Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 2 in Hanoi - "Much Better"

Day 2 in Hanoi went much more smoothly and we are all happy now. We got up pretty early and finished packing up to move to a new hotel with more room. We were at the Heart Hotel, but the room was just way too small for us. We need some more space than this hotel provided, space for napping and just living in general, we are going to be here for 9 more days. Plus the Heart Hotel had tile floor and Chianna is not very steady and falls quite a bit. She laughs when she falls, she is one tough cookie, but Myke and I have a mini heart attack and our lightening fast reflexes are being honed for sure!

Our new hotel is the Hoa Binh Palace Hotel, it is only a couple blocks away from the Heart Hotel. We are all so glad we made the move. Sure it is twice the price, but worth every penny. This room is very spacious and carpeted too! Also, we have a king size bed here, at the other hotel, my feet were hanging off the bed, so you can imagine how it was for Myke! Then there is a desk inbetween our bed and Chianna's little bed. We have a bureau and a cabinet with a frig. They have complimentary coffee, tea and water every day as well as a plate of fruit delivered fresh every afternoon. The room also includes a free breakfast in their restuarant on the 8th floor with a view. There is also a large sitting area int he room with a couch. two chairs, a coffee table and the tv with plenty of channels. Chianna seems to like this room and so do we, so its a win! Oh and the best part is the jacuzzi tub in the bathroom! Chianna is such a water baby! She loves taking a bath and hates getting out of it! The shower head has a handle to put it over the tub and she loves to put her head under the running water. She squeals and giggles and it is the greatest sound! She makes us so happy, we feel so blessed to have this beautiful little angel as our own.

After checking into the hotel, we went out for lunch at Le Pub next door to the hotel. Chianna is starting to express her creativity and seems to enjoy a little freedom that she probably didn't have at the orphanage. Here she is making her "everything" soup! She likes everything cleared off her plate, so she accomplishes that by giving us the foods she doesn't want and insisting that we eat them! Very funny!

After lunch we went back to the hotel room & spent the rest of the day there. We played in the room and had a bath (of course!). Chianna seemed a lots more comfortable in this room and with us. She is loving the DVDs that Auntie Kayla and Uncle Sean sent. She watches Sesame Street over and over and over and over again. She is learning it, she gets into place to push the start button to watch again as soon as the credits start now. The beach scene seems to be her favorite! : ) I know Auntie Manders loves that idea! : )

Here are pics and videos are uploaded on You Tube.

Playing "slide off the bed"! Fun for Chianna, very scary for mommy & daddy!

The Heart Hotel

The Heart Hotel

Lunch time!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


We arrived in Hanoi this afternoon after leaving our hotel in Ho Chi Minh City early at 8:30 this morning. Chianna loves riding in the car and was excited to walk through the airport. The plane was fine until Myke put her seatbelt on and then "IT" began. Thuy ended up sitting in her seat with Chianna on her lap the whole time and she was fine for the whole trip. She liked looking out the window and she ate some of the lunch they served on the plane. As we were getting off the plane, Myke picked her up but she wanted to walk, so she started to cry and I am not sure who was more upset, Chianna or Myke. That started the spiral. She fell asleep in the taxi on the way to our hotel, and as soon as we arrived, woke up cranky and started crying. She did not like the hotel room and stood in the corner.

She was really mad at Myke and only wanted to come to me or Thuy. A big difference from the days before when she wanted Myke more than me. Its ok, we know its all part of the process.

So Thuy and I took her with us to the immigration dept while Myke stayed in the room to try to nap. We applied for her passport and wrote a letter asking them to expedite the passport. We walked back to the hotel and got CHianna's passport photo taken on the way. Chianna walked a good protion of the way and Thuy & I alternated carrying her. She loves to walk and I believe that in the few days here she has gotten better at it.

As soon as we got back to the hotel and I got in the elevator with her and said bye to Thuy, she started crying. I brought her to the room where she crying, screamed and threw a complete tantrum for almost 2 hours! We tried everything and could not console our poor girl. And her cry. . . . is as awful as her laugh is wonderful. Its painful to hear.

Finally she responded to wanting to have her diaper changed, and I layed her on the bed to change her, she calmed down and we ran a bath for her. She got in the bath and within minutes was playing with me and daddy again, giggling away.

She loves the bath and did not want to come out even though all the hot water was gone. When the tub started leaking all over the bathroom floor, we finally coaxed her out of the tub, she was shivering cold but didn't care! Then we put pjs on and daddy played with her for about an hour. She loves coloring and in 3 days has shown an improvement already. I palyed with her for a little while and then gave her a bottle while she watched Sesame Street on the DVD player we brought. She loves watching TV and just phases in on it. She eventually fell asleep around 8 or 8:30pm and as I write this now its 8:20am and she is still asleep!

