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First meeting at the orphanage – one of Sissy’s first smiles

After the first orphanage visit, all the families dined here and the food was fabulous!

Changing in preparation for the G&R

Sissy, Coley and Hubs at the G&R

Sissy, Coley and Hubs in the van after the G&R

Well we’ve landed safely in Ho Chi Minh City and are now staying at the lovely Sofitel hotel. It’s nice but I really miss the Palm Garden in DaNang!

So, here’s the run down from the last couple days. Our second day at the orphanage was a train wreck and was fulled with a screaming baby and a crying me. I was so torn up about it, I didn’t really want to blog about it…and I’m not really going to go into it. Anyway, we were there for quite some time that day and the next day was our G&R. The morning of the G&R went basically the same and we didn’t even get to hold her for the ceremony because they didn’t want the screaming to effect the other kids. But, after the G&R we headed to the hotel in DaNang so that we could get ready for our flight that night. Of course no one really cared about screaming in the car so they handed her to me and we just rode it out.

I think it took like 15 minutes in the moving vehicle before she just stopped. I knew it was too good to be that easy because 10 minutes after that, she threw up on me. All-in-all things got better from there….kindda. She was able to sleep the whole plane trip from DaNang to Ho Chi Minh City last night. Once we arrived here, we got her to bed and she slept all night and then off and on all day today.

Today we had Sissy’s passport pictures, medical exam, and the first part of our INS interview. She won’t let me sit down while holding her and she won’t let me put her down, which leaves me standing and pacing. She’s light, at about 22lbs, so it’s not terrible but Hubs and I joke that I’m going to need a weightlifter’s belt soon. She’s hardly eaten since she threw up in the van. She also threw up in the airport while waiting for our flight to board, and in the hotel room this morning. I think she has some kind of chest/sinus/general infection and we’ve started antibiotics this morning. I hope she’ll be feeling better soon.

She’s by far the one in the group having the hardest time. She’s the second youngest of 4 babies and the other ones have been pretty uneventful. Sissy has yet to smile but we got close today when she shared a cracker with me and I “yay”‘ed for joy. But then she caught herself and dug her head into my chest like she was embarrassed.

That’s all for now. Sorry if it’s kind of scrambled and without focus but I’m tired. :-) I promise you pictures soon. Once we arrived in country and I went to turn on our digital video camera, it was brought to my attention that the processing chip within it has been recalled and the camera is inoperable until we ship it back to Canon. I have a handle on pictures from another family’s camera, I just have to nail them down to download them for me. I’ll have Nicki go back and update all the posts where pictures should have gone. Sorry guys!

Stay Tuned!

Nicole asked me to write and let you all know that they are alive! They have had a few adoption bumps along the road so she hasn’t been able to write a full update just yet. She has completed her G&R and Sissy is officially her daughter! Hurray! They headed to HCMC last night to get their expedited passports so she promised to update more when she was settled in HCMC.

Meeting Sissy

Hello again, from DaNang this time. We’re currently staying at this AMAZING resort in DaNang. For those of you who know, we’re not saying at the Sandy Beach as originally thought, we’re at the Palm Garden Resort. It’s a new place and is stunning from head to toe. The grounds are just swarming with Dragonflies…something they may find to be bothersome but we find to be wonderfully exotic. I’ve taken a few pictures but I hope to get more today.

Now, on to the stuff that you really want to know about, the orphanage visit. In our group there is another family also adopting a toddler who is just a few months older than Sissy….and the other family is adopting a younger baby (about 9mo.) Well we show up, the nannies are sitting on the floor with the two toddlers and they point at us and tell them that we’re “mom” and “dad”. The girls start freaking out; crying, screaming, the whole 9 yards. Of course we back off a little and the nannies bring them into the courtyard to swing. I do what I can to get Sissy’s attention with what I have, like M&M’s. Hey, I’m not too proud to beg for my daughters attention! haha Anyway, she wasn’t having any of it anyway. After a few minutes, the nanny had to head inside to start changing diapers for the littler kids and Sissy follows her in to the baby room. There are about 4 other nannies sitting on the floor playing with and feeding/changing diapers. As they see me in the doorway they start “ordering” Sissy to do things. I say “ordering” because it was playful and they all said it with a stern face, proceeded by bursts of laughter. So they have her go get a diaper for one of the babies and then a tie. As she delivers the items one-by-one, the nannies all delight in her success. The diaper requests were then followed by demands for kisses all around. As Sissy made her way around the room of nannies, giving them all kisses, I felt like they were trying to show her off to me. Kindda like, “look how good of a girl she is, she follows direction.” I loved it. She has a very strong bond with her nannies which is great to see and a big relief to us. This means that breaking her bond will be very tough, but she will be able to grow a bond with us. All-in-all, I think we stayed for all of 30 minutes before we left for lunch. The highlight of the day was saying goodbye as she smiled and waved at me. Hey, it’s progress. :-)

