Friday, June 27, 2008

Home at last

We are finally home with our beautiful daughter Sophia. 28 months ofwaiting 2 weeks in China, flight home cancelled, 1 night in a ruralChina hotel, mom sick on the plane ride home, welcome homes inChicago and Orlando...the whole trip PRICELESS...The past few weeks have shown us that have been blessed beyondmeasure with the most beautiful little girl, wonderful families, anda great group of friends. When we left for china we knew this but ithas been proven over and over to us.We were lucky enough on each of our 7 flights to sit next to reallynice people. The last man (Jim) was beyond patient not with Sophiashe was an angel on the flight home. I on the other hand with about 7hours left to go in the flight got major air sick. I was cold andsweaty but felt like I was on fire. Moments later I was surrounded byflight attendance handing me cold rags and bags of ice and oxygen hadvomited and they said my eyes rolled back in my head. They moved Jim(the guy next to us) to a jump seat for 3 hours (poor guy). I feltterrible that he was displaced but he was great about the wholething. I of course was drawing a lot of attention that I really didnot want. I was so embarrassed and then United made me take a wheelchair when I got off the plane. This although embarrassing was reallya blessing because the attendant helped us find our way throughimmigration, customs, security and to our gate with time to spare....Lorrie, Marie and Tom I am so sorry you all came all that way and wecould not stop and talk for longer. I wish I would have know youwould be there to great us ion Chicago I would have insisted I walkso we could have spent more time with you all. Thank you so much forbeing there it means more then you know...When we got to Orlando we were greeted by the best homecoming offamily and friends. They had Signs, posters, balloons and flowers andAmerican flags. It was overwhelming when we got off the shuttle andsaw them all jumping and yelling "there they are here they come"waving to us. Thank you Luke for catching it all on video for us wecan't wait to see the finished product.China was wonderful and I have lots of tips for all of you waiting totravel. When we get unpacked and over the jet lag I will start a postabout that. We can't believe our journey is over and that we are nowhome as a family of three. In many ways it is very sad to us that ithas come to a close, but of course we are ready to begin the newjourney to becoming a true family of three...Thank you all for taking the time to follow along our journey we loveyou all and can;t tell you how much it means to us that you were hereto share it with us....all our loveSusan, Riz and Sophia

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stuck in China!!!

Hi everyone!! This is Cheri again...I received an email from Susan & Riz this morning saying that they are STILL in China. They were supposed to be arriving home tonight but due to a typhoon in Hong Kong, they are stuck in China and their flight was cancelled. In her email she said that they should be home on THURSDAY, instead of Wednesday, at the same time (same flights). If I hear anything else I will be sure to pass it along. Here's the message that she posted on the agency's Yahoo Group:

I just wanted to let everyone know we are still in China. Our day has been difficult and exhausting. We woke early this morning and headed to the airport to catch our 8:25 flight to Hong Kong after a difficult time getting checked on and through security and immigration and to the gate we sat down to relax and change the babies minutes later we hear that the flight has been delayed then several more min and it was canceled do the the Hong Kong airport being closed because of the typhoon that's right I said typhoon. So back through immigration to have our visas canceled and to pick up our luggage by the way did I say I had to do last min scramble because my bags were over limit if I have not said it before PACK LIGHT... So China Southern put us up in a hotel 15 min from the airport lets just say it is not the Victory or the Galactic Peace international this my friends is real China rural, no Americans food we can't recognize and no English, none of our
room keys work and it is HOT but we are here nd we are dry and together. Tomorrow we leave bright and early again to catch a flight to Hong Kong and then on to the US. Let me just say Zhou is amazing and helped us ll out tremendously today he has been our,life line.... So we love you all and wanted to give you an update on our China adventure...

next post from good old USA

Susan, Riz and Sophia
DOR 5/2/08

Susan, Riz & Sophia, I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that we are all thinking about you, missing you and that we are all praying for safe flights home. We love all three of you and we know you are just ready to get home....don't worry it won't be much longer...hang in there!! Give Sophia a big hug and kiss from all of us!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Together at last!

