Friday, June 29, 2007

Back to the trenches.

It has finally been 3 months since my spinal fusion and that is how long I promised the neurosurgeon I would stay away from work. I am self-employed so if I don’t work I don’t get paid anything. So on Saturday I plan on going back. I am still in some pain but hope that getting back to work will help me work through that pain. If I can get through the first month I think I will make it back. I love my job, I feel like a duck in water when it comes to finishing sheetrock. There is a lot of lifting pushing and pulling that goes with my job. Although I can’t spell very well, the business of drywall is something that I am very good at and I have worked hard to make myself one of the best finishers in the area, and am paid very well for my skill. Now I will have to work to get back into the physical shape I was in before the surgery. I know that it will take time and work.
My surgeon told me that it could take up to a year before I am 100%. I couldn’t do anything before the surgery. I was in so much pain I couldn’t sit or stand for more then 5 minutes at a time, and that was on heavy pain meds. My father-in-law was kind enough to drive me to all my doctors appointments. I am truly blessed to have such a nice mother and father-in-law that live so close. Then after surgery, at first, I couldn’t walk without a walker and had to learn how to do that again. When it come to pain before and after, my pain has been reduced 90% so the surgery was the right choice and a success.
I always try to remember, and some of you, that have followed my blog know that it was when I was off with my first back surgery that I discovered the “Lost Girls of China” and Lori and my lives have been changed forever. So sometimes good things come from bad. I have so many new experiences to look forward to over the next couple of years and would still like to share our adoption experience and our experience of hosting a exchange student for China. I don’t get many comments but I do like it when I get them so if you have commented thank you, I do read them all. I will let you know if I am able to get back to work OK.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Don’t mess with the kitty!

I very rarely stray from the subject of China on this blog, however something has been banned that a lot of people may not know was even taking place.
I have known of this practice for years and this is the first report of this kind that I have seen. This is not a joke either a lot of women have suffered from what I see, in my opinion, is a cruel and inhumane practice. Unfortunately it still goes on in many parts if the world. Do a Google search on female circumcision and the results are horrifying. Sorry if this is too disturbing for you I try to keep this blog only China and our adoption and on the lighter side related but this is a topic that Lori and I have discussed many times. I may remove this post, I don’t know how long I will leave it.

Two girls sit next to an old knife that is used to perform female circumcision

Yahoo News headline

Egypt Outlaws All Female Circumcision

CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt on Thursday finally banned all female circumcision, the widely-practised removal of the clitoris which just days ago cost the life of a 12-year-old girl.Officially the practice, which affects both Muslim and Christian women in Egypt and goes back to the time of the pharoahs, was banned in 1997 but doctors were allowed to operate "in exceptional cases".
On Thursday, Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali decided to ban every doctor and member of the medical profession, in public or private establishments, from carrying out a clitoridectomy, a ministry press official told AFP.
Any circumcision "will be viewed as a violation of the law and all contraventions will be punished," said the official, adding that it was a "permanent ban".
A survey in 2000 said the practice was carried out on 97 percent of the country's women.
In the latest fatality, 12-year-old Bedur Ahmed Shaker was taken by her mother to a private clinic in Minya, a town on the Nile south of Cairo, for the operation. She died before she could be transferred to hospital.
Her mother accused the woman doctor of negligence, charging that her daughter's death was linked to the anaesthetic and not the removal of the clitoris, for which she had paid 50 pounds (nearly nine dollars). Police have arrested both women.

Information From CCAA Meetings.

Ok, I cut and pasted this from the “China Adopt talk” site if you are not in the china adoption community this might read like assembly instructions for a jet. I have grown to respect her for what she does for the people waiting. Wile she may not always be right with her information, speculations, and rumors. There is there is always some truth to what she posts and over time her resources‘, (the people she gets information from) have grown to trust her to not revile who they are so she gets better information now.Wile I am under my word that I will not divulge any privet information that my agency gives me, and I keep my word. If I happen to come across the same information some where else I feel it is Ok to post it. To help people who don’t have a agency that is supporting them with information.
Wile I agree with most of the stuff the part about 1/5 are IA adoptions I don't and neather duse Jane Liedtke, Jane is also a person I have beleave to have good solid information. Livng in China She even go's as fare as to say. Don't believe 4/5 of all adoptions are domestic - that would put the number pretty high. If there are 10,000 international that would mean there are 40,000 domestic. I have heard the domestic number around 10,000. With the new one-child policy allowing families to adopt a second child without penalty one would expect a minor increase in domestic adoptions but the core issue remains - people want kids from people they know or blood relatives in keeping with cultural norms. Most adoptions domestically are either a) informal or b) through relatives and c) orphans. Most people who live and work in China do not believe government statistics. And, for sure there are more kids available for adoption than the numbers of people waiting for them. FACE is a big issue - CCAA doesn't want adoptions to be a focus during the Olympics for sure.
So here you go.

