The DiMedio Family

We started this journey as a family a few years ago in search of a daughter, and a sister for our boys. Our hearts led us to the China adoption program, and we had that dossier well underway when the allure of Nepal became too great. We switched programs for what amounted to lots of paperwork and stress driven headaches. Finally, we listened to that little voice inside; it was leading us back to China. Little did we know at the time, that it was all part of the bigger plan. That plan which brought us to just the right place, at just the right time to meet our Anna. Anna Mei who was just waiting to meet her brother's Christopher, Alex, and Wil...who have been waiting not so patiently to meet her!

Friday, October 7, 2011

October, and life marches on...

I know...It has been too long again since the last post.

The boys are all back in school.  They enjoy their classes and their teachers.  Their teachers this year are really great, and I can relax a bit knowing that every one of them is learning lots, and it is just my job to support them in their homework this year.  Hooray!
Anna is coming along beautifully!  We run a very busy schedule.  She sees three therapists a week, goes to two my gym classes (which she LOVES), and is trying out Creative Parenting which is a mommy and me one hour preschool type class (no so loving that class!)  Besides that, many hours are spent in structured play learning to do things like put toys into other toys, stack blocks, point to pictures, color, and play with puzzles...the list goes on.  She knows more sign language and is imitating more sounds.  She is running full speed and jumping.  She still won't go in public places without some degree of fear.  The food store and the elementary school are two real problem areas at the moment!  Perhaps most importantly, she gives us all lots of hugs and looks forward to her time playing with us.  Honestly, it seems that Anna Mei is behaving much like a 1 1/2 year old child.  We are happy with that for now and proud of her progress.   As long as she keeps moving forward, then things are good.

Just keeping up with the pace of life is a bit exhausting at the moment, but what house with 3 boys and a toddler would be peaceful??

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Over four months home...

Where does the time go?
Anna Mei turns into an American toddler...

Yes, she is walking, running, climbing, throwing little temper tantrums (still kind of cute to watch), AND eating solid food!  Yes, a few weeks ago she refused to take even one more bite of yogurt off of mommy's spoon.  She switched completely to feeding herself.  Her favorites are peas, corn, pasta, chicken and ham salad!  She drinks lots of pediasure, and we're looking to pack on a few pounds down the road!

Speaking of road, we DiMedio's don't slow down much.  Anna has already been to Aruba and back with us this summer, and did fantastic on a car trip out to Pittsburgh to see her uncles & cousins!  She handled the traveling like a champ, and is VERY fond of all water...ocean, pools, and especially any spraying water!  Sand was fine, and she felt it very appropriate to eat many fistfuls.  She watched as her brother Christopher got his braces, and soon will watch as her brother Alex has his taken off.  We all said goodbye as our dear friend's the Kersey's packed up and moved to Kansas City. Someone told us that is the city with the most fountains outside of Rome?  We're thinking our

kid's will be seeing KC sometime before they ever see Rome :-).  We lost a dear friend in the neighborhood this summer, the dad of one of Alex's good buddies.  So, it has been a good summer, and a difficult one all the same.

And Anna Mei keeps trucking... she loves her "My Gym" class, and is seeing early intervention therapists to catch up on all she missed out on those first few years.  She is playing with her blocks, throwing a ball, climbing over everything, playing peek-a-boo, row, row, row your boat, ring around the rosie, and generally wrestling a lot with her brothers.  They are so good with taking her to her favorite place...the swing.  She said Dada last night for the first time, and uses Mama, up, yes and no.  She's learning some sign language and generally learning to imitate and figure out how to take turns in conversation.  We are so proud of her progress, and amazed as we realize it really has only been a bit over four months since we all met.

We had to have two surgeries to have the ear tubes take in her ears, and then went in for a sedated hearing test to check to see if all the infections caused any damage.  We got fantastic news.  She has good hearing! So, Anna is set to enter a few more preschool-like classes WITH her mommy this fall while her brothers are at school.  It should be a fun fall, and who knows what lies ahead for her next!

Check our our photo gallery at

Friday, June 3, 2011

Home for some time now...

It's been about two and a half months since we touched down in Newark airport with Anna Mei, and while life is hectic and crazy as ever, we are finding our rhythm.  Days are marked by who has a baseball game, who's school project is due tomorrow, and which therapist or doctor is Anna seeing today?  OK, maybe it is not so crazy as EVERY day, but it does seem like she has made the rounds these past few months.  Here is the really good news, our team of doctors and therapists is FANTASTIC.

