Ashling “Nana” O’Cathain

 

I don’t really know how to describe today in a blog post. It was amazing, surreal and better then expected. Today, we met and fell in love with our daughter Ashling “nana” and we also brought Connor back to the same room we adopted him from 4 years ago.

After waiting at the Office of Civil Affairs for an hour, we saw Ashling and her friend getting out of a van. There were several adoptions going on in the small room so it was chaotic and Ashling got very quiet and stayed that way for several hours before showing us her huge personality.

We are shocked how much of her personality came out today. She is funny, extremely funny, smart, social and a bit of a troublemaker. As smooth as today was, there is also some pretty intense grieving going on. She sobbed during nap time and bedtime and was clearly scared going to bed. She won’t let go of her new belongings- in fact is currently sleeping in her sparkly pink shoes and new emoji bracelets. ¬†She adores Keira and holds her hand and hugs her nonstop but won’t hug or play with Connor. It’s been a tough day for Connor and I am SO proud of him for making the best of it. He is our official photographer and takes 1000 of pictures of her.

Overall an amazing day! She fits in perfectly with our family. She is really tall for her age, very easy going, very social and loves to laugh.

Today we are all feeling very thankful. We go back tomorrow to officially adopt her ūüôā Although she came home with us today there’s is an 24 hour waiting period. The only new information we got on her today was that everyone loved her at her orphanage, called her Nana, and that she was going to be very missed.

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow!!!

 

Happy Easter from Taiyuan China and yes the Easter bunny found Keira and Connor ūüôā

Today we took a bumpy flight from Beijing to Taiyuan. We adopted Connor from Taiyuan so we have been here before. Taiyuan is coal mining world. It has the same thick smog over it and intense coal smell as it did 5 years ago. However, this time, we are¬†staying at a 5 star hotel in a very luxury area. It’s crazy to be in a street with Gucci and Lamborghini stores knowing what the rest if the city is like. We are excited to go explore the rest of the week and revisit some of the parks.

Tomorrow morning we get Ashling. No words to describe how excited we all are. ¬†Just hoping and hoping for a relatively smooth transition for her. Her whole world changes tomorrow. Can’t help but think this is her last night without a family and our last night without her as our daughter/sister.

 

 

Beijing Fun- Ready for Ashling!

We have so many amazing pictures from an amazing 3 days in Beijing but our internet connection has been terrible and we can’t upload anything.

Friday we did the Great Wall of China and a bunch of other site-seeing. Saturday we toured Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City with our agency. We are lucky to have a great group and the kids have made fast friends.

We joined some new friends for a Kung Fu show last night.

Jet lag is still pretty bad and the kids crashed early. Before going to bed Keira mentioned she could tell everyone was excited and nervous for Monday. She is right. As much fun as we had in Beijing we are all ready to meet our kiddos Monday.

We fly this morning to Taiyuan. The kids are hoping the Easter Bunny can still find them ūüôā

SCHEDULE

A lot of people have been asking me (which I love) about the schedule for our trip and why we are in China for 2 1/2 weeks. So here it is! It’s a shorter trip than we expected but since we are bringing the whole crew- it’s probably a good thing!

-Wed April 12- we fly to Beijing tomorrow and are in Beijing until Sunday. We are going to do some site-seeing (Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, etc) with our agency and recover from jet lag (12 hours!!!) before we meet Ashling.

-Easter Sunday we fly to Taiyuan (about 1 hour flight). Taiyuan is the capital of Shanxi Provence where both Ashling and Connor are from.  Its a city of 5 million and the main manufacturing city in China.  We did not request another child from Shanxi Provence so its amazing and really cool that they are from the same place. I am anxious to see the city in the spring because last time we were there was January and freezing.

-On Monday April 17th we go to the Office of Civil Affairs and get Ashling!!!!!!!!

-On Tuesday April 18th we formally adopt Ashling.

-Tuesday-Friday we remain in Taiyuan while we wait for the adoption documents and Ashling’s passport to be issues. Lots of free time to get to know Ashling and explore the city!

-Friday April 21st we fly to Guangzhou. Its about a 4 hour flight!  If you look at the map Guangzhou is extremely South . It is just above Hong Kong.  It is a beautiful city of 13 million people. Its where the US Consulate is located and therefore every adopting family is required to go there. We will meet back up with our agency and group in Guangzhou! During the downtime our agency plans fun activities!

-Saturday¬† is Ashling medical appointment for her exit visa from China. I remember this was a tough day and am hoping this time around it’s easier.

-Tuesday is Ashling’s visa appointment and oath taking ceremony at the US consulate.

-Thursday April 27th Ashling’s visa should be ready at the Consulate

-Friday April 28-we headed home. Guangzhou to Beijing- Bejing to Newark. About 22 hours all in! That’s going to be a long day!