China Adopt Talk
Information from CCAA Meetings June 26th, 2007From the people who attended some of the meetings, most of them made some mention of the CCAA delegates truly caring about the children and being very interested in talking to them and hearing about them. I will again say that most everyone who has ever met someone who works at the CCAA comes away realizing that they take their job of finding families for babies very, very, seriously.Several people who asked direct questions of a CCAA delegate had their questions responded to with a very joking “that is a secret”. It was given with a smile and a twinkle of an eye and no one was made to feel uncomfortable. Kudos to the CCAA for learning a bit about our culture, and that it is better to not answer the question at all than to give a false answer. I know it’s frustrating to not get answers, but IMO if they aren’t going to give an answer it is so much better to be upfront about it in such a friendly way than to give a false answer.The good news is that many people were also given answers to their questions. Does this mean that we can trust the answers? I really hope it does.There is a lot of information here, so I’ve listed them in bullet points of what people and/or agencies were told, grouped together by topic. I’m not going to interject my own thoughts on most of these items, but I will be covering several of them on individual blog posts later on.It seems that about half of the agencies were told the wait will reach from “two to three years” and the other half were told from “two and a half to three years”. (To me, the important number here is that they are acknowledging the wait could reach three years.)One agency reports the maximum wait will be 2.5 years. (RQ note: I put this in because if I don’t I’ll get 50 emails saying , “but that’s not what MY agency says”)Various delegates were asked by several people when they thought it might reach three years. No one reports receiving an answer other than one that basically said it’s hard to know or impossible to know.Based on their conversations, many agencies are reporting that we’ll be at a two year wait when we finish 2007. Several are reporting it will happen before we finish 2007. Several report that the CCAA will be referring some of the December 2005 families in December 2007. (RQ note: All of these could mean something slightly different, but they all point to the same ballpark.)The CCAA feels that in 2008 they will be back to something closer to 15 days per month. (RQ Clarification – I am reading this to say that 7 or 8 months from now they think they will be back to 15 day batches)Expedited families of Chinese Heritage can expect to wait 12 to 15 months for referral. New restrictions mean that eligibility is for second generation only.The CCAA is currently referring 600 to 700 babies per month. This total includes SN and NSN.Backlog figures: total dossiers received in 2006 (NSN and SN) were around 30,000. Total dossiers received January through May of 2007 were around 10,000. (Yes, there will be a post devoted solely to these last two bullet points.)Apparently, $3,000 does not go as far as it did 15 years ago when the figure was put in place. Orphanages no longer see this as the huge incentive it used to be to make babies paper ready. Also, with the Hague came more paperwork for the SWI’s as well, another reason they feel they should be getting more money. So, the orphanages want the figure higher, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has the final say in this and they say no. The CCAA understands why the MoCA says no, but they do not feel they will be able to get more paperwork coming in unless the figure is raised. (I have a lot to say about this, and I will in a later post. We’ve been talking about it in the forum and I’ve received some private correspondence backing this up from some other agencies.)This next one also ties in with the above, but the idea is that some of the Hague requirements have taken away the spirit of cooperation that existed before between SWI’s and the CCAA. One agency uses the word cumbersome, another speaks in terms of the SWI’s feeling they aren’t trustworthy anymore. I get the idea that they are offended by some of the new paperwork requirements.The new rules were put in place to try to bring the wait back down. The program will continue in the long term. If there were plans to stop the program they would not have bothered with the new rules.If the new rules do not create the desired equilibrium, they will put more stringent rules in place.Abandonments are down and domestic adoption is up, however, there are still many orphans in China who need families. The CCAA is working very hard to try to match these children with families. Please be patient as they work to find ways to make this happen.From a question of whether the problem is because there are no orphans or whether there are orphans but they are not being prepared for IA, the answer was that “the problem is paper ready babies”. (RQ note: The question was asked in a longer and much more respectful way, so don’t think someone asked an offensive question here.)Of the total number of adoptions in China, 1/5 of them are IA and the remaining 4/5ths are domestic adoptions.The CCAA only needs to see an updated home study if one of the following major changes occurs: change in health status, birth of another child, adoption of another child, significant change to financial circumstances such as loss of employment. (RQ note: Does this mean birth and adoption are okay while waiting, they just want to know about it? That’s what it sounds like.)As abandonments decrease, the proportion of children with SN increases. The CCAA is working to find solutions to finding families for these children.For families requesting the CCAA match them with a special needs child, the anticipated waiting time is expected to be 12 to 15 months. For those who will only accept very minor special needs it could be a good bit longer since there are so many parents asking for this. For those willing to accept more severe special needs it could be a good bit shorter.The CCAA prefers that families start out in the program they wish to be in. They would like to discourage families from starting in the NSN program and switching to the SN program. They aren’t saying it is not allowed, they are just trying to encourage agencies to help families make up their mind before they submit their dossier so they don’t change their mind later. While this next part wasn’t actually stated, several people got the idea that this is being requested because it’s just so hard to pull a dossier out of those 30,000+ dossiers they must have warehoused somewhere in their new building.While it is not encouraged (see above) those already LID can switch to SN whether they meet the new May 1st rules or not. (RQ note: Apparently they started out requiring that any change meant you must meet new rules, but have changed their stance on this.)Under the new SN pilot program SWI’s will send children’s paperwork directly to agencies as soon as a child’s paperwork is complete, not in batches. The paperwork does not have to filter through the Provincial Authority and the CCAA, meaning children should be placed quicker.The CCAA is still considering an “online special needs program” that they would manage, instead of the agencies having lists. (RQ speculation: I have to wonder if they are going to let bigger agencies work directly with an orphanage and then let the smaller agencies have access to a “big list” that the CCAA would manage. If they are still considering this while they are implementing the new pilot program it’s the only thing that seems to make sense.)The CCAA made it clear that for children who do not pass a medical exam, another referral will only be given if the child’s physical circumstances are different from the information given in the referral packet. (RQ Note: I assume this means the CCAA will no longer issue another referral for a child exhibiting signs of RAD or autism.)Most domestic adoptions happen at the provincial level and the CCAA is not involved.The CCAA hopes that families do not give up hope. Families waiting will get a child. They hope for patience and understanding.Remember, these items are not from a single statement. I’ve put together information from all of the meetings into one long post. Some of these items only come from one meeting, but most of them come from more than one meeting. Some of them come from information agencies have made available to their clients, but much of it also comes from conversations that individuals had with a CCAA delegate. More than one agency reported that the delegates would not give information as a group, it was only during the one-on-one conversations that they received information.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

