Archive for July, 2007

A new ‘do

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

Yes, I should be in bed, or cleaning the house madly because my parents are arriving tomorrow for a 2 week visit with their granddaughter, but it’s much more fun to sit at the computer, so here I am.

My young banana had her first real haircut yesterday.  She’s had her bangs trimmed before, but the back of her hair had finally grown out enough that it could be trimmed up a bit to even out the chop job that was done in China.  She endured it like a little trooper.  She was even more impressive, because she had to sit through Mama’s entire cut and color appointment; Baba was teaching a class.  She was very well-behaved, and entertained everyone at the salon.  She even consented to wear the little cape this time around!  Here are the pics of my little bathing beauty:

7-20-07-101.jpg 7-20-07-11.jpg 

Some other random shots of Princess Banana:

7-20-07-2.jpg Mmmmm …. chocolate ice cream

7-20-07-3.jpg My favorite new shoes – I get these out almost every day and slosh around the office in them

The following photos were taken earlier this week, before the apparent destruction of the sun, or at least its presence in northern New England.  You’ll note that there are visible shadows, and we are not soaking wet.  That must have been our summer.  We’re back to rain every day, and 60-70 degree highs.  I think I might have to go to Seattle so I can dry out.  Anway, enjoy the cutest child in the world wearing the cutest kitty-cat outfit in the world – an outfit I will have you know she bu yao’d mightily in the store, but changed her tune about when everyone she ran into that day oohed and aahed over her clothes.

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Day 45 – Again

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

As I typed the title for this post, Microsoft’s system software tried to autofill the entry box with the same text – Day 45 – prompting me to look back through my blog and find that I had posted an entry on exactly the same day of our wait for Anna last September.  You can go back and read that post by clicking here.  It’s funny that it’s about this time in the wait that I feel compelled to talk about it.  I think I’m getting a bit antsy after a month and a half of waiting! 

For those who don’t remember how the process works, that’s OK, because it’s slightly different this time around.  After Anna’s adoption, the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs instituted a new step in the Special Needs adoption process.   They are now requiring a signed Letter of Acceptance, or Letter Seeking Confirmation, from parents before they will issue the TA, or travel approval.  When your dossier has cleared the review room and progressed to the match room, they send out these letters, which must be signed and returned ASAP.  I haven’t seen one yet, but my understanding is that you simply must agree to accept this child.  It’s something you would have thought would have been obvious from the Letter of Intent we all send at the beginning of the process, petitioning to adopt a specific child, but apparently, they need more now.  There is speculation that this new step has been instituted because there have been several “disruptions” of special needs adoptions in China recently.  A disruption occurs when a family travels to China, meets their child, and finds that the needs of the child are greater than they understood or are prepared to deal with, and they elect not to adopt that child.  This generally happens very infrequently in the Waiting Child program, because these parents are already prepared to accept a child with medical needs, but occasionally, something completely unexpected will present itself. 

For whatever reason, this letter now must be signed and returned.  TAs have been arriving anywhere from 2-4 weeks after the LOAs are received.  Overall, this has not had much of an effect on the timeline, but my impression is that TAs are taking longer to arrive than they did last fall.  We received Anna’s TA after a 77 day wait last year; right now, TAs are taking between 90-100 days to arrive, on average.   Ninety days for us right now would put our TA arriving in the first week of September, giving us a chance of traveling in September.  If we get out to 100 days, then we likely wouldn’t travel until late October, because there are a variety of holiday government closures and a hugh trade fair in Guangzhou in October, so adoption travel is impossible in some cases, and very expensive in others.  We’re hoping for the shorter end of the spectrum.

So, our timeline in a nutshell:

  • LID 6/6/07 – the date from which we begin our countdown
  • Travel Packet II – we haven’t received this yet, but it comes from our agency, and is triggered by a notification that our dossier is through review and into the match room – we expect to get this in the next 2 weeks or so.
  • LOA – usually comes a week or so after TPII
  • TA – 2-4 weeks after LOA
  • Travel 10-21 days after TA

In order to follow this timeline the way I am predicting it, we should receive our LOA in the next 2-3 weeks.  With another 2-4 week wait for our TA, that would put our total wait at around 90 days. 

Guess we’re just about halfway there!

More pics of Will

Monday, July 9th, 2007

Even though Will is from a relatively small orphanage, it seems to be a little more open about allowing adoptive parents to visit, at least the grounds and reception areas.  We weren’t even allowed through the gate of Anna’s orphanage in Guigang.  They watched us pretty hard as we took photos of the gate.  

Several families who have been to Ningxia over the last year took numerous photos of the children, and because of Will’s apparent outgoing personality, he figures prominently in many of the photos.  I have had several requests to post the photos I have, so I’m filling up this post with pictures!  I have carefully edited them to display mostly Will, and not other people’s children or families.  I think all of these photos were taken between February and May of 2006, so over a year ago.  The little photos I posted in the referral announcement are the only recent photos I have of him.

