Friday, June 22, 2007

The Hits Just Keep On Coming!

Today marks a full calendar month since we sent off our LOI and we probably have another 4-8 weeks to go until LOA, which is China's final "are you sure you want to get yourself into this?" plea before they prepare our Travel Approval (another 4-6 weeks after LOA, give or take).

In the past month, we have gotten pictures and a video from a generous traveling family, a video from our agency from "who knows" and today, more new pictures of Ian from the parents of the person who moderates the Wenzhou Yahoo group. Her parents live in Wenzhou and visit the kids regularly.

Once again, things like this restore my faith in humanity a bit. Check out the most recent pics of Ian. He's only a couple of weeks older than the previous pics and looks like he just woke up, but still...every day he's there and not here is too long.

I would love more pictures of his ear. They seem to always position that ear away from the camera. I would also love to see him crawling, not just on his tummy. I HAVE to find something to worry about in every picture and video, so in this instance, I'll obsess over the fact that he's not in motion.... Tomorrow I'll realize that's fine and will have moved onto worrying about something else.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ian- Episode One

So, literally hours after uploading the first video of Ian, our agency called stating that they had a video of Ian! We half expected it to be a copied copy from the family that sent it to us...sent to the orphanage...then set to our agency.

As it turns out, it is a few weeks earlier and shows Ian at play. While he isn't walking yet, it looks like his legs are itching to do something other than scoot. Notice the lack of tears when he gets his toys snatched away by another little boy. That's OK. He'll get his payback later when he steals that skinny kiddo's bottle... now I know why he's so chubby! :-)

In this video, I also see a little boy with cleft lip/palate that we reviewed a file on along with Ian's(he found a family at the same time) and another little boy who is still waiting on our agency's list who is completely healthy except for a port wine stain on his face. Yes, a birthmark is considered a special need in China.

If anyone is interested in info on him, please email me and I'll see what info I can get for you from my agency rep.

So, here it is... Ian at play (with some rockin Chinese tunes playing in lieu of nanny chatter).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ian Mrzena- The Motion Picture

A wonderful family from Arizona recently visited Ian's Child Welfare Institute in Wenzhou, China and graciously took pictures as well as a video of him for us. This was a huge milestone because it proves that he is a living, breathing baby...and a big one. This kid hasn't missed a meal and we couldn't be happier about that fact.

So without delay, please enjoy a few minutes of what is obviously toddler chaos in the Wenzhou CWI...and a quiet, observant Ian stuck in the middle of it all!

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Child's Right

For those who walk up to the faucet or fridge door for a cool clean glass of ice water as the whim strikes, you are in the minority worldwide. Clean drinking water is a dream, not a commodity in much of the world today. In the age we live in, this is, in my opinion, not only a shame, but a crime against humanity.

An organization called A Child's Right (headquartered in nearby Tacoma, Washington), is an organization dedicated to bringing vital water filtration systems to the areas of the world that need it the most. They recently completed a project that assisted thousands of children in the hardest hit areas of China. Please click here to visit their website to learn more about their cause, but also to view hundreds of pictures from their time in Child Welfare Institutes (orphanages) in China. If you've ever wanted to see the inside of an orphanage, here is your chance. It's very worth taking the time to browse the pictures.

For me, I know Ian is one of those kids (theoretically...they didn't visit his province), but more importantly, it gives you an idea of just how many are waiting.

Below are a handful of my favorites from the China slideshow on the A Child's Right website.

When it comes time to make your annual charitable contributions (or the next time you have a nice cold glass of water) consider this cause.

Monday, June 11, 2007

This Boy's Got Gear

Ian has no idea we exist at this point, yet he already has the swag of most little boys his age.

We decided to hold off on ordering his crib for a couple of weeks while Shawn warms up to the idea of how much kids cost. In the meantime, we're buying some of the smaller items that we'll need before travel. This past weekend, after much research, I decided $400 for crib bedding is ridiculous, and bought a set I really liked from Pottery Barn Kids.

Although I don't remember my baby bedding and I personally think it's ridiculous to spend so much money on something that is bound to meet it's first diaper blowout within days of use, I also feel like this is my first and possibly only child, so I don't really want to buy something that is cheap and tacky either.

I wanted something that isn't too cutesy or babyish and since the crib we plan on buying will transition to a toddler bed, I wanted something that would also transition well to a big boy theme.

If all that weren't enough, we also wanted to avoid sensory overload when he gets home, so we decided to go with something in muted colors and images.

Keeping these things in mind, I found the "Vintage Planes" set at Pottery Barn Kids and bought several pieces. They have a 1 year return policy and since we might not even need the bumper (if he's strong enough to use it as a step to hoist himself out of his crib) we'll be able to take it back if we decide we don't really need it.

I was so impressed with their customer service in the store that I decided to register for the few items they carry that won't send my friends and family into bankruptcy.

I also included a picture of Ian's clothing collection so far. It's hard to tell in the picture, but he has 42 items hanging (many non hanging items still in bags). Of the items hanging, they inventory as follows:

2 Jackets
7 PJ's
7 Rompers
4 Overalls
5 Polo Shirts
2 Button Down Shirts
1 Tank Top (on was really cute. Although it'll probably be in the 50's if not colder when he arrives home. Yikes)
7 Tee Shirts
3 Shorts (See the note about 50's)
4 Pants

Everything except for 2 items were at Outlet or Clearance prices and since we really have no idea how big he'll be when we travel to him, I was rolling the dice every time I handed over the debit card. When I saw his most recent picture, I could feel the panic hit. Many of those items are size 12 months (assuming he would be they typical skinny butt Chinese boy that I see in so many blogs). Heck no, this boy is going to be big by all accounts so far. Stay tuned for a link to my NWT (new with tags) section on Ebay in a couple of months.

Please note that there is no fancy presentation to the pictures above. My laptop died and is in the shop (for 3 weeks!!!!) and all of my software and digital scrap stuff is saved there. I may die from withdrawls. By the way, I would like to use this public forum to tell the world never to buy a computer at Best Buy. Their customer service is awful and their "Geek Squad" knows less than I do about computers. They are sending my laptop to California to do what equals about 30 minutes of work for work that most kids are coming out of high school knowing. So, Best Buy doesn't stand behind the products they sell. Pass it on.

And if you get the chance, check out the Pottery Barn Kids store or their catalog. Their customer service doesn't stink and a good majority of their products are worth the money in my opinion.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A New Picture!

Is this the same little boy we laid eyes on for the first time only weeks ago? The same little bald head in those first grainy pictures emailed, then printed, then printed again, then scanned, then uploaded?

It is! Believe it or not, this little guy is growing up with or without us. Although we had no idea how old those first pictures were, we now know for sure that he is exactly 14 months old in this one.

A family taking their daughter on her heritage trip to Wenzhou was extremely kind and offered to take pictures of Ian for us. I was floored by the generosity. It literally brought tears to my eyes.

He looks very healthy, is starting to grow hair like no tomorrow, and is CHUBBY! So much for those 12 month clothes I've bought so far. He is not walking yet, but probably will be soon. I'm sure he'll be zooming around like no tomorrow by the time we travel!

A special thank you to Dana and her family for visiting Ian's CWI and taking the time to see him. It confirmed for us that he is happy, healthy, and waiting patiently for us to come get him.

Hopefully he'll have other visitors on our behalf soon...and a doctor's visit (that I'm sure he won't appreciate) to get new measurements. He's bound to start wondering why all the special treatment. Hopefully his caretakers are telling him he has a mama & baba coming for him...and hopefully he understands what that means.
Next step: We're ordering his furniture and bedding this weekend!