Thursday, May 31, 2007

Some Adoptive Parents:
Look Right.
I don't mean for this post to be mean... BUT...
I spend a lot of time each day on the Internet. I live in the land of the Rumor Queen. I belong to more Yahoo adoption groups than the law should allow. I feel like I have a pretty "good" sense on what's going on in the world of Chinese Adoption. So, I find it hard to imagine sometimes that there are adoptive parents out there who don't read, research, talk & discuss issues surrounding adoption. I don't know why it shocks me so... my husband knows zilch... he relys on me... his very own personal Rumor Queen-ette... to inform him on what's new & where we stand in the process. I guess what doesn't bother me about my hubby & does bother me about some of these other parents is that they go around telling people stuff that just isn't true. I know... "someone"... who has a friend who is also waiting for a baby from China. This friend is logged in 4 months after me. She told my person that she thinks she'll have her baby by CHRISTMAS... this YEAR! Now... either this girl is the epitome of the picture above or she knows something I don't.... which I would find nearly impossible. This "someone" & I have had discussions before where they have said "So-n-So says she is going to have to wait 15 months." Yeah... if she were getting her baby TODAY, but my wait is going to be around 24 stinkin' months... and those logged in after me will probably wait longer. 15 months is just what it is TODAY... not what it's going to be TOMORROW. It's like if this person had a friend who was pregnant saying "my labor is only going to be 3 hours" because she had talked to someone else who's labor was 3 hours long. It's possible, but more likely that she'll be huffin' & puffin' for a good 8-12 hours like the rest of us did.
I feel sorry for these parents... and I'm SURE there are more out there like my friend's friend. They're going to be SO disappointed when their baby isn't home this Christmas & maybe not home the next! This process is so totally unpredictable... you gotta look at the sky to look for signs of rain. And those of us in it now have really hit a rough patch... we got caught up in a slow down that has little explanation... and the explanations we get are conflicting & sketchy. It's not like the SARS epidemic and waiting families knew why the brakes got slammed on. I would encourage any prospective parent going through this process to EDUCATE YOURSELF! Go outside what your agency is telling you... look at the sky... why signs do you see? We are blessed to live in a time when information is so readily available to us... be thankful & USE IT! It won't make the wait shorter or easier... but at least you'll know what to expect... and you won't look ridiculous walking around telling people things about your adoption that just aren't true!

Matching Room

Found another picture

Right away: My eyes are drawn to the shelves in the back of the room. Now, I don't know when this picture was taken... I found it on line... but from what I hear of the ENORMOUS back-log of dossiers the CCAA has now because of the slow down... I would think that these shelves now would have to go on for miles! It's rumored that they received 3,000 dossiers in November 2005 alone... that's close to 1/2 the usual amount of China to US adoptions a YEAR!

Second: look at that big, 'ol fancy chandelier! It makes me laugh that they've got that mack daddy light fixture above those dinky little cubicles. I could see that in the chairman's office, but it looks a little odd here.

Where, O where is my dossier?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Another episode of:

Tate says
the darnedest

I have three great kids. I love my girls to pieces... but my "Tater-Tot" is hilarious. A lot of the time very frustrating & maddening... but he can make me laugh out loud like no other kid can. So to help pass the time, I thought I'd bring you some of the funny things he says from time to time.... or at least that I think are funny.

Today at the Dollar Tree he picked out a FBI detective kit... complete with hand cuffs, a gun, badge, etc. After immediately opening the package in the car he shows me the badge and says "Mama, this says FBI." "Cool," I say... "Are you going to be in the FBI one day?" (He thinks policemen are rad.) And now the funny part: "No," he answers "The FBI requires a lot of training and sometimes my legs get tired." I mean, what 5 year old thinks like that? I couldn't help but laugh. And that's all for tonight's episode.

Wheeeee!!! or Bleeeekkk!!!
It's the end of the month... 'bout time for a new batch of referrals to be on their way from China. As I told you in the Matching Room post, families are matched thus, referrals being made, right before they're mailed. The week that this happens... the pre-referral week, LOTS of rumors start leaking in on the "CUT OFF DATE." Ahhh... the cut off date. A very, super, most important number to us waiting families. It's this date that let's us know how much closer we have become to it being OUR time... to receiving OUR referral... to go on OUR trip to China... and meeting OUR daughter. If you decide to look at the rumors, you are deciding to take a ride on the China Adoption Emotional Rollercoaster. At times on this ride you'll squeel with delight. Rumors come in that the CCAA is matching 2 WEEKS of families. Oh yeah... a speed up... the light at the end of our tunnel is growing brighter. Then the next time you check in... uh-oh... I'm feeling sick... you lean over the side of your coaster seat and bleeek... up comes your morning coffee. Only a couple DAYS of referrals are expected. No hurry in making that junk room a nursery... it's gonna be a while longer. But no matter how many times I lean back up nauseated and green I don't get off. No way, Jose! I love the rumors... I love the rollercoaster... even though the ride stinks!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

