Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas and CCAA stuff

Jen and I are both on vacation this week, we were hoping to go on a little skiing trip but there isn't any snow anywhere in New England. So we are just taking the time to relax. We did send a letter out to the USCIS today as our fingerprints are about to expire and we will need to be re-printed. Hopefully we will hear from them within the next few weeks so we can get that taken care of. We had a nice quiet Christmas, spent time with family, pretty low key. Grace got a few presents as well. Grammy and Grandpa got her a snowsuit. Uncle Stephen, Aunt Maura and the girls got her an Asian Cabbage Patch Newborn. And Grandma King got her a piggy bank.

I found something really cool this morning as well, Love Without Boundaries has some pictures of the CCAA's new building. One of the pictures is of a shelf of all of the waiting dossiers. We assume that our dossier is on that shelf somewhere. This is about as close as we are going to get to getting an ultrasound pic. I have been wanting to make a donation to this organization and a note on the page asks for a donation if you use the pics. They do some great work in China so we made a donation and here is the pic.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New CCAA Rules

A few weeks ago the Chinese adoption community was buzzing about a meeting that the China Center of Adoption Affairs had regarding new rules for adoptive parents. The reported details of the meeting were that as of May 1st 2007 China will no longer accept applications to place children with parents who:

  • Are Single
  • Have been married less than 2 years
  • Have a BMI over 40
  • Are under 30 or over 50
  • Have been divorced more than 2 times
  • Have been treated for infectious disease, depression or anxiety
  • Have net assets under $80,000
  • Do not have at least a high school education
  • And a few other random things

Fortunately Jen and I would not be affected by any of the new restrictions and since we have already sent our application to China it is expected that we would be grandfathered in even if we fell into the above restrictions. There are a lot of people though that were hoping to adopt in the coming year and will no longer be able to because of the new rules. Also many couples who have already adopted once from China will now not be able to go back to adopt a mei mei (little sister). The odd thing is that the CCAA has not officially released a statement about these new restrictions. Because nothing official has been released and some of the restrictions are open to interpretation there seems to be some confusion regarding some of the restrictions. Some agencies are posting/reporting the restrictions as fact but the details are being interpreted differently by each agency. We haven't heard anything from our agency about the new rules, which is good. I think they are waiting until something official comes out rather than speculate. This week the media picked up on the new restrictions and there were articles in most of the major papers including this one in the Boston Globe. Hopefully something official will be released soon so we all know for sure what these new restrictions will be.
The next batch of referrals should be coming out soon as well. There were rumors that they would be here before Christmas, another rumor that they would be here after Christmas and yet another rumor that they will not be here until next year. One of the rumors has to be right but s usual nobody has any idea when.

Jen finished up her Christmas shopping a few weeks ago and I as usual haven't started yet. We are planning a low key Christmas this year, we didn't decorate the house or put up a tree. We are just planning to visit with family and save the big celebrations for when we have Grace home. Jen and I did buy each other a special gift for Christmas though, we have a vacation in Jamaica to look forward to in February.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

11 Month as Christmas Cards

We were hoping this would finally be the year where we could send out Christmas cards with a family picture including Grace. Instead we have to settle for this:

We usually keep the door to the nursery closed so when Lucy gets a chance to go in there she has to investigate everything. I guess she decided that the changing table was for her. Today is also kind of a milestone for us as it is 11 months since our Log in Date. Sometimes it feels like the past 11 months has flown by which gives us some hope that the remaining months will go by just as fast.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

CCAA December Update

The China Center for Adoption Affairs website was updated late last week that they have finished placement of children with families have log in dates up to September 8, 2006. That is fourteen days worth of Log in Dates which seems to be about the average they have been referring the past few months. Based on an current average of about 15 days of LIDs referred per month, this would put us at getting our referral sometime this summer. But we really hate to set our expectations based on current averages because as we have seen so much can change month to month. For anyone who happened to see Jen's parent's 50th Anniversary announcement in the Lowell Sun this weekend, it was a misprint that we recently adopted Grace. It was supposed to read that we are waiting to adopt Grace.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, we spent the Holiday with family. It was an unseasonably warm weekend here and we used the time to get some much needed yard cleanup done. I know I haven't updated this site in a while but there really hasn't been a whole lot going on related to the adoption. Rumors are starting to pick up that the next batch of referrals should be coming in this week. There is also another rumor floating around that I refuse to repeat that would be really positive news but we don't want to get our hopes up only to be disappointed.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

CCAA November Update

We got some more good news yesterday. The CCAA website was updated that they have finished review of dossiers logged in before January 31, 2006. This means someone in China has finally looked at our dossier and deemed us OK to adopt. We have heard that sometimes they have questions about a medical issue, income, or criminal history and may ask for additional information or even reject you. I can't imagine waiting all this time to get rejected. We weren't really concerned that they would find anything but it is still a relief to have made it through and to check something off our list. Here's the update:

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Some Progress

The last couple week have been kind of rough for us and all of the rest of the waiting families in the world of Chinese Adoption. Even though we are months away from getting a referral we are always anxious each month to see how far they have gotten as it gives is a sense of getting a little closer to Grace. We were expecting the October batch of referrals to arrive a few weeks ago and have been stalking the CCAA website for an update. The rumors have been all over the place regarding how many days this batch was going to cover, these rumor sites can really drive you mad, but is so hard not to look at the rumors. On Tuesday our agency sent out their monthly email that usually says that they have received referrals, but this time it said that they had not received them yet, and they didn't know when they would be coming or how many Log In Dates would be included. So after that email we were feeling pretty down. This morning though things got a little brighter, the CCAA website was updated and it says that they have finished placement of children with families registered before August 25, 2005. This is 16 days worth of referral which is two less days than last month but it is actually good news because August 24th had many, many families logged in so this was a little bit of a speed up. Still not sure why referrals were so late arriving but our agency tells us this is pretty normal, there is a chance that the next batch could arrive before the end of November so it is not really like they skipped the October batch. Still no update regarding January making it out of the review room though, probably will need to wait until the end of this month to check that off our list. We also found out this week that our Home Study Update is complete and has been received by our agency. Our next step is getting our fingerprints and USCIS background checks redone, although we don't have to start that process until January 2007.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Homestudy Update and Other Stuff

