Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Adoption article

There was a nice article in the Boston Globe the other day about a couple adopting from Korea (I think). You can read the article here.

It feels like an article we could have written, except for fact that they are home with their child. We are not quite there yet. Soon though...hopefully soon.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Adoptive Parent Pet Peeves

Luckily for us we haven't received any negative comments about our adoption. People, for the most part, have been positive and supportive through this process. Sometimes though people do say things to us that, although are well meaning, are not considered positive adoption language. Sometimes it is because of a generational difference or unfamiliarity with current terminology. Some may consider us too sensitive about these things but it is really not about us. It is about the little girl who we will soon be adopting. Just wanted to talk about some of the things that are frowned upon in the (Chinese) adoption community.

Lucky Child
Not to toot our own horn but Jen and I think we will make pretty good parents so any kid would be lucky to have us as parents. Sometimes though there is the perception that by adopting from China we are saving a child. We will be taking Grace out of an orphanage or foster care and we do think that we will be giving her many opportunities that she would not have in China. But she will also be losing a lot by leaving China. We will be taking her away from her country and culture and bringing her to a place were most of the population will not look like her. Sometime in her life she will feel racism and discrimination and at that point I am sure she will not feel lucky. We are the lucky ones that China is allowing us to adopt one of her daughters and for that we will be eternally grateful.

I think this is a generational thing as in the past it was acceptable to refer to people of Asian descent as Oriental. This term is no longer acceptable just as it is no longer acceptable to refer to African-Americans as colored. Grace will be Asian-American of Chinese descent. People are Asian, rugs and furniture are oriental.

China Doll
When people refer to Grace as our China doll we know it is meant with the best intentions, that she will be a beautiful child. What people don't realize is that there are sexual overtones in the term. The term is used in countless movies in referring to sexualized Asian women kept hidden away for some westerner's pleasure. Most Asians abhor the term as well as it objectifies them. So it is not really a term we want used in reference to our daughter since she will be our daughter and not a "doll" we went to China to purchase.

Model Minority
Sometimes Asians are referred to as the model minority. The stereotype is that Asians are intelligent, hardworking and successful. A few people have bought into this stereotype and commented that "she will be smart" or "good at math". As a teacher, Jen has seen all ability levels in all races of her students, so we don't expect Grace to naturally excel in any one area just because of her race. We hope Grace is smart but what if she struggles in school? We would hate for her teachers to expect her to be smart or not give her the support she needs just because she is Chinese and is supposed to be good in certain subjects.

Positive Adoption Language
Using positive adoption language supports adoption as just another way to build a family. Adoption is not better or worse than having a child through birth, it is just a different path that we chose to build our family. We will not use the term "real parents" when referring to her "biological parents". It is also not acceptable to call a biological child a real son or daughter when comparing them to adopted children. We will be Grace's parents, and we assure you we are real. Grace will have a biological mother and father in China, she will know and hopefully be proud of this from an early age. But we will never refer to Grace as our adopted daughter, she will just be our daughter Grace. We see no need to make the distinction. One comment we have heard in the past is that we will love her just as "our own". Well of course we will, she will be our own child. The preferred term for "own child" is "birth child" and I think that is what is meant when people use the term. It may seem to some that using proper terminology is trivial but positive adoption language is really about the child seeing their adoption in a positive light and not as something to be embarrassed about or as second best to having biological children.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


The rumors started last week. The latest rumor is that they are going to get to at least December 12th with the next batch. That would be 12 days which is significantly more than they have done in the past 8 months. At this point I think it is still a pretty shaky rumor. We have learned over the past few years not to get too excited about the early rumors, so we are not really believing it yet. Seems a little odd that they would suddenly refer such a large batch after so many small ones. But, according to the online polls the first 4 days of December have very few families logged in. Also December, overall, is thought to have less people logged in so it make sense that they may be able to get through a little bit faster. Also since the first 4 days of December have no or very few families logged it is is not really 12 days they are getting through, it is really more like 8 days. There is a chance we could see referrals arrive this week but most likely they will arrive early next week.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Home Study Update #2

Got some mail from our social worker today, she sent us our second approved home study update. So we are good for another year, hopefully we won't need the whole year but you never can tell these days. Next in our ever extending paperwork updates is our fingerprints which will be expiring in April 2008. As things are looking now it is possible that we could be traveling in April. Since fingerprints need to be valid for our whole trip we will probably need to get them redone again as well. We haven't seen anyone that has had their fingerprints expire twice yet so we may be in uncharted territory if they do expire. After our fingerprints, the next renewal would be our I600A. There were some new rules implemented last August at the USCIS. Since so many adoptions were extending over the 18 month expiration limit of the I600A they are now allowing a second update free. Unfortunately we updated for the second time before the free renewal was offered. I think it may get extended if/when we update our fingerprints anyway so we aren't too concerned. Most likely we would not need to renew our I600A again as it is valid through October 2008. God I hope we have this adoption completed a year from now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fashion Show on Great Wall of China

Jen sent me this today, not sure what to think of a fashion show on the Great Wall. I guess at the very least it really shows how much China has opened up over the past decade.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Apparently Comcast is making some changes to some of the features of their Personal Webpages which I use for our main website. One of the features that they changed is the guestbook, so when we went in to look at our messages the other day they were all gone. We were not too happy with this as people have left us so many nice messages. Luckily I was able to find them and archived them in a post here. The new Comcast guestbook feature doesn't work very well with this site so I have removed it. So if you would like to leave us a message just leave a comment in one of the posts.

