Well, for the past few days, it feels like the countdown as really started, and there is no going back! We've started the series of "last ... before baby": last lazy Saturday morning reading the paper for 2 hours, last dinner with friends making as much noise as late as we wanted, last date-night planning without worrying about getting a babysitter (we have caring friends who gave us a gift certificate to a great restaurant to be used before we leave! :o), last time we leave the dishwasher open to air-dry the dishes...

Can't wait to discover all those "Firsts" we'll start to experience in a few days!!!

I've been so busy the last few weeks that I can't imagine how we would have made it if the TA's had come early enough for us to leave on September 14. We would have made it, I know, but the stress level would probably have been up the roof, and we would have left exhausted. Now, all the big stuff is done and taken care of, and we basically just have to get a few more things for the baby, update the iPods, and pack our own stuff. Hey, I might even enjoy a bit of real vacation during this vacation week!

Oh, and we finished Yummy's room! Let's just hope she'll sleep in it... ;o)


For my confused, non-canadian readers

For those of you adopting from China: Canadians finalize the adoption in Beijing, simply because that's where our embassy is! The process is pretty much the same as what Americans have to do, with the medical exam and the waiting for the visa. We just never go to Guangzhou, unless that's where the orphanage is.


After a 40 hour-week crammed in 3 and a half days, my vacation started this morning! I'm finally off! Yay!!! No need to be back at work for a year! I love my job, but I have the most difficult boss ever...

I'm not kidding... She decided to evaluate me without my knowledge and on my last day of work, put the report on my desk 10 minutes after I gave her my list of goals (the ones she had first chosen for me were to be done around March 2008: helloooo? I'll be gone!!!) and created events and dates that were just about all false and wrong to put me into, let's say, a less than flattering light... If I needed any other reason to look forward to leaving, I got it big time!

Still, I was in a great mood when we finally got home at around 8PM, and celebrated with more than my share of wine... oh, the headache this morning... Happy headache, despite a 13 hour night sleep (the last one for the next 20 years, I bet...) but where are those Advil?...

So, off to a week-end of celebrations: my birthday is Monday! Dinners every night until then, and mucho wine on the program before our "flight labor" starts next Friday!



On another note, I want to say hi to all those readers from all over the world: cool!
I just noticed a bunch of new little red dots on the map on the right side of this blog: hello friends!


"Ze" Plan

So, we had our pre-travel meeting at the agency last night, and FINALLY got to meet our group. It still baffles me how we all waited for almost 2 years, didn't know one another and couldn't find out who we all were because the agency kept it confidential... Some couple had already met, but apart from a few blogging encounters and a quick "hi" to some when we went to get the pictures, we had not really spoken with anyone before last night.

There are 13 couples in our group, and for all but one family, this is their first adoption. As far as I know, everybody is francophone or speaks French fluently. Everybody is travelling in couples, and one family is getting a boy. All the babies are born between October and December 2006, so it would be hard to find a more homogenous group!

I'm not a "group" person to begin with (even though our "honeymoon" was on a ski trip to Switzerland with 40 other people, but that's another story...;o), and I must say, I was pretty curious to find out who we would be travelling with. Well, I couldn't have hoped for more: the energy was very good, lots of smiles, everyone seemed pretty prepared, the questions were all good, and the people we got to talk to were absolutely lovely. We might be homogenous, but we're not boring: we already have someone in charge of getting the beer! :o)

Funny comment of the night: someone asked if they had a "Canadiantown" in Beijing, the same way we have a Chinatown in Montreal...

There is some bad and some good about travelling with a big group. The bad is pretty obvious, but I think the good outweights it: huge support system, the "blending in" of different characters, less pressure in doing everything together because if a few couples are missing for a meal, who's going to notice?... A smaller group might be expected to do everything together, so just knowing that we'll have a bit more freedom feels great. And everyone is bound to find friends!