Anna is now receiving physical therapy, feeding/speech therapy, and soon occupational therapy each for an hour once a week.  She also goes to a My Gym class where she interacts with other kids, has circle time, and lots of free time to climb and play each week.  All of this is to help her adjust to her new life which is full of stimulation; sensory experiences which she never imagined within those four white walls of her orphanage.

Our days are marked by small hurdles which seem like major milestones.  Anna no longer just walks, she walks well, and now she runs.  She loves to dance, and responds to all music, even her brother's loud and slightly inappropriate :-) music in the car.  Anna is now climbing the staircase from top to bottom, and is now learning to step down them like a big girl, but her legs will need to grow longer if she is ever going to master the big stairs while standing!  She will roll a ball back and forth, and thankfully has learned that no one likes to be scratched or have their hair pulled.  We go on the swing every night outside, and have learned to tolerate the feel of sand under our feet.  Grass is not her favorite, but walking through it to get to the house is ok.  But most importantly, Anna Mei is engaging with us and others much more often.  She has learned to look at us and laugh or smile.  And yes, she is eating.  Still all yogurt based, but we can mix all baby foods into it.  She eats three full meals a day, most mixed with anything from bananas, to beans, sweet potatoes, and chicken.  While it grosses her Daddy out, she does not mind any taste.  It is the texture which will get her quite angry.  Still nothing more solid than stage three chunky baby food will go in there, but time will bring a change for sure.

The boys continue to find joy in her accomplishments as well.  They often stop me to say, "Mom, look at Anna!"  Everyone is thriving at the moment.  Wil passed the deep water swim test at the swim club last weekend.  Four long laps and treading water for two minutes.  The sweet little guy had the entire line of kids cheering for him, and he was so proud when he passed.  Christopher is the lead pitcher for his travel team.  It amazes me that his coach can tell him to throw a fastball low and inside or change-up high and away and he can do it!  Alex completed an excellent report, poster, and oral presentation on Benjamin Franklin which made us all so proud of his work ethic and desire to achieve.  Chris continues to be recognized for his performance at work, and me?  I'm still dragonboating and our first race of the season is tomorrow.  These days I have a big smile on my face.  Bringing Anna Mei home was such a driving force for me in the past few years.  I'm enjoying every moment of having her home; we all are.

Peace to you and yours.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Home for 24 days...

Anna Mei develops in front of our eyes daily.  When we met Anna she was not walking, barely crawling, and playing with toys mostly by banging and sucking on them.  She has taken off physically, crawls quickly, pushes up to stand independently, cruises around holding onto the furniture, and just this week took her first independent steps!!  Yes, she still mostly sucks on her toys, but is beginning to play more with cars, balls, and putting objects into and dumping them out of containers.

Many people ask if she is sleeping...well, mostly.  She naps once a day, and mostly sleeps through the night.  She wakes a few times each night, at times from sore ears and teething pain, and sometimes because she wants a hug from Mommy.  We are working through this little speed bump, and hope for some more restful nights maybe after she has her ear tube surgery in May.  Yes, her ears are packed with fluid, so while not always infected, she certainly feels discomfort and can not hear as well as she should.

We are working with her daily to introduce new tastes and textures. She is still mostly eating vanilla and banana yogurt, but does eat three meals a day plus her bottles.

Anna Mei also loves to be outside.  She has been on plenty of baseball fields, and is always happy to "talk" and cheer on the team!  She studies the trees and birds flying by.  From inside, she looks out the windows at the world around her.  Her eye contact with everyone at first was poor.  Now, she uses lots of eye contact and smiles for her family, and while still shy with strangers, she will eventually look them in the eye if they are persistent and sound and look friendly enough.  

Last weekend, our dear friends threw a beautiful welcome home "shower" for Tiffany and Anna Mei, complete with many balloons, flowers, cakes, fortune cookies, candies, and outstanding quiches with all wrapped up in tons of pink and brown polka dots!  It was a very special day for us, and the comfort and support of such a loving group of friends means so very much to all of us.

