one year ago today

29 06 2009

we met Kajsa. I was going to blog about it this morning, but I started crying, and couldn’t even type. Tears of joy, of course. They’ve come and gone all day. Poor Kajsa probably has no clue why we keep kissing her today, and hugging her, and telling her how much joy she brings us.

Here are two pictures from one year ago:



Home, Lotus Buns, Adapting

14 07 2008

We arrived home safely, though a couple hours late, on Friday night, 9 pm. It’s amazing we made it home when we did, because we almost missed two flights. We made both connecting flights (San Fran-Chicago/Chicago-Madison) thanks to both those flights being delayed. Close calls!

Once we were on the flights, things went mostly well. People were so patient and happy for us and Kajsa, and eager to hear about her. Sleep was an issue at times. Fortunately there was an empty galley behind us on the long flight. We used that frequently. And Cheerios and noodles were our friends on the whole trip.

We are still exhausted, but loving being with Kajsa. And family. And friends. And the dogs… Abby was here when we got home on Friday, Entropy came “home” today, for a bit, until he moves to Alaska. 😦 Can’t talk about that right now.

Jim’s parents and Karen, Dave, and Laura met us at the Madison airport. What a fun welcoming party! The Hinz clan had made signs…adorable. Kajsa, by this point, was used to being the center of attention from the moment we entered the Hong Kong airport. So she loved this “crowd”, watching her, talking to her, taking pictures of her.. and she happily obliged them by waving, smiling, laughing.. even through her pure exhaustion!

We came home to a fully-stocked fridge and pantry, thanks to good friends and family. Joan and Dan had stocked up on some essentials, Jen & Roy, Sandie & Co., and Chenrui had stocked us with plenty of essentials, and Karen and Dave and Laura brought some essentials to the airport as well: lotus buns!

Joan and Dan had lotus buns specially ordered for Kajsa (from a bakery in MN); Chenrui had made steamed buns; and the Hinz’ brought us two packs of frozen lotus buns! This baby has been well-stocked, and very happy with the continual supply of her favorite food so far.

She is also thrilled with the endless audience she has had. Family and friends have been here much of yesterday and today, and it has been both helpful and fun. Kajsa hams it up, sings, waves, eats lotus buns, laughs, plays… and overall loves people.

And, also important, she and the dogs are getting along well now. Friday night was iffy. She was quite afraid of Abby, but now she loves to pet her, look for her, and treats Entropy the same way.

All in all, things are going well. We’re needing a bit more sleep, as Kajsa’s sleep patterns are still not great. But, hopefully that will change. Hopefully.

Slow Boat to China

6 06 2008

The boat has been slowly making its way to China…for three years! And finally, on June 24th, we depart. We fly from Madison to Beijing, via Chicago and San Francisco…We arrive in Beijing on the 25th. We will have a couple of days in Beijing to catch up on sleep (jet lag.. not that we’re saving up sleep until we arrive in a foreign country), explore Beijing, go on a couple of tours with other adoptive parents who are in Beijing.

And, hopefully, we will meet Kajsa on either the 29th or 30th! We’ll fly to her province on the 29th, I think.

So, that’s the plan for now. Our tickets are booked (Thank you Dan and Joan for the miles!)…and it feels a bit more real, now. A bit. I guess it’s actually felt a bit more real in the past week or so, but today, having an itinerary in hand feels even more of a bit real.

and slow down again.

6 06 2008

Ok, run full speed…. and now, sloooow down. As if the adoption roller coaster isn’t long enough, with enough highs and lows up to this point…

The excitement and even the stress of thinking we were leaving June 9th or 10th was huge. It became the only thing we could think about (which was a nice break!), meeting Kajsa before she even turned 11 months old. Well, no longer. Turns out that we probably should never have received an email saying we might travel next week–because it wasn’t even possible!

We found out a few days ago that we probably would not be traveling next week. Then yesterday morning we found out that we cannot travel until the week of June 22nd. Sigh. So, Jim and his father are working on flight itineraries, and hopefully we can confirm today. As soon as we have the confirmed date of travel and return from China, I’ll post it.

The bad news: we felt misled, we got all excited for nothing, we won’t meet Kajsa as soon as we thought last Friday. (At this age, babies change constantly, and we simply don’t want to miss another day of her life.)

The good news: some things on our to-do lists that automatically got crossed off last Friday can now, maybe, be done! We have more time to get flights, to pack more efficiently, to work on the house…

And the best news: we’re still on our way to meet Kajsa!

faster and faster and faster

2 06 2008

We received an email from our agency on Friday afternoon that our Travel Approvals (TA) arrived! This means that China has approved our travel to their country. Now we wait for the agency and the American Consulate in Guangzhou (CHINA) to set up our appointment… then everything works backwards from there.

BUT, the big news in that email from the agency, was that we could be leaving as early as next week! COULD be. It all depends on the consulate appointments.

Needless to say, we’re in speed-up/stressed-out/excited-beyond-belief/prioritizing mode. Obviously there are some things that will not get done at this point, before we bring Kajsa home. Then there are some things that have to be done before we leave. So, after years of waiting, we’re finally on the fast track, and it seems a bit out of control. Yet fun at the same time.

Jo Ann was here last week and she and I rearranged some furniture in the dining room/mess room/and living room. Now I need to rearrange the junk that belongs in those rooms. Last night I officially finished painting Kajsa’s room, and today I’ll touch up her crib with white paint, before putting that in the room.