There are currently 5 or so families waiting to travel to Ningxia for their children with special needs, but in general, it is a province that has done very few international adoptions.  The reasons for this are unclear.  It is the second smallest province in China, so one would expect overall fewer numbers of abandoned children.  Another speculation is that, being an autonomous region, the more populous Chinese Moslems are not subject to the same one-child rule that the Han are.  Therefore, they would not be as likely to abandon their firstborn daughters in order to be eligible to have a son instead.  However, they would be just as likely to abandon a child with special needs, thus perhaps increasing the SN adoptions done from that area.  Also, as a small, relatively poor province, it is speculated that the cost of preparing the paperwork of a child for international adoption may be prohibitive.  In short, we don’t know.  But folks that have been recently have had a wonderful time there, so we’re excited to visit, and see a very different China this time around.

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Edited at 12:34PM:  I just looked back through my posts and realized I have never included the contents of Will’s most recent update from the SWI.  Don’t get excited; it’s from 3/28/07, so nothing really new, but just for kicks, here goes:

  • His current health is good and he has had no colds or fevers
  • His cleft lip appears to have no effect on his teeth, at this point
  • He is potty trained and doesn’t need his diaper at night any more
  • He sleeps in his own small bed an does not need a nightlight
  • He does not recognize colors (seemed an odd thing to include; perhaps they accidentally put in the “not”?)
  • He is talkative and “can not say much complicated sentences and his speech is almost clear”
  • He attends preschool at the orphanage
  • He has used a western style toilet (as opposed to the infamous squattie potties)
  • He does have a favorite friend and interacts well with other children
  • He is social and tends to be a leader (this was in direct response to a question I asked, because I noticed that he is always in the middle of every single picture)
  • He is closest to his caretakers (prefers women) and other children at the orphanage
  • His favorite toys are cars and toy bricks
  • He is affectionate
  • He is “passionate to strangers” and can greet them
  • He has been around small pets and likes them
  • His favorite foods are ALL kinds of foods; he is not a picky eater and can use a spoon.

I’m thinking that he will have a strong personality, and will likely compete with the young princess for our attention.  Life will most likely be difficult in the short run, as they get used to each other, but in the long run, we will be so fortunate to have 2 strong-willed kiddos who are social and outgoing and can stick up for themselves!

Early July Update

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

A busy, busy week here in Winter Casciari Land.  Mostly, running about every night playing concerts with the St. Johnsbury Band, and getting the little banana home so late that her schedule is all messed up.  At last the concerts are done for the week, and we can get back to whatever kind of normal we usually experience.

This past Sunday, Anna had on a particularly cute sailor dress, but getting a cute photo of her was a challenge.  I think the two below were the best of about 20.  For such a cute child, I don’t know how she can make such weird faces every time she knows I’m taking a picture!
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Monday night’s concert was our normal weekly affair in St. Johnsbury.  On Tuesday, we were invited to play on the Vermont Statehouse lawn in Montpelier as part of their annual July 4th festivities on the 3rd.  Yes, they do everything on the 3rd every year.  That’s Vermont for you.  I’m surprised that hasn’t spawned legislation in New Hampshire to require the 4th of July to be celebrated on the 2nd east of the Connecticut River.  Anyway, Pastor and Lori Schulz and the kids live in Barre, next to the church, and they invited us to come over for a cook out in the afternoon, and then we all went over to Montpelier for the parade, the concert, and then the fireworks.  I had made Anna a little white St. J Band shirt and gotten her some black jeans so she could match her mama.  She was too chicken to sit with me during the concerts, but she was cute nonetheless.

7-5-07-3.jpg 7-5-07-4.jpg Anna with Tristan – I didn’t realize she has to study the ground so hard when she walks.  I was hoping she’d end up being more graceful than her mama.  Perhaps it’s too soon to tell at the ripe old age of 27 months.

7-5-07-5.jpg 7-5-07-6.jpg Anna enjoying the parade.  She really did get a kick out of the parade, even though it was nothing like the parades I’m used to in the Midwest.  Mostly political candidates and radical activist groups trying to make some kind of point that was much too erudite for a July 4th parade.

7-5-07-7.jpg This was my favorite float!

After our concert, we headed back to our car and watched the fireworks.  Sort of.  Anna was quite afraid of them, and while sitting on Baba’s lap, she managed to supersaturate her diaper and leak all over her pants, and of course, Baba’s pants and shirt.  He panicked, because it would never occur to him to bring spare clothes for himself.  I had a couple of outfits for Anna, so I changed her, and then had to loan him my jeans and girly t-shirt that were my spare outfit.  He had to put on his leather jacket over everything so he wouldn’t look so effeminate.  :lol:  Because you all know how girly I am.  Ha ha ha!

I leave you with a video clip (it’s kind of long) of Anna playing with a little animal hospital I bought for her some time ago.  I had it stashed away, in plain view, of course, in my room, and she’s been sneaking peeks at it for several weeks now.  She finally got bold enough early this week to ask if she could play with it.  It’s really quite a cute toy, with 6 little cages on the front, all different colors, and a ring of keys color-coded to match the doors.  The keys and locks are shaped such that only the proper key will open each door.  It didn’t take her long to figure that out, and she spent a merry half hour or so by herself opening and closing the doors, and putting the puppy, kitten and birdie away for the night.  I think that’s the longest time she’s been able to entertain herself since she came home with us!  Please enjoy this video of my smart little girl!