Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The girls both have colds

A cold sounds so simple, but can be so complicated when you are away from home in an environment where the clinic opens when they feel like it and the phone system is not always reliable. We've been having trouble calling from room to room at the hotel so the prospect of having to make a 911 call, if needed, is pretty scary.

G is pretty much over her fever but still has a hacking cough. The baby had me scared most of the night with a fever that ran from 101 to 102.50 It's a really good thing that Family #2 is still here with us and has 4 children under their belt so to speak. I was a nervous wreck when that baby's temp kept going up.

We've got both girls on Tylenol and are hopeful that all this will pass in a day or so.

Here's a couple of pics that we took at the airport when family #1 left that we weren't able to post yesterday.

Afternoon sky

Marshall Islands Rainbow

Flat Stanley does the Marshall Islands

Monday, June 29, 2009

G has been sick

G has been sick for a couple of days-nothing that I could really pin down as a flu or cold but a fever, occasional cough. The baby has also started coughing so today we're making a trip to the clinic. I'll keep you posted on how that goes-pray for us that it is nothing serious. Our friends that just left had a child with pneumonia while here so of course that is in the back of my mind.

Last night we went to the airport to see Family #1 off-they had gotten their little boy's passport/visa yesterday and were heading back home to IL. We will miss them! I took some great pics of a rainbow at the airport and of R holding both girls with flowers in their hair but the internet connection is running slow (again) and I'm having trouble getting the pics up. Will try to get them up later and post an update after our visit to the clinic.

Big R and the Island Girls

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Trip to Laura Beach

This morning after breakfast we set out for Laura Beach. Our understanding was that it would take approx. an hour to get there. The directions were simple-just drive past the airport and keep going until the road runs out-then you are there.

As we started out, R noticed that we needed gas in the "tuna can". We assumed that we would be able to stop along the way and fill up-hello Dorothy, you're not in Kansas any more-after we were 30 minutes into the drive, and after stopping and asking 3 people if there was a gas station up ahead we decided to turn around and head back to the hotel to fill up. So the first hour of our trip was basically a circle-remember that earlier post about how everything takes longer here?

Exactly 1 hour after we set out, we set out again. This time with a full tank of gas :-) After driving for about an hour, the road did indeed end, and we were at the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. We couldn't stay long because of the heat and the sheer power of the sun but we'll definitely take Aunt M back to visit when she gets here.

The "tuna can"

Laura Beach

Baby K on the beach

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hanging out poolside

Did I mention that everything seems to take longer here? At the moment we are hanging out poolside and G is swimming with her friends so I thought I'd take a moment and post. This morning we went out to get supplies-water, groceries, etc. We had to make 3 stops to get everything that was on our list. It wasn’t that we were shopping for the best price, it was that you can’t always find everything in one place.

Some of you have asked about the prices here. Some things are very expensive-a bottle of Tide detergent is $15, a bag of Baked Lays is $5, a can of Enfamil is $35, brand name diapers are available but also very expensive. Now just like at home you can price shop some things but the name brand items seem to all be about the same price at each store.

Today we picked up a pair of tennis shoes for G that were $1.49-regular price. I just have to think how is it that a pair of shoes can cost $1.49 and a bag of chips can cost $5?

Of course we're taking lots of pictures and I know that at some point they are all going to start looking the same to you folks but enjoy today's baby pics.

Jones family at dinner

Note the hair accessory

the Jones girls

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just hanging out

We are just hanging out today. It seems to take an incredibly long time to do things here. Yesterday, it took 2 hours to do one load of laundry. G had the opportunity to play in the hotel pool with the kids from Family #. That gave the adults some time to sit and talk-it was nice.

Today we are going to replenish supplies and try to make contact with Baby K's birthmom. We'd like to go ahead and setup PO Box for her if needed since Family #2 told us there were a few available.

The baby only got up once last night so everyone had a much better rest. I leave you today with a few pictures from around the hotel.

the view from behind the hotel

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Internet is a little slow....

The internet connection has been a little slow for the past day and a half, even though it is supposed to be high-speed. It's probably on Marshallese time just like everything else here. You quickly learn that if someone says to be there at 8:00am that they really mean be there at 9:00am-totally different from being in the states.

Last evening we met the other family that is here to adopt-now there are 3 families-it's like having our own little travel group. Family #1 will most likely leave on Monday. Their papers are on their way back-based on their time frame, their stay has been 4 1/2 weeks. We're keeping our fingers crossed that ours follows the same route!

Family #2 had their court date yesterday and so they are a day behind us, meaning that we will have company the whole time we are here.

