Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Baby Stuff Temptations

Kevin and I went to my mom and dad's house for dinner tonight, and dad was really hilarious. My dad jokes: You don't need a high chair and plastic under the floor, just feed the kid in the garage and hose her down! Crib, you don't need a new crib! We've still got yours from 30 years ago complete with chew marks where you tried to eat off all of the white paint. The crib's still upstairs in the attic all ready for you.

Humm... maybe that's why I had to do a "do over" for two college classes. I've been brain damaged by lead based paint from my crib. I can't believe that my parents kept the crib after my little sister was finished with it in 1983!!! I woulda sold that in a garage sale long ago. Guess I was pretty special (sniff sniff) and they couldn't part with my crib.

I've been bad. I can't help myself. Kevin told me that I wasn't allowed to buy baby stuff until we get a referral, but I cheated. I bought two sets of jammies (red and pink with ladybugs) from Gymboree earlier this month. These baby companies know my weaknesses. Today I got an e-mail from Robeez with a cutie Asian baby and SUNFLOWER SHOES! I love Sunflower decor.

My mom and dad say that the only thing that they bought for me before I was born was a package of diapers and a couple of onsies. Oh, and they got a bassinet from Aunt Sharon and bought a used changing table for $5. Wow.

P.S. to my Mommy: Thanks for the COD. Not certificate of deposit. Not collect on delivery. It's the fish.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

High chair in the house!

Yes, I read a lot online about adoptions, adoption blogs, and reviews of baby products. That makes me normal, just one of the gang. I participate in two Yahoo Taiwan adoption message boards and have found a crowd of people that have the same thoughts, fears, and excitement that I have about becoming a family. A month ago I found a person online who was selling a Peg Perego Prima Pappa Leatherette high chair for only $30. I've read lots of great reviews of this product online, and knew that's what I wanted. It retails for about $200, so I jumped at the chance to look at a used one for $30. We drove today to take a look at it, and now there's a high chair in our house. The body is pretty much perfect, the upholstery is okay and has a hole in the seat, and the straps are just plain GROSS. I went online and found out that the Peg Perego United States headquarters is right here in the Hoosier state. I called their office in Fort Wayne and ordered a replacement leatherette upholstery and straps. So, my high chair isn't such a steal at a little over half price, but still a good deal.
Sedona doesn't know it yet, I think but she's really going to like having a baby in a high chair in the house. I'm sure she'll be very happy to help clean up after what fell on the floor during dinner. Applesauce, carrots, crackers... she likes it all. My dad claims that Sedona really likes gravy. I know better than to give her gravy, as gravy + shih tzu = doggy bath time.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Reading Weekend

I spent this weekend relaxing with some books. It's cold outside, and we've been so busy with the adoption paperchase and getting ready for our home visit that it was so nice just to stay in this weekend with Kevin. Here's the books I tackled and my reviews of each... along with some rice crackers from one of the Asian grocery stores we visited and some green tea.

1) Cross Cultural Adoption: How To Answer Questions from Family, Friends & Community
I liked the first half of this book because it was easy to read and focused on positive adoption language. The second half discussed adoptions from the most popular countries (China, Guatemala, Russia, etc.) and that wasn't what I was looking for at all.

2) Childproofing Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Preparing Your Dog for the Children in Your Life
This book wasn't so helpful for me as I realized that I have a pretty well behaved dog, but I can see where other families' dogs would have a long way to go to be prepared to bring a child home. Some of the examples seem pretty far fetched, like a couple that bought a baby doll to get a dog used to having a baby around. But, the dad played tug of war with the dog using the baby. Then when baby came home and was left along with the dog for a few minutes, the dog mauled the baby. I think Sedona just has one thing to work on before baby comes home. When we lay down on the floor with her, she thinks that we're doing it just to play with her. She runs over and jumps on us, licks us, and brings her toys to us. She needs to work on leaving people laying on the floor alone unless they invite her to play.

3) Lonely Planet Taiwan
Basic travel guide book. How are we ever going to decide what to visit when we're in Taiwan? There's so much to see! We'll need to be there for a minimum of 5 days for the adoption, but as long as we're flying half way around the world, we should really take 3-5 days just to experience the place and people. That way as Hannah grows up we can say, "Well, when we were in Taiwan we saw...."

4) Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents
This book is supposed to be THE book about attachment parenting in adoption. Our homestudy case worker got really excited when she saw this book on my bookshelf and went on how it's THE book. I know that this stuff is important, but it reads like a university text book. Zzzzzzz. Need coffee! Can't stay awake! I only got through the first chapter and had to stop and take a break. Then I skipped into the back that talks about the steps of attachment. I read up on step 1 and 2. Attachment takes years, so I guess what I read covers the first few. Well, at least this a start and the book will serve as a reference later.

