Sunday, July 5, 2009

We Made the Mongolian National News!

One more quick post.

We made the Mongolian National News! Remember the wrestling match we attended last weekend in the countryside? Well, there was a reporter there from Mongolia's most popular national news (think the equivalent of USA Today).

Well, they printed several large articles regarding the match. They also printed a photo, which both Matt and I were in! May got us a copy of the newspaper.

How funny is that?


My Sincerest Apologies...

...for not posting sooner. I have been most properly chastised by my dear friend Michele for not posting more promptly. (Michele, are you even an official follower of this blog?) :-)

That aside, things are going much better here. We have booked our flights, we arrive home Wednesday night at around 8:45PM in Appleton. Anyone is welcome to meet us at the airport, but in the first few days we are home, if you call to visit and we can't see you, please understand, we will definately have some adjustment!

Libby is doing much better. While she still likes me to hold her, Matt and Libby have definately reached some compromise. If I am not able to hold her, she will now allow Matt. Matt has also taught her the "nose" game, and just like Gus, she has the advantage in the game having the flatter nose then Matt! She is definately 100% Mongol, as she has the Mongol glare down if she is unhappy with Matt, I have not yet to receive it, but I am sure my time will come. In addition, she is the best eye roller I've ever seen on a child under two. I don't know how many times Matt has gotten the eye roll (although, again, I haven't been on the receiving end of it!)

Last night she slept through the night in her own crib, which has been the first time since we've had her. She actually slept 12 hours straight. It was such a blessing, as waking up 5 times a night with a little foot in your face isn't conducive to a good night's sleep! (As cute as that little foot is!) She also has lots of smiles for us during the day now. She seems to be feeling a little better then she was, and you can tell she much more happier.

And dear Rachel, I do believe you have gotten your wish for the "Sassy" little girl! If she isn't getting her way, she lets you know it! If she doesn't like what she is eating, she will simply spit it out, even if she liked it the bite before. She is so incredibly different then Gus!!! I don't think two children could be more different. The first few weeks we had Gus, he never cried, with Libby, you just expect it! Gus detested having his diaper changed and his shoes and clothes off, but Libby relishes it. The children in Mongolia are kept bundled up, wearing tights under their shorts even on the warmest days. It was hilarious the first time Libby realized she had toes. She played with them for hours!

We had the adoption ceremony Friday night, and it was amazing, so touching! The nanny and the Dr. from the orphanage gave speeches and presented us with Mare's milk. Also, two government officials and a US embassy official attended the ceremony. May hired throat and "violin" performers, and it was awesome! When you hear recorded music of throatsingers, it makes you laugh and think of Jabba the Hut, but when you see it in person, it so amazing!!! Totally Impressive! The music is almost hauntingly beautiful.

After the ceremony, I felt as though I had a better appreciation of the government's interest in the welfare of the Monoglian children. While it is obvious that they want us to instill the Mongolian heritage in our adopted children, it is more important to them that the children grow up to be productive, very well-educated individuals who are polite and act responsibly. During the long wait for our children, it was easy to think that the government did not care enough about the children to hurry the process up. But I no longer think that is true. After speaking with the officials, it truly is the structure of the Mongolian government that causes the delays.

Yesterday we attended the 4th of July celebration given by the US embassy officials. It was actually a quite large affair that convenietly was held directly across the street from our hotel at the apartment complex where all the embassy officials live. I will assure you, it was definately the most unique 4th of July celebration I have ever attended! There were Mongolian girls dressed as German barmaids handing out pitchers of beer, Mormons (American and Mongolian) walking around everywhere, and Mongolian children singing "The Beach Boys" Surfing USA in their Asian voices. It was hilarious! The funniest thing was seeing the Mongolians, Americans, Military, and the Mormons playing tug of war! We did have American hot dogs, hamburgers, even brats with potato salad and baked beans. We were told that a Congressional Delegation was passing through Mongolia last week and delivered the Brats and Hot dogs by plane.

Well, better get back up to the room to get ready for our dinner out. Tonight we are having Los Banditos, which is said to be the best Mexican joint in UB. May has her doubts, but Matt and I convinced her to give it a try!

And Michele, I will try to post again soon!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

The news you've been waiting on the edge of your seat for.....

Well, maybe not, but we're excited!