Baby K is getting used to us and we're getting used to her. The night time schedule is taking a little bit of time to get used to-in fact, R is going to take G out today so that Baby K and I can sleep:-)

More later and hopefully some pics if the internet is up and running.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Paperwork is done and now we wait.....

The past 2 days have been whirlwind of trips to meet with the attorney, get the babies medical exam completed, go to court, collect birth certificates, get Baby K's passport, meetings at the US Embassy, and did I mention that we just got a new baby :-)

Yesterday was an incredibly emotional day for several reasons-I watched my "baby" G turn into a big sister, we officially added a new addition to our family, and while we experienced the joy of the moment we also witnessed the sorrow for the birthmom and the fostermom. It was a very humbling experience to watch someone I had never met take the witness stand and relinquish their parental rights so that R and I could adopt this beautiful baby. I cried like a baby when the fostermom officially handed Baby K over to me.

In such a short time I feel like I have come to know these people and they have become part of my extended family, it has been an awe inspiring experience. It is so evident by looking at Baby K that the foster family has taken such great care of her. At her medical exam yesterday she weighed 11 lbs 11 oz and is 22 inches long. She has almost doubled her birthweight and is not quite 3 months old. Below are a couple of pics that we took yesterday-

Baby K's medical exam

G holding Baby K at court

It's official-the Jones Family of 4 and Baby K's birthmom

Monday, June 22, 2009

Another baby pic from today

I just couldn't resist adding one more baby pic. I can't believe that in less than 24 hours she will be all ours!

Today we met the foster mom and it was so evident how much she loves taking care of these babies. Baby K is absolutely gorgeous and healthly looking-we had heard so many stories of the babies being underweight or having skin conditions and there is absolutely no evidence of that on Baby K. We feel so blessed to have had such a great foster mom.

We were hoping to meet the birthmom today but didn't have that opportunity yet-maybe tomorrow. It's almost 8:00pm here-we're 16 hours ahead of eastern time-and we're getting ready to go and meet with the attorney and to go over what will happen at court tomorrow. That would never happen in the US! It seems like most things here are open and ongoing later in the day and into the evening-I'm sure it's because of the heat.

Tonight we had dinner with the other family staying here at the Tides Table-good food, reasonable prices, and great company. It has been so nice to have someone else here to kind of show us around and tell us what is going to happen-we're going to miss them when they return home. G is really enjoying having some kids here that are close to her age to play with. Hopefully, we can return the favor by doing the same for the family that is arriving tomorrow.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

First Meeting With Baby K

The pics you've all been waiting for-

We Made it to Majuro

We made it into Majuro last evening about 5:00pm. The plane ride was pretty uneventful. The agencies facilitator met us at the airport and introduced herself and got us hooked up the Marshall Islands Resort shuttle.

It was about a 20 minute ride to the hotel and my first impression of the island was like the trip I made to Africa many years ago-unbelievable beauty but also unbelievable poverty. The first thing that hit me was the smell of wood burning-the same exact smell from Africa-not a bad smell, just very distinct.

We had dinner last night at the hotel since we were trying to get unpacked. We all had some type of pasta dinner-I know it seems strange to be on an island where fish is abundant and we ordered pizza and pasta!

I left G and R in the room and I've come down to the lobby where there is free wi-fi to check messages and update the blog. This will be a quick post since we are meeting the baby and the birthmom in about a 1/2 hour-hoping to get some pictures if the opportunity presents itself to post later today.

I expect today and tomorrow to be a flurry of activity with meetings with the birthmom, the lawyer, getting a rental car, getting ready for court, and making a trip to the grocery store.

The other family who is staying here was kind enough to give us a gallon of water and welcome us as we arrived last night and we're hoping to pass that kindness onto the family that's arriving tomorrow.

Gotta go but will say the humididy is really working for my hair:-)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We're in HI and online for the moment

We're in HI-got here last night and thought we'd be able to connect in the room but the service has been down all night. This is probably just preparing me for what it's going to be once we get to the MI. I was able to check email this morning and we'll be staying at the Marshall Islands Resort once we get into MI.

The flight from Newark was llloooonnnnngggggg! Really hoping our return trip will connect in Houston instead-still be the same amount of time but would definitely be better to break it half. Poor G was miserable, and consequently, we were miserable with her:-)

Hope you enjoy the notes and pic from yesterday and we'll post again once we are in the MI.

This a note that I put together in the airport yesterday once we made it to Newark:

Well we made it to Newark, NJ, we’ve had breakfast (of which I refuse to actually comprehend the cost of right now) and are now hanging out waiting for the next flight to Honolulu. I thought I’d connect the netbook and call home to chit chat but you have to pay for service here and at the moment, I’m not desperate enough to spend the ten dollars. Now tonight in Honolulu will be a different matter.