After we left the orphanage, we went for lunch, which, I’ll be honest, I was not really looking forward to. Well to compound by anxiety, Joanne (our facilitator’s wife who is our escort for much of this trip), orders for all of us. SO we have food being delivered to the table that we have no clue what it is. I was hesitant but I bit the bullet and ate a little bit of almost everything. I was amazed at how great it all was!! I fell in love with several dishes that will become our new favorites at PhoVan.
For those of you who have never been to Vietnam, I’ll tell you, the hospitality here is wonderful. Waitstaff is attentive, hotel staff are kind, and people are generally happy to see you, no matter where you are. So far, it’s been the trip of a lifetime!!

On other news, I miss Diesel terribly! I’ve only had the chance to talk with him once since we left and I cried during the whole conversation. I hope that they’ll call tonight. Getting our timelines straight has been a problem since we’re having our bathroom floor re-tiled and they’re out of the house a lot trying to stay out of the worker’s way. Oh and the fact that yahoo and hotmail hate each other and my emails aren’t getting through to my mom at all.

I’ll upload the pictures I have on the other family’s camera later today and send them to be posted. I will be getting pictures of the kids that have been requested of me, don’t worry ladies. Our G&R is tomorrow so we’re soon to be officially Sissy’s parents….now if we can just get her to let me hold her…haha :-) Until tomorrow guys!

We’re Here!

Greetings all! We’re here in the Hanoi airport waiting for our plane to DaNang. Yesterday we flew into the same airport with no issues. Our flights were ok…of course we were in coach class so we were packed in like cattle but the guy next to Matt was fine and surprisingly slept most of the 14 hour flight. Customs in Hanoi was a breeze and after some short paperwork, we were driven straight to our hotel. The ride to the hotel was an experience; one that makes you glad to be alive. haha Our driver created a third lane in a round-a-bout, and you’d be amazed at the amount of stuff that people will put on their scooters!! After getting to our room and settling in, we roamed around a bit and got a chance to meet up with the other group. Their final interviews are just a couple days away so they will soon be on their way home. The babies are SO adorable and seem to be adjusting just fine to their new surroundings.

After some breakfast this morning (which was really good), we checked out of the hotel and headed back to the airport. The drive wasn’t as crazy but we did have the same driver. Several times he noticed that we were trying to take pictures out the side window and he slowed down for us, right in the middle of the highway!

Now were sitting in the business class lounge at the airport awaiting our flight to DaNang. YAY! In just a few short hours, we’ll be holding Sissy for the first time!!! I’ll try to take video but our video camera is on the fritz and isn’t working with the LCD. It works when it’s plugged into the wall but not very well when it’s not. In the worst case, we’ll have to get video of her in the hotel room after the G&R.

We have a great guide, Quac. He’s a total doll and LOVES the kids (and they love him.) Several times, I didn’t see any kids smile until he came in the room and they just lit up!!

That’ll all for now. I’ll have much more exciting stuff for you guys in the morning (your time) as we will be back at the hotel by that time.

The Eagle Has Landed!

Hi everyone – this is Nicki blogging for Nicole. I got an email from Nicole this morning that they have landed safely in Hanoi and will board a plane to Danang late tonight (our time). Currently her computer access is weak in Hanoi and she hopes to get a better connection in Danang so hopefully we’ll learn more and get our first glimpses of sweet Sissy in the next day or two. | 502: Bad gateway

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