1.31.2006

Happy Chinese New Year!

I forgot to post this on Sunday for the celebration of Chinese New Year, which kicked off the Year of the Dog!
* * * * *
Chinese New Year 春節 or 農曆新年, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays . It consists of a period of celebrations, starting on New Year's Day, celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar. This is the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice, unless there is an intercalary eleventh or twelfth month in the lead-up to the New Year. In such a case, the New Year falls on the day of the third new moon after the solstice. (The next time this occurs is in 2033.) The Chinese New Year period ends with the Lantern Festival, on the fifteenth day of the festival. According to legend, in ancient China, Nian, a man-eating predatory beast could infiltrate houses silently. The Chinese learned that Nian was sensitive to loud noises and the color red, and so they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and the liberal use of the color red. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations.

Celebrated internationally in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered to be a major holiday for the Chinese as well as ethnic groups such as the Mongolians, Koreans, Miao, Vietnamese, Tibetans, Nepalese and Bhutanese who were influenced by Chinese culture in terms of religious and philosophical worldview, language and culture in general. Chinese New Year is also the time when the largest human migration takes place when Chinese all around the world return home on the eve of Chinese New Year to have reunion dinners with their families.

Years of the Dog: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006

Why International Adoption?

There is an excellent article found here http://research-china.blogspot.com/, which explores the topic of international adoption, which has been given some extra press lately with celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Meg Ryan in the headlines adopting from other countries. I haven't encountered anything particularily offensive yet, as some others I know have, but I have been asked more than once why aren't we adopting a child from the U.S. Hopefully, this article will explain, in part, why that can be difficult to do.

1.29.2006

Happy Birthday

Dear Lindsay and Erica,

Today is your 21st birthday! It's unbelieveable to me that you are 21. I can remember so clearly when you were small and used to run everywhere, in two different directions (three really, since Tristan would go yet another way) and it was impossible to keep up with you. A few years later, you liked to come over to my house and go into my closet and try on my clothes. You'd appear in some crazy combination I'd never thought to try, complete with high heels, hats, scarves etc. and model for whoever was there. You also liked to come up with a dance or song to perform at any family function, getting Tristan, or your cousins to join in with the "show".

This picture is what I see when I think of you back then - always in motion, blonde hair flying, ready for anything. Some of the most fun I've had has been with you three...even when you would stand over me until I woke up -before it was even light-when I'd stay at your house for the weekend. The three of you would get into bed with me and we'd talk and laugh. I cherish those memories.

You are still alot of fun to be with (although you have stopped running quite so fast), you still move in different directions, as each of you choose the path for your lives as adults. I look forward to seeing where life takes you and am very proud of you and the remarkable women you are becoming.

Happy Birthday Lindsay Brooke and Erica Leigh!

with much love,
Susan

1.24.2006

Tag I'm it

So, I was tagged by fellow blogger Cindy so here goes:

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Oh, what a difference 10 years makes! I was in a completely different, unhappy place, married to my first husband. I’d rather not dwell on any of it.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Same job. Getting ready to give IVF one more try. Planning a vacation.

Name 5 Snacks you enjoy
fruit (any kind really)
nuts
pretzels
potato chips
skittles

Name 5 things you would do with a million dollars
quit my job
start a business
buy a beach housel
Invest/Save
landscape the garden

5 bad habits
Procrastinating the following:
-doing laundry
-putting clean laundry away

-loading the dishwasher
-unloading the dishwasher
not keeping in better touch with friends

5 things I like doing
Hanging out with my husband

reading
singing
taking naps

thinking about FINALLY being a Mom

5 things I would never wear, buy, or get new again...
leggings
multi-colored eye shadow
short shorts
mini-skirts
A bikini

5 favorite toys or games
My car (it's a Mini:))
Tivo (how did I survive without it!)
Trivial Pursuit
Balderdash
Cranium (I love board games!)




1.23.2006

Jack Edward



My brother Sean sent us some new photos of our nephew Jack...they are so cute, I just had to share. He is getting so big. I can't wait to see him this weekend! Love you guys :)

1.19.2006

Some China facts

We have no idea what part of China our Lily Kate will be from, but it's interesting to compare some statistics between China and the United States. China is a country of 3,696,100 sq. miles; not much larger than the US, which encompasses 3,537,441 sq. miles. The difference in population however, is pretty staggering; China has a population of 1,307,743,319 as compared to the U.S. number of 296,410,404. That means that China has more than 4 times the population of the United States, in roughly the same amount of space.
When we travel to China, we know that we will be flying into Beijing, which is is the capital and the second largest city of China. The total area of Beijing is approximately 16,800 sq km, and has over 7.23 million people, 3 million of which are temporary residents. The temporary residents are comprised of business persons, teachers and students. Beijing's permanent residents are from all of the different ethnic groups found in China with the Han's comprising over 96% of the population. Mandarin Chinese is the language spoken in Beijing, with Beijing's dialect being the standard form of Mandarin.

1.17.2006

How it works

For those of you who have asked why it takes so long to be matched with a child, I am posting some information from the FCC Web site (Families with Children from China), which explains the process a dossier goes through, once it is logged in:

What happens to a dossier in China?
A dossier is condensed into a registration form that can be reviewed instead of searching through bulky dossiers. The steps are as follows:

Step one - all applications go through the initial office where the paperwork is translated or its already existing translation is verified. The registration form is completed and entered into the computer. This step can take two to four months based on current volume.

