Sunday, January 28, 2007

Referrals for January

It is almost referral (match) time again. The last group came in early January and the next batch will probably not get here until sometime after Feburary 1. We have read several different predictions about how far into the October 2005 LID dates they will get this month. Some say maybe through the 10th others are speculating as far as the 17th. Each day matched is one day closer for us. Since they send matches out about one time each month we can sort of estimate what month we might get matched in...maybe May or June, but more likely July or August.

It is really a difficult time. There are so many things that you cannot plan until you know when you will be traveling to China. The trip is usually 6 to 8 weeks after you get your match. We will be gone for approximately 14 days. We have started collecting a few items that we know we will need. She will not have anything except the clothes she is wearing when she is given to us so once we know how old she is we can begin to buy the basic things she will need.

We are hoping for MANY MANY days of October 2005 in this match group!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Referral Analysis

Our agency puts out a newsletter each month to help keep us informed. They usually have a timeline in it that lets us see where we stand at this point. Right now it looks like we could get our Referral (match) in May. WOW May! We will try our best to not get too excited, because it is only an estimation based what the CCAA has done during the past 6 months. They alway remind us that they could slow down and do less each month which would extend our wait time. Actually we are just happy that they are getting closer to December 9, 2005.

We still have not chosen a name for her and will probably wait until we see her little face. We will know the right name when the time comes.

Today we went to Dallas to be re-fingerprinted for our upcoming I171 document. We will be sending off the forms this week for a new immigration approval since ours expires in March. While we were there we met a very nice young lady from China, named Kasha, (isn't that a beautiful name) who we enjoyed visiting with about China. Ronnie even tried out a little of his Chinese that he has been learning. The main phrase he had learned so far is "I do not want any, I have no money" He thinks he is funny!!! I have news for him I will be right behind him saying "how much"? I have already made a list of quite a few items I plan to buy while in China. One of many lists I have made over the past few months.

Room Update
We have decided on a paint color for her room. Belgian Waffle by Olympic Paints. A very pretty soft yellow.

Becky

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Now the fun part begins!!

After the disappointment of the extended wait, Ronnie and I have focused on other things. First there was baseball season (last spring) at which time we thought we would be getting her in the fall. Then came summer and we thought we might be getting her around Christmas or the first of the year. In the fall of this year it became obvious that we will probably not be matched up with her until this summer. As of the first of this month when matches were made we began to think WOW now we are getting closer. LID dates September 28, 2005 through December 8, 2005 must be matched before us but when they get to December 9, 2005 it will be OUR TURN.

So even though we think it will be at least 6 more months before we see her little face we are going to start on a project we are looking forward to...her room. Now that is exciting.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Made in China

Five years ago China would have been very low on the list of foreign countries that we were ever likely to visit. We knew that there is great natural beauty in the country, also amazing culture and history, but it just never entered our thoughts that we might go there someday. We had made some wonderful friends in Hawaii of Chinese descent, but China remained a mysterious place, that we rarely thought of apart from news reports and commentary in the media. We imagined that if we ever traveled outside the U.S. it would be to Europe or some island in the Pacific. Actually, there is so much we haven’t seen in the states that I doubt we would ever have traveled internationally at all.

Since our decision to adopt a daughter from China everything has changed. We watch CCTV out of China on a daily basis. Suddenly it’s like there’s another world opened to us that we want to learn about and understand. Knowing that we have a daughter over there makes it personal. She is over there somewhere. Her biological parents are there, if they are still living. Where do they live and work? What is life like for them? Is our little girl in an orphanage or foster home? Is she warm and well fed, or cold and hungry?

We seek out movies about China, and documentaries that reveal what life is like over there. We have studied some of the history of China. A movie that really touched my heart recently is entitled, “Mardi Gras Made in China”. The movie was shown on the Sundance channel on our satellite system. We recorded it on the DVR, and have watched it several times. The movie traces the origins of the plastic beads that Mardi Gras revelers try to amass that are thrown from the floats in the parades. The movie is not suitable for children due to uncensored footage of some of the Mardi Gras debauchery.

