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In December of 2004 we decided to adopt a girl from China. We made our first visit to China Adoption With Love, Inc., the adoption agency that we decided to use, on December 27th 2004. On 3 January 2006, After months of paperwork and lots of waiting we received a call that our referral was in. We found out that Ariana was a healthy girl from China’s Hunan Province.

We completed a little more paperwork and some more waiting for travel authorizations, although this time we had a very good idea of how long we would have to wait. We finally left for China on February 24th, 2006. We kept a trip log with lots of pictures and a description of each day of our trip to
document our travels. Austin also kept a log documenting his perspective of the trip.

We are now getting settled in as a rather different family than we were a few months ago. It is interesting getting to know the “real Ariana” as opposed to the description we received. As far as we can tell, all of the health related information was correct, but some of the developmental, behavior and personality descriptions we got from her foster parents must have been about another little girl:

  • “Bathing in tub makes her happy” – she was absolutely terrified of the water!
  • “She is scared of animals” – she adores our Dog and Cat, and is fascinated with the bird.
  • “She is timid” – She loves people and is at her best when she is the center of attention.

All of things we worried about, particularly the “scared of animals” part of the description we received, has really been no big deal. The things she had trouble with at first she is adjusting to, and I guess we are adjusting a little too 🙂

Settling in at home – March 28th
Ariana has been home with us for 3 weeks now, and seems to be comfortable with her new family, including the animals. Here are a few pictures of her first weeks with us in Rhode Island:

Learning Fast – April 8th
Ariana is quickly learning new words. Her
favorites are “Hi” and “Bye Bye” they each have multiple meanings! “Hi” can
mean:

  • Hello
  • Hey you, pay attention to me!
  • Pick me up

“Bye Bye” has even more meanings

  • Bye Bye (of course)
  • I’m ready to go now.
  • I’m ready for YOU to go now…
  • I’ve had enough to eat and I want out of this high chair!

She is also making attempts at Daddy, Momma, Austin, and Sebastian. She is very talkative and says quite a few more things that we haven’t figured out – maybe they are Chinese?

Last weekend Ariana took her first steps. Although it’s wonderful to see her walking, it is kind of strange because she still has no idea how to crawl, and when she started walking she couldn’t even sit up on her own. She has since figured out how to sit up, and now wants to walk everywhere. She still insists on someone holding her hand, but is getting more stable on her feet every day.

April 16th, 2006
Ariana has made great strides with her walking. Last night she was walking around carrying things from person to person without any assistance or prodding. This morning at church we left her in the nursery for the first time, and although she was a little fussy she did very well. She is getting more comfortable with other people.

Portraits
We had some portraits done a couple of weeks ago, and we picked them up Friday night:

Some more pictures we took during late April and May 2006:

June 11th, 2006 Adoption Group Reunion
The weekend before we left Rhode Island, the Ewing family generously hosted our first reunion of all the families in our adoption travel group. We had a great afternoon catching up, and it was wonderful to see how well all the girls have adjusted.

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