Shanxi1

Ashling Update and Packing

Ashling April

One week from today we meet this little girl and she becomes our daughter and K and C’s little sister. We got our first update since December today! I am shocked over how big she looks in this picture. She is so adorable and so beautiful but also so big and grown-up! Cant wait to give her the biggest hug ever.

We got a great update on her. She loves rice and noodles and snacks. Sounds like brother! She hates everything spicy-sounds like her sister!  She is still sleeping in a crib and likes everything to be really quiet (this should be interesting). She loves to play with her friends and loves music, Legos and dolls.

Packing for¬†this trip is crazy¬†because the¬†K and C are only allowed 22¬†pds of luggage each and we are only allowed 44 pds and nothing for Ashling.¬†¬†We are flying numerous Chinese airlines and they have much sticker luggage rules than US airlines.¬† Thankfully the weather is warm which makes it¬† a lot easier.¬† Last time we were packing for a range of 0-60 degrees which was near impossible. This time is more like 65-85 which makes it easier. The hardest part is convincing Keira she cant bring 22 pds of dolls alone.¬† I gave her a large ziplock to fill with barbies and she was like ” I need atleast ten more.” Lol!

I assumed Ashling was going to be small for her age since Connor was tiny. She just turned 4 so I brought her a mix of 3ts and 4ts. Well based on the measurements we just received she is already a 5t!¬† She clearly is an O’Cathain already!

My to-do list for tomorrow is CRAZY but it will all get done! Cant wait to get to China!

 

I have a blog….

When we adopted Connor in 2013, Facebook was blocked in China so I updated a shutterfly blog every night in China to keep everyone updated on the adoption.   I still have access to the blog and love having it.

Everyone keeps asking me if I am blogging this time round. Well…. I actually have kept a blog for a few years now but kept it quiet.

This time around, we are being told Facebook (with a VPN number) may work in China. Anyone that knows me knows I love to post on FB but I am going to still try to update my blog while away.

I have been keeping this blog since we started the adoption process but I have not told anyone about it. I was pretty much just keeping it for my records. I have been a little nervous about mentioning this blog to anyone because it references and links to our Haiti blog and what we went through there. But it’s China time now-so here goes!!!!

When we started the adoption process from Haiti three years¬†(which clearly that adoption did not work out) I started a blog for myself. One day I noticed that I had over 5000 hits on the blog! Turned out that if you googled “Haiti adoption” it came up on the first page. LOL. I was shocked because I thought I was writing it just for me ūüôā

So welcome to my blog! Sorry for all the typos, etc. It was just meant to be a blog for me. I am planning on updating it in China so stay tuned and watch this adventure unfold.

ONE WEEK COUNTDOWN

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One week from now we will be on a plane to Beijing!   I cant believe we are so close to finally getting Ashling and bringing her home. We have been crazy booking the flights/hotels/etc, (5 flights  x 5 people = 25 tickets purchased!), getting everything we need for 2.5 weeks in China, getting basic stuff Ashling needs, getting ready at work, etc.  However, as crazy as this week is for us my focus really has been on what Ashling is going to go through.

Our agency has prepared us that it may be a difficult transition for Ashling. She is 4.5 and has been at the same orphanage since she was 6 days old. The orphanage, her care givers, her routine, etc,.–they are all she has ever known.¬† We are about to change everything in one-day–its going to be so scary and traumatic for her. Not to mention she¬†does not¬†speak English and we do not¬†speak Chinese. We are ready for it and are hoping that Keira and¬† Connor help her week more comfortable right away.

Ashling is 4 but has never been in school so we know she is going to have some institutional delays from lack of early education and lack of “life-experience.” We are really excited to experience a lot of firsts with her! I have a feeling she will catch up to K and C in no time.¬† We have also been educated on the behavioral issues that are likely to occur-we are ready for them and the unexpected. But of course are hoping that she adjusts well.

One week countdown is on! Cant wait to finally meet Ashling and bring her home so she can join K and C!  (And just a cute picture of K and C from this weekend!)

k and C april 2017

GETTING READY!

K and C

 

We spent the weekend getting Keira and Ashling’s room ready! The room came out great. We gave Keira the choice on whether she wanted to share a room with Ashling or not (we have a guest room we could have used). Nor surprisingly¬†Keira wanted to share and has been so cute helping us get the room ready. We got all new d√©cor this weekend and some new furniture. The room looks great and I am so excited to see them both in there.

I also went through a lot of Keira and friend’s hand-me downs this weekend (major thanks to Amy!) and went shopping for some of the basics we need.¬† I have been guessing on sizes and have gotten a mix of 3ts and 4ts–hope they fit!!

We are getting so excited for the trip but even more excited to meet Ashling. This adoption has been such a journey and I cant believe we are close to having our little girl in our arms and to bring her home.