Kevin picked up our documents from our doctor's office Friday afternoon that we need to send to the homestudy agency and adoption agency that show that we're healthy enough to be parents (no HIV, hepatitis, TB, etc.) I'll mail them out tomorrow morning before going to work.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Fish Balls: Our first Asian grocery experience!

This afternoon after our homestudy appointment Kevin and I traveled to the nearest large city to check out some Asian Grocery Stores. The first one that we went to was an "International" store that catered to Hispanics. Unfortunately, they didn't have ANY Asian food. The trip was very worthwhile, because we bought some really good fresh salsas and got some favorite German treats including chocolate covered Nuremberg Lebkuchen and Milka Noisette chocolate. Ich liebe deutsche Süßigkeiten!

The next grocery we visited was a "little hole in the wall" grocery that only had three short isles. I was a little nervous about going in, but the Thai woman running the store with her 7 year old daughter were very nice and the place was well kept, and the prices were extremely low. Most of the food was Thai, but we found "fish balls" pictured above that I've read about, and several different kinds of noodles. I also found glutinous rice flour to make sticky rice cakes. I'm wanting to try to make a sticky rice cake (Nian Gao) for Chinese New Year's. Nin means year, and gao means cake. Legend has it that the more the cakes rise, the better the new year will be. I've read that most Chinese cakes are steamed, but I've never steamed a cake before so I'll most likely try one of the baked recipes first.

We think the third grocery that we visited was run Korean gentleman, as he had several local advertisement signs in Korean. The store was much larger than the "little hole in the wall" grocery. This store had a large frozen section with lots of different kinds of fish displayed very attractively. There was all kinds of snack food too from Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, and Korea. We bought a lot more at this store because of their large selection and found it very easy to navigate. We can see ourselves going back to this store because of their large selection and it's located near a large shopping area that we visit.

Sedona is ready for the Superbowl

Relax! Homestudy appointments are over!

Today we had our final homestudy visit in our home. Susie with Adoption Support Center was great. We talked about family, our home, our relationship, our community, and our parenting plans. It felt really good to know that Kevin and I had already talked about all of these things already. Good thing Susie didn't ask about the skeleton in our closet! (haha)
We're still waiting on blood and urine tests to come back so that our physicals can be finished up. We got our Muncie police clearances yesterday after going to the dentist. YAY!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Colts take the AFC Championship!

Good luck in Miami, Colts!

Cold Day in Hell... er... Indiana! Colts in the Superbowl!

Holy cow! I can't believe the Colts are in the Superbowl! We had my mom and dad over for dinner and the game, expecting to be frustrated as the Colts always choke when playing the Patriots. We started putting away the Christmas tree (hey, I've been busy with adoption stuff!) when the Colts went down 18 points, but had to stop after halftime when things started heating up. We got Kevin's dad in FL a Colts t-shirt and sweatshirt for Christmas. Good to know he'll get some extended use out of them this year!

We woke up this morning to a few inches of snow that was enough to cover up the grass. How pretty! Kevin doesn't think it's so pretty, and asks me to remind him why we live in Indiana and not Florida.

I've had a really bad cold these last 5 days, so bad that I frequently lost my voice and had difficulty talking at work. I finally feel much better today, and slept the entire night last night. Wednesday and Thursday night this week I woke up at least once an hour to blow my nose. The congestion was horrible and so frustrating because I'm used to being a really good sleeper. Is this what waking up several times a night to comfort, feed, and change diapers is like? Oh no! Kevin and I have already agreed that he gets the bulk of the night time baby cry duties when I'll be working the next morning. Stay at home dad Kevin can catch up on sleep during nap times.

The lady that drew blood at the doctor's office poked Kevin several times on Friday and couldn't get a hit. He was kinda grouchy and sore from being poked multiple times for blood and got three vaccinations all in one day. He'll go back Monday fully hydrated and hopefully we'll get some blood out of him.