This is cool...
It's The Matching Room .
To the right is a picture I found of the Matching Room at the CCAA in Beijing. See the shelves behind the girls... those are dossiers. Just sitting... waiting... begging to be next. Each Adoption Agency is color coded. I'm not sure what color our agency is... but you can notice different color stacks... I see a red, a blue, a yellow. Once dossiers pass muster through the Review Room they take their place in line here on a shelf in the Matching Room. You can see in the cubicle stacks of dossiers as well. I suppose (from what I gather) that each "matcher" takes a stack of adoptive dossiers... then a stack of available babies... and basically wa-la... matches them up. I've heard that they possibly look at our passport photos... (oh, super... not the best photo Todd or I have ever had taken) & look for physical similarities in available babies. Sometimes they might match babies described as liking music with parents who described themselves as musical. I've heard rumors that the Chinese are into numbers... and stay away from matching babies with birth dates that might not line up well "numerically" with the birth dates of prospective parents. Matching takes place right before the referrals are sent. Matched family files don't sit around collecting dust like the dossiers do. Once referrals are compiled... they're mailed. So there you have it. The place where in the Chinese adoption world conception takes place... two separate entities meet and create a new life... a family.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Smokey Sunday
I really can't remember the last time it rained here. Really. For the first time in a couple weeks, The Weather Channel is predicting rain for Georgia in our 10-day forecast. It is sooo dry. I've been watering the shatoogee out of my grass every night trying to keep it alive... breaking all kinds of watering restriction laws, I'm sure. South Georgia is on fire. This weekend the wind has brought the smoke up from the south, covering the state with a thick, hazy smoke that's hangs in the air like a dense fog. It's everywhere. It's unbelieveable. It's begging for rain. Please God, send us rain... lot's of rain, soon!
The Telephone.

I do not like talking on the phone. When I was a teenager the absolute worst punishment my parents could give me was to put me on phone "restriction." Ohhhh... the HORROR! My how times have changed. I like having a phone for the following reasons:
1. Get something I need. A doctor's appointment, a pizza, a wallpaper lady.
2. To check on someone. How my mom's feeling, if my grandma's o.k., when Todd's coming home from work.
3. To make a date. Set up play dates, ask someone for dinner, meet at the park.
4. In case of an emergency. Todd's gone a lot, when traveling in the car, if the big girls are home alone.
It is so hard for me to "chat" on the phone and that bothers me. My kids are running around always needing things, I'm working around the house or in the yard and I get a neck ache from balancing the phone & folding laundry, someone else is calling, Todd's on the computer so I'm messing up his wireless connection... it's just too difficult. The invention of email is a beautiful thing. It's my best communication friend in the world. I'm way more inconvenienced when my Internet is down than when my phone's out. As a kid I don't remember my mom "chatting" on the phone. Did yours? But my niece, who's 13, is always on the phone. So instead of concluding that I've become a pre-middle-aged, unsociable grump... I've decided it's an age thing. As one "matures" into adulthood the need to constantly gab on the phone is replaced by the need to be efficient... get things done as quickly as possible so there's more time to do important things... like sleep!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Let the

Summer Begin!

We just returned from our first excursion of Summer '07. We visited Stone Mountain Park this past week... trying out our new wheels (camper) ... and enjoying the park before school let out & the crowds swarmed in. The kids had never been to Stone Mountain before & they had a great time. Major bummer: the Laser Show doesn't start nightly until AFTER Memorial Day & we chose to go before Memorial Day to beat the crowds. Guess we'll have to journey back later in the summer so the kids can catch the show. Here's a pic of the kids ON TOP of Stone Mountain... a 1.3 miles hike up the right side. You can see the Atlanta skyline in the background. Our weather was beautiful, breezy & very comfortable. The worst part was the hike for dear 'ol Mom... I'm OUT OF SHAPE! I commented to my sister-in-law on the way down that I've got some conditioning to do before I walk the Great Wall in China! Have a great holiday weekend everyone & Happy Summertime!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Day 500
Today is the 500th "official" day of our wait for Lilly. I've really been wanting her the past few days. Today in church I had this vision so clearly of cradling her in my arms and looking down into her face. I can only imagine what the day will be like when I am holding this long- anticipated daughter in my arms... brushing the hair out of her eyes and gazing at her face. I don't know if I'll squeal with excitement or cry with relief.