“ Parental Warning Explicited Content“, OH MY!

Lori and I heard from Annie this weekend, although her E-mails were short because she is studying for her final exams. Annie’s E-mails reminded me of when Lori was getting ready for a test in nursing school. She was studying all day every day. I would find her many nights passed out in bed with her book on her chest, wiped out from many late nights of studying.
We did confirm her address and sent her a birthday card & gift she likes London-based pop singer/songwriter, Lilly Allen, so I got her a "clean radio" edited Wal-Mart version of Lilly Allen’s CD and sent it to her. It should get to her before her birthday. When I went to Barnes & Noble to pick up the CD it said. “ Parental Waring Explicited Content“, OH MY, well that is not a way to start a good relationship with her parents now is it. So off to Wal-Mart I went. (they only carry edited versions).
We confirmed she will be flying in on the 11th of August, so 6 weeks to go. I hope she is going to be out of school after this week of tests so she has the next 6 weeks to spend with her family. Leaving them for a year has to be hard. Our AYUSA rep has set up our orientation meeting on the 4th of August. I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say. It is suppose to go over the metamorphous that the students go through the year, as she begins to settle in.
We also got a white bed, dresser and nightstand for Annie from a friend of ours that she had in her garage but didn’t need anymore. It all looks brand new, thanks for your help Melissa.
Below is a photo of Annie a year ago at her 15th birthday party with her cousin standing next to her. We hope to get some more recent photos of her in the next couple of weeks. Because kids can change so much over the coarse of a year. In all the pictures we have gotten of her so far she looks like a happy and out going girl.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The roads are still safe for now.

I took my son to get his driver permit agene last week, he got one when he was 14 and it had expired. Thankful he passed, you do not wont to be around a teenager when the worst thing that could ever happen in there life goes down. (Wink) He has to drive around with old Mom and Dad until he has 6 consecutive months under his belt. So the world at large it safe until December. I remember when I was little I couldn’t get a liesence fast enough and to be turning 16 with a car already waiting for him you would think he would have pushed to get it 6 months ago. I think reality will hit when he goes to high school next year and a lot of his friends are driving.


Check out my sweet ride!

He would get into alot more trouble if he dident have a winning smile.

The freak of nature you see in the right of your screen is our Chihuahua Cecil, he has taken to sitting is grossly huge body for a Chihuahua on top of our recliner. But we still love him, so he is tuck with us.
I got this top 10 list from the site listed at the bottom, funny you have to click on the words at the bottom to view there site.

Top 10 Ways You Know You've Waited Too Long For a Referral From China:

10. You've stopped telling people you're adopting from China because chances are the next time you run into them you'll still be waiting.
9. When someone tells you a far off date in the future as 12-18 months you think to yourself "wow, that's coming up so soon!"
8. You know people who have had two kids in the time you've been waiting for a referral from China.
7. The last Olympics were happening when you started trying for a family and there's a good chance you'll be in China for the '08 Olympics there.
6. You know couples who have gotten engaged, married and had a baby all while you've been trying to start a family.
5. You try out all the baby stuff on the cat to "practice"--and you take pictures to post on your website because there's no other news to report.
4. You automatically convert the time to Beijing time in your head because you think maybe the CCAA is working on referrals.
3. Your nursery bedding has been discontinued.
2. You've had to dust cobwebs off the changing table in the nursery.
1. You've gone on your last childless vacation.....5 times!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We got some pictures from Annie.