We got our itinerary:

Oct. 5th: Fly Mtl-Toronto-Beijing, then spend over 5 hours at the Beijing airport before flying to Nanchang. Crash into bed on Oct. 6th at around midnight...
Oct. 7th: "Rest day" (ha ha ha!)
Oct. 8th: THE BABIES!!! Right on Canadian Thanksgiving! :o) (Unless we get them on the 7th, which is still a possibility...)
Oct. 9th-10th-11th: nothing planned yet, hubby's birthday on the 11th!
Oct. 12th: get the babies' chinese passports.
Oct. 13th: fly back to Beijing.
Oct. 14th: visit to The Great Wall.
Oct. 15th: request visas from embassy and doctor's visit.
Oct. 16th: visit of Tian'An Men Square and Forbidden City.
Oct. 17th: visit of Summer Palace.
Oct. 18th: get the visas and spend our last yuans...
Oct. 19th: fly back home, arrival at around 9h15 at night!

I guess all there is left to do now is to learn Mandarin! :o)))


Babyproofing = mess

This babyproofing thing, isn't it just about moving piles from room to room??? It looks like we've been living in a mess for weeks now, with all the preparation and the domino effect of turning a guest room into a baby room, a work station into a guest room, a shelf in the entrance walk-in into a wine cellar (wine racks and babies = disaster...) and a corner of the living room into a play space. There's always something left to put somewhere!!! Oh, the joys of living in a 1100 square feet condo... But somehow, I have a feeling that if we had a bigger house, we would just have more stuff, and the puzzle would be similar, only bigger. Or maybe not...

Anyhow, I guess it's a good "mess training" for when our baby will actually be here!

So, sharp corners have been removed from the living room, the dining room carpet is gone, anything breakable has been relocated at least 3 feet above the floor, and power outlet plugs are on the way. I'm also pretty much done with Yummy's suitcase, and even packed the Cheerios today. S is taking care of all the paperwork, so all we have left to do really is filling up our own suitcase and we're good to go! We have our pre-travel meeting tomorrow night, when we will meet the rest of our group and get the last details and instructions. And sign a big check for the hotels, the in-country flights, the guide, the transportation, etc...


OK. We're ready. Can we go now?

We just watched a TV show about international adoption: good thing they didn't present it 6 months ago: the wait would have been even more excruciating!

An adoptive mom was saying how, between referral and travel, she kept thinking about her daughter, wondering if she was cold, if she was hungry, worrying about her. In my case, I've kind of naturally decided to trust that someone is taking care of Yummy right now, doing the best they can, and that she is fine. Could be denial, I don't know. I tend to think of it as survival... At the same time, there is a certainty to the whole adventure, a trust that things will fall into place, that she is our daughter, that she is absolutely perfect for us, and that we will meet her very soon. And that definitely helps with this last wait, with the stress of finishing everything at work, with all those changes happening right now in our lives, and those even bigger ones soon to happen.

And if I let go of this zen-like approach, I'll probably stop breathing or have a stroke or something, which would not be A Good Thing, so zen it is. For now.


On a more pragmatic note, we got our flight info today: they have booked us separately, on the extremity seats of the middle aisle, betting on the fact that the middle seat(s) might be empty, thus insuring us more space. The flight there is pretty full, but there are still over 100 open seats for the way back, so things might not end up being too bad after all!

Still, I've been drooling over the business class "suites" of the plane taking us to Beijing. Oh, how I wish we could afford the 5000$ per seat for those!!! Too bad we would have to sell the house first...

Instead, we'll be at the very back, where they don't even bother to say "chicken or beef" anymore when they get to you and just put the leftovers on your tray... I'm packing snacks!!!


A little more real!

So, we will be flying on Oct. 5th, Montreal-Toronto-Beijing. From Beijing, we'll take another flight to Nanchang, and will be staying here for a week. Pretty sweet!

In theory, we'll have a rest day on Sunday then get the babies on Monday, although that could still be changed for Sunday. And we might only know it when we get there... That diaper bag will be ready before we leave Montreal!

All of a sudden, Thanksgiving is taking a whole new meaning...

On Oct. 13th, we will fly back to Beijing and stay here: a bit out of the way, but it looks pretty good to me: a few steps up from camping in the rain!

