband and said, "you win. Two it is." Of course, we God reserves the right to change our minds.

Aunt Lolo asked, "How are you going to celebrate when MeiMei makes her grand entrance? Out to Chinese at your favorite restaurant? Banners all over the house? An impromptu baby shower?"

We'll definitely be heading to our favorite Chinese restaurant (yes, where Wanda lives). We've developed strong acquaintanceship with several employees there... they will totally want to celebrate with us. (As an aside, during the Tongginator's first adoption anniversary, the employees surprised us with a cake that read "Happy Girl Day." It still melts my heart to think of that.)

We will probably decorate the house. We didn't the first go-around, but everything happened so fast with the Tongginator, we barely had time to breathe. This time around, the Tongginator will expect Big Happenings, so we'll aim to please.

As for the baby shower... that won't happen unless China surprises us with a boy referral. We will, however, celebrate with a modified version of a Red Egg and Ginger Party . I know that it doesn't quite "fit" with Chinese custom, but a Red Egg and Ginger Party definitely occurs to formally introduce a child into the family and community, so we're going with it. Since MeiMei won't feel up to a large party soon after she arrives home, we plan to celebrate her "arrival" into our family BEFORE travel - we'll just cover our walls with referral photos instead. Red eggs are a must, but we'll also serve pickled ginger root for our more adventurous friends and ginger cake, gingerbread cookies and Ginger Ale for me everyone else.

Red Eggs and Ginger

She also asked, "When you travel to China on your adoption trip, what souvenirs will you bring home? Is there anything you'll pick up for the Tongginator that you wish you'd pick up the first time?"

We really did a fairly good job picking up souvenirs for the Tongginator during our first trip. We didn't do all that much shopping, since the Tongginator couldn't handle much stimulation, but we found a lot in a short period of time. We bought traditional outfits in a variety of sizes (up to size twelve). We also purchased gifts appropriate for various ages, such as a panda backpack for age three, but a string of pearls for her 16th birthday and everything in between. We plan to do the same for MeiMei.

Box of Homeland Gifts for the Tongginator

I wish we planned better in two areas though. We didn't purchase all that many items for our home, although we do have some things. (I'll post those at a later date.) We also didn't purchase enough books that contained Chinese characters, English AND pinyin. Usually books have two of those, but not all three.

I created two posts today in order to keep them short (well... short FOR ME, since I don't know how to SHUT UP, according to College Bar Guy), so check out our list of ideas of homeland gifts to purchase in China for your child.

How do y'all plan to celebrate your referral? Or what did you do previously?


OH MY #6 said...

wow, I love this information. Thank you, so much for the time it must have taken to put this together.


happygeek said...

When people ask us if we are having any more children I always reply that I refuse to be outnumbered.

I love that you bought her gifts for all her adoption day anniversary. What a super idea.

Heather of the EO said...

I just can't get past how long you have had (and will have) to wait. I'm stuck on that part.

I know it will all be good in the end, but I'm just really sorry the wait is that long.

Debbie said...

You really do have that patience thing wrapped up, don't you? Amazing.

Polar Bear said...

I always learn so much from you! I had never heard of the red eggs and ginger before. I like that idea.

I am most definitely copying some of your China gift ideas. I see you found pandas. Think I'll have any luch finding a polar bear? ;o)

We originally thought we'd be going back for baby number two at this point. Now it looks like we'll have an only. I have such mixed emotions about this. I guess only time will tell.

Janet said...

Yeah, when we got married, we both said six kids. Then when the doctor told us that we were done with four, I was really sad. Then God put adoption in my heart. And lo and behold! We have six!

PS- We sometimes don't have enough parents. :-)

Becky said...

Yeah, I'm all about two kids. We've got one of each - I think we may be set.

Andrea said...

I like seeing the different gift ideas. Tonni brought us back our name stamp in Chinese - the boys love it!

prechrswife said...

The day we got our referral, we called everyone we could think of, and emailed everyone else. Then we went immediately to Wal-Mart to make lots of prints of referral pictures and then out to eat (which we were, ironically, headed out the door to do anyway when we got our call that we had been told wouldn't be coming for another day or two). Then, later that week, we went out to a local Chinese restaurant with our friends who were all in various stages of adopting from China or Korea. (That was August of 2006, and the last of those families just brought home their baby girl last month, if that says anything at all about the wait.) It was a fun time!

OziMum said...

You are so organised! I just read your post below - and love that you wrote a list of gift ideas... sure beats thinking on the spot!
Beautiful gifts.

How did we celebrate our referral... I cried. For a long time. It was 2 days before Christmas, and Grandma had just died (so we were sorting out her stuff etc) so we didn't actually do anything special!!! Terrible isn't it?!

CC said...

We had a "zero" birthday party for both kids the same day that we got their referral. We lit a "zero" candle and took pics to look back on. We also bought little souvenirs for the kids until they are teens. Next week-ish will be the 5th year anniversary of The Flash's homecoming! We always celebrate by going out to Korean food with our travel buddies (who happen to live in our town!!!).

And dh also wanted 2 and I wanted 3. I figured I'd win. Until we had 2. And then I realized that dh was much wiser than I had given him credit for, and I did not ever want the kids to outnumber the adults. So 2 it is. ;)

Sharie said...

My oldest brother when his 3rd daughter was about 3 said, NEVER LET THEM OUT-NUMBER YOU! I've taken the warning to heart:)

I celebrated referal with LOTS of tears - hugs, a cake with co-workers and flowers from my sister, mom and dad who all stopped by my office to celebrate.
It seems like 100 years ago.

Rochelle said...

Okay... I love that you are so thoughtful like this! I did some things in a similar fashion. Keilani has some things from her village that her biological family gave to me when we adopted her. I wish I had more things. We want to go back in 2 years.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

3 is our number, but being that Nick is so much older, I am thinking we will escape disaster....at least I hope we do!!

Gail said...

I laughed when I read what you said about man to man vs. zone defense. So true TM! I would love to adopt another but dh says no...unless I can talk him into it eventually. I have to say it is nice for each one of us to have a kid to hold onto, especially in China with so many people.

For both referrals I cried a bunch. I still cry sometimes when I think about them and remember. You have a great attitude about the wait. You've waited a very long time, I imagine it doesn't seem real sometimes.

Scribbit said...

Those eggs are so pretty--and I love seeing your answers. You're right about the differences in parenting.

Kristy said...

Again this is great information, thank you so much for taking the time to do this.

Love, Kristy

Aunt LoLo said...

Your whole two kids vs three kids makes sense.

of course, lo gung works all day...so I'm already outnumbered!!

we get a bit more artwork every time we go to China. I love having it up in the house!!

I always wish I had new years outfits, though. I bought one for my niece, and never got one for me!!

kia (good enough mama) said...

I'm not awaiting a referral but reading about your excitement and impatience reminds me so much of my sister and brother in law's wait. Actually, the waiting and impatience of our entire extended family. It's SO exciting!!!! I hope your wait is almost over.

Michelle said...

I agree... God reserves the right to change your mind. I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO done at two. But then He went and said, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, You're NOT!" lol

Love your gift ideas!