So, here goes! faster and faster and faster…

and her name is…

21 05 2008

Kajsa Ling!

Kajsa Ling Stanley-Erickson.

In case you haven’t figured out yet, “Kajsa” is pronounced like “ice-a”, only with a “k” at the beginning. Kajsa is a Swedish name, commonly used as a nickname for “Carin”, and also a derivative of “Katherine”, meaning pure. None of these are the reasons we chose it, however. We simply like it. And yes, the voting results are now showing “Kajsa” on top, but it’s also our favorite at this point. We are very excited. And we wanted to keep part of our baby’s Chinese name as her middle name, and like the fact that children brought to her specific orphanage are given the last name “Ling”, so thought we’d keep that part.

Things are moving along.. no news on travel yet. Our visa applications were sent out last week. We’re waiting for travel approval (probably won’t be informed until first week of June), potential travel dates, visa approval, etc…

Woo hooo!!!!

Continued thanks for your emails, support, votes, prayers.. and please, continue to pray for the country of China and the millions affected by the earthquake and after-effects.

What should we name her?

14 05 2008

Ok, this is purely for fun. Don’t worry… we will pick the name that we, Jim and Cathy, think is the best fit for our daughter. But we also thought it’d be fun to have a poll on the blog.
So, which name do you like best?
Click on this “Click Here/Cast your Vote” button below, and cast your vote. And check back for the name.. someday!

Free Vote Caster from<br />
Free Vote Caster<br /> from

And, in case you need to look at her face to choose your favorite name:

Have fun!

And many thanks to Dave, for creating the poll for me!!

Minor glitch, still busy, earthquake, name

12 05 2008

We sent our acceptance packet back to Austin, TX, last week.. and found out today that it was never delivered! Ugh. Turns out that the clerk who wrote down the address for the overnight package (mailed Wednesday, supposed to arrive in Austin by noon on Thursday) wrote down the wrong zip code… mistakes happen. But then, apparently this mistake was discovered Thursday morning, but nothing done about it! So when I called our agency today to find out why we hadn’t heard that they received our package, and found out they actually hadn’t…. then Jim got on the phone with the mail service company, and found all this out. UGH!!!! FORTUNATELY, this has no affect on our status, travel, etc.. just a minor glitch in the referral process. Now, hopefully, our package arrives tomorrow at Austin office. Whew!

In other news, I still haven’t finished painting the nursery! I decided to add another coat of paint to the one wall that I’m painting a tree on. Probably unnecessary, but I really wanted to do it. But we’ve been so busy lately, that I didn’t get the chance to add the other coat of paint until yesterday. This week is also busy, but hopefully I’ll be able to get more done for the adoption stuff.

And, I still can’t wait to meet our girl. Fortunately for us, today’s earthquake in China did not do damage in her province, but there are some of our agency’s families affected. It’s very tragic. I was so worried this morning when I heard about the earthquake, but talked with our agency today and was relieved. Now I need to keep praying for those who are affected.

Well, I was hoping to post a poll on the blog of our three name options, but can’t figure out how to do it–any tips? (for a Macintosh computer). So maybe tomorrow I’ll just write a post with the three options and readers can vote via comments…. ? Or, maybe we’ll decide on our own tomorrow. Ha.


Summer Cologne? and waiting…

7 05 2008

Ok, so tonight Jim and I were at a mall, in a department store. We were walking by the mens’ cologne counters… and Jim overheard a man ask the salesperson this question: “What’s a good summer cologne for traveling to the Tropics?”

Pretty funny.

On the adoption front, we’re one step further to our baby! This evening we DHL-ed our acceptance packet back to our adoption agency… stating that we want to adopt Wan Yi Ling (yep, still no English name.. still trying out our options). The process of compiling the acceptance paperwork (including more immigration paperwork, an email to the Milwaukee immigration office saying that our third fingerprint expiration date should be at our house within 2 weeks, etc..) was exhausting. But once we had the packet of information handed over to the DHL guy, it felt fantastic! We can’t wait to meet this little girl.

Re: medical report…the other night (Monday) we received the medical report in Chinese. And I called a lady from our church who is from China, and emailed her the report. She called me later to say that Wan Yi appears normal. And on Tuesday we faxed the translated medical report to a pediatrician, who called me to say that everything appears normal as well, based on what little information we have.

Our acceptance packet should be in the office of our agency by noon tomorrow. The packet will be sent back to China by May 14th. And from there, we continue to wait. Only now we wait with many copies of the same three adorable photos. Of our daughter, waiting for us in China.

In case you’ve forgotten…

6 05 2008

what she looks like….

Isn’t she beautiful? I can’t stop looking at her photos.

FedEx arrives at some point today, with the official referral documents. We look them over, sign the acceptance paperwork, and send it back. We’re also anxiously awaiting the translated medical report which, apparently, isn’t part of the FedEx packet. Hopefully we’ll get that via email today, so we can fax it to a pediatrician to look over.

Also, today I’m working on a care package to send to Wan Yi. This will include: a teddy bear I bought in Vermont at Mary Meyer many moons ago… (if you follow this link, scroll down to “A little hope”) a photo album with family pictures, a disposable camera, some candies for the nannies/caretakers… etc.. Should be fun.