We had our Dr.'s appt. for Libby today where they clear her to get her Visa into the US. The Dr. approved her but said she had "strong" breathing. She does have a cold, but they cleared her. (Thank goodness! I was afraid they wouldn't, with the Swine Flu and all. We have had our temperture taken by the Chinese in Beijing, the Mongolian's at the UB airport, and then again in order to even enter the clinic. Each time we had to fill out a form stating that we have not been to Mexico and that we have had no headaches, nausea, coughing, etc. in the last 15 days.)

We then went to the embassy this afternoon, and they cleared Libby to receive her Visa. We can pick it up Monday afternoon between 1-3PM, which means.......wait for it......if we can book the tickets, we can head home on Tuesday morning instead of Saturday morning. YAY!!! Matt will get in touch with the travel agent tonight and see what we can book. YAY Again!!!

We can't wait to get Libby home. She had great days on Monday and Tuesday, but really had rough days Wednesday and today. She will not let me put her down, not even to nap. She will fall asleep in my arms, then when I try to lay her down she wakes up screaming. It's been really hard. She has been napping in my arms, and it takes me 45 minutes to an hour to get her down at bedtime. To make it worse, it has been horribly hot here in UB, 90's every day this week, and NOWHERE is there A/C, except at the clinic and embassy. The car does not have A/C, and neither does the hotel. Libby is a little sweat box just like Gus, so I am constantly drenched with sweat because she won't let me put her down. Occasionally she will let Matt hold her, but she has gone from a Daddy's girl to barely tolerating him, which has been really hard on Matt. I'm sure that will change once we get home, but it's still tough on both of us.

Tomorrow we have the Adoption Ceremony, then on Saturday we are attending a 4th of July party put on by the embassy people. The Consular told us today that they a congressional group passing through Mongolia delivered a couple cases of American hot dogs and Heinz ketchup, so we are really looking forward to that!

Also, amazing story, as we were talking to the Consular, we came to discover that one of Matt's old college roomates, Chris, is really good friends with the Consular, apparently they joined the, I don't know what you'd call it, the embassy program, I guess, at the same time. He actually lives directly across the street from our hotel, and that is where the embassy event is being held on Saturday.

Well, that's all for now, I'll post once we get our travel reservations figured out!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Random Notes...

*I find it very strange that our Country French shower curtain with the lovely floral design also has soccer balls in the pattern.

*Instead of going out for lunch today we decided to stay at the hotel and have a snack. One the menu was a mozzerella stick and potato skin combo. We ordered the mozzerella stick and potato skin combo with no cheese on the potatoes. The waitress delivered an order of French Fries with a side of marinera sauce.

*While Libby was napping today, Matt and I decided to enjoy a drink. Matt took a beer out of the fridge and I went to the hotel bar to get a drink. I asked if they had juice that I could have with vodka. The bartender showed me the list and I ordered a vodka and orange juice. I asked her to put it on my room bill. She asked what room and I told her 310. She said "ok, I'll bring your drink up to your room in 10 minutes". HUH???? 10 minutes later she showed up with a glass of orange juice, a glass of apple juice and a glass of vodka. OK......

*They put down new carpet in the hallways of the hotel this week, all five floors. There were fuzzies everywhere and I've been wondering when they were going to come and vacuum them up. Today as I walked down the stairs I saw 3 ladies on their hands and knees picking up all the fuzzies.

*On Sunday at the wrestling match we had blowtorched goat. They literally had a blowtorch and were cooking a goat carcass with it. Today Matt and I were wondering, (it took us a few days to remember the incident after all the vodka), how did they get all the potatoes and vegetables inside the goat, when there wasn't any cut marks on the carcass itself? Also, how did they get all the guts out? The only option we could think of was that they took the guts out through the head and the uh, well, you know, and then stuffed all the veggies in. And we ate that!!! Ugh.

Will post some possible exciting news tomorrow......I have to give you all some type of anticipation!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

....and She's OURS!!!!

Yesterday afternoon (Monday) we signed the 3 party agreement papers and received our original official letter that states that Libby is officially our child. We went directly to the orphanage to get her. It is hard to describe the emotions we felt. I couldn't stop crying, but Libby seemed pleased to be coming with us. The Nannies said that the last few days that we have visited Libby, when we left she would be very quiet as if she was sad to see us go. The nannies told May that they felt she was truly ready to be with us, which pleased us very much.

