The Many Adventures of Keira!

This is our page to document our family's adoption journey- starting from when we first started planning for our little one, to when we brought her home. We're also going to keep this updated with all of the things that Keira has been up to since she's been home with us here in the U.S!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cabin Fever

We were very very fortunate during the fires. The fires got close a few times, but everytime we really started to sweat about possibly getting evacuated, the wind would change direction and we would be safe. The fires are still going on although I think that for now we're out of danger. There were so many people that lost their homes to the fires. Hopefully all of those people were able to make it out safely and are able to be with their loved ones.

The air quality has been so horrible. Everything was covered in a layer of ash and soot. The skies are still very gray, but at least the orange glow is gone. That was surreal. Because the air has been so horrible, we've pretty much been housebound. Even going in the garage for a few days, you needed an airmask. Now all of you that know Keira KNOW that she is a very busy little girl that loves to be out and about, so needless to say, she has had MAJOR cabin fever...not to mention a constantly dripping nose from allergies from the polluted air. She was running around all over the place trying to entertain us. For example:

Here she was doing a little Karaoke for us carrying her little Tinky Winky purse...

We didn't have the heart to tell her that it wasn't plugged in.

It's been pretty warm lately also because of all of the heat from the fires and Santa Ana winds. The air was so bad so we couldn't open the doors, so the air cond was on the whole time. Our air cond is out of hand and really really cold so we've been turning it on and off so that we don't die of heat or freeze at the same time! I bought Keira some new pajamas to keep her warm just in case her room got cold from the air it's getting to be winter, so she needed warmer pajamas!

Here she is modeling her new outfit.

As you can see, the feet on the pajamas were a little slippery.

She decided to take full advantage of this and practice her ice skating routine.

Dan checked up on her a little while ago and her pajamas were thrown on the floor outside of her crib along with her diaper. So much for that...

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Fires

I'm working oncall from home tonight and although I've taken some outage calls, I'm not sure how much longer we're going to be here in our home. So far, they have not called for an evacuation of Oceanside, but they have blocked off the 76 to Bonsall, which is just up the street, so we'll probably be next. As of right now, we're all ok. Lorraine and Mike came by with the dogs and their cat since their area was being evacuated in Encinitas. I started packing things up this morning into the car. The usual evacuation things they tell you to...pillows, blankets, medicines, food, lots of fresh water, important papers and pictures. It's hard to believe that our lives are pretty much packed in our car right now.

There are fires burning not only close by us and all over San Diego County, but in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, Ventura... everywhere. It's hard to believe. A few years ago, right around this time was the fires that occurred hitting Scripps Ranch and Crest. I remember feeling so horrible and helpless that the fires just kept growing and spreading and there was nothing that could be done to stop it. It's even harder to believe that this fire is worse. If we have to leave, I'm not exactly sure where we are going to go! Things and areas are burning up so quickly that all of the shelters are starting to fill up or change because the shelters end up in areas that are burning up too...but we'll be just fine. We're as prepared as we can be and we're all together as a family.

My prayers are with all of you out there tonight. Please be safe...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Search for Childcare

Mom has been such an enormous help to Dan, Keira and I over the past few months. I don't know what we would have done without her. She offered to stay a couple of months longer for her trip out here to help with my transition back to work. She has been helping around the house, taking wonderful care of Keira and when we get home from work, there is always a fantastic dinner ready for us! We've been so spoiled lately, that it's going to be a huge change now that she's leaving in a couple of weeks!

The time has come to transition Keira to childcare during the day. Boy has that been a task--finding a daycare. I'll tell you, I am HUGE on research which I think any parent that is going to have to trust their child with a stranger HAS to be. I searched through various means and to be honest--it was looking kind of bleak. There are SAHM moms that will watch our child that aren't licensed (which is apparently ok as long as it's just one child), daycare centers and home daycares. Since I have not been working for a while, the daycare centers were out since they were out of our price range for now. I understand that many people go with daycare providers that are not licensed so that they can more one-on-one time, but we opted to go with someone licensed. It was our personal decision to go with someone that is subject to monitoring and regulations. Besides, we preferred that she be around other children her age for better socialization.

Whenever I made contact with any potential daycare provider, I checked the usual- references and for licensing violations. I also made sure that I watched their interaction with Keira and the other children under their care. I am very good with reading people, so I can usually tell when someone is trying to snow me. I also do some unconventional research as well. I google their cell phone numbers and email addresses. I check their address on the Megan's Law website ( to make sure that there are no child predators in the area AND I also check their email addresses out on MySpace. Granted, I don't expect people to be complete angels, but it definitely gives you a different perspective of that person with how they carry themselves when they think that their daycare families aren't looking.

