NOTE: This post has been delayed by several evenings of spotty, extra-slow, or completely nonexistent Internet connectivity. Thank you, Compost, for such wonderful service...! It's a good thing that I've got the Internet back, because watching TV is still a painful experience with all those freezes, blackouts, dropouts, and other such fun & games.
The past few weeks have, in a sorta quiet way, been a VERY active period (at least for our group of "adoption friends").
But first, an update from the home front... Last weekend I got to spend some quality "Uncle duty" time with the Pipsqueak, since AJ had manager duty on Sunday and Mom & Dad really needed someone to help keep the family's smallest but most active self-mobile nuclear reactor under supervision. Miri wasn't feeling too good early in the day, and threw up rather thoroughly on herself, a blanket, a pillow, and the big family room couch just minutes after I arrived. (She almost got me, too, but I cleared that particular spot on the couch with nanoseconds to spare -- my reaction time isn't as good as my sister's but it's getting better...!)
Some paper towels, a lot of calming talk, and a clothing change later, the Pipsqueak was feeling better... so much better, in fact, that she went from looking pitiful to happily demanding to watch Wiggles videos on my 'puter. So we watched the Wiggles... then Mickey, then more Wiggles... then a few (non-scary) shark videos on YouTube, then looked for princess pictures out on the 'net... then took a quick trip back to YouTube for a few minutes of "Cinderella" until she got bored and said she wanted a different princess, followed by more Mickey (same videos, unfortunately). Then still more Wiggles. Then the same Mickey videos again... Finally a request for Barney or Dora, so it was over to Netflix for a few episodes of each... Aaaaaallllll afternoon long, into the evening, right through dinner (which I ate slowly because I made sure to keep a hand where it could yank my laptop out from under Miri's cup, or spoon, or anything else she was wielding that could do to my laptop what she'd done to Dad's).
My niece spent most of the time either sitting on one or another of my legs, or sitting on my lap, or occasionally standing/jumping on my lap (ouch). For every video. The entire day. Yeah, she climbed into Mommy's lap every now & then once AJ was able to spring loose & join us, but usually she clambered back onto yours truly after just a few minutes had passed.
Lest any reader mistake the above for complaints... well, they're not. I may have gotten sore and sweaty (just like her uncle, the Pipsqueak tends to run a bit hot) but I'm acutely aware that this is a time of my niece's life that is passing at breathtaking speed, so I'm getting all the Cuddly Little Girl time I can before she decides I'm just an uncool grownup and banishes me to the sidelines. (I say this partly because we squeezed in a few minutes of photos from our China trip between Barney & Dora, and the change in Miri in less than two years' time is astonishing.)
And now that I've spent some bytes kvelling over my niece, on to the "very active" part of the post. There's a group of very special people we've become friends with over the years, all supporting each other through the painfully long adoption process, regardless of agency, or timing, or anything else. For the past few years, each get-together has been marked with the (oh so slow) addition of kidlings, one after the other... and still everyone has been helping the families who haven't yet been matched with their children "keep the faith" during the ever-increasing wait.
And now, after years of referrals trickling in one at a time... One couple just returned home last week from China with their new daughter, another family will be returning home from China this weekend with their new son (and their daughter, one of the first China babies of the group, has turned out to be a great traveling companion & wonderful big sister), and -- FINALLY! after years of waiting -- the last family in our group still waiting received their referral this past Monday, a super-cute little girl born late in 2010. So now it's looking like our next late summer crabfest will finally have a full complement of kidlings, and AJ & her fellow mommies can dust off those long-shelved plans for a group outing to a toddler-friendly amusement park... we may even have outgrown the banquet room at the restaurant where we have our annual Chinese New Year dinner!
All this adoption travel, and the imminent end of The Wait at long last for all the waiting families in our group, has brought back a lot of memories & triggered a lot of thoughts that I'll try to address (to some degree) here in the blog over the next couple of weeks. It's a real jumble of, "omigod, has it really been that long?!?" and memories of the craziness between referral & travel day, and happiness for friends whose paperchase is finally ending, and memories of what it was like to attend the showers & barbecues while the Pipsqueak was still nothing more than a dream & a gleam in my sister's eye, all with a dusting of bittersweet at how the familiar adoption ecosystem on Shamian Island is apparently coming to an end now that the U.S. consulate has moved and the White Swan has closed for major renovations (allegedly to reopen as a non-adoption-friendly business hotel in 2013).
Wow... just realized how much of a run-on sentence I typed in the preceding paragraph, but I can't seem to untangle it into more proper English; there are just too many memories and images coming into my mind every time I think of all that's going on at the same time! Tell you what -- I'm going to try to get some sleep (after all, I've had to make up for several nights without Internet connectivity!) and then, assuming Comcast doesn't mess me up again, I'll start collecting my thoughts into something resembling a logical structure.
But, in closing, I just wanted to say that it is just absolutely so GREAT that now, after 3/4 of a decade has passed(!), every remaining family in our group of "adoption friends" is finally done with The Wait and can move forward with their lives.
My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅-- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!