What is exceptional about the movie is the revelation of where the beads come from and who makes them. They are made in China by young workers, mostly female, many of whom have moved into the factory cities to help their families survive. They are often from poor rural villages, and the factory jobs provide much more income than could be earned in the village. The factory supervisors prefer female laborers because they are more compliant. The young girls, mostly in their teens live on the grounds of the factory in dorms. A bunk is shared by two girls on alternating twelve hour shifts. The girls are paid based on production quotas and if they are fast enough can earn up to four dollars a day. If they make mistakes, their pay is reduced accordingly.

One of the young girls in the movie explains that she has to work in the bead factory to support her family. They are too poor to send her to school, but hopefully her brother can go to school. She says that she puts all of her hope of the future in her brother. She says that she is willing to sacrifice for him. She gets a two week vacation (unpaid of course) for Chinese New Year. When she returns to visit her family she takes gifts for her family including a watch for her brother. The selfless sacrifice of the young Chinese girl stands in stark contrast to the tawdry excesses of Bourbon Street.

Each day, I catch myself looking at the labels of clothing, hardware, and products of every sort. Not a day goes by that I fail to see “Made in China” several times. I turn it over in my hands and I wonder about the person that made it. As many things that we use and wear are made in China, there is the possibility that what I am holding might have been made by our little girl’s mama. I promise myself to not forget to pray for that Chinese mother, and to do the best that I can in raising her little girl, the best gift that we will ever receive that was “made in China”.

Ronnie

Friday, January 5, 2007

Adoption Process

Our adoption agency Chinese Children Adoption International has a web site that tells a lot about the process of international adoption from China. You can get a really good understanding just by visiting their web site. We have placed a link on this site to CCAI. International adoption is very complicated and the choice of an agency is crucial. Of course we think our agency is the best...but there are many agencies to choose from and most are very good.

These are some of the steps necessary to adopt from China.

  • Adoption Application
  • Creating Dossier
  • Submitting Dossier to China ( Documents are translated and submitted through your agency)
  • China assigns you a Log In Date -LID- (The date all your paper work is logged into the China Center for Adoption Affairs - CCAA)
  • Dossier is Reviewed by CCAA
  • Dossier moved into the Matching Room

This is where we are now in the process. Our dossier has been reviewed and moved into the Matching Room, where it will sit until they get through all the LID's before ours which is December 9, 2005.

On January 3, 2007 referrals or matches were received by agencies for those families whose Dossier's were logged in at CCAA September 9, 2005 through September 27, 2005. The CCAA sends these out about once a month, approximately every thirty days or so.

Over the past few months it has been taking about about two months of matching to get through one month of LIDs. If this trend continues we have about five more months to wait before we are matched. A lot of factors affect how many days per month they are able to match.

  • The orphanages send in Dossiers for the children available each month. The number varies. Children must be declared abandoned through a somewhat lengthy process set up by China to be free to be adopted. Also not all orphanages are set up for international adoption.
  • CCAA pulls the Family Dossiers for as many children as they have available that month and then the match process begins.
  • Some LID's have a lot of families on the same date, some have only a few, so depending on those numbers and the number of children available that month with completed paperwork they determine how far the next batch of matches will go.

We have done some research and know that the LID months of October and November 2005 are really big months in the numbers of Family Dossiers, so we believe that it could take longer than two months per month for October and November.

We hope that we might see our little one's face for the first time in May or June if all goes well. When you are in the process of international adoption anything can happen so it could be much longer than we expect or the process could be faster than we expect.

Please pray with us for the safety and protection of our daughter until we can bring her home.

Becky

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Lots of Beautiful Little Girls

We have been waiting for days and the matches for this month have finally arrived. From all the information I have gathered from various places and the fact that the CCAA just updated their website they completed through September 27, 2005. We were really hoping for them to get through all of September. I will try to post some links to some pictures of families who already have their pictures and information about their new family member.

Each month gets us a little closer but I really wish the process would speed up. Here are some links. Just click on the name below to view.

LEE

AVA

MADELYN

EMMA

MARGARET

GRACIE

Enjoy! Although our little girl will probably be much older we really enjoy looking at the photos each month of little ones whose lives will soon be forever changed. Praise God!