We went back to the hotel with her for a few hours, and she played happily with us and gave us lots of smiles. We then went with May to an Indian restaurant. Libby ate well and was very talkative to us. Her favorite words are "baba" which means "take this" and "mama" which seems to mean everything to her, she points all over and says "mama", we are trying to convince her that only I am "mama". She has repeated "dada" when we have pointed to Matt. I think the speech will come quickly to her, she already tries to repeat things we say and she babbles quite a bit.

When we were leaving the restaurant, I was holding her and tipping her upside down, which always seems to make her smile. That is when the deep belly laugh suddenly appeared. She laughed and laughed, it was such a joyous sound, it was the most blessed sound in the world to me at that moment.

Back at the hotel we tried to rock her to sleep, as it was obvious she was exhausted, but she didn't want any of that, so we laid her in her crib and she felt asleep within minutes. She slept until 6am, then sat up in her crib. I brought her into bed with us and she fell back asleep immidiately. I finally woke her up at 9am.

She ate a great breakfast and has been very happy. She has not cried once with us, NOT ONCE!!! She is doing so well, just like Gus did. Gus and Libby are definately two different kids, but yet easy in the same way.

Thank you for all your prayers and wishes. At this moment, all of them have been answered for us!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mongolian Vodka, so much fun...yet....

then, not so much fun!!!

Had an awesome time in the countryside this weekend. Rode horses this morning, poor Matt had to be led around on his horse, but my horse was more then willing to listen to my commands, I actually got to "gallop" around the hillside with my horse. I loved it!

We then went to our "wrestling match". We were invited guests along with several other high ranking individuals, who were mainly the minister's of the providence that the wrestlers belonged to along with high ranking business owners that sponsored the wrestlers. One of the business owners (a woman) took a great liking to the two "American's" and felt it was necessary to ply us with Mongolian vodka prior to the event. It certainly made it easier to stomach the (literal) blowtorched goat that we consumed, and made the wrestling match even more entertaining. Unfortunately, the businessowner made sure our glasses of vodka were always full, especially Matt's. I actually fared quite well (I attribute that to the flavored vodka I share with Rachel on a regular basis) but Matt, well, he did not fare so well. By the time we go t back to the hotel, well, let's just say the vodka did not stay in his stomach and he needed assistance on the three flights of stairs up to our room. Thankfully Muuggii, May's fiance, was able to assist me. Matt is now snoring quite soundly in our hotel room!

The weekend in the countryside was a total blast, it was SO much fun! We also had a great time at the Black Market. I hid my money in my shoe, and Matt hid his in his front pocket. Shortly after we got there, I felt a very hard "smack" to my butt, but when I turned around no one was there and I knew my money was safe. We shopped for awhile, and Matt purchased an awesome NorthFace jacket for only $35. Then we went to the watch booth, and I as I tried on a Cartier watch, I quickly realized that my personal watch was missing from my wrist. Apparently, when I got "smacked" in my butt, it was a distraction in order to steal the watch from my wrist. I had to laugh, because I imagined how surprised the theif would be when he realized my expensive gold and silver watch was only a $5 watch with gold stickers on it!!! Of course, losing my watch was a very good reason to purchase the Cartier watch, which I like even better. (Of course my Swiss Cartier watch was most likely manufactured in China!) Matt found a Tagheuher watch he liked, but unfortunately Tagheuher was spelled wrong, so he passed on that purchase!

Well, I better get back to the room to check on my overindulged husband. At least he will sleep well tonight!

Tomorrow we visit Libby in the morning, then sigh the 3 party papers, then we should have the official permission to take physical custody of her. I can't wait! Yesterday when we saw her she was doing so well. When we went to leave, I was holding her. The Nanny went to grab her, but Libby turned toward me and held tight to my neck. I almost cried, she actually wanted to stay in my arms! What a major step forward!


Friday, June 26, 2009

Verbal Approval!!

Hi All!

We got good news yesterday. The Second Committee met to review our interview. May received the call that they have given us their verbal approval, and we should get our written approval on Monday. What does this mean? That means that this is a very good chance that we will be able to take physical custody of Libby on Monday afternoon/early evening. Yay!