It was one hell of a day for us and I am glad that it is over. We know that this is just the beginning of the bumps in the road as she gets used to us and goes through all these changes. It must be so scary for her. We just keep telling her that we love her and that it is going to be alright. We are not going anywhere and we will always be here for her.

Our plane to Hanoi

Chianna sitting on Thuy's lap

The view of Hanoi from above over Chianna's shoulder.

The last calm moment of the day. Sleeping in the taxi. She really took an interest in daddy's wallet - UH OH!! Look out!!

Also in the airport, there was a panda statue with a clear bowl of money in it (might have been for a contest or something?) and she went right over to each one we passed staring and pointing at the money inside - oh boy! Are we in trouble!!??!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Today It's Official!

We had our Giving & Receiving Ceremony today and our adoption is now official with the Vietnamese Government!

It was quite an exhausting day today. Chianna was up a little after 5am (but its not like we got too much sleep anyways - we both were jumping up at every little sound to check on her!) We needed to leave the hotel at 7am to go back to her orphanage to sign some paperwork and pick up her things. We also picked up the orphanage director to head to the G&R at the Justice Dept. Traffic here is horrible. It takes about 30 - 45 mins to go 2 miles!!!
And this is not good for Myke, who gets car sick very easily, all the stop & go & exhaust just adds to the mix. At least the happy occasions have made the rides just a little bit better for him.

So we arrive at the Justice Dept. to be told that Myke cannot get in because he is wearing shorts! Thuy had no idea about this rule, as it is a Ho Chi Minh City rule, and had not so in any of the other provinces she had worked with before. So, poor Myke had to get in a taxi again and go back to the hotel to put jeans on. In the mean time, Thuy started the paperwork. I was so worried that Myke would get lost or not make it back in time, but luckily, none of that happened. However, the G&R here was even less of a ceremony than it usually is, we had no ceremony, I had signed the paperwork while Myke was getting his jeans and then he signed when he got in. No pictures, no speeches, no fan fare of any sort. After the signing was done, Thuy had to go to another building to get paperwork done and told us just to hang out and wait for her. So we went across the street to a little outdoor cafe and celebrated with Chianna's first ice cream!

Here are some pics of the day. I am uploading some videos to YouTube, but have to get to bed, so go and check them out, they should be done in a little while:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hi Family,
I love you all and I am very proud of you. I can see that Chianna is having a great time with you. All of the work and heartache along the way has melted away to fun, love and laughter. I can't wait to spoil the little girl. Dynasty is ready to help. She figures if I spoil Chianna she gets spoiled also. There will be bumps along the way, but it will all be good. As Chianna learns from us, we will learn from her. Chianna & Xzavior are a new beginning for all of us. Let's make the most of it.
Love, Dad

Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again

We were getting ready to go to the orphanage today to meet Chianna before taking custody tomorrow when Thuy called with good news! She said that she was able to move the G&R up to 9am on Tuesday and the orphanage said that if we wanted to, we could bring Chianna back to the hotel with us today! TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

So today is the day that everything changed! Its almost 11pm and our little angel is fast asleep, so I will make this fast and elaborate more later. I am so exhausted and Myke is already snoring!

She recognized us and smiled as soon as she saw us. She was so happy to play with us and especially liked playing with Myke, of course! She is a non-stop giggling machine and smiling all the time, she seems so happy!

More info later, but first sleep and here are a few pictures!!

Our last pic of just the two of us:

Scared Daddy on the way to the orphanage:

The orphanage took such good care of her and the nannies were so nice. We are eternally thankful for all they have done. They made sure to feed her & change her before sending her home with us:

playing with the stickers we brought

Does this scene look familiar to anyone? All the kids in the room sitting on Myke's lap!

Back at the hotel:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hello from Ho Chi Minh City!

Its 11:20pm in Ho Chi Minh City & we arrived just fine from our very long but interesting flights. Everything went really smooth and EVA Airlines was really the way to go! We highly recommend it and we had bulk head exit rows on every flight just as requested, so it made the flight much more comfortable.

We arrived this morning, came to our hotel and took a nap. Now we just finished an AMAZING authentic Vitenamese dinner with Thuy.

I will add more details and pics later, but for now, we really need to get some sleep!

We will get to meet Chianna tomorrow before our G&R on Tuesday, so we are super excited.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane!

We leave today out of Miami Int'l Airport at 6:50pm.

We will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City Sunday morning at 11:40am HCMC Time (12 hrs ahead).