Becky

Monday, January 1, 2007

I Love You

I love you, the three most powerful words in the English language. At least that’s what I thought in first grade when I printed them carefully on a page from my Big Chief tablet. The note was to Nancy, the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in all of my six years of experience. I really thought that the words would have some kind of magical effect on her. I felt that surely she would be overwhelmed with my profession of love, though I really had no idea where it would lead. I suppose I expected her to come to me after class and say that she loved me too, or at least liked me. “Like” was the word that kids our age usually said, but I loved her.

I came back from recess early, grabbed the already printed page from my tablet and placed in squarely on her desk. I was already in my seat when the rest of the class started walking in and I watched Nancy sit down. I was almost breathless with anticipation as I saw her pick up the paper that said, “Dear Nancy, I love you, Ronnie”. Even from four rows behind her, I could tell that she was visibly moved as she read the note. She looked left and right, and then back toward me with disgust. As she tore the paper into several pieces, it began to dawn on me that she might not love me; she might even not like me at all.

It took a while to fall out of love with Nancy, maybe a week or more. I decided to be more cautious with my professions of love after that, even though at any given time, I was nearly always in love with one girl or another. I determined to look for signs that they loved me before I stuck my neck out again, and as luck would have it in the next several years, I got those signs every so often, but it never happened to be from whichever girl I was smitten with at the time. I was twenty years old when I finally felt a love so strong that I would risk saying those three words again, no matter the risk to my pride, and that time the girl responded. It was magical, just like I thought it was supposed to be, and we kissed, and went steady, got engaged, and then got married. We’re still married after thirty three years, and I still say “I love you” several times a day.

Looking back, I have considered what made me want to use the word “love” in my childish infatuation. The only answer has to be the way the word was used in my family, which was often and sincerely. My Mom and Dad told me and my sister often that they loved us. It was freely used. It happened at bedtime, it was said when we were leaving for school, or getting out of the car at school. My Dad insisted on kissing me goodbye and saying, “I love you” each time he dropped me off at school. Finally in about the third grade, I got Dad to agree to give the hug and kiss goodbye a few blocks before we got to school, so I wouldn’t look like a baby in front of the other kids. Of course, my parents’ love was demonstrated in unselfish devotion to us, not just verbally.

Becky and I have carried that tradition on with our children, and now with our grandchildren. We believe that children should hear those three words daily, spoken to them, and hearing them being spoken from Dad to Mom and vice versa. I am more firmly convinced now than I was at six years of age that those words have almost magical power. Actually, now I know that the power in those words is spiritual power, and spiritual power affects everything that we are and what we will become.

I am amazed at people who seem to have difficulty saying the words, “I love you.” I had a Sunday School teacher once who said that saying, “I love you” all of the time was silly, and that it cheapened the expression when overused. He explained that he didn’t say it that often at home, because his wife and children knew that he loved them, without him having to say it again and again. I left the class wondering if maybe I was overusing the expression myself. About a year later, after apparently having an extramarital affair, that teacher left his wife and family, and the church. Now, I recommend that Dads say the three words often. I have found, and I believe that the holy scriptures agree that there is power in the words we speak. The book of Proverbs says that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Therefore if we have love in our hearts we will speak it, and if we are not speaking it, we need to examine our hearts. In the letter to the Romans it says that the word of faith is near us, even in our mouth and in our heart, and that it is by confessing with our mouth the lordship of Christ, which we believe in our heart that brings salvation. I believe that the more we speak words of love, the more we will live out that love. There is power in the words we speak.

Also, the bible tells us that faith comes by hearing. When our children, or our spouse hear us say, “I love you” it strengthens their faith in our love. The most important concept that a child can have is that of unconditional love from their parents. The certainty that they are loved, even when they are disobedient, even when they are not the smartest kid in class, or the most athletic, or talented, yet that their parent loves them no strings attached, is a lifegiving force in the child, making them strong spiritually and emotionally. Saying “I love you” to a growing child is as crucial to their well being as water is to a plant.

I’m already practicing saying those three magic words to our daughter from China. I don’t worry anymore about overusing them, and I can hardly wait for the day when I hear her say five magic words to me, “I love you too, Dad.”

Ronnie