Hi everyone! My name is Cheri and I'm a good friend of Susan & Riz's. I told them that I would be happy to post any photos and messages that they have (in case they can't access Blogger while in China). So, here's the first set of pictures....enjoy!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I was able to get on

I am going to leave it up and see if it will work tomorrow... thanks Hope and Karen....I have been trying to upload pictures to blogger and yahoo and they wont go for some reason. i am so tired now all of a sudden so I am going to go to bed and dream of my daughter :) just a few more hours.. I will post pictures tomorrow for sure..

Love you all..


Friday, June 13, 2008

Hello from Beijing China

Well we made it...We are here FINALLY!... It all seems so unreal....

OK this is going to be short because we are exhausted but I had to post right away when I was able to open blogger without any trouble at all.

We started our day with our parents leaving us at the airport. As we walked through security and turned back and saw the 3 of them there crying and waving it was to much and we both lost it. We cried all the way to the gate, all tears of joy....We started out at 3:45am Eastern time when our alarm woke us for the day.. Out of the house by 5:30am.. flight left for Chicago at 9:07. We met the rest of our travel group in Chicago were we had some bonding time for several hours. Everyone is so nice and it was really nice to put a face with a name... The flight to Beijing was PACKED! and took off at 12:38pm Central time. As I said the flight was PACKED! we were luck enough to get 2 middle seats in the middle row (hear the sarcasm right?) LOL... really though the two people sitting on the end rows were very nice and tolerated us getting up frequently to stretch our legs. We had 3 meals and 2 snacks and did not sleep a wink the whole 13 hour flight. We watched The Bucketlist and Definitely Maybe for movies and the discovery Channel for a while. All in all the flight was good and went by quicker then we had imagined...So I have some tips for those of you waiting to travel...

1. As soon as you have your tickets call for your seats do not wait until 24 hours before the flight like they say you have to. If you have children traveling with you tell them that they will make sure you are together.

2. If at all possible do not fly United... Plane was a mess, Flight attendants were rude....If you do fly United pay for an extra seat or upgrade if possible to economy plus.

3. Do not take anything on the plane with you are as little as possible when I say it was cramped that is an understatement. I took magazines could not concentrate to read. Brought Uno cards never played them, brought the i-pod never took it out. Just plane on sitting there in amazement for 13 hours....they have ear phones and XM radio on the plane

4Avoid the noodle soup bowl... Our friend Alice told us that but we tried them anyway they are really bad...

OK we are going to go exchange some money with Zhou (pronounced Joe) and check out the Lobby here at the Holiday Inn Downtown Beijing...

Big hugs from China we will post again tomorrow night our time (12 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard)..

Love Susan and Riz
3 more sleeps to Sophia

Oh P.S Riz said and YES the beds are ROCK hard
P.S.S. I cam e right in the room and brushed my teeth with tap water LOL DAH..Exhaustion

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our last post from USA

Well the day has finally come. Our bags are packed and in the car. We have fresh showers and a cup of coffee in us. Our family is here and ready to take us to the airport. We wanted to thank each and everyone of you for the love and support over the past 2+ years it means the world to us.. Our next post will be from Beijing China....

We love you all

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


in the past 6 weeks I have looked at the 10 pictures we have of Sophia a million times. I have studied every last inch of each picture looking for clues to her life. What is her personality like? what is it like where she is living? How is she being cared for? I study her face and wonder what her birth parents look like, a question we will never know the answer to. I wonder if her birth mother has those same dark knowing eyes or if her birth father has that same square chin. I think about her birth parents everyday and wonder what they are like, what they are thinking about their baby girl and what happened to her. I have many images in my minds eye about what her birth was like and what her birth parents are like. I of course don't know and wont know if any of those things are a reality. However, I do know this, that Sophia's birth mother made a choice to give birth to her and take her to a place where she would be well cared for, a place where she would be given a chance at a life that she, for whatever reason was unable to give to her. I wonder about Sophia's beginnings and know that she will too one day. I hope that Riz and I will be able to help her understand that she was valued from the beginning by her birth mother and by us. Riz and I will forever be grateful to Sophia's birth parents for making this choice for her and giving us our greatest blessing, the opportunity to become her parents. We will love her and accept her as our daughter always. We knew from the moment we saw her little face that this was our daughter and that we were her parents. We will forever be grateful to China for allowing us to become parents to this beautiful little girl. We will forever be grateful to those who have cared for her during the first 15 months of her life.

