Friday, August 10, 2007

Summer of 2007 Highlights

Fasinating Facts about Childbirth Traditions in China

8.10.07: I just love our July LID group--they are such a neat group of families. It's funny--today--I looking at the blogs others families in our group have set up and realized--for the first time--I'm not reading the blogs hoping to be in their shoes--dreaming about our journey someday--it's real. We're just like all of them. Although--they seem so much more secure in it all than I feel. It's all a bit tenuous for me still. I'm so nervous it won't happen--or that we'll not figure out the finances etc. I'm sure all of the families have these same concerns. But, my faith tells me "believe". My sister gave me a bookmark as a "thank-you" after her last visit in July--it's simply a metal letters that say "believe" with a little purple ribbon at the top. I use it to bookmark my china reading--and it's so neat. She's so thoughtful. So--I'll continue to just "believe".

Anywho--on to the real reason for this post--one of the mom's in our group found this absolutely fasinating article on BabyZone that talks about Chinese traditons and beliefs in Childbirth. Very neat. It's too long to post--but check it out at the link below--to the web site. Thanks Kelly--everything we can do to learn about her culture and traditions the better. I though some of the traditions might easily be done here in the US for her. We'll have to see. I've saved the entire article for future use in preparing my list of "things to buy in China" for later in her life. I'm thinking a tiger blanket might be on the list. We'll need to try to incorporate some of these traditions as well--

The traditional first-birthday gift is a gold ring meant to protect the baby during harsh times. A long bread, yu char kuei, is given to the child for the first time. It is believed it will help him learn how to walk. The day he walks, a relative walks behind him with a knife drawing three lines on the ground. The Chinese believe there are invisible bindings around a child's ankles binding him to a previous life. With the bindings cut, the child walks freely forever."

• "On the hundredth day some Chinese families host another celebration. Friends and family bring fish and chicken to the child's home. When the chicken is cooked, the tongue is rubbed on the baby's lips to make the child a good talker. And the baby's paternal grandfather may present the baby with a rocking chair." (probably not the "tongue part" but love the grandfather rocking chair. Grampa Arndt is a handy wood worker--maybe he'll make a very special rocking chair for her.

• Prehaps an adaptation of this would be meaningful to her. "For a rich, healthy life, the Chinese will also tie coins together with a red strings for their children to wear"

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bring Me Hope

This is an amazing video--especially the first part--tugs my heart like no other--speaks what my heart says with amazing simplicity--wow--God give the birth mothers strength to endure this trauma, give the children the ability to know they're special children no matter what happens, and give adoptive parents the strength and wisdom to do the right things at the right time in the right way--to bring up productive, prosperous and HAPPY CHILDREN.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

An excellent way to describe the process of Adopting from China

8.7.07: When I tell people we are adopting from China--they usually have lots of questions about the process. I try to explain a very clear process to me in terms a non PAP would understand. This blog I found really describes it best. So I wanted to share it with you. It's written from our daughters perspective--which I also love, I've modified it to read with our information--

While the Director of my Orphanage prepared and submitted my paperwork to the CCAA, so that they could find me a family...halfway across the world (in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA), a family dreamed of having a child.

This family felt that their child was in China, and they worked with an adoption agency called Gifts of Love International Adoptions (GOL) to send their dossier to the CCAA asking to be matched to a little girl who would become their daughter.

The CCAA works very hard to find families for children. When parental dossiers are sent to them - there is a three stage process the CCAA goes through to find the best parents possible.

Stage One: Translation The CCAA needs to make sure that all documents in a dossier sent are translated into Mandarin. The workers in the Translation Room make sure that all the parts of the parental dossier are translated in Mandarin. Our dossier (from America) was written in English and so all the paperwork needed to be re-written in Mandarin so that the CCAA workers could read it. Dossiers from other countries are sent in other languages - Dutch, Swedish, Spanish...they all need to be re-worded into Mandarin so that all the CCAA workers can read them. Parental dossiers have a lot of pieces to them and translating them can take a long time.

Stage Two: Review After a dossier is translated, it goes to the Review Room. The CCAA has a set of rules that adoptive parents must follow to be able to adopt a child from China. These rules are there to protect China's children and try to make sure that only the most qualified parents are allowed to adopt. In the Review Room, CCAA workers read through the documents in hopeful parent dossiers and check to make sure that all the paperwork is in order. If there is a problem with a dossier - this is where it would be found. The CCAA would then ask for more information regarding that set of parents and sometimes decides that some prospective parents will not be allowed to adopt from China.

Most parental dossiers that are sent follow all the rules and regulations of the CCAA and are approved.

Stage Three: Matching In this final stage
- families who have passed review are sent to the Matching Room. In this room are all the dossiers of children whose information has been sent by their SWIs to find them a forever family. The workers in this room have the very important task of matching the right family to each child. No one knows exactly how families are chosen for each child - but many people think that the CCAA workers are pretty amazing in how good a job they do.

We don't know what specifically caught the eye of the CCAA workers, but somehow they decided to match me with my new family.

After matching me with my new parents, the CCAA sent a packet of information (called a REFERRAL) back to the U.S. with 4 pictures of me and documents that told my Mommy and Daddy about my life and my development at the Orphanage.