The social worker is coming! We're having a big house cleaning this weekend. It's been great to have some pressure to throw away junk and donate other items that we've needed to get rid of for some time. Only problem is that we have twice the trash that we can leave out, so we'll have to get rid of it over a couple of weeks. Sedona puppy got a bath yesterday and smells like vanilla instead of stinky dog, so she's ready for the visit too.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Comming soon to a preschooler's TV near you: "Ni Hao, Kai-lan”

I think this is pretty cool! Look out, "Dora the Explorer." Here comes "Ni Hao, Kai-lan!" This is a new cartoon created by Nickelodeon that is set to begin in the fall of 2007. In an October 2006 interview, Nickelodeon spokesperson Cyma Zarghami commented, "Then there is Ni Hao Kai-Lan for preschoolers, which is a show about a Chinese girl. It’s creatively inspired and it celebrates Chinese culture, but will probably have a broad appeal, mostly because of how fresh it looks." I'm really excited to have Hannah be able to see programming for children that embraces Chinese culture. I'm even more excited to know that she'll grow up with a generation of kids that has also watched the show. Here's a link to some short Ni Hao, Kai-lan videos.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Getting Poked and Prodded for Baby

Today Kevin and I had tuberculosis skin tests performed at the county health department. We'll go back in 48-72 hours to have them read. Yet another thing checked off our list! We also inquired about Hepatitis A and B vaccinations. The health department gets them at a government discounted price. With our high insurance deductables, I think we'll save a few bucks getting them at the health department. Kevin needs A and B and I just need A.

Our adoption physicals are Friday morning, and we have forms to be completed by our doctor for both the homestudy and adoption agencies. Our doctor will have to order some lab tests, including HIV and hepatitis. Hopefully we'll have that all wrapped up next week when the lab results are back.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

FBI Fingerprint Day at State Police Post

Kevin and I traveled to a state police post this morning to be fingerprinted on blue FBI fingerprint cards. It only took about 15 minutes, and I was impressed by the process. Kevin jokes that it's great when you can go to the back of a police station, get fingerprinted, and LEAVE! We then forward the fingerprint cards onto our homestudy agency that uses them for our FBI National Criminal History check, required for all adults and children 14 or over in our home. We'll have to be fingerprinted again in Indianapolis later for immigration purposes, getting permission to bring an foreign adopted orphan into the United States.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Chinese Art Can Be Fun!

Over the past few months, I have seen a lot of Chinese inspired artwork that people have bought or have for sale for their children. Today I decided to try my hand at making my own personalized art that may be suitable for framing.

First, I had to install East Asian language support on my PC. If you do not have East Asian support installed, then most Chinese fonts will not display. If you have East Asian support the following character will be "Wu" 吴. If not you will likely see a square in its place.

Being the cheap person I am I set out looking for free Chinese fonts for Windows. Microsoft does supply a few Traditional and Simplified fonts with the East Asian addin, but they are more suitable for documents than they are for art projects. (How fancy is Times New Roman, really?) I found free fonts at This blog is made by a fellow who has been living in China as a student for over 6 years. Check it out; you will certainly learn a thing or two about Mandarin here!

I used to search for a nice Chinese painting to use as a backdrop. (Free is good!) I loaded up the image in my favorite image editing program and after an hour or so of messing around I came up with the following images:

The characters are "Wu Han Na" or 吴汉娜. Wu is the family name I chose since our last name starts with the letter W, not to mention our western name does not have a "meaning" in Mandarin. Chinese given names are typically two characters so I used the phonetic equivalents to "Hannah" for her given name. The first image is using the "SimSun" font that installed with the East Asian support for Windows. The second one is "STXingkai" from the website mentioned earlier.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Hannah's first doll arrived today in the mail... and she speaks Mandarin!

The Ling Speaks Chinese! doll arrived at our door today. When one hand is pressed, the doll will recite one of a series of "kid friendly" phrases, first in English, then translated Mandarin. When the other hand is pressed, the doll will count, recite colors, numbers, days of the week, and more. How fun!

Press her right hand to hear:
Hello. - Ni Hao.
How are you? - Ni Hao Ma?
What is your name? - Ni jiao shen ma ming zi?
My name is Ling. - Wo jiao Ling Ling.
Can we be friends? - Wo men zuo peng you hao ma?

Press her left hand to hear:
I like to run. - Wo zi huan pao.
Jump - Tiao
Dance - Tiao wu
Sing - Chang ge
Play games - Wa er you xi

Press her left hand to hear:
Let's count to ten. - Rang wo men shu dao shi.
One - Yi
Two - Er
Three - San
Four - Si
Five - Wu
Six - Liu
Seven - Qi
Eight - Ba
Nine - Jui
Ten - Shi
Good bye. - Zai Jian.

Press the heart on her right knee to hear:
I love you. - Wo an ni.