This past week we sent out all of our documents for our homestudy update. In a couple weeks we should get our updated homestudy back from our social worker that we will need to bring with us to China. Referrals should be coming this week, rumors are that they will cover through the August 23rd. This would be 13 days of referrals which is less than last month but not really surprising as the 24th is understood to have many families logged in on this day. I think we have resigned ourselves that a speed up is not going to happen. Today Jen went out for lunch in Boston at PF Changs with some of the women from our DTC group. They had a little baby shower for each other and had some good food. Jen came home raving about the food and I was a little jealous so we are going to have to take a trip there after work sometime soon. While Jen was out shopping for a baby shower present she saw this:

She just had to get it for Gracie. I didn't even realize that they still made them. I always thought these dolls were kind of ugly but Jen loved hers and still has it I think so I am sure Gracie will love it as well.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Full Weekend

Jen and I are a bit tired tonight, we had a crash course in childcare this weekend. Jen's brother and his wife planned a night away so we took their three girls (ages 2, 5 and 9) for the weekend. The kids were really well behaved but it was quite a shock for us to go from no kids to 3. We started our weekend with them yesterday around noon when the kids were dropped off. We took off to a local farm to check out the animals and go for a hayride. Interestingly, while we were there we saw four FCCs, this is Jen and my codeword for when we see a family with children from China (we usually stare at them and sometimes follow them around but never get up the nerve to say hello). We picked up some pumpkins for the kids and then it was time to head over to church. Church was interesting. There was an elderly gentleman behind us who kept making random comments and I guess assumed we were a family because as we were leaving he told me I must really have my hands full with four women in my life. I didn't really feel like explaining to him that we weren't their parents so I just kind of laughed uncomfortably and left. I guess it is a pretty easy mistake to make as the kids do look a bit like Jen. But his comment got me thinking about how our family will be perceived once we get Grace home. Because we were all the same race and looked alike the guy assumed we were a family. But I think most people wouldn't even think twice or comment about it. Grace will not look like either of us, we are going to have to get used to people looking at our family and wondering what our deal is, asking questions and making comments. Some of these comments I am sure we will perceive as rude. The church experience made it really hit home that we will probably never be able to blend in as most families do. Not that it is necessarily a bad thing just something we will need to be prepared for and get used to. After Church we picked up some Chinese food and watched Herbie Fully Loaded on DVD. We put the kids to bed around 9:30 and we crashed pretty soon after. The youngest woke up a few times crying probably because she didn't know where she was. I woke up every time, I think Jen slept right through, a sign of things to come? They woke up around 7 and Jen went down to put Nickelodeon on TV for them, I went out to get donuts. After breakfast I needed to entertain them while Jen got ready. We played a game they called "Get scared by Uncle Steve". Since we don't have kids we don't have any masks, toys or props but I improvised with blankets and what I could find, you can make a pretty scary monster with a laundry basket and an old sheet. They left this afternoon and we crashed and watched the Patriots game. It was a fun weekend for us, our cat Lucy, on the other hand, was not impressed. She spent most of her time in the basement and would just meow when she saw me as if to say, "get them out of here". There was a little incident this morning as well where she bit one of the kids, no damage, blood or tears so all was well. I think it was good for her though, she is going to have to get used having a little one around eventually.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

9 Months

Today marks 9 months since our dossier was logged in at the China Center for Adoption Affairs. As tough as it the wait has been, what makes it so much more difficult is that we have no idea how much longer the wait will be. When our friends and family ask us how much longer, all we can say is "we don't know". Realistically I think we probably have another year to wait. I hope I am wrong but we just can't get our hopes up that things are going to speed up only to be disappointed when they don't. Along with the longer wait comes the expiration of some of our forms. We finished our home study last November and it is only valid for one year so we need to get that updated. I think all that means is a visit by our social worker to ensure that nothing has changed in our lives, have our criminal background checks redone and pay a fee. We will probably be calling to get that process started next week. Hopefully we don't need to have all of our forms redone and notarized as well.

Monday, September 25, 2006

CCAA September Update

The China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) updated their website last night that they have finished placement of children with families registered before August 9th. That is 18 days worth of referrals which is twice as much as they did last month. Although, most of the rumor sites are saying that the beginning of August had very few registered log in dates so this may not be a sign that things are speeding up. They still have to get through 5 months of Log in Dates to get to us but it is significant progress so we are excited. Haven't heard anything from our agency yet whether they received any referrals this month but we should hear from them within the next couple days. The other part of the CCAA website update says that they have finished reviewing applications registered in December 2005. Since we were registered in January they should be reviewing our application now. Kind of odd to think that someone in China could be looking at our application as I write this.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bathroom Remodel

We finally got around to taking some pics of our bathroom remodel.....



We are pretty happy with the way it come out. It was definitely in need of an upgrade from the bad 80s decor. Jen is trying to talk me into buying an LCD screen to mount on the wall so she can watch Oprah and have a bath. I guess Gracie could also use it to watch cartoons while she is taking a tubbie. We'll see. Not a whole lot of rumors on this month's upcoming batch of referrals. We are not sure what to expect based on last month's small batch. But still hopeful that things will start speeding up. We should know for sure late this week or early next week.

Monday, September 11, 2006


We took off this past weekend to visit Jen's family and take in some college football. The home team won and the weather was great so everyone was happy. I feel like it wouldn't be appropriate not to say something today on the 5 year anniversary of September 11th. We always feel pretty patriotic when we are down in the Washington area but to see all of these brave young men and women preparing to stand up and defend our country really humbles me. All I can really say is Thank You..
Nothing really going on in adoption news, Jen and I did finish up our Hepatitis vaccinations last week, so I guess that is one less thing we have to worry about. Our bathroom remodel is finally finished as well. We just need to touch up some paint and hang a couple things on the walls and we are back to normal.