On Oct. 19th, we fly back: Beijing-Toronto-Montreal.
See you in the evening! :o)))


A little unreal

So, we leave in a few weeks.

To China.
To meet our baby girl.
And to bring her back.

And as I type this, the whole deal still doesn’t feel real. Despite the endless piles of paperwork, despite the wait, despite the months of frustration, despite the pure joy and elation of the last few weeks, it’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that a baby will be handed to us and that will be it : bam! Instant family! Go back to your hotel room and start bonding.

Obviously, the mess in the house, the piles of baby stuff, the pink and green room, the basket of toys in the living room, the newly organized plastic dishes and cutlery in the kitchen, the overused credit card, the general mess we’ve been living in for the last few weeks are apparently not enough to make it feel real…

What do I need? A big tummy and a few stretch marks???

Still, I can’t wait! Can’t wait to meet her and to get to know her. Can’t wait to care for her, to hold her, to feed her, to play with her to rock her to sleep. Can’t wait to show her the world, and everything that she can be. Can’t wait to shake that balance we’ve created in the last few years, and learn new things about me and about us.

Can’t wait to see « us two » become « us three ».


28 days

TA's have finally arrived, and we will be travelling in October, leaving on the 5th and coming back on the 19th in the evening. Details to be worked out tomorrow...

So in 28 days, it's Canadian Thanksgiving.

In 28 days, I'll be a mom. YAY!!!

In 28 days, our lives will change forever, will become fuller, and richer (in love, not in money. That's an entirely different story...). YAY!!!

In 28 days, we'll have the best day of our lives. YAY!!!

In 28 days, a very sweet, very cute little girl will enter our lives, and be stuck with us for a very long time. Yay?...

(Ask her in about 14 years.)


28 days.

4 weeks.

672 hours.


What have we done?!?!?


Emotional shopping

It seems like "some" don't believe that I went to North Conway last week-end and only bought a t-shirt and a magazine. I did!!! Hey, my name is in that magazine: I participated to the telemark ski tests last March at Jay Peak, and they put 2 of my comments in the reviews. Yay!

I refrained myself from spending the rest of my child's inheritance, knowing that I was probably going to buy a new toy this week.

And I did.

Apple came out with a whole new line of iPods yesterday.
Mine is in the mail! :o)))

(My good old Mini died last month...)

Now, what TV series should we get for the trip to China? Any suggestions?
We've already covered 24, Lost and Grey's Anatomy...


The "last" week-end

So, with the still missing TA's, was it really the "last" week-end of camping with two? Fortunately or not, we still don't know. So this was probably our 27th "last" trip of some sort "before baby"!

The whole thing started on a bad note, as the first-come-first-served campground we wanted to go to was full on Friday at 6PM! Now, with two, this wouldn't have been so bad. But some friends with two kids were to join us later that night, then another couple of friends were going to join us on Saturday night. And of course, everything else in a 100km radius was booked for the long week-end... We ended up meeting a really nice man who lent us his phone, then suggested a small campground a mile away. We got there to find out they had just given the last 2 sites away... A little bit of begging, a little bit of cajoling, and the owner let us check out his "overflow" section to see if we thought it was fine.

Fine? Yes, we thought we could manage! He brought us a table and a fire ring, and we were set for a fantastic week-end! Gorgeous weather, fun friends, cool kids, a bit of shopping, a bit of hiking, a lot of drinking (hey, no one was driving: just had to walk the 10 feet back to the tents!).

We made plans to start training Yummy in tent-sleeping: we'll practice in the living room this winter.

Still nothing...

Man, adoption is definitely not for sissies!!! Still nothing about the TA's, agency now thinks we won't be leaving until October... :o(((

Some people from other agencies who got their referral the same day we did are leaving this week! Unbelievable...

My boss didn't even have the decency to look disappointed this morning when I answered her question as if we had any news yet. She apparently took the "no, we still don't know" for a "you have me stuck here as your slave until October" and couldn't hide her beaming smile...

It sucks.