We are just grateful beyond words.....

1 more sleep before we leave for China... 5 more sleeps before we have Sophia in our arms....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Well Groomed

So today was our grooming day. We started out early for Hair Ku (our hair salon) where I got a cut and color and Riz got a hair cut and a little manscaping LOL. Paul was nice enough to trim Riz's goatee and eyebrows. Now that everything is under control we feel better about that LOL. the we were off to Target for a few things we needed for the house before we leave. Next we went home so I could Mop the whole house and Riz could fiddle with electronics. This afternoon we went to the mall and I got a pedicure a manicure and my eye brows waxed (the uni-brow just would not do LOL). Riz in the mean time sat in a message chair and fought off the advances of the nail girls trying to give him a pedicure LOL. He told them he was waiting to have his done when we get to China LOL. Then we met our best friends and our god kids at Barnes and Noble for a coffee and a last minute visit before our trip. They are so excited for us and the kids are so anxious to have Sophia here so they can play with her. We came home after that and at 9pm had a Roast beef sandwich for dinner and started to read tons of e-mail. I wanted to send a e-mail to our friends and family about our flight schedule, so I did that. Now I am posting the blog entry for the day and although it is already tomorrow (June 11th 12:11am) this post still counts as 2 more sleeps to China....6 more sleeps to Sophia
Update: My friend Cheri's dad just sent me this cool link so you can track our plane if you want to..Thanks Gene...

Monday, June 09, 2008


Riz and I wanted to take a moment out of all the prep work for our trip to wish all of the families a BIG congratulation's all of the families who are seeing their children for the first time today we wish you all the best and a hearty congratulations. Referral time is always exciting to those who are waiting for their and even to all of us who have their referrals. Check out Rumor Queen for a peak at all the adorable babies. There were even 2 healthy boys in this group of referrals. This month is particularly special because our good friend Sharon got her her referral for her Mary Alice. Go on over to Sharon's blog to see Mary Alice. She is adorable tiny, perfect in every way. She is 6 days younger then Sophia, born in April (I see plyadates in our future). Riz and I were brought to tears when we read Sharon's words today and then saw Mary Alice for the first time. I can't look at her face with out getting emotional. Sharon you are going to be a great mom. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet you and get to know you over the last 2+ years....We love you.........

P.S. 3 more sleeps to China...
P.S.S. and in true A &L Hilton fashion we celebrated for everyone with a glass of Champagne....

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Busy Weekend

This is our last weekend before going to China ( I was reminded of that by Mrs. Hilton). Today we took the car seat out of the van (yep that is what I said) we forgot to adjust the shoulder harnesses before our friendly neighborhood fireman put it in the van for us. We knew what we were doing this time so it was much easier to do. Then we had some grocery shopping to do we needed some staples in the house before we leave so when we return we will have what we need on hand and wont have to go to the store. One more trip to Walmart for some swim diapers and a sippy cup now we are done with that. We figured out how to download movies from our Video camera to our computer and then to a DVD. We want to make sure all those priceless videos from China are safe and sound. We got SKYPE set up for our family and friends so we can talk to them while we are away. Riz took care of all the yard work one last time before we go.

Then we decided to relax and do something not related to anything planning or trip related.

Riz and I went to dinner tonight to our favorite Mexican restaurant and then went for a walk on the beach. It was nice to dip our toes in the water and feel the sand between our toes. We talked about planning a beach get away while we are off this summer. We have friends who know of some great beaches in Florida's panhandle so we may check it out this summer. We live 20 min. from the Daytona Beach but we want to find a small Beach town to spend a few days with Sophia.