Monday, September 04, 2006

8 Months

Tomorrow marks 8 months since our Log In Date. Some days is seems like the time has gone by pretty fast and some days it feels like we have been waiting forever. It has definitely been like a roller coaster ride. I spend a lot of time reading other waiting families' websites and blogs as it is nice to get some perspective from people that are in the same boat as we are. Have noticed recently that morale seems to be pretty low with many waiting families. The common theme seems to be that we just have no idea how long the wait is going to be. A few families just can't deal with it and are switching to domestic adoption or other countries. This is not something Jen and I have ever considered, we wish we knew how long the wait is going to be but we don't and we know our daughter is in China. We attended a wedding this past weekend for saw many of my family members who excitedly asked us if there was anything new with the adoption. It was tough to have to say again and again, no, nothing, no idea when we will know. It is nice to see people genuinely excited for us but at the same time it is difficult to tell people that we have no idea when Grace will be coming home. To give us just a nibble of good news the China Center of Adoption Affairs updated their website last week that they have finished review of adoption applications registered in their office before November 30th 2005. So this means that they are now working on December and since we are logged in January we should be next. I read somewhere that they actually work on two months at a time so they could actually be reviewing out application now. From what I understand the review process is just to make sure all of your documents are in order and you meet all of the requirements. Sometimes people will get a call requesting additional information, we have our fingers crossed that we will make it through OK. I think we will breathe a little easier when the website reads that they have finished reviewing applications registered in January. See the latest screen shot below.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

August Referrals

This month's batch of referrals arrived at our agency yesterday, they had only 4 referrals in this batch with log in dates of July 14th 2005. We have heard that this batch had referrals up to July 22nd but our agency didn't have any LIDs between the 15th and the 22nd. Unfortunately this is only 9 days worth of referrals. Last month they did 15 days which was a few more days than the previous month so it looked like the trend was to refer a couple more days each month. Now we are not sure what to think, probably just a coincidence that they were referring more days each month. The pattern of the referrals coming in was a little different this month as well. Usually around mid month rumors start flying around, some good, some bad, and by the end of the month someone in the know will leak how many days will be referred for the month, then referrals arrive a few days later. This month there weren't really any rumors except that referrals would be coming out next week or early September and then on Thursday people started reporting that they were getting referrals. Not sure what to make of this, maybe the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs is getting a little more strict with the information that they release. Probably a good thing as these rumors can drive a person crazy. We have heard that August is a light month so as long as they can get through the rest of July next month August should go pretty fast, we hope.

Jen starts back up at school next week, when we started the adoption process we were thinking that we would probably have the baby by now and she would take some time off, now it looks like she will most likely be working the full school year based on how referrals have slowed down. I guess this just means that we can take our 5th last childless vacation this winter. Something to look forward to. We are still not completely done with out bathroom remodel. The tub and toilet are installed but still no sink. At least we have a partially functioning bathroom now. The sink should be installed next week. We also realized that we need to get the electrician back in to move a light fixture. We bought a new medicine cabinet/mirror and it is shaped a little differently from our old one. I can only see half of my face when I look into it and I am not very tall. So we need to move it up about 6 inches but there is a light fixture above it so we need to get that moved first. We did take the new whirlpool tub for a test-drive this week, very relaxing, definitely a good investment.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

5 Year Anniversary

Yesterday Jen and I celebrated our 5 Year Anniversary. We went out to dinner to celebrate and spent a ridiculous amount of money dining at a local restaurant called Silks at Stonehedge Inn. We have been there a couple times and the food and wine is always great. The first time we went we had only been dating a few years and it was our first time in a fancy restaurant. We were so out of our element, funny how much we have changed since then. Someone once told me that life never really turns out how you expect it to. If you would have asked us on our wedding day where we thought we would be in five years, I guarantee we would not have said we would be preparing to travel to China to adopt a baby. I expect we would have said happily married with a couple kids. We are happily married, we are just going about having the kids a little differently than most. We are still working on getting the nursery set up. Our current project is cleaning out the closet. Right now it is being used as Jen's seasonal closet and various other storage, so we needed to get some more closet space. So off we went to IKEA and bought a new wardrobe. We needed some bookcases as well so I took a couple vacation days this week and have been putting together furniture for the past couple days. This prompted us to clean and organize our basement which is a good thing as we hope to use it as a playroom for Gracie.

I wish I had a before pic but this is how it looks now.

This is the other, unorganized side of our basement, where we are storing some of the big boxed baby items.

We are hoping to get everything done this weekend, need to go to Babies-R-Us as the mattress is on sale, which we think is the last big item we need to get. We expected referrals to come this week but they didn't. Looks like they will be coming early next week and will cover Log In Dates through July 13th as was rumored. Although this isn't official yet, the China Center for Adoption Affairs website hasn't been updated and we haven't heard anything from our agency.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Working on the Nursery

We finally have sorted through most of the shower gifts and have them pretty much organized. We have been working on putting the nursery together now that we have stuff to put in there. I will post some pictures when it is complete. We need to get a few more things but are waiting for them to go on sale. The difficulty now is having to look at a completed nursery everyday and we have no baby in there and no real idea of when we will get her. We may need to keep the door closed for a while so that we don't have to see it every day. The next batch of referrals should be coming out this week. There have been rumors that the China Center for Adoption Affairs building is moving and that could delay referrals a bit. The rumors also seem to be saying that this referral group will cover people with Log In dates up to July 13th. This would be 15 days which is 2 more days than last month but unfortunately not a full month as some people in the adoption community were expecting. So our best case scenario of getting our referral in January 2007 is probably not going to happen. We are now looking at getting our referral sometime between February 2007 and July 2007.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Baby Shower