At this point, everyone seems to enjoy their time playing with Anna Mei, and our already busy family just may be a bit busier for now.  Many wishes for a healthy, Happy Easter for our friends and family!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

From Day 12, to 12 Days Home...

We know, we know...
Where did the blog go?

Well, life took over in full force when we returned home.  Sorry for the delay in posting!

So, the flight home took about 27 hours from hotel room to home, and we have to give HUGE respect to our children for how they handled the entire trip!  First we flew from Guangzhou to Beijing, a three hour flight.  Then a 4 hour lay over, and our 13 1/2 hour nonstop from Beijing to Newark.  Even Anna did well on the flights, and slept away most of the long flight home.  We were a bit anxious to go through customs and immigration.  Something went wrong here, and it may mean hopping a return flight to China!  We handed over the brown sealed envelope from the US Consulate (unopened by us), and held our breath.  The process was quick and smooth and we were on our way to collect luggage and hop a 2 hour car ride home!  Now, the trip itself was reasonably painless.  I was the next few days that would test us all a bit.

We were all on China time, exact reverse of days and nights.  While the boys slowly adjusted over the next few days, they woke in the middle of the night often, and spent some groggy cranky days (oh yea, we adults did too!)  Anna had the most difficult adjustment.  She had always been on China time AND she is a very scheduled little girl.  To add to the excitement, she happened to be breaking her 2 year molars AND we did not buy enough of the Chinese version of Enfagrow, so we had to transition to the US formula (No, she was not very happy with the switch since Chinese formulas are much sweeter).  The photo of her playing with the balloon is from about 3 AM one of those first nights.  Those balloons made her very happy, and we managed to not have her pop one in her face, so everyone was content :-)

Thanks to all for the surprise treats and welcoming home surprises!  Tif's dragonboat team came in and stocked the fridge, freezer, cabinets and counters with food for the whole family, along with banners and balloons.  Other friends decorated the mailbox, and others left surprise gifts by the front door.  And that was only our first night home!  The response to Anna Mei's homecoming has been awesome.  This little girl seems to have touched the heart of family, friends, and community.  She will never want for a thing again if any one of us has anything to do with it!!

As for Anna, she is developing beautifully!  The same little girl that did not know to put one foot in front of the other when we held her hands is now grabbing hold of a toy shopping cart and walking across the room.  She will never again sit in a walker, and loves her new independence.  She confidently crawls about the house, explores, and is learning about all new things.  Doors are fascinating to her.  Bath time is no longer scary, but so much fun she often crawls to her tub and looks in throughout the day.   Music makes her dance, and Barney is an early favorite.  She also loves trees and the contrast of the branches against the sky.  Happily, she loves to be outside as she has already been to about four of her brother's baseball games and was content to sit with mom and play!

As many of you know, our biggest concern for Anna Mei is convincing her to eat solid food.  Well, the good news is she is growing there as well!  With many hours of play at the high chair with baby purees and things like cheerios, we have had a breakthrough!!!  Yogurt.  She likes yogurt.  So her first meals have been either vanilla or banana yogurt.  Feeling it and clapping is lots of fun!  She is figuring out how to communicate when she is finished, when she wants more, and when she is happy.  Today we began the process of trying to mix that with other baby foods.  She successfully took some sweet potatoes today.  The biggest barrier was getting her to trust us with that spoon near her mouth.  Happily, she now does, so the whole new world of tastes and foods should be ahead for her.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wil finds his soul mate...

Day 12

OK, maybe that is not fair, but his connection with the six year old female chimpanzee at the Guangzhou zoo was something very special.  We have fondly referred to Wil as our little monkey since he was very, very young.  We recently learned he is born in the year of the monkey.  Upon entering the zoo, his eyes met those of a local chimp just 2 months older than he is, and they began to run back and forth along the front of the monkey exhibit.  Back and forth for a very long time, until she began a sort of peek-a-boo game with him where she hid and then came out to see him.  Unbelievably cute.

Photos from day 12

(If you can't see the Flash slideshow above, click here.)

The zoo itself was really fun.  We could get much closer to the animals than in the US and people were actually feeding them.  We saw the hippo eating, and the llamas up close.  Christopher really wanted one to spit, but could not make it happen.  The big cats were amazing.  Siberian tigers, leopards, roaring lions, lion cubs wrestling and getting a bath from mom, and even Ligers.  Yes, a cross between a lion and tiger.  One of our kid's favorite signs of the day was for the donkey.  Chinese somehow translates it into english as a Domestic Ass.  You can imagine their reaction.