Tomorrow I have a baby not for me but for my sister in law Tabby. She is having a baby boy in Aug. and her baby shower is tomorrow. So, tomorrow will be a busy day as well with all shower related activities. Tomorrow night we will finish up any last minute details for our trip. I need to re-check our paperwork, electronics, carry on, and of course reweigh the suitcases for the 900th time.. Currently they weight 38 and 40 pounds. Monday will be our cleaning day.I want to clean the house from top to bottom one last time before we bring Sophia home. Riz will wash both cars and fill the gas tanks(who knows how high gas prices will be in 2 weeks LOL). Tuesday is grooming day LOL, hair cuts (I am getting a color), eyebrows waxed, Manicure and Pedicure. and coffee with our best friends Tuesday evening. Wednesday is our day of rest we are doing nothing but relaxing LOL we will see.

Sorry I know this is a long and rambling post but what I am trying to say is that we only have 5 more sleeps to go before we leave for China...Holy Cow....

Friday, June 06, 2008

Last Day of Work

Today is our last day of work before we go to China. We are blessed to work for and with a great group of people who have all shared in our journey to Sophia. We have been showered today with good wishes and more hugs and kisses then two people deserve. Tomorrow starts a whole new day in our journey, next week starts a whole new life. We can't wait to Share Sophia with all the people that have supported us along the way. We promise that after we are back and we have recuperated from China we will be back to share our journey with everyone. Riz and I realize that we could not have made it to where we are without the support of our family, friends and our work family. We are grateful beyond measure for everything that has been done for us. One week from today we will be sleeping in China hours away from so many exciting things like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City but most exciting just hours from being a family of 3 and finally having Sophia in our arms.....

6 more sleeps to China...10 more sleeps to Sophia

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Car seat and the Firehouse

We are chugging along getting things ready for Sophia. Over the weekend we put Sophia's car seat in the van. Well, I should say we tried to put Sophia's car seat in the van....

and of course we had to take pictures of the big event and it was just that a big event LOL we have waited a long time to do this and really enjoyed doing it together. Yeah right! LOL
First the van seat had to be moved
Not an easy feat but Riz got it done

Then in goes the seat protector (that was the easy part)

Next in goes the car seat

We are a little worried about poor little Sophia. She has 2 parents who could not figure out how to get the car seat in the car properly.

So we gave up and took the van and the car seat to the firehouse for installation... The nice fireman Nate put it in for us in less then 5 minutes. He showed us what we were doing wrong boy did we feel dumb. It was simple once we knew what we were doing (we did not need to use the seat belt at all). I should have taken a picture of Nate but I did not think of it until we left....

Isn't that car seat pretty? We will probably live to regret the light colored fabric but hey it is Florida and it is HOT so I wanted something summery, girly and cooler so "The Britex Ashley" it had to be..Plus, our Goddaughter's name is Ashley so how could we not pick that one right? It is such a sweet feeling to drive down the road, look in that rear view mirror and see that car seat back there knowing one day very soon Sophia will be looking back at us....

7 More sleeps to go

11 More sleeps till Sophia is in our arms forever...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


This is where we started

(not taking the red bag because we can only have one carry on each NOT a carry on and a personal item)
The BIG pile

Fitting it all inDaddy good times

Mommy has to focus

We got it all in and we are at 42 pounds each checked bag. The only change from what you see here is we decided to not take the red diaper bag or the black carry on bag with us. We are only allowed one carry on each so we will be taking our rolling carry on bag. Instead and the red and black backpack. We have a few last minute things to throw in the bags but we are ready to go. Packing was a challenge that was fun. We took a verity a clothes sizes for Sophia (some 9 months and some 12 months). We have snacks with us for a touch of home (we may do a survivor like auction in the hotel room hallway one night LOL). We have more medications with us then we will ever need but again we are willing to share with our wonderful travel group. We are looking forward to getting the show on the road....

8 more sleeps to China......