This was a pretty busy weekend for us. On Friday we had a 50th Anniversary party for Jen's parents. Lots of family were up for the party and we had a really good time. Yesterday, Jen had a baby shower. It was so nice to have so many friends and family supporting us with the adoption. We got so many nice gifts, Grace is definitely not going to go without anything. We are still trying to sort through everything and probably will for the next couple of weeks. Today we went to Babies R Us and used some of the gift cards that we got on some of the registry items that were not purchased. I have enough toys and furniture to put together to keep me busy for months. Some pictures from the shower below. We'll post some more as we get them.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

CAWLI Picnic

We had a fun day yesterday. We attended a picnic hosted by some families from our adoption agency. There were about 20 families there with children adopted from China as well as quite a few waiting families like us. It was nice to see so many happy families, some with more than one baby from China. We also got to meet a couple more families from our DTC group who we will probably be traveling to China with. We are now a year in since we started the adoption process last summer. It has gone by pretty fast. We hope that the remaining wait time goes just as fast. Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

CCAA June Update

The image below is a screenshot I took of the China Center for Adoption Affairs website as of Thursday. They have finished placement of children registered before June 28th. This means that they got through thirteen days of referrals this month. It is good news that they are processing a few more days each month. Although the wait now is at the 1 year point, in order for us to get our referral in January (1 year) they would need to start processing full months of referrals from this point forward. Not sure how likely that is but there are rumors that May and June 2005 were really heavy LID months and July and August are much lighter. I guess we wait and see. Our agency hasn't received the referrals yet, probably will early next week. The other part of the CCAA website update is that they have finished review of applications that they received before October 31st. They got ours in January so we are about two months away from the review room. Once it gets to the review room it is checked over to ensure everything is in order and sometimes they will request additional information from us. Apparently our application has been just sitting in some office in China for the past 6 months, nobody has even looked at it yet. Jen finished school this week so she is happy to be on her summer vacation. We don't have any big vacation plans for this summer as I am trying to save my vacation time for the trip to China and then take a couple weeks off afterward. We are planning to do a little remodeling on our upstairs bathroom this summer. We aren't doing it ourselves though, just hiring someone to replace the tub, fixtures and retiling. This will be the first major work we are having done to our house so it should be interesting.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Adoption Class

I know I haven't updated the site in a while but there hasn't been much adoption related stuff going on. We were pretty busy this weekend though. Yesterday we attended another adoption class called "Adjustment of Internationally Adopted Children". The class was given by the mother of two grown children adopted from South America. Got some good information to help prepare ourselves for when we bring Grace home. On the way home we stopped at the Samsonite Outlet and bought our luggage for our trip to China. We ended purchasing over $600 worth of luggage, fortunately we had some gift certificates from our credit card points so our out of pocket expense was significantly less. I got my first "Happy Father's (to be) Day Card" and many happy Father's day wishes so that was pretty cool. This is about the time of the month that the rumors start swirling about the month's referrals. All seem to be pointing to a few more days than last month. We should know for sure this week or next.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


We attended our Parent Travel Advisory Group Meeting yesterday at our adoption agency. It was great hearing all of the travel stories but also a reality check that things don't always go perfectly while over in China. The director of our adoption agency stopped by the meeting as well. This was our first time meeting her and she is an amazing woman, we could listen to her speak for hours. The reason we decided to use our agency is because of all of the good things we heard about her. You can really see the love she has for the children and China. She talked a little bit about the growing wait time but basically told us not to pay attention to any of the rumors because nobody really knows what is going to happen. I think at this point Jen and I are at peace with the growing wait time, we realize that we have no control over it so there is no use worrying about it.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


We got an email from our adoption agency on Friday stating that they had received this month's referrals. This batch went through people with a Log In Date of June 15th, so that is 9 days of referrals since last month. The number of days seems to be increasing by two days each month. Not a very big increase but at least it is an increase rather than a decrease. People keep asking us when we will be bringing Grace home and the honest answer is we really don't know. If the wait time stays around 12 months like it is now we should be getting a referral in Jan 2007 and traveling a month or so later. But that is IF the wait stays at 12 months. There is no way to tell what is going to happen with referrals between now and then. So, we not-so-patiently wait. I can say we are enjoying sleeping late in the morning spending late nights out in Boston, things we won't be able to do soon enough. Next Saturday we are attending a Parent Travel Advisory Group Training session at our adoption agency. This meeting is presented by parents that have already traveled to China. They will advise us on what to expect while traveling in China and what to pack. Should be an interesting meeting.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Too Much Rain

It has been a pretty rough week. Last Sunday night all the rain that we had been getting caught up to us and our basement flooded. Not too much damage, just a soggy carpet. Some of the flooding was pretty serious in our area. A lot of people have some pretty serious damage, so we aren't complaining. Jen's school was canceled for the week so she went to her brother's in Florida to get away from the rain. I also found out that there were some complications with surgery that my brother was having. Still not sure what exactly is going on with him, hoping to get more info later this week and that everything will turn out OK. Nothing new to report with the adoption. Referrals should be coming out this week. The rumors seem to be saying that this group will include a couple more days than last month.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers and mothers to be out there. Last year Mother's day was a bittersweet time for Jen. We were in the midst of fertility treatments and were in church on Mother's day, the priest has all of the mothers stand to be recognized and it was so rough to see Jen's pain as she couldn't stand because she wasn't a mother yet. This year there were only happy tears. Even though the process is going rather slow we know that most likely by this time next year she will be a mom. We spent the day today visiting with our moms. We also finally got around to installing the ceiling light in Grace's room today. The rumor mill is starting to pick up regarding this month's referrals, all seem to be positive rumors but they are just rumors at this point so we aren't taking them too seriously yet.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

4 Months

Friday was the four month anniversary of our Log in Date. Based on the current time frame we should be about 1/3 of the way through the wait for a referral. Yesterday, Jen and I went to the Peabody-Essex museum in Salem, MA to see the Yin Yu Tang house. This is a late Qing dynasty house that was originally located in China that has been brought over here and rebuilt. You get to tour the house and see how they lived in China. A wealthy family lived in this house for Eight generations from about 1800 to 1982. Should be a fun place to take Grace to someday.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Baby Care Class