On Tuesday at 4pm HCMC time, we have our Giving & Receiving Ceremony & take custody of Chianna!

Wednesday morning we leave for Hanoi to complete all the paperwork to bring Chianna home.

We come home May 10th at 5am (MOTHER'S DAY!!!!) to Miami via American Airlines flight 1254. Whoever is crazy enough to get up that early and go to Miami is welcome to come see us come home.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chianna's Room

Well Chianna's room will probably always be a work in progress since Myke is always adding to it.

The little secret room now has a black light and the stars and planets all over the walls in there glowing! Its great!

Chalin finished painting the castle. here are the last few steps:

Added the giant butterfly.

Added leaves on the vines.

Finished the wood grain lines on the trees.

And finished the detail on the door to the secret room.

This is the artist, Chalin! She brought Myke's vision to life!

Added the yellow flowers, grass at the bottom and painted little mushrooms. (Which can't really be seen from the picture.)

Catching Up on Some Posts

Before we leave for Vietnam, I wanted to make sure to have all my posts caught up, so please scroll down and see some catch up posts!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hi Twitter Buds!

This is a note for my Twitter Buds & Twitter Followers. . .

Thanks for following me on Twitter and checking out my profile. I am taking a little break from Twitter for a few weeks while we are in Vietnam adopting our daughter and after we return home, we will take some time getting to know each other and getting her acclimated. You are welcome to follow our adoption journey on this blog!

Please send me a message on Twitter and I will catch up with you as soon as I can.

Following my blog and not following me on Twitter? You should check it out, its awesome!

New (Old) Pics of Chianna!

Chianna's "Aunt Sandy" found some old pics of Chianna for us searching online! How exciting is this?

I'm not sure when this was and I don't know why she had a cast on, I will try to find out when we are there.

UPDATE!: I emailed with the photographer who took this photo and many other great pics of children at the same orphanage that Chianna is in. He took this just back in January 2009! I had thought she looked younger in this photo, but I guess I was wrong. I will have to find out what's going on with the cast!!?? Makes me a little worried, but at least I will know soon enough!

The photographer (Derrick) said he remember her being friendly and happy to see visitors as were the other children. So that is so good to know and comforting! And if you would like to see some of Derrick's other great photography, check out his site: Mask of China.

I am 99% sure this is her! This pic was taken March 2007. she should be 2 and 1/2 here. What do you think? For me, its her nose and mouth that seals it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


We finally have our travel plans!

We leave for Ho Chi Minh City on Friday April 24th
We arrive in Ho Chi Minh City : Sunday morning April 26th
Tuesday, April 28th is our Giving & Receiving Ceremony at 4pm!
Wednesday, April 29th we leave Ho Chi Minh City for Hanoi
Saturday May 9th we head home and . . .
We arrive home on Sunday May 10th - MOTHER'S DAY!

We are flying in and out of Miami rather than Ft. Lauderdale because that was our best flight option according to my favorite new travel agent: Tim with Federal Travel in Lighthouse Point, FL:

As I am posting this we are coming up on exactly one week until we meet Chianna!

My cheeks hurt lately from smiling so much, and my brain hurts from running on overload with so much to do to get ready to leave, but it is the best problem I have ever had! = )

A Red Thread Poem

I felt the piercing of my heart

As the master pulled through the thread.

The pain was deep, a longing tug.

This tightening string of red.

A thread unseen by human eyes,

But felt deep inside the heart.

It’s path was long as it made it’s way

To my daughter who lived afar.

And gently while you slept,

He tied this string to you,

Connecting you forever,

Into a family you never knew.

I feel your string’s pull of dreams & hopes,

As I follow our thin red line

Knowing soon you’ll be in your new family’s arms,

As our life threads of love intertwine.

By Tim McDoniel

Tim & Heike are adopting from China!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kisses for Auntie!

Look at THIS FACE!!!!

I call this one "Kisses for Auntie"!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More Pics of Chianna's Room

Chianna's Room
The Fairy Bed is all made!

Chianna's Room
Her beautiful fairy blanket, bought by Daddy.

Chianna's Room
Teddy & Pals

Chianna's Room
Day time in Chianna's room.

Chianna's Room
The lights on high.

Chianna's Room
The lights on dim.

Chianna's Room
Checkout the door to her secret playroom! And the light, changes colors on the wall.

Chianna's Room
The changing color light can be used as a night light or just for fun!

Chianna's Room
I forgot to show you this before. This is the mushroom, but its also. . . .

Chianna's closet!

Chianna's Room
Chalin was over and painted the vines on the castle wall and the little door on the front and the door to the playroom. The inside of that playroom has levels that Chianna can climb up each level to get to the top bunk.