Things are moving along much better with Libby. The first 2-3 days were rough, but she has made huge strides with us. We got many smiles out of her yesterday, and even an almost giggle. The smiles we have gotten have been when we've caught her by surprise, like grabbing her to tickle her when she is walking past, lifting her suddenly above our heads, it is like she is trying not to smile at us but when we catch her off guard she just can't help it! She hasn't the cutest smile in the world, when she smiles she puckers up her lips. Adorable, I just can't get enough of it! She is also using her motor skills more, she throws a ball to us, looks through the photo album and book we have for her, and trys to feed us her treats. She is definately behind, but I think that the two weeks we will have her before we come home will do a world of good for her, since we will have so much time to concentrate on her. When Rylee was with us, Birth to 3 had showed me several tools to use to improve motor skill, and I plan to use them with Libby. I actually think her speech may come much faster then her motor skills, as we think she has already used the English words "ball" and "book". I think that with her skills she is just the opposite of Gus, which makes sense since she is girl and girl's obviously develop differently then boys.

She is so funny when she eats, it is obvious when she is done. She simply spits the food out that you put in her mouth. And Rachel, I think you have gotten your wish, I see quite a bit of sassiness coming out in her! Oh, she is going to be quite the little princess. she is already Daddy's girl!

What else? Well, we are leaving for the countryside this afternoon. On our way we are stopping at the Black Market to be pickpocketed, then we move on to possibly riding horses. We will stay in the country side overnight. Then, May's fiance has actually arranged a traditional Mongolian wrestling match for us to view. Muuggii (her fiance) has challenged Matt to a round, but I don't think Matt is going along with it!!! (I can just see Matt in the costume with his chicken legs! The costume is basically like wearing a speedo!!!). Whether Matt wrestles or not, we plan to video tape the event.

We've actually been enjoying our meals a great deal, although we haven't had any true Mongolian food yet. Lots of Italian and steaks, plus fast food, which was remarkably like McDonalds!

Well, I'm off for now, we need to get in to eat breakfast before it closes.

Hope you all are doing well, don't worry about us, we're doing GREAT!!!!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009


had our interview this morning. It was so much easier then what I had been expecting, but I was still emotionally drained. After having it set and canceled so many times, by the time it actually occured, I was a total train wreck. I mean, how many times can you get all dressed up and prepared, and only at the last minute be told it was canceled? By the time we got back to the car after the interview, I just broke down, after not only days but months of waiting for the moment, it was such a HUGE relief it was over. The committee still needs to meet to give the final approval, but I have no doubts that we will be approved. They seemed really pleased with the care that we have given Gus.

Now I really feel like I can relax and enjoy our time here. We are doing some shopping this afternoon while Libby is sleeping, then going to visit her at the orphanage.

Thanks for your prayers and well wishes!

Deja Vu All Over Again.....

Ok, so shower curtain that sticks to the butt, a toilet that won't flush, gosh, it's deja vu of our last visit to Mongolia, but wait....the shower curtain is an adustable rod that can be moved, and the toilet, well, just wait 5 minutes and it WILL flush!

Yes, we are in Mongolia, and totally thrilled to be here!

To recap....

We were to be at the Appleton airport at 7:30AM Saturday morning. At 6:45 I thought to check our flight, and was HORRIFIED to discover that our flight out of Appleton was CANCELED, not just delayed, but CANCELED! UGH! After some frantic phone calls, we got booked on a flight out of GreenBay only 10 minutes after our original flight was to leave. Crisis averted. It was smooth sailing, er, flying from there. We got into UB exactly when we expected to.

Our interview with 2nd Committee was scheduled for 3PM on Monday. May, our guide, left a message for us (that we got at 2:10), to meet outside the hotel at 2PM to leave for the interview. At 2:35PM, May called the front desk to tell us that our interview had been canceled, but it would be held the following morning (Tuesday). So this morning we got up early, only to receive a phone call from May at 10AM to tell us that our interview was canceled for the second time, and would take place on Wednesday morning. I was a little upset until she told us that we had been given permission by the head of 2nd committee to visit our daughter. May said she would be at our hotel in one hour to pick us up to takes us to Libby. WHAT!?! We totally weren't expecting to see her until Thursday at the earliest, so we were thrilled!

So how do you describe the moment you meet your daughter for the first time? Well, you really can't, it is totally amazing. Libby is beautiful in so many ways, such perfect features, and she is a snuggler! Yay! It took Gus a long time to be a snuggler, but Libby just reaches out to be held and snuggles right into your shoulder her with her head laying against us. But I do need to say that she is DEFINATELY going to be Daddy's Little Girl. She is already in love with him, and him with her. He even had her chasing him around the room. Watch out Gus! You have a new "chase" partner! Libby also comes readily to me, but she obviously has eyes for her Daddy. She did fall asleep in my arms though, exactly the same way Gus did the first day we met him. Unfortunately we haven't gotten a real smile out of her yet, but we were close several times!