I changed My first diaper
We attended our baby care class yesterday and had a lot of fun. Since Jen is an old pro at this type of stuff she let me do most of the work. I changed my first diaper and it wasn't that bad. Albeit, it was a doll and not a squirmy, screaming child with a poopy diaper. There were 6 other couples in the class with us. One couple is adopting domestically, another is adopting from Korea and another from Guatemala. There were two other couples adopting from China, one of the couples is using the same agency as we are and has the same Log In Date so we will most likely be traveling to China with them. It was great to meet another couple that we will be traveling with. In the class they went over basic care and safety stuff. They also explained how to use some of the different types of bottles. Jen has been bugging me participate in the 6 Weird things tag so....
6 Weird Things About Steve...
  1. I can't wear hats. They just don't look right on me, not sure why, maybe I have a weird shaped head. When I do wear one I get comment like (if the person is trying to be nice) Oh, Steve, I have never seen you in a hat. This is usually said with a smirk on their face. Or, if they are not trying to be nice.....Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha
  2. I have a phobia about things being put in my eyes, like eyedrops. I just hope I never need to wear contact lenses. Probably stems from the eye surgery I had when I was a kid.
  3. When I was in college I taught computer classes at a lock-up facility for teenage girls. These girls were there because they were too young to be in prison. On my first day there I saw I girl being taken out in @nkle sh@ckles. Definitely a weird experience. (I had to use the @ to replace replace the a's because some pervs were finding this website through some inappropriate web searches).
  4. A few years ago, driving home from Jen's house I hit a guy with my car. He was running from a crime scene chasing another guy with a piece of metal. I saw something out of the corner of my eye, slammed on my brakes then watched him fly over the hood of my car. He wasn't severely injured but they did take him away in an ambulance. The good thing was I slowed him down enough so the guy he was chasing got away. So I may have saved someone's life.
  5. I am the tallest person in my family.....and I am 5'-6"
  6. My name is Steven King, enough said.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mail from Guangzhou, China!!!!

We had a little surprise in the mail when we got home today. We got our brown envelope!!! The brown envelope contains a letter from the American Consulate in China confirming that they are authorized to process our adoption. The letter also contains a bunch of forms that we will need to finalize the adoption when we are in China as well as a map of Guangzhou. Some of the forms and the map are written in Chinese so I hope there is someone to help us out. Interestingly the cover letter is dated Nov 22, 2005 so I guess things are a little backed up at the consulate. We were told about the mysterious brown envelope a while back but were warned that some people get one and some don't so we weren't really expecting it. I guess it is not a big deal if you don't get it but it is nice that we did. Tomorrow morning Jen and I are attending a class called Baby Care for First Time Adoptive Parents. Should be a fun little class to get us started with the basics of feeding, bathing, clothing and nurturing a baby. It will be especially helpful for me as I don't have much experience with this kind of stuff. Not really looking forward to changing my first dirty diaper.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

CCAA April Update

The China Center for Adoption Affairs website was updated yesterday confirming the rumor that the next batch of referrals will go through June 6th. We were glad to see that they squeezed more days in this month's batch. Things seem to be moving along a little better. Also, we've been tagged. Actually, Jen was tagged but I will probably participate as well. This is a little game that is going around the Chinese adoption websites/blogs where you list 6 weird things about yourself and then ask someone else to do the same, so.....

6 Weird Things about Jen.....
  1. I am severely arachnophobic. 1a. When I see a spider I do the slappy-clappy-snappy dance where I stamp my feet and clap my hands in unison while screaming EEEeeeeeee.
  2. In my teens I worked as a magician's assistant.
  3. I hate mint. It makes me nauseas. Also makes it really difficult to brush my teeth. I need to use cinnamon toothpaste. 3a. Wintergreen is acceptable, however.
  4. I hate chicken parmesan. Chicken is yummy. Tomato sauce is yummy. Cheese is yummy. Put them all together and it is the grossest concoction ever.
  5. I can't watch people prepare my food. I'm sure I will spot something disgusting and I won't be able to eat. Ignorance is bliss.
  6. My utensils can't touch a table in a restaurant without a tablecloth or something between then. These tables are always washed with a disgustingly filthy germ infested rag.

Hmmm, seems like someone is a germaphobe with some major food issues. I will post 6 weird things about me (Steve), later in the week. Having a hard time coming up with 6 things.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Chinese President visit to the US

We are expecting that the April batch of referrals should be coming in this week. Rumors are that they will cover people with Log In Dates through June 6th. That would be 7 days worth, not great news but better than the 5 days worth of referrals last month. Seems like things may be starting to move in the right direction. Lots of stories about China in the news this past week with Chinese President Hu Jintao visiting the US. Keep hearing that both sides are agreeing to disagree on many issues, human rights, trade surplus, currency valuation, IRAN and Korea seem to be Bush's major issues. Not sure any progress was made on any of the issues though. Hope the Chinese President wasn't too bothered by the Falun Gong supporter who interrupted his speech on the White House lawn. Have to wonder how something like that is allowed to happen. Jen and I were talking this week and it was around this time last year that we started seriously looking into adopting from China. We've come a long way since then.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

We are expecting that the April batch of referrals should be coming in this week. Rumors are that they will cover people with Log In Dates through June 6th. That would be 7 days worth, not great news but better than the 5 days worth of referrals last month. Seems like things may be starting to move in the right direction. Lots of stories about China in the news this past week with Chinese President Hu Jintao visiting the US. Keep hearing that both sides are agreeing to disagree on many issues, human rights, trade surplus, currency valuation, IRAN and Korea seem to be Bush's major issues. Not sure any progress was made on any of the issues though. Hope the Chinese President wasn't too bothered by the Falun Gong supporter who interrupted his speech on the White House lawn. Have to wonder how something like that is allowed to happen. Jen and I were talking this week and it was around this time last year that we started seriously looking into adopting from China. We've come a long way since then.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Kitty Carrier

