Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gifts and Late CNY Celebration

This past weekend we attended our local Families with Children from China Chinese New Year get together.  Last year the event was held shortly after we got our referral so everyone was pretty excited to see Ariana in person. At first she was a little intimidated by the crowd, but before long she was leading the older girls around.

She even loved the dragon parade! Every year they lay down tons of bubble wrap to simulate the sound of firecrackers and she had a ball stomping on it.  The pictures don't do the dragon justice as it's made from a very beautiful silk one of the families brought back with them.

Thursday we opened the mail to find some adorable bows from Mia!  Her mommy also sent a template so my creations aren't so lopsided.  Thanks Gina!

Our friends the K's gave us a Lamb Chop puppet.  If you are as old as me you might remember his TV show. It has a voice box and we're pretty sure Ariana thinks it's alive.  So cute.

My fabulous cousin Brice was in town and helped me get ready for the party!

These three beauties are all former students of mine.  Ariana really took to them.

Now, if only my hair would grow!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Love at First Sight

It is almost impossible to believe that today marks one year since we saw Ariana's picture for the first time. I remember every detail of that Friday afternoon like it was yesterday.  My fifth grade students all knew what was going on and why I had my cell phone out.  At about 1:40 p.m. it went off and when I saw my agency's name I started jumping up and down and the kids all started cheering.  Lynn, my social worker, told me I'd want to check my email. I sent my class off to PE and waited (very impatiently) for Steve to get to school so we could look together.

We opened the email we had waited so many years for and found a beautiful 11-month old named Songhao Jiang looking back at us.  She was at the Jiangcheng SWI in Yangjiang, Guangdong, China.  I remember the mixture of excitement and happiness and also being surprised by how much genuine love I already felt for her.

The time since then has moved at warp speed.  We broke out one of our silk outfits today and headed to my parents' house to take some pictures.  They have big windows with lots of natural light but my subject wasn't having any part of sitting still.

Hundreds of pictures later this will always be my all-time favorite.

She looks a little spicy here and she is!  We think these pictures
 were probably taken in November of 2010 when her medical paperwork
was put together so she would've been about 8 1/2 months old.

Then and now