Over the weekend we were able to talk to Annie through E-mails she sounds like such a wonderful child that will be able to make friends quickly. We sent questions back and forth she did ask us if the kids at the school she would be attending were like the girls in the movie “ Mean Girls”. Lori wrote back to her and said . “Unfortunately people like the ones in the movie Mean Girls exist everywhere but the majority of people in school here are nice and just want to be friends“. I am already proud of her for have the courage to come to the us to live with us for 11 months. It has to be a scary thing, she is used to living away from home during the week because she is in boarding school. Still it is a huge step to take for some one about to turn 16. Below are some photo’s of Annie military school she had to go for 10 days. And the photo below that is outside her school beautiful street I love the way the trees cover the road. Because she is in boarding school during the week she only has contact with us on the weekends when she goes home. That good give us both some thing to look forward to.

" Culture is a window reflecting the history, culture and spiritual world of a nation. Cultural exchange is a bridge to enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between the people of different nations."
- Hu Jintao, President, People’s Repulbic of China

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Big news for our family and friends !

Big news for our family and friends ! Lori and I found out that we got the clearance from the high school that we have been waiting on to be able to host an AYUSA exchange student from China.
Her American name is Annie (at least that is what she had put in her letter about herself). So when I speak of Annie in posts you will know who I am talking about. We are so excited to have this opportunity to be Annie’s host family for the next school year.
Although it is going to be a more work and expense, I believe the rewords both for Her and for us will quickly out pace any extra work it will bring. Lori & I always learn to adjust to what ever life give us. Annie will be spending the hole school year with us, she will arrive some time in early August so we can get her setup with classes at school.
We are not expecting a referral from China before the end of the school year next year. So Annie is going to be using Norah’s room wile she is with us, Hope she likes pink.

If she doesn’t we will get her some posters.

Right now I am getting things together for her room Bed and beding, night stand desk ect. Lori and I have been preparing for a baby girl for that last year and now we are going to have another teenager in the house and a girl at that. I don’t have a clue as to the workings of the mind of a 16 year old girl. I was going to “learn as you go,” as Norah got older. Maybe there’s a crash Corse on parenting teen girls, I can take in the next 6 weeks to get ready. I will have to look at Barns & Noble for one.
We look forward to the cultural exchange that will come take place between Annie and our family. To be able make her a part of our family for the time she is here, to be able to see the world through her eyes. Watch as she tries thing for the first time.
We look forward to celebrating holidays and traditions form both sides of the world with her. I know this is a huge responsibility to under take to both physically and mentally care for , guide, and protect someone else’s child for a year.This next year may not always be easy but it will be interesting.

Adoption - Jen and Family

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dove Exposes the truth behind Fake Beauty.

Dove Exposes the truth behind Fake Beauty.

Lori came across this the other day. I thought it was good enough to share. Dove shows why some of our wives and daughters have a hard time accepting themselves as beautiful while trying to look like the girls in the magazines. Even though Dove themselves have been guilty of this very samething at least they made this video to show everyone that what you see in the magazines is not real. They have also started their "real" beauty campaign which is amazing. So I have to give them credit for those things. I have known about the way magazines are "doctored" for some time an old friend of mine works in computer touch up for a printing company. You would not believe how much manipulating that goes on with models. What they can do with computers now.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I 171-H news!

Thought I would pass this along we all wil have to redo our I 171-H if you are adopting NSN if you can hold off to redo your I 171-H untile after july 30 you will not have to pay the fees over agen. It would be a shame if you redid your this mounth and found this out.

An all new level of Sanity or is it Insanity, we will have to see.

I know I have been keeping up with this blog, well that isn’t the hole truth we have been very busy working on another life experience .
Me Lori and Brandon just had to go through a new home study, background check, get our friends to give us references, and agene we are waiting to here the results, we have passed all of the stuff on our end we just have to wait on one or two more government ok‘s. We should know the results of that work soon, we hope that this will come true for our family. It is not anther adoption or have any thing to do with our adoption, All I can say is if we are able to pull this off we will have the opportunity to see the world throw another family members eyes. Hears to hopping to make a difference in life, hers and our families, for the next year.
Below are some links to help remind everyone that adoptions are still going on. The families below just got there referrals so they will be heading off to China soon it you want to fallow there blog. If they had given up because the waiting was to hard and long see what they would be missing from there families. Even at a snails pace familys are still being formed.