It's been a pretty quiet week here, not a whole lot going on. We are trying to keep out minds off the long wait by keeping ourselves occupied. Have been reading lots of books on parenting and adoption. We also find ourselves drawn to anything China related. Last night we watched 7 Years in Tibet. Not really a movie that portrays China in a positive light but interesting nonetheless. Jen's sister-in-law is letting us borrow her Baby Bjorn carrier for the trip to China. Jen had to try it out.....some pictures of the shenanigans for your enjoyment.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

This and that

We had a pretty busy weekend, yesterday Jen went out to Chinatown with some of the women from our DTC group. They went to Chau Chow for lunch and then did a little shopping. She had a really great time and it was a good opportunity for her to get to know some of the women that we will be traveling to China with. Today Jen and I went out to Babies R Us and registered for Jen's baby shower. Pretty overwhelming experience (for me anyway). I was fine while we were looking at baby monitors or anything electronic or with moving parts. I was totally out of my element though when we got to the baby bottle supplies. Who knew they make 147 different types of nipples. Luckily Jen's sister-in-law Maura came by and bailed us out. We really needed an expert to tell us what we really need. While we were looking at bibs we noticed a little Asian girl shopping with her Caucasian parents. We really wanted to say hello and tell them that we were preparing for a trip to China but we chickened out. After about three hours of shopping we were exhausted and called it a day. It is amazing how much stuff you need for one little child, makes you wonder how people got by 100 years ago. I added a link to our registry below.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

March Referrals

We got an email from our adoption agency yesterday stating that they received no referrals this month and that the China Center for Adoption Affairs has sent out only five days worth of referrals. They are now up to May 30th. This is a definite slowdown in the amount of referrals sent out this month. When we started the adoption process they were sending referral groups out by the month and the groups have gotten progressively smaller. They are telling us that the wait is now at 11 months. That would give us our referral in December. Seems like every month we take one step forward and one step back. Not really sure of the reason for the slowdown. There are a lot of rumors out there, one being that less babies are being abandoned in China. If this is true then that is great news for China and the babies, but we can't help being a little bit selfish and wish the process would speed up for us. There were rumors earlier in the week that there was going to be a small group of referral this month so we kind of expected it.

You may have noticed that there are some advertisements on some of the pages here. I signed up for google ads, so if you click on the ads we will earn money. Not sure exactly how much money we get but it will probably not be enough to pay for Grace's college education.

Jen also went out this week and bought a new rug for Gracie's room at Pottery Barn Kids. Here are some pictures of the rug and the light that we bought last week.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Attaching in Adoption

Attaching in Adoption

by Deborah D. Gray

One of the big concerns with children adopted from orphanages is proper attachment and bonding. Babies raised in an orphanage will not always have a mother at her beck and call to meet her needs and build a loving, trusting relationship. This book explores the challenges that adoptive parents must work through in order to create that secure bond and attachment with an adopted child. The book explores in detail what attachment is and why it is important. Techniques are provided to help parents facilitate attachment and bonding with an adopted child. The book also covers some scary topics that we hopefully won't encounter such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Reactive Attachment Disorder. Each topic covered book is interspersed with scenarios to illustrate potential attachment issues and provide suggested solutions. I have heard many adoptive parents say that if you read one book on adoption this should be the one you read.

The Lost Daughters Of China

The Lost Daughters Of China

by Karin Evans

This was one of our favorite books we have read during the adoption process. Another must read for all Chinese adoptive parents. The book is very well written, almost poetic at times. This is one of the more "feel good" books that we read. The author tells her and her husband's story of adopting from China from the paper chase to coming home with her daughter. She intersperses the story with narratives of Chinese history and culture. She also tries to convey within the book what circumstances could lead a mother to abandon her child. This is something hard for us to understand but a reality for many living in China. Since this is one of the first books that we purchased it has been almost 2 years since we read this book. Definitely another book that we will re-read at some point.

A Passage to the Heart - Writings from Families with Children from China

A Passage to the Heart - Writings from Families with Children from China

edited by Amy Katzkin

This book is a series of essays written by members of Families with Children from China. The stories discuss the joys and challenges of adopting a child from China. Sections include the Wait (we could write a whole book on that topic), Settling In, Development, Race and Identity. This book definitely has a more feel-good vibe to it but some of the articles will be a bit of a tear jerker. Definitely another must read for parents adopting from China.

Wanting A Daughter, Needing A Son - Abandonment, Adoption and Orphanage Care in China

Wanting A Daughter, Needing A Son - Abandonment, Adoption and Orphanage Care in China

by Kay Ann Johnson and Amy Klatzkin

This book is a must read for parents adopting a child from China. This is not an easy read, it is really a series of research papers written by a College Professor and an editor of books on Chinese Studies who both also happen to be mothers of girls adopted from China. Since the book is a collection of research papers written over a period of time there is a bit of repetition but you do get a good sense of how adoption in China has changed over the years. But as I mentioned it is a tough read, most of the book has footnotes throughout which you need to flip to the back of the book to read. Much of the research in the book is backed up numbers, charts and statistics so much of it reads like an academic research paper. The book does a great job in explaining the cultural reasons why some baby girls are abandoned and why Chinese families feel that they need a son. The book also explains in depth the One-Child population control policy and how it leads to abandonment. This is definitely a book that I plan to re-read at some point. This is definitely not a fluffy, feel-good adoption book but it does give the reader a better understanding of the reason why we have our daughters.

The Unofficial Guide to Adopting a Child

The Unofficial Guide to Adopting a Child

by Andrea Della Vecchio, MA, M.Ed.

This was the first book that we purchased when we started thinking about adoption. Going into adoption knowing really nothing about it like we did, we really needed a guide to educate us on our options and lead us through the decision process. The book talks about domestic vs. international adoption and discusses the different programs in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. There are sections on home studies, choosing an agency, Non-Traditional Families and many other subjects that adoptive families work through with the adoption process. Through this book and other research we obviously decided to adopt from China so this book served us well as an Intro to Adoption 101.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Why can't we adopt a newborn/infant from China?

Not much new adoption stuff going on lately and I just realized that I haven't posted any updates lately so I will answer another question....