Monday, May 14, 2007

What's in a name? (Part I)
To me, one of the most fun parts of expecting a baby is picking out the name. I have to say I single handily picked out Baby #1 & Baby #2's names all by myself... even though I wanted to call Emily by her middle name, "Mae", but Todd wanted Emily & so we call her Emily. (I still wish we called her Mae... I love that name... maybe I'll talk Em into naming her daughter Mae.) Anyhoo, when we knew we were expecting a boy for #3 it took a little more time & cooperative effort. All of a sudden, because this baby had male "parts" Todd became very interested in what we would name this "Golden Child" and was going to make sure I didn't choose a name that would make him want to take ballet lessons. This boy had to play football, kill deer & drive a pick-up truck and we needed an appropriate name. Now that Baby #4 is a girl again, I'm back in the driver's seat.
All of my children have family names. No name is pulled out of a hat... all must be after someone special. Baby #4 is no exception. There have been some non-family names I really have liked this time around, but because she'll be adopted and I'm sure at some hormonal, adolescent, rebellious place in time I'd hear "oh, because I'm not blood related to you I didn't get a family name like my sisters & brother???" I decided to be safe & stick with the family tree to name our new baby.
The picture above is of the kids with my Grandmother. My dad's mom. Her name is Lillian Fern and it will after her that Lilly will be named. My Grandma is an amazing woman. I tell her that she's my inspiration on how to grow old. At 82 she's outgoing and busy and even though her favorite place is on her sun porch rocking with her dog & doing the crossword puzzles, she doesn't stay there long because she's always on the go. She has lots of friends, plays cards, goes to the beach, is active at church & Bible study... living each day to the fullest. To my children she's a wonderful "G.G." (G.G. because she says she's now "G"reat & "G"rand.) She is a storybook great-grandmother. She thinks God's sweetest little angels live under my roof. She loves to feed them cookies & Coke... make them pancakes for supper & let them stay up late. She plays games with them, takes them on walks & on trips to the park. When they stay with her they're always "soooo good," "sooo cute," and "sooo funny" and she thanks me, instead of me thanking her, for me asking her to watch them.
So that's were we ( or I) got Lilly's name. In Part II, we'll talk about her middle name.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Hey... what about ME???
We go to a great little church. We love our pastor. But, I have to admit, I'm a little miffed. Maybe it's my "pregnancy" hormones raging... I don't know. Each Sunday morning we get a program before church. It's got the order of service, announcements, weekly events, etc. Well it also includes specific prayer requests for church members. Our pastor takes time in each service to pray for those items one by one. It's awesome. One item under the prayer request section that is always there is "Expectant Mothers." I've been there for a while. A long while. Ladies have come... ladies have gone. More ladies have come... more ladies have gone. Guess who's still there? Me. Well, the list had finally gotten down to two. Me & Susan Brown. Susan had her baby in March. Mary Evelynn... so cute! Well, since Susan & Mary Evelynn are safe & sound and now officially off the "Expectant Mothers" list... I'm alone. Well, in the past few weeks guess what? No prayers. The pastor has gone through the list each week... prayed for bereavements, illnesses, homes to sale, etc.... and he's skipped right over the "Expectant Mother." Was I just an after thought ALL those months before when other women were REALLY pregnant. Am I not an "Expectant Mother" because there is no baby growing in my belly? I'm being totally self-absorbed I know... it's just after hearing it Sunday after Sunday for years now and all of a sudden not to hear it now that I'm alone makes me go hmmmmmmmmmm????


I hear variations of the above question every day. When are you getting Lilly? When do you think you'll go to China? When are we going to hear something? When? When? When? I don't know. Every time I "guess" it get blown completely out of the water. I was sure we'd get our referral this summer. Then it was the fall. I thought surely we wouldn't be able to go to Disney for Tate's birthday because we'd be in China. Now... I'm making reservation for Disney. The Rumor Queen... God love her... works for us. Whomever this mysterious adoptive mother is, she spends a great deal of time & effort doing all sorts of informative things for our Chinese Adoption Community. She's the master of polls, graphs & charts and she works steadily in her workshop compiling all the facts & figures to give us the most up-to-date "guesstimates" on how the wait will play out in the coming months. She posted the above graph on her site this week. It's pretty self-explanitory. Our log in date is January 5th. This graph doesn't include our date... it just takes us through the end of 2005. So, logically we would or could be the next group after December 23rd. With that in mind, you can see what we're looking at for bad, mid & good case senarios for when we'll receive Lilly's referral. Remember, travel to China to bring Lilly home will take place 6-8 weeks AFTER our referral. At this point, we could have just gotten home with Lilly this time next year OR we could be spending Christmas in China. But at least, with things remaining status quo, you can see WHEN!!!

It's Official

The CCAA is "officially" matching November families. Even though we could be a good 8 months away from our referral... I'm excited! Really excited! This time next year our Lilly could be here. This waiting could all be over. I'll probably be pulling my hair out & instead of excited be exhausted... but hey, I'm exhausted now. And you know the craziest part.... I'm already thinking about #5. I've always wanted Lilly to have a sister born in China. I just think it would be so comforting & wonderful for her to have a sister just like her... what a bond they would have! I wonder what will happen to this wait after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing? Some speculate the flood gates will open up & the wait will fall drastically... back to the good 'ol days of 6 & 7 months. Many think China's trying to put on a good "face" for when the world's eyes will be upon it next summer... not wanting to appear as a "Baby Factory" with Americans, Europeans & Canadians wandering the streets & airports with Chinese children. I am really leaning towards the Special Needs program for #5 ... especailly if after the Olympics the wait doesn't look like it's going to shorten. I can't manage another 2 year pregnancy! (Thanks RQ for the pic.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Babies are here!

Referrals for families logged in from October 27 - November 1, 2005 are coming in. Click HERE to go to where you can click on the blogs of some of the lucky families & see pictures of their new daughters. Lots of young ones (just over six months) in this batch. Oh... I hope Lilly's a little baby too! Maybe she'll be born today???