They accepted me as part of their family with a letter of acceptance--rec'd permission to travel to China and scheduled a meeting with the US consulate to make me a US citizen and traveled the 20 hour flight to China from America to meet me and bring me home.

China is very concerned about us--and the latest news from CCAA about the process is evidence of that. I am appreciative of everything they're doing to find a daughter for us. Here is the latest news clip on from CCAA:

Wow! Fascinating Look inside CCAA

8.7.07: On July 19th--my dad's birthday--I described seeing in my head--a dimly lit room with people looking over our paperwork as they logged us into the system that will eventually bring us our little girl--and complete our family. Today I found found this site online--it's a wonderful inside peek into what this process looks like inside CCAA (Where they hold our families future in their hands--review room, matching room, referral room etc.) It looks amazingly a lot like I had envisioned--but more modern than I saw. This site puts faces and place to this process and I am grateful for that--I'll post a couple of the photos here--but you should really take a look at this site to get all the cool information that describes them on their site go to:

According to the website I got the picture from: The first photo is of a CCAA employee showing this lady a matched baby--the site describes this picture and what the employee shared with her about how they "match babies with families". This is consistent with what Nelson Lei --our agencies inc-country chinese interpeter and travel guide said at a meeting I attended back in late 2006. Here is what the site says: "The first one is a photo of what a child's "info sheet" looks like. It has their photos and then a general description and what their likes and dislikes are. The woman matched this child to a family for me while I was there. She told me that they pull up the passport photos of the parents, and that has their name, their jobs, and the parents likes and dislikes. This particular child liked music and I believe one of the parents taught music (it had something to do with music). So she thought they were a "match". She will pull up a parents file and then she has 4-5 babies in a stack and she will hold up the sheet with the baby and see if something "jumps out at her" as a match. She said sometimes it is appearance, sometimes it is a hobby.....sometimes it just "feels right".

The second photo shows the referred babies/families files in the neat numbered cardboard boxes behind the people in this picture.

According to the website I got the picture from: "The last picture shows the stacks of dossiers.They are color coded by agency and babies files are also color coded by province/orphanage. They do try to keep agency families together, so if they have a group of 25 families from one agency, they will go to an orphanage that they know sends larger groups of kids. If an agency only has three dossiers, they might go to an orphanage that sent just a few kids. And of course, sometimes it works out that 14 families go to one orphanage and then they have to pull a lone child from another orphanage. But they do try to make it easier on the agency facilitators by matching agencies with orphanages."

This is what being pregnant with a Adopted Child From China looks like...:)

8.7.2007: I just joined a more intimate group of adoptive parents that are at the same stage of adoption as we are--they had an LID in July. Many of them had sent their Dossier to China the same day we did but did not get logged-in until over a week after us. As I understand it--it has to do with how the agency they're using processes dossiers to China--some have the interpetation done before they send it. Others like ours have it done before, and yet others log-in first and then have it logged in. Thankfully our agency took care of us and got us on the list the fastest way possible. But even so--our log in in 1-day is amazing. Yet again, I feel blessed with GOL--seems one of the families in our group that sent their Dossier within a couple days of us--still had no idea if they're logged in yet! And are wondering how they'll find out. Frankly--there was never any question for us--that Beth would call us as soon as she knew. Seems silly--but these little laspe in communication can cause HUGE stress for families. I'm excited about this group. It's much less rumor mill and more supportive an fun. We'll see what happens. This photo is a photo I found online that I thought was pretty neat--we'll never have a real sonogram--but this is pretty neat--really illustrates what we're doing visually. SoI wanted to share with you all.

Life has been really crazy work wise--but I'm not complaining--I love it. The balance thing continues to be a struggle, but so much easier owning my own studio, rather than working for someone else. God has sent many praises my way from co-workers, clients, family and friends--these praises are the fuel to keep pushing forward and they warm my heart through and through.

Planning a 50th Birthday Surprise Party for Dan--my sister and her husband are coming from Vermont to surprise him--and a lot of his family and friends from Nebraska are coming too. I'm having it catered so my master griller--Dan--will not have a thing to do--except enjoy his friends and family and celebrate. I hope he enjoys it and he's very SURPRISED. Seems we will have an overflowing house that night with 13 people from out of town staying here with us. Funny thing is--if Dan knew that--he's flip--and start running around doing crazy stuff that just isn't neceesary--nice--but not necessary. So--hopefully--the surprise factor will keep the stress levels down leading up and make for a wonderful day. I've been trying to plan this party for over a year--and it keeps getting spoiled for one reason or another--but hey--it's happening--and it's almost so spontaneous that it will be less stress for me too. I'm looking forward to it. Just have to get my work done before everyone arrives!

Had a really wonderful visit with my older brother Dan Sunday night--seems he's doing good and that warms my heart. He's such a good guy--he deserves to be happy. I've been trying to tell him for years to just focus on himself and not worry about a female partner for a while and everything would fall in place. Seems he might be doing that now--and it's paying off in contentment.

My little sister (I love that--cause I'm the big sister--and I love being her big sister) continues to be a wise, compassionate, loving support to me. I just love her so much.

That's it for to work.