Why can't we adopt a newborn/infant from China?

The youngest babies that we have seen at referral seem to be around 5 to 6 months old. Add two months to that to get our travel approval and the youngest she will be is 7 - 8 months. We are on the young side so I expect that we will be referred a younger baby, although there is no guarantee. We requested a 6 - 12 month old or as young as possible. The reason why we can not get a baby any younger has to do with the process China has to go through to consider the babies abandoned and available for adoption. When a baby is abandoned and taken into an orphanage a finding ad is placed in a local newspaper. This is just a picture and a description of the baby and where she was found. This is so the birthparents can re-claim the baby if they wish to. I doubt that this happens very often though as it is illegal to abandon babies. If the baby is not reclaimed within a certain number of months then the baby is considered abandoned and is available to be adopted. The babies are checked over for health issues and paperwork is processed and by this time the baby is about 5 -6 months old.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Why does it take so long to adopt from China when there are so many babies in orphanages?

We have been getting questions from family and friends lately about the wait time to adopt from China so....

Why does it take so long to adopt from China when there are so many babies in orphanages?

I don't think there is one simple answer to this one but I will try to answer the best I can. When we first started the adoption process we were told that the wait to referral was about 6 - 7 months. This didn't seem that bad to us but we knew going into it that this timeframe could change. As we were progressing through the process we noticed that the wait times were increasing to where they are now at around 9 - 10 months. We realize that this could increase even more but the time frame could get shorter as well. One of the main reasons we have heard is causing the increase in wait times is an increase in the number of dossiers (requests to adopt) that China is getting. The United States adopted almost 8,000 babies from China last year and this number seems to be increasing each year. Along with the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, etc also are increasing their adoptions from China. China is also in the process of ratifying the Hague Convention of International Adoption Law. The Hague basically puts policies in place to ensure that the international adoptions are serving the needs of the children first. Basically this means that there will be new polices and paperwork that China has to go through in order to be in compliance. We have also read that the China Center for Adoption Affairs is moving (or has moved) to a new building. Hopefully moving forward the wait will stabilize or even decrease, if not maybe Jen and I can fit in one last childless vacation.

Friday, February 24, 2006


We got some great news today, we have our Log In Date, it is January 5th, 2006!!!!!!! So at this point we are almost 2 months into the wait for a referral. If the wait to referral stays at 9 months we should have just over 7 months to go. Apparently there was some kind of mix up in China with our Log In Date (and about 10 other couples) and they didn't get sent. There were some parents from our agency that were Dossier to China after us and got their referrals earlier this week. So something was definitely awry. Our agency was on the phone with China on Wednesday but China would not give them out log in dates over the phone and said they would fax them out ASAP. We waited patiently through yesterday but still no word. This morning the email came. This is a pretty big milestone in the process because it gives us a definite date to start counting from. When the referrals come out they tell us what Log in Dates that they covered so that way we can tell how fast referrals are coming and how close we are to getting one.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


So tough to come home to 15 inches on snow and 25 degrees after sitting on the beach sipping pina coladas, but we are back. Jamaica was great, the resort was beautiful, the people were nice and the weather was perfect. We thought we may have to stay an extra day because of Logan being closed on Sunday but we made it out without much of a delay.
Some pictures of our trip......

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Last Childless Vacation

This coming weekend Jen and I are taking our 4th last childless vacation......Let me explain. Three years ago, when we decided we were going to start trying to start a family we decided to take one last vacation. We went to Las Vegas for a week of relaxing, gambling and a little craziness. Then it was on to baby making. Two years and six failed IUIs later we decided that we needed a break before we started the In-Vitro Fertilization process. Our doctor was sure that In-Vitro was going to work for us so we felt pretty confident as well. We decided to take our 2nd last vacation. Off we jetted to Miami and we had a great time relaxing in the sun. After 3 failed In-Vitros we decided that we had enough and after some consideration decided to adopt from China. Soon after this some friends were going to Las Vegas for a joint bachelor/bachelorette party so we decided to go along for our 3rd last vacation. At the time we were thinking that the wait for a referral for Grace was 6 months so we figured we would be traveling to China this summer so this really was going to be our last vacation. Since that time the wait time has increased so it is looking more like we will be traveling to China at the end of this year so we figured we can fit in one last vacation. So, this Friday morning we are flying out and heading to Jamaica for a few nights. We will be staying at the Sunset at the Palms in Negril. The first big trip Jen an I took together 7 years ago was to Jamaica so it will be nice to go back. The place looks pretty cool, all of the rooms are in their own private treehouses so it should be very relaxing and romantic. We will take lots of pictures and will try to post some here when we get back......Ya Mon.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

CAWLI Chinese New Year Party

Had a great time yesterday at the CAWLI Chinese New Year party. Pretty overwhelming with the amount of people that were there but all of the children were just adorable. We met quite a few couples that will be in our travel group. They all seemed like great people. We spoke quite a bit with a couple in our travel group that will be traveling back for their second daughter. It was great to talk to someone who has been there/done that. We had quite a few couples that we did not know come up to us and ask if we were waiting to travel. Then proceeded to tell us that last year they were in our situation, and reassured us that the time flies by and before we know it we will be traveling to China to pick up our daughter. After the party we went out to a local mall to run some errands and were truly disappointed when none of the couples there had Chinese babies with them. We looked at everyone's kids expecting to see a cute little Chinese face. Weird how your perspective changes after just a couple of hours.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Meeting Our Travel Group

We have a pretty busy and exciting weekend coming up. We will be attending a Chinese New Year Party on Saturday that is being put on by our adoption agency. We are told that there will be about 1200 people there so we are assuming around 1/3 of them will be babies and children. We are not sure what to expect as we have never attended a Chinese New Year party, but we assume there will be good food and some interesting Chinese cultural entertainment. At the party we will also be meeting 7 or 8 of the couples that we will be traveling to China with. We have been communicating for the past couple months through email and web forums but this will be the first time we will meet in person. Some of them have adopted already and are going back for their second child. These people will be our support group for the next 9 or so months during our wait to travel to China and into the future as our children grow up. We are really looking forward to this experience.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Reading Up

