Monthly Archives: December 2013

We’re leaving on a jet plane

Yes friends, the time is near. Friday is the day.

We’re leaving KCI Friday morning in the earliest morning hour and will be just minutes away from Yiyi on Saturday night at 11 p.m. We will get her sometime Sunday and she will officially become a Pauls on Monday, January 6th. Which is a pretty cool date because it’s my (Nikki’s) parents 41st wedding anniversary. What a special day all around.

NOTE FOR CREEPY INTERNET LURKERS INTERESTED IN ROBBING OUR HOUSE WHILE WE’RE GONE: Please don’t. Really, we don’t have anything good. You will be disappointed. We don’t have any cash stashes or valuable jewels. Plus, we have my brother house sitting and staying the nights, as well as friends and family who will be coming and going, plus the neighborhood watch neighbor who works from home, so you will find someone there if you try. It’s just not a good idea. Thanks much!

Ok, that’s done.

We have so many things we’re nervous about and so many things we’re excited about. I truly cannot believe that we are about to travel halfway around the world to adopt a 10-year-old. Really, I’m not sure anyone can be prepared for that! We are going crazy right now.

But in true Joe DeSimone fashion, in the midst of this crazy time, he has put us at ease. He told me that no matter what happens, no matter how many children we have, or my brother has, that Yiyi will always be their special one. (Sorry our future children who read this in horror – Papa didn’t mean it like that, he loves you so much, it’s just that the first is special.) He reminded me of the one time that I asked my Nonni (his mother) in a crowded Christmas dining room, “so Nonni, who is your favorite grandchild?” To which she clearly and quickly responded “Nicholas.” It was at that moment that the room got silent and everyone heard her small voice profess her favorite was Nick. To which she tried to cover, “Oh, did you say favorite? I thought your said oldest, Nick is the oldest. I got confused.” No, Nonni never got confused a day in her life. She was absolutely not confused, she was just telling the truth. And so was my dad.

This week, as I’m running a gazillion errands, doing laundry, taking down the Christmas decorations, and trying to finish two more home studies and generally feeling like a whirling derbish, I am comforted by his words. It reminds me that no matter what, we have support and love. Love from our family and all of you who are reading and following along with our journey.

And really, all you need is love.

Travel Approval and new photos!

The day was Tuesday. I was really hoping travel approval would come that day. I started working and was pleasantly surprised when I found that we had a new photo of our sweet girl. Although I had hoped we would get travel news, I wasn’t as upset because we had two new darling photos!

Yiyi photo 1 Dec 2013

So that always helps. It was nice to see Yiyi looking legitimately happy, smiling a seemingly true smile, not forced. The cool part about this photo was that she is in her school uniform. This helped us learn a lot about this sweet girl. For those of you who don’t know my friend Heather, she has some special powers. We call her sleuthing abilities the HBI (Heather Bureau of Investigation). When we got these photos, I put the HBI on the job. Within hours she had figured out 85% of the information we had hoped to learn and us talking provided the other 15% of the mystery.

A question that had long plagued us — does Yiyi go to school? The next question was — what kind of school does Yiyi go to? We now know that Yiyi does go to school, in fact, a very good school. She goes to a special school for blind and deaf children. It does not appear as though there could be a better school for her needs in her area than this school. It is a true blessing that she attends this school. She is attending a school where they teach her how to accommodate for her vision impairment and learn the best possible way she can be learning right now.

More sleuthing from the HBI and us taught us that her school puts much emphasis on music and the arts. We know that Yiyi participated in a drum competition this summer that won the top music prize in the entire province. We found photos of the children practicing for hours a day, in true Chinese style, to get ready for this competition. We are elated that she is coming to us with a heart and passion for music.

Blessings abound when the HBI then found a video about her school, promoting a significant donation of HP computers and technology aides to her school. The video showed the children recording music to put online, as well as using tools to accommodate for their visual and auditory needs. Our suspicions of Yiyi’s knowledge of technology are now affirmed. 1) My child knows more about how to use computers and technology than I do and 2) It is entirely possible that she is, in fact, cyberstalking us and reading this right now. Both were things I have secretly hoped for!

Two photos and all this information was enough good to make us happy for a week. Oh, but then, what happened next is even better!

A few hours later, we got an email telling us our travel approval had been issued. China called, saying they think it’s time for us to come get our girl. We think that sounds like a plan.

Now that all the timelines add up in our heads, could they have told her that her new parents had been given the approval to travel and then took her photo right after? Could that smile be genuine because she is excited about the adoption?

We are hoping (and praying) that is the case.

The past couple of days have been a whirlwind, flight shopping, telling people the exciting news, and getting some of our last items together for her. We’re heading out after the new year. What a great way to start 2014!

We’re starting to pack her backpack. Her undies are all clean. Tom’s was having a sale, so duh, had to buy her a pair of those because that never happens. She has been showered with Hello Kitty clothing and other such sundries. She has a doctor’s appointment set for January 21. I’ve filled out pre-registration paperwork, with her name, just as if its the most normal thing I could be doing.

We have travel visas and I’m starting to think about what we need to be getting together for us. I’m starting to think about noodles and garlic broccoli and all my favs from my daughter’s homeland.

We’ll be back home soon. And in so many ways we will start to breathe a sigh of relief because this journey will be over for us. We will be back to normal soon enough. We will be back to everything familiar to us. We will be sleeping in our bed, grateful for what we have been given, and grateful that it’s over.

And her journey will just be starting…

Yiyi photo 2 Dec 2013

(please, someone, anyone, let me know what deep sea sport fishing is and why my 10-year-old may enjoy it so).