We have our 2nd Committee meeting tomorrow at 11AM (hopefully), and then we will go back to the orphanage tomorrow. We are hoping that we will be officially able to take custody of Libby either Monday or Tuesday.

I'll try to post again soon!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Photos of Libby's Room

As promised, here are photos of the room that is waiting for its little girl!
Now, it's almost midnight and I'm going to bed!

Our Bags are Packed!!!

Our bags are actually packed and ready to go. (Are you happy now Michele?) Being the typical Americans, we have two checked bags a piece, plus the umbrella stroller, plus I have one carry on and Matt has a carry on plus his briefcase (silly people, OF COURSE Matt is bringing his briefcase!!! It's end of quarter!). I told our guide that we would try to pack lighter then last time, yeah right! But hey, we also had to pack for Libby, including diapers, food, toys, etc., plus gifts for the Mongolians, so that adds up!

Now that our packing is done, we just need to finish some cleaning tomorrow (I say just, we also need to mow the lawn, go to the bank, pick up meds, have breakfast then drinks {much later in the day} with the neighbors, etc.), and we are all set. Our flight takes off at 9:22 AM Saturday morning, then we fly to Chicago, then a 13 1/2 hour flight to Beijing, then on to UlaanBaatar, Mongolia. We get in to UB at 9:30PM UB time Sunday night, which would be 8:30AM Wisconsin time Sunday morning. So yes, it is about a 24 hour trip. (But I've got the last 3 "Twilight" books to read (THANKS MEGAN!!!).

Our interview with the Mongolian government is Monday afternoon. Please pray that they keep the appointment! We should hopefully be able to visit Libby for the first time either Wednesday or Thursday.

I am going to post photos of Libby's room tonight, but that may be the last time I post until Monday or Tuesday. Please pray for a safe journey for us to UB!

I don't think I'll believe we're actually going until I'm sitting on the plane in Appleton!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We heard from our agency this morning and it is official! We will be interviewed by 2nd Committee (which is made up of Mongolian Government Officials) on June 23rd.

We booked our flights. We leave on June 20th at 9:30AM out of Appleton, arriving in UlaanBaatar Mongolia on Sunday evening, June 21st. We have our return flight arriving in Appleton on Sunday July 12th at 9:30PM, however, it is very likely that our return flight will change, either coming home later or earlier, depending on when the Mongolian Government issues the final approval after they interview us. After we are approved, we still need to work with the US embassy in UB to get Libby's VISA, etc.

I will post more info when I get it!



Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pink! Pink! Pink!

Today I am working on finishing up Libby's room. As soon as it is done (and as soon as I buy discs for my camera!), I will post pictures. It is turning out so cute!


Friday, June 5, 2009

Still No Word on Travel

Here it is, Friday afternoon, and still no specific travel dates. We were told two weeks ago we would have travel dates last week, then last week we were told we would definately have travel dates this week. I had heard that we will have our interview (which is where we are interviewed by several Mongolian Government Officials), between June 20th & June 30th. If that is the case, we will need to leave the US on June 18th. Ugghhh, I wish we knew for sure so we could make our airline reservations, but even then, I won't truly believe we are going until we are sitting on the airplane!

And we really do need to travel soon or I am going to spend all of Matt's money on cute little 12 Month baby girl outfits!!!

So, please, pray for us that we get our travel dates soon!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hi Everyone!
Well, things have finally began to move in Mongolia, let me catch you up to date!
As you can see, we've received the referral of our little girl. Her name is now Elizabeth Savina Sarnai Miller. Sarnai is her Mongolian name, which means "Rose". We are calling her Libby.
Libby was born on January 4th, 2008. She is now 17 months old. We are told she is very healthy.
As of today, we are waiting to hear when we will be traveling. We were told it will most likely be that we need to be in Mongolia either June 15th or June 22nd. We should know within the next 3 days. We will let you all know as soon as we hear anything!
As we are so close to travel, I will try to keep this blog updated several times a week. I am hoping to be able to access it while we are in Mongolia so we can share our journey with you.