Family Photo Pages *Almost* Finished

Kevin and I spiffied up the house tonight to finish taking pics of the inside of our home for our family photo pages that will be sent off to our adoption agency. Sedona doggie followed us around the house end ended up in a few of the photos. Tomorrow morning I'm going to my sister's house. She's become a scrapbooker, and has agreed to help me make scrapbook pages for my photos. When the pages are finished, we'll mail them off to our agency with our letter of introduction.

Monday, January 8, 2007

You know you've spent a lot of time online for your adoption when...

You know you've spent a lot of time online for your adoption when...
Even your baby has a Google bar!
Shop for this onsie here!

Paula Zahn Now "Adoption Crackdown" 1/5/07

I'm still fuming over a program I saw on CNN last Friday. Below is the text of a letter that I sent to prople at CNN about it. You can read the transcript here. Here's a link to another adoption story blog with a very well written and well referenced letter that describes CNN's inaccuracies to a T. She obviously spent a lot of time to put this together.

Mr. Klein, Mr. Payne, and Ms. Grant,

I am writing to share my frustration with the Paula Zahn Now show that aired January 5th. Until now I didn’t know how inaccurate information on CNN can be until you have a show that discusses something that I know a lot about.

I've been on a cruise to the Bahamas with my husband's family the last few days. We were getting our pictures taken outside a bar area, when I saw a big screen TV with the words "ADOPTION CRACKDOWN" on CNN with pictures of Asian children. I ran, not walked, but ran to the TV to see what the heck was going on.

On this show, the panel discussed changes in China's adoption rules that go into effect in May. These rules are being put in place as China searches as a way to slim down the pool of adopting parents. China currently has twice the number of families wanting to adopt than they have children available for adoption. While I disagree with how they are limiting their pool of adoptive families, I understand why they have done this.

What I’m really upset about is that the panel generalized that adoptive families want Asian children because they’re racist and think they’ll be smarter than Black and Hispanic children. The panel suggests that adoptive families should be adopting Iraqi war orphans and black children available domestically. The commentators have no idea what they’re talking about. Muslim majority countries do not allow international adoption due to Shari’a law, citizenship requirements, and requirements that adoptive families must also be Muslim. The exceptions are few. Albania only has two licensed agencies, and Ethiopian adoptions are growing rapidly, with 1,171 children being adopted in the past 2 years. In order for more families to adopt from Muslim countries, these countries must change their laws and policies to allow it. They are sovereign nations, and we can’t make them adopt out their orphans if they don’t want to. Only 13% of US adoptions are international adoptions. Those that do it are often looking for alternatives processes to how adoptions are done in the US. In the US, parents that want to adopt an infant have to advertise themselves in beauty pageant fashion, waiting for a birth mother to choose them. Some families spend years and thousands of dollars waiting to be chosen. When they are chosen, they often pay thousands of dollars in housing and prenatal care for the birthmother. They run the risk that she’ll change her mind after she gives birth. When that happens, the adoptive families have broken hearts and empty wallets, and must start all over again looking for a birthmother that will choose them.

In my opinion, This Paula Zahn Now show was sensationalist, trying to create news rather than report and discuss the facts. I no longer trust CNN programming. I suggest that your programs look for panelists that are experts in their fields, rather drumming up sensationalist stories that your panels know very little about.

Update Monday, January 8, 2007

Tonight the Paula Zahn Now show revisited their discussion on adoptions from China. You can read the transcript here. The show revisited this subject after waves e-mails like mine to CNN. Way to go, adoption community! Paula Zahn stated, "We have been flooded with your e-mails, thousands of them since our segment on Friday about China's plan to tighten restrictions on foreigners adopting children. It's a controversial subject. And we brought it out in the open because of the potentially intolerant rules on who can adopt, only prospective parents who are thin enough, rich enough, and attractive enough."

I think CNN realized how off base several statements on the show were. I'm pleased that they tried to make amends. They visited an orphanage in China with special needs babies, and interviewed David Youtz, president of Families with Children from China of Greater New York. Okay, I'll put away the CNN Voodoo doll for now.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Great Grandma Marjorie's Angels

We just returned home tonight from a week in Florida visiting Kevin's family for Christmas. We spent a few days at Kevin's mom and dad's house, and then went on a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas with his immediate family and Grandma Marjorie.

For Christmas, Marjorie got a new "Grandma's Angel's" sweatshirt that is updated with the names of Hannah *and* her first great great grandson also expected in 2007. Marjorie gave us a teddy bear comfort blanket that has the name "Hannah Claire" embroidered on it. How sweet! I'll post a picture of it when we've got our vacation pictures organized. Hannah's middle name "Claire" will be after Marjorie's husband Clair who passed away right before Kevin and I started dating. What a proud Grandma!