Step two is a transfer down the hall to Department 1 where the family's qualifications and documents are checked. This step can also take two to four months to complete.

Step Three is Department 2 where the family is matched with a waiting child! The medical report of the child is reviewed one final time and that report and the child's small visa photo are forwarded to the family's agency. The intent is for the family to review the information and accept in writing the referral and return this approval back to the CCAA. Once received, the information is shared with the provincial officials. The mailing alone can take 2 weeks. Then, the Invitation to Travel letter is generated, and is personally signed (with a special red chop) by one of the two Vice Directors of the Center. Finally, the family can travel!

Therefore, if you review the steps, the 8-10 month wait to adopt is spelled out, and that is the accepted timeline of the Center based on the current number of dossiers, available children, staff and the system currently set in place

1.13.2006

More cousins!


Okay, here are a few more photos of Lily Kate's cousins (she has a bunch!). The first photo is of Travis, who is six years old and will be a great help when Lily Kate comes home, as he has had lots of practice already with his baby brother Matthew. Travis loves video games and will be able to teach her a thing or two about how to beat her Daddy at them.


Here is our precious nephew Matthew who will be two when Lily Kate comes home and a great playmate. He has energy to spare and can chase her around for hours. I was lucky enough to witness Matthew's birth and got to hold him when he was just a few minutes old. That is something I will never forget...a true miracle.

Next is our other young nephew, Jack, who was born 3 days after Matthew. We spent alot of time in hospital waiting rooms that week! This is when he was a newborn, but I just love this photo...so sweet!

I also have twin nieces, Erica and Lindsay, who are in college (and turning 21 in a few days!), as well as a nephew Tristan, who is 24 next month and graduating from college. Here is a shot from this Christmas of me with Erica and Lindsay, and one of Tristan as well (are you happy now?) They are going to have a great time playing with their little cousin, reading her stories (and maybe even babysitting!)

We have such a wonderful family, I know Lily Kate will be surrounded by love and support from the minute she arrives. I so look forward to seeing them all together at family events to come.

How we got to here from there


This time last year, Jonathan and I left for a long weekend in Savannah. The picture on the left was taken that weekend. We had a great time looking at all the great, old buildings, visiting historical houses and walking….we did a lot of walking. We were deciding when to start what would be our last cycle of in vitro. We had tried several times before with no luck, and had taken some time off from the process. We found out at the beginning of March that we were not pregnant. By that point, I really didn’t expect good news; after all, we had tried and failed before. I just tried to not have ANY expectations. In truth, I was scared to think either way, for fear of jinxing the process….like it was ever in my control! We spent a pretty good sum of money trying to start a family through assisted reproductive means. It’s easy to say it was worth every penny when it works, but when it doesn’t, you start to wonder if you are doing the right thing. We had discussed adoption, but I guess we weren’t ready to change course, after all, we had been on the in vitro path for 2+ years.

When we took our annual anniversary trip to the beach in April, we started discussing it more seriously. I started doing research and talked to some others who had adopted, but we were still a little disillusioned and wanted to just think on things for a while. I sent away for an information packet from EAC and they called me several times over the next few months, but still, we weren’t ready. It was August when we finally sent our completed application to the agency. Once the decision was made, I felt so right about it. I know in my heart of hearts that God intended for us to adopt and has been with us every step of the way. Knowing that we will have our daughter (hopefully) by the end of the year is indescribable. It brings me unbelievable joy and peace to know that we will soon be parents. Several people have commented that it is a great thing we are doing, adopting a child, and what a lucky little girl she will be, but I tell them we are the lucky ones, for she will be a blessing to us and will add to our lives in limitless ways.

1.12.2006

Cousins!

These are our two adorable nieces (and goddaughters!) Morgan and Jackie. I can't wait for Lily Kate to get to know them. We have lots of nieces and nephews, so she will have plenty of cousins to play with.

Morgan is three and Jackie is almost one. They are so much fun and such blessings!

Some thoughts on waiting

Sometimes, I look ahead at the long wait we still have and it seems overwhelming. I know, I know, it's like being pregnant, or as they say "paper pregnant", with about the same time frame. I am perfectly at peace with this most of the time but other times, not so much. After waiting so long, and trying various methods to start a family, it's hard to think about waiting and not knowing anything for 8 more months. I want her with us now! I want to know she is safe and warm. I want to hold her and let her know she will be with us forever, that she will never be alone again. I love her with all my heart and I don't even know what she looks like, or where she is, or if she is even born yet...so, this longing starts, because I feel her, she is part of me and I don't want to wait another minute to tell her she is loved beyond measure.

1.10.2006

The "official" wait begins!

I have decided to start a journal, keeping track of the journey to our daughter in China, Lily Kate, and keeping friends and family updated. Today we received our official LID (log-in date), which means we are officially logged into the CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs). This date is important because this signifies the start of the official waiting period. At the present time, the wait is roughly eight months from LID to referral (when the CCAA matches us with a baby girl). This means, we will likely hear something at the end of August and travel to China some time in October. The thought of this is too unbelieveable for words. Until we see her sweet face, it is hard to comprehend all of this, after wanting to be parents for so long. Like many other couples, we have known heartache and disappointment due to lost pregnancies and unsucessful in vitro cycles, but this time, we know that at the end of this wait, there will be a precious baby to hold and to love. That is something well-worth waiting for...