The first flight was rather uneventful so I’m hopeful that this next leg will go just as smooth. For anyone about to travel with kids I can highly recommend Bendaroos. G saw them advertised on TV a couple of weeks ago (I know, it’s pretty scary that we’ve gone from a jet-setting couple to buying items that are sold on the TV) and I actually found them at our local AC Moore. If you are not familiar with Bendaroos, they are colored strings covered in a heavy wax and you can use them to build/create projects. The nice thing is that they appear to be reusable for a long period of time. G and I crafted Tuck and Ming Ming from the WonderPets on the flight from Richmond to Newark. I expect that by the time this trip is over that we’ll both be qualified sculpters.

I got some great pics yesterday while we were waiting in Newark for our flight to HI. I bet you had no idea that you could do so much with a neck pillow-

Friday, June 19, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane.....

Leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again....... strains of this song play thru my head as we're sitting in the Richmond airport.

Thanks Aunt Mary for driving us to the airport-I know that 4:00am was pretty early this morning to have to be at our house!

We're all checked in and have had our first excitement for the day. We got to our gate and the plane was already boarding so we just got in line with everyone else. We sure were surprised when we got on the "go-cart", I mean commuter plane, and realized someone was sitting in our seats. Actually, they were in the right seats, we were on the wrong plane-LOL

Let's hope the rest of the flights go without a hitch.

More later.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Here we come RMI

Travel arrangements have been made-we leave early Friday morning and will arrive in the RMI on Sunday afternoon after several stops and a very short night in Honolulu. Our court dates is Tuesday, June 23rd, so very shortly after arriving, we'll have Baby K!

The packing continues, or shall I say the repacking-the bags can not be over 50lbs each and so I keep moving things around between the bags to try to balance it all out.

I've managed to get Skype setup on several computers so hopefully we will be able to stay connected with family. My folks are already having "G withdrawal" so it's important that we be able to get in touch with each other on a regular basis :-)

Just found out this evening that another family has their court date the day after ours so they will be in the RMI the same time that we are-it will be nice to have another family to share the experience with. That was one of the nice things about our trip to China for G-we traveled with 11 other families and have managed to stay in touch with all of them.

Our annual Jiangxi Travel Group reunion is Aug 14th-16th and we're planning on going-even if we've only been home a couple of weeks-R and I both feel that it's important for G to have those connections and it's good for us to see the people that were part of one of the most positive experiences in our lives.

More later, back to repacking.....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We have a court date!

We received our "tentative" court date today. We need to arrive in Majuro by Monday, June 22nd and our court date is scheduled for Tuesday, June 23rd. With all of the time change and the multiple flights we will most likely need to leave by next Friday to get there on time.

I've contacted a travel agency that specializes in adoption travel so provided the travel portion of this journey goes smoothly, I'll give them a mention on our blog for all of you still waiting to travel :-)

I spent a good portion of today trying to tie up loose ends-last minute shopping, gifts to take with us, etc. I'm feeling pretty organized at the moment but I'm sure as next Friday gets closer, my list will get longer instead of shorter.

Getting the baby's picture made it seem a little more real but having a travel date means it's really happening! It all seems almost surreal after all of this time spent waiting-we will have Baby Jones in our arms in less than 2 weeks!

Stay posted........

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Smiles.......

Today was the day! We got to see our beautiful new baby's face. She's a real beauty-perfectly round head, little double chin, little fringe of hair on the sides, and lips that look like rosebuds.

So without further adieu, here is Kailee Alorina Jones:

Kailee-8 weeks old today

Kailee with her foster mom, Mary

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Adoption Petition Received Today

Our adoption petition was received today and we've signed, notarized, and already sent it back to the agency. Still no baby pic but we're one step closer to a travel date.

Once the court receives our signed petition they will go ahead and set a court date and with that, we can go ahead and book travel. The agency says that families typically travel within 3 weeks of the petition so with that in mind, we could be on our way to the Marshall Islands the week of my Dad's birthday! Really, could I get him a better present than that?

Hair today, gone tomorrow.....

We finally made the cutoff-hair cutoff that is. G has been growing her hair for Locks of Love and we finally made the 10" requirement. We made a trip to our wonderful stylist, Miss Sylvia, and she gave G the cutest "bob" cut and helped us package up the hair for donation.

It's amazing how much a haircut can change a little person's look-my G has taken on a whole new level of maturity. First the tooth fell out, then the haircut, it will probably be college next :-)