To help pass the time until we get our referral we purchased a couple parenting books. One of the books is called Attaching in Adoption. This is a book that was recommended to us as some children who have been adopted from orphanages have attachment issues. Due to the fact that these children do not have anyone to bond with they sometimes have a difficult time forming attachments with their adoptive parents. From what we have read so far the earlier the child is adopted the easier it is to attach with them. The book will show us what to look for and some strategies to facilitate attachment if we do have issues. One of the attachment parenting strategies requires the parents to be the only ones to hold and care for the baby, for how long we are not sure, haven't gotten to that part of the book yet. This allows the baby to develop trust for the parents and realize that we will always be there for her when she need us and are not going to abandon her. We realize that this will be difficult for us as well as our families and friends but it will be in the best interest of Grace. We also bought Dr. Ferber's book called Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. If you saw the second "Meet the Parents" movie, Robert Deniro says he is 'Ferberizing' his grandson by letting him cry. I think the movie over-simplifies and pokes fun at the methodology but it basically involves teaching the child to put herself to sleep. Many of the strategies in Ferber's book are contrary to attachment parenting strategies but we feel that it is important to learn all we can, take suggestions from all of the books we read and do what is best for Grace. Our adoption agency got a group of referrals today. This is good news as the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs has sent out two groups of referrals in January. Our agency is still saying that referral wait time is running between 8 and 9 months.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Another small task done in the adoption process today. I went to my doctor's office this morning and started my Hepatitis A and B immunization series. This isn't something we had to do but was suggested by our adoption agency. Jen decided to wait until I got the shots to make sure I didn't have any weird reaction before she started hers. It was the least I could do since she got all the shots during our fertility treatments. Beside a couple sore shoulders I am no worse for wear. I will need to go back in a month to get the second shot in the series and then in another 6 months for the final shot. Still no news on our log in date. There have been all kinds of rumors floating around regarding whether a batch of referral are going to be sent out before Chinese New Year. It seems that the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs shuts down for a few weeks for Chinese New Year which is January 29th this year. So this means that if referrals are not sent out by then, they will not be out until at least mid-February.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

China's Lost Girls

We watched a great DVD lat night called China's Lost Girls. It is a National Geographic special/documentary hosted by Lisa Ling from the View. Lisa travels to China with a group of parents who are adopting little girls. It is very well done and digs in to some of the issues that China is currently facing and will be facing in the coming years due to their population control laws (one-child policy). One of the families is adopting a sister (a mei-mei) for their daughter that they adopted a few years before. The mother travels to the park where her first daughter was found and pins up a poster with her picture and a note that says that she has been adopted and is healthy and happily living in the United States. Oftentimes when a mother abandons her daughter she will stay around the area to make sure that her daughter is found safely. After the poster was pinned up many people gathered around, a young Chinese man who spoke English told the adoptive mother that he felt disgraced by the fact that so many babies are abandoned. He also felt concerned that when she grows up her daughter would not feel any pride for China because they abandoned her. The mother reassured the Chinese man that they were doing all they could to keep close ties between their daughter and her Chinese heritage. It was an interesting dialogue between the two of them and goes to show that the Chinese people feel embarrassed by the effects of the population control policy. Another scene in the movie that stands out was one where the families travel back to the orphanage where the babies lived for the first year of their life. One on the caretakers was crying because the adoptive mother did not take the baby back to the orphanage with her. The mother was concerned that it would be too confusing for the baby. The caretaker was hoping to see the baby one last time before she left to say goodbye. She was very upset but it showed that these babies are taken care of and loved and do form bonds with their caretakers.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Are You Concerned About the Bird /Avian Flu?

Still no new news on our Log In Date, we assume we are already logged in but just haven't been notified yet. Now another one of our Frequently Asked Questions...

Are You Concerned About the Bird /Avian Flu?

The short answer is not really, but I would be lying if I said we weren't thinking about it. When there is a newspaper article about new outbreaks we do read them with interest. Recently we have read that there have been outbreaks of the virus in parts of Europe but they seem to be pretty sporadic and have been contained. From what we understand the Avian flu currently can only be transmitted to humans by handling animals that are infected with the virus. In some parts of China people have chickens running around their yards so it is understandable that the virus is transmitted to them. I recently read an article about some children in Turkey who got the virus because they were playing with dead chicken heads. Not sure why they were playing with chicken heads but we will be sure not to do this when we travel to China. It is supposedly safe to eat chicken as long as it is cooked well so we are not too concerned about getting the virus through eating meals while in China. The big concern is that the virus could mutate into a form that could easily be transmitted through the air from human to human. If this happens there would probably be quarantines and travel bans, similar to the SARS outbreak a few years ago. The other scary point about the avian flu is that it is a much more powerful virus that the regular Influenza virus that go around every winter. The Avian flu seems to affect and sometimes kill people regardless of their age or strength of immune system. Our agency has an update on their website about the Avian flu as well and it says that the Chinese Government is pretty diligent about preventing any outbreaks of the virus. It is mandatory that if a bird is found dead an emergency team arrives in the area and whether the bird died from Avian Flu or not all birds within a ten mile radius are killed. So it is comforting that the Chinese are taking it very seriously. I have noticed that there have been a lot less news reports lately about Avian Flu so maybe the media is getting bored with it. I really think it was something that the media latched onto and blew out of proportion. But we will continue to read all we can about it and hope that it doesn't mutate into a virus that is more easily transmitted.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!!!! No new news on the adoption, we did get an email from our agency today. The email confirms that referrals are slowing down into 2006. Not great news but we are glad to be into the new year and moving forward. Our agency did get some referrals today but for families that were logged in back in April 2005. We still do not have our log in date but we are thinking we will get it soon. We bought a digital camera for Christmas and have been have been having fun playing around with it. Here is a pic of some of the gifts we received for Grace for Christmas.