I came in contact with several people and wow. I have to be honest, some interactions were just plain scary.
1. One lady always left the front door wide open through the day with nothing but a baby gate blocking the doorway. I asked her about this and she didn't seem to think that there were any safety concerns with this. While we were talking about this, one of the fathers stepped over the babygate to drop his daughter off without either of us even hearing him. He was pretty much in the living room before either of us realized that he was there. This still was not a safety concern for her.

2. One lady seems to have the worst short term memory. I called her twice in a day to discuss a few things (about an hour apart). She talked to me totally like she didn't remember ANYTHING that we discussed. We were having some trouble with coordinating an interview time so I had to call her several times throughout the week. Each time, I had to completely repeat everything we discussed and she still wouldn't remember me. I became increasingly scared that she would lose Keira somewhere and not remember where she left her.

3. One lady pretty much refused to let me come over to see her during the day. She insisted that we could only meet in the evening. I explained to her that there was no way I would let someone watch Keira if I hadn't seen her interaction with them in her normal setting first. She still refused. That was a big red flag...

4. Several people that I spoke to over the phone, would openingly in the middle of our conversation start SCREAMING at the kids they were watching at the top of their lungs.

5. Looking through ads, I found an ad for a girl looking for a live-in nanny position. Although we weren't looking for a nanny. Her ad caught my eye. She sounded very good. GREAT credentials. After googling her cell phone number, turns out she is also an escort.

6. Looking at a MySpace, one daycare provider had all sorts of obscene pictures as well as a statement about her "horniness". Yikes...

After all that, believe it or not. We found a GREAT lady named Amanda. She passed all of my tests with flying colors and has a sense of humor and personality very similar to my own. So many of the things that she does with the children as well as discipline are very similar to my own methods. I started taking Keira there on a trial run for a couple of hours a day to help with the transition. So far she's doing GREAT! I'm hoping that everything will go fine and I'm sure that it will. Although, being the paranoid parent that most of us are, it is nice to find someone that you have a good vibe about. I'm hoping that my intuition is correct. Keira seems to really enjoy being there!

Here are just some pictures of Keira being silly...

She's become such a little monkey lately. She copies EVERYTHING that Dan, Lola and I do. Here she is wearing Daddy's shoes around the house. She will even sometimes wear my shoes that have heels and walks in them better than I do! :)

I've been lucky enough to have some on-call weeks where I've been working back-up shifts from home. If I get called, I'm pretty much on conference calls with a headset on. This fascinates Keira, so here she is trying to be like mommy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Hats and Mooncakes

Last week was the Mid-Autumn Festival. In Chinese tradition, it is one of the two most important holidays next to the Chinese New Year. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date and traditionally, on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the mid-autumn harvest moon at it's brightest and fullest, and eat moon cakes. The San Diego chapter of Families with Children from China had a celebration honoring this tradition. This was the first event that we have participated in. It was nice to get to talk to and meet some of the families that have also made the journey to China to complete their families and share stories. I am embarassed to say being part Chinese that I have NEVER had a mooncake! Well, Keira, Mom and I made the trip out to 99 Ranch Market to buy some for the celebration. There are SO many different kinds! The traditional mooncakes have lotus seed, ham, melon seeds etc along with a salted egg yolk in the middle. There are others that are popular as well that have mixed nuts and red bean paste. There were SO many to choose from, it was hard deciding, but we finally ended up getting some tradition ones along with non-traditional ones like pineapple etc. The red bean paste ones remind me of hopia and weren't bad! They also had a lantern parade where all of the children walked on the park path carrying all sorts of different kinds of lanterns. I ordered a beautiful red and yellow silk lantern online- and unfortunately didn't check the size. So here were all of the kids carrying these cute small lanterns and here was Keira carrying a lantern that was beautiful, but about as big as her whole body. She was a trooper and carried it to the end, although she did get tired a few times and had me carry her. I wasn't able to get pictures, just video. I'll see if I can somehow get them on here. All of the kids were SO cute and it really was wonderful to see them all walking with the lanterns.

Speaking of being a trooper, I've finally gotten her to wear a hat on her head for more than 30 seconds!!! She doesn't like it much of course, but she's being a trooper for Mommy. Thank you honey! Here are some pictures I managed to get of her wearing a few.

Here is Keira totally getting busted checking herself out.

Keira loves to bust into Lola's room so that she can wake her up to show her whatever outfit she's wearing that day. Way too much of a ham! Poor Lola!

Here she was dancing around the living room in her pink hat. She looks like a pink Paddington Bear.

She looks like she's doing the Charleston or something!