Still pretty quiet in adoption land, no rumors this past week and still probably about 2 or 3 weeks away from referrals. So we wait.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Big Wait

This month's referrals have come and gone and there are no new rumors out there. This is what we call the quiet part of the month in the Chinese adoption world. I couldn't think of anything interesting to blog about so I bounced out onto the forums and blogs for some inspiration.

One of the big topics out there right now is the ever extending wait time. Specifically, how long the wait time will get. The wait time from Log In Date to referral will soon hit 2 years, nobody seems to be denying that fact. But whenever the topic comes up of how long the wait will ultimately get someone always seems to come into the conversation and say that their agency thinks that the wait time will stabilize once it hits 2 years. I just don't understand this line of thinking. Back when the wait was approaching a year we heard the same thing, the stabilization or even a speed up is coming, and then again at 18 months and now we hear it again. In order for the wait times to stabilize at 2 years the CCAA would have to start referring 30 days worth of LIDs per month. In order for the wait to to start to decrease the CCAA would have to start referring more than 30 LIDs per month. The last 3 months have seen 5, 4 and 7 days referred. It really doesn't seem likely that a stabilization will happen anytime soon. The CCAA would need to suddenly start referring 4 to 7 times as many LIDs as they have been.

When the CCAA visited the US this past summer they explained that the wait time was increasing because there were more parents applying to adopt than there were paper ready babies available. I have read estimates that upwards of 30,000 families are waiting to adopt from China. Nobody, except the CCAA, really knows what this number is. With decreasing abandonment rates in China due to improving economic conditions as well as increased domestic adoption in China the pool of paper ready babies available is not likely to grow.

Ultimately the wait time does have to stabilize. But that probably will not happen until they start referring people with Log In Dates after the new rules were implemented back in May 2007. The new rules prevent singles, people who are obese, over 50 and a few other criteria from adopting. These rules are expected to slim down the potential adoptive parent pool by at least a third of all previously eligible families. So the big question is how long will it take to get to May of 2007? They are about to start referring December of 2005, there are more 17 months to refer to get to May 2007. That is a total of 18 months to get through before a stabilization could potentially happen. I really don't want to speculate on how long it may take to refer the the remaining 18 months but given the recent number of days referred per month it is pretty easy to see how the wait time could easily grow to 5 or 6 years from Log In Date. Someone with a May 2007 LID has already been waiting 5 months. There are 18 months to get through to get to them. If they refer an average of 7 days a month going forward they are looking at a wait time of almost 7 years. If they refer an average of 15 days a month going forward they are looking at a wait time of almost 3 and a half years. Most likely their wait time will fall somewhere in between the two. Attrition could also help the wait times decrease, as the wait gets longer some families situations will change and they will no longer be in the position to adopt from China. Although I don't think that the attrition rate will be high enough to significantly affect the wait times.

With a Log In Date of January 5, 2005 this doesn't really mean that much for us in the short term. We are still looking at a 24 to 27 month wait from our LID. But, it would definitely affect us if we decided to adopt a second child from China after we bring Grace home. That is a way down the road at this point though, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

36 More Days

The CCAA updated their website and confirmed that November 30th was the cutoff date for the last batch. That means they have to get through 36 more days to get to our Log In Date. In keeping with our countdown, Jen removed 5 more glass stones from the jar. Now 36 remain, which doesn't really seem like that much.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Jen says the website/blog is looking a little blah so I added a little color and some new graphics. Problem is color is really not my thing. I am slightly colorblind so I need to check with Jen to make sure the colors I picked look OK. I can tell the difference between red, green and blue but I seem to have a problem with the between shades like navy blue and black and certain shades of green and brown. We have an ongoing argument about the color of our house. I say it is grey and she says it is tan. I think the color on the can of paint is sandstone. Anyway, hope you like the new look.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Another month down....today is 21 months since our Log in Date. Usually around this time of the month we try to sit down and project out how much longer we have to wait. Although we are getting close I think we still have somewhere between 4 and 6 months left to wait. It all depends on how many days are referred in the next couple of batches. Only time will tell. Still no confirmation that the cutoff was in fact November 30th for the last batch. We should know for sure early next week when the CCAA comes back to work. There is a rumor floating around right now that the reason that the last batch was so much smaller than expected is because they sent out a larger than normal batch of expedited referrals. Expedited referrals are for people of Chinese heritage, they get their referrals quite a but faster than the rest of us. Usually expedited referrals are sent out every other month. At least it is a potential explanation for the small batch this month.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Just 5 days?

Nothing offical yet from the CCAA since they are off on holiday but some agencies are reporting getting referrals for Log In Dates through November 30th. It looks very much like November 30th is the cutoff date this month. This is quite a disappointment. We haven't heard anything from our agency yet, probably because they don't have anyone with a Log In Date between November 26th and 30th. We were really hoping to see more days this month since the end of November had comparably fewer families with Log in Dates. I expect we will probably see a similar number of days referred next month. Seems to be the new standard operating procedure at the CCAA. I am going to post my chart again that compares the number of days referred last year to this year but the trend is definitely off this month but it really highlights how much things have slowed down since last year. I am posting this with the assumption that they did get through just 5 days. Since the CCAA is on holiday they probably won't get around to confirming it and updating their website until next week. If they did get further I will come back and update this with the proper numbers.

Click on above pic to see a clearer version