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Our China Itinerary

It is finally real.. it is happening .. we are going to China or as our friends keep saying "YOU ARE GOING TO FRIGGIN CHINA!" LOL... we are so excited and running around doing all the last minute things that need to be done. Yesterday we got our itinerary.

June 12th (Thursday) Leave Orlando to Chicago to Beijing

June 13 (Friday) Arrive in Beijing and meet Zhou we will be staying at the Holiday Inn Downtown Beijing

June 14 (Saturday) We will visit The Great Wall and do some shopping and lunch by the Wall. Then we will visit the Olympic Stadium (The birds Nest) (how cool is that)

June 15 (Sunday) We will tour Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City, Silk Factory, and have a late lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe in Beijing (another t-shirt for Riz)...Then we fly to Nanchang..We will be staying at the Galactic Peace International Hotel in Nanchang

June 16 (Monday) We will walk across the street from our hotel at 10am and meet our daughter! Our Family Day will be June 16th but it will still be June 15 here in the states so technically it will still be Fathers Day LOL

June 17(Tuesday) Notary apply for Chinese passport and Bonding and Shopping..

June 18 (Wednesday) Free day of shopping, resting (yeah right LOL) , bonding and sight seeing We will go to Walmart this day from what we hear it is like a religious experience in china much different then here in the US.

June 19 (Thursday) Sight Seeing with the group

June 20 (Friday) (Fly to Guangzhou at 5:45pm we will be staying at the Victory Hotel

June 21 (Saturday) Visa photos and Medical exam for Sophia

June 22 (Sunday) Shopping at the jade and Pearl Market and paperwork in the evening.

June 23 (Monday) Visa appointment and visiting the fish and bird market experience the Guangzhou subway..(we may skip that and visit with our friends that live in Hong Kong and will come up to see us).

June 24 (Tuesday) Consulate appointment at the US embassy Guangzhou China

June 25 (Wednesday) We leave China for Hong Kong and then on to Chicago and then Orlando

It all seems real now.. 9 more sleeps to go and then we embark on our life changing journey to become a family of 3.....

(OK so I could not think of a better traveling song but I am open for suggestions LOL)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Last work week before China

It seems now that everything is equated to our trip to China.

last time we will see friends before China, last family Sunday dinner until after China, and today we start our last week of work before we leave for China. We officially will start our FML leave on June 9th. We both have a busy work week ahead of us with lots to do to prepare to be away from work. Everyone at work is very excited for us and will be wishing us well as we tie up all the loose ends. We work with a great bunch of people who will be watching our trip with great joy. Riz and I work for the same Community Mental Health agency (Riz for nearly 20 years and me for nearly 17 years). Our work family is really that, a family who are all eagerly awaiting our our journey to become a family of three. We can't thank them enough for all the support they have shown us during this time and over the years.

10 more sleeps to China

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Getting it together

This past week has been a blur of activity and we are finally starting to see it all come together. Yesterday we had lunch with our friends Luke and Layla. Then they came to our house so Luke could give Riz a lesson on how to use our new video camera and laptop. Luke showed us some really simple and great ways to create awesome memories. We are still learning of course but I think we will be able to do it with maybe a refresher tip from Luke from time to time.. Luke is a real wiz when it comes to technology and is our go to man when it comes to all things electronic LOL Thanks Luke... Layla and Luke are going to come to the airport when we come home from China and Luke has generously offered to take photos and video for us. We are very excited about this because we know those are going to be priceless memories in years to come. I can't wait to see our family and friends as they meet Sophia for the first time. Thanks again Luke you don't know how much it means to us.

Last night we went to our friends Denise and Pats house for dinner and hung out by the pool for awhile. It is nice to talk to them because we are taking the same exact journey they did when they traveled to adopt their daughter Macy. Pat and Denise gave us lots of tips of what to do and not do while we are traveling. Thanks you guys again it means so much to us....

Tonight we are going to my in-laws for Sunday dinner (Macaroni and Meatballs). We are going to firm up all our plans with them as they will be taking us and picking us up from the airport.

We have a few last minutes things to do and get but we are pretty much all set to travel.

11 more sleeps to China