After the zoo, we all needed to rest, and get something to eat.  We had one last round of souvenier buying at Jordan's shop, and we decided it was time to take advantage of the McDonald's delivery service. Our happy meals were delivered to our hotel! Nice!

Dinner tonight was to be our last outing with our tour group.  We boarded a dinner cruise on the Pearl River for a 2 hour trip.  The Guangzhou city lights were bright and beautiful.  Big stadiums built for the Asian games lined the river, along with the tallest building in China.  The food for dinner was interesting to say the least.  During our travels we've discovered lots of chicken dishes, and most of them have small bits of chicken cut up, but pieces of bone are left with the meat!  Mostly the kids ate corn on the cob and a bit of rice.  Our favorite "specialty" of the night was fried chicken feet.  One member of our group tried it, gross.  There was a silly clown doing some juggling, and Christopher got in on the act.  Anna Mei liked the loud Ricky Martin music playing and did some dancing.

As for Anna Mei, she sits on the bed laughing at the moment.  She is crawling and standing  She loves to sit on her brother's laps and play. When she is angry she balls up her fists and lets us know how she feels, but it never lasts very long.    

This is the last we would see Brian, Jeanne, and their daughter Willow as they were flying home by way of Hong Kong.  They would board the speed train tomorrow  Willow is a sweet girl with a huge appetite.  Willow took to playing with Wil.  She bonded well with Jeanne, but was not sure about Brian yet.  We were warned this could happen, and she was gearing up for the long trip home.

We are dreading the 25 hour travel time home ourselves.  Tomorrow we have a free day to relax and pack, and Thursday we leave at 5 AM China time from our hotel.  That is 5 PM your time, and we land in Newark at about 5 PM eastern standard time.  This will be the last leg of trip, and we are ready to get back to some baseball, american food, our own beds, our pups, and to family and friends. This will be our last entry from China and we are very grateful to all of you that have logged onto the blog each day to read about our journey.  Anna Mei will soon meet all of you!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Official...US Citizenship

Day 11

It was a very early morning as we all boarded the bus for the US Consulate around 7:20 AM.  It was a 40 minute bus ride to a very average looking office building.  The only sign that the consulate was even here was a small american flag on a sign by the escalators. We waited around to go up, we waited to get into the consulate area, we waited to get through security, and then we waited until a woman arrived and talked to us about the current state of US adoptions from China.  The interesting news was that last year, 65% of US/Chinese adoptions were special needs children.  This year, that is already up to about 73% of the adoption cases.  She asked us as parents to raise our hands to take an oath, and then we waited to be called to the window one by one.  We were a little on edge, hoping we would not have any problems.  The woman at the window was very sweet and talked nicely to Anna Mei.  She looked through all papers, stamped all the appropriate places, and asked for an official signature.  That all finished, she said congratulations and sent us on our way!  Our guide will pick up Anna Mei's official Visa and passport from the Consulate tomorrow, and we will be ready for travel!

Photos from day 11

(If you can't see the Flash slideshow above, click here.)

After the consulate, it was off to another park to walk around, tire out the kids, and give the babies something new to see.  This park was full of winding paths and beautiful flowers.  Someone turned up the heat here, and a low 70's day was completely uncomfortable with about 100% humidity.  We hoped for a dip in the hotel pool, but were disappointed to learn it was not yet open for the summer season.  At this point, I collapsed due to a nasty sinus cold and a rocking headache.  Chris was very kind and took all four kids out on the town while mommy got a very much needed nap.  Where should they go? Back to play games at Dong's shop!  A few chinese checkers games later, and they left happy (Dong was too, as he made a few more sales!)   Dinner out, and an early night for everyone.

As for Anna, well, we are putting her on the floor much more often and she is standing and moving much more.  She cruises along while holding on, and she crawls when she wants something.  She is developing before our eyes.  We can't wait for her hair to grow in.  They obviously shaved it right before we met her.  Now, it is softer and growing in a little bit.

Tomorrow we visit the zoo and have a cruise on the Pearl River at dinner time.  It will be our last day of sightseeing in China.  Wednesday we pack up, and get ready for a very early and very long Thursday.