Thursday, February 22, 2007

Movin' Right Along

We found out today that our international agency has a draft of our homestudy. They'll review it and submit it back to the homestudy agency for changes. When I read this news in an e-mail I'm grooving, "Oh yeah! We're movin' right along!" Then that brought back flashbacks from the first movie that dad ever took me to, The Muppet Movie (1979) . Thanks for drinking all those Cokes in collectible Muppet glasses, Dad!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year

Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year lunar calendar. Happy New Year! I found this gal's YouTube video today. Thanks for sharing with us, Diana!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Can I go to Taiwan too?

We're getting the house ready for a Chinese New Year party, and cleaning out the closet to get ready for guests' coats. Sedona's carrier is stored in the closet. She loves the carrier, and jumps into it whenever we get it out. I love this pic. Don't you think she looks like she's asking, "Can I go to Taiwan too?"

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Legends of Taiwan Indigenous Peoples

This blog has been so much fun! I've been inspired from other blogging international adopting families, and have gotten a wealth of information from them. I've been blessed to make a connection with gentleman in Taiwan named Simon. He has taken an interest in our blog, and wanted to share with us stories from Taiwan's indigenous groups. The Jamar Idea Production Company in Taiwan made a series of 10 animated stories from Taiwan's indigenous groups for television, which are now available on DVD with subtitles in English. Simon shared our story with the Jamar company, and they sent us a copy of their DVD and a sweet postcard sending us good wishes signed by several members of their team. Words cannot express how thankful I am for this surprising generosity from people so far away. Hopefully we'll have the opportunity to meet these nice people when we travel to Taiwan.

Below is a photo of the DVD and the postcard the Jamar team sent. How sweet! Sedona says that she looks forward to watching the DVD this weekend, and hopes that mommy and daddy share movie time snacks with her during the stories.
Here's a list of the legends on the DVD: Amis people: Women's Land, Atayal people: Shooting The Sun, Bunun people: The Child Became A Bird, Tsou people: Huge Eel And Crab, Saisiyat people: The Legend of Daai, Puyuma people: Snake Husband, Paiwan people: Sun's Children, Rukai people: The Legend of A Clouded Leopard, Tao people: The Wrestling Stones, and Thao people: Finding Sun-Moon Lake.

If you are in Taiwan, the DVD is for sale several locations, including on the second floor of the Handicraft Mart in Taipei.
Taiwan Handicraft Promotion Center
No.1 Hsu Chow Road Taipei, Taiwan, ROC
Phone: +886-2-23933655

Thanks once again to Simon, Gilbert, Mr. Yufu, and the rest of the Jamar team!

Here at home we're getting ready to celebrate Chinese New Year. Here's a sneak peek of what's to come:

Digging Out - Valentine's Day

These are photos taken on Valentine's Day, one day after the blizzard. The drift against our garage door and covering the walkway to our front door was over 4 feet tall. Thank goodness we have a snowblower!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

You've Got Mail!

After all that grumpyness about WAITING, we got two good things in the mail today.

When I got home from work today I got a letter from immigration that they are processing our documents, but want our social security numbers too. Someone told me that we should write it on the application, but there's not a line on the form that calls for that, so I didn't do it. Guess I know now why they told me to to that! So, we'll send them copies of our social security cards with a letter to be extra complete.

When I sat down to the computer to check my e-mail, I had a copy of the first draft of our homestudy in my inbox. YAY!!!! There's a few corrections to be made. My sister's birth date is 3 days off. According to the document, I graduated from high school when I was 8 years old, 10 years earlier than everyone else in my class. They left out the part about Kevin being raised with wild wolves, too. The rest of the corrections are just some fill in the blanks with missing information that we can easily provide. Once this is completed, the homestudy agency will make the corrections and send a copy to our adoption agency for them to look it over. I finally feel like we're getting somewhere!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Now through 10:00 PM EST February 13, 2007
Blizzard warning in effect until 7 AM est /6 AM cst/ Wednesday... Heavy snow can be expected through the evening hours...with visibilities dropping below one quarter mile at times. Total snow accumulations from this event will be range between 10 and 16 inches...with the highest amounts south of highway 30. The snow will Combine with gusty northeast winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to near 40 mph. There will be substantial blowing and drifting snow...creating snow drifts in excess of 4 feet and causing treacherous driving conditions. Travel is not advised across the region. You are urged to stay off of roads to avoid being stranded.

And I went to work in this today? I was supposed to work from 4-10pm tonight. I talked to my coworkers a couple of times and they said management was considering closing us down, but it hadn't happened yet. The commute to work usually takes me 7 minutes. I left 30 minutes early and was to pick up coworker Dana up at her house on the way in. Kevin and I have a vehicle that's supposed to switch into 4 wheel drive when needed. The plan was for Kevin to drive me and Dana into work and pick us up at close. Well, we got out of our driveway but got stuck in a 3 foot drift and didn't make it out of the neighborhood. I have the best neighbors in the world, and three came out when they heard sounds of our vehicle stuck in the snow. They helped shovel us out, and I apologised letting them know why I was going out in the middle of a blizzard. I didn't want to try to make it to Dana's house, but Kevin insisted. We arrived at work 10 minutes late and then got the phone call from the district manager that we'd close up at 5pm. We had to make several administrative phone calls letting them know that we'd be closing early. Kevin stayed with me and then drove Dana and I home. Don't I have a wonderful husband? He managed to keep himself busy reading this month's issue of Maximum PC, a magazine he can't put down once he starts reading.

I took some pictures outside of our house today. Enjoy! Yes, this is an adoption blog... but we just had to share these pics with Kevin's family in SUNNY FLORIDA. Don't you miss blizzards, Ron, Adrienne, Shane, and Marjorie? Not quite like the Blizzard of 1978, but it's pretty deep and white outside!

About 7pm tonight a small truck with a plow got stuck in the drift that we got stuck in on the way to work. Two city or county snow plows had to come into our neighborhood and pushed him out.

Tea Eggs - Part 2

My first batch of tea eggs aren't so hot. They just taste like hard boiled eggs. There isn't near as much brown into the white of the egg as the picture on the previous post. I think my eggs cooked too long before I cracked them and finished simmering for an hour, so there isn't much "tea" very deep into the white of the egg. The whole house smelled wonderful like anise while they cooked! Just wish they tasted like they smelled. I'll have to try it again. If anyone reading this has eaten tea eggs, please post what it's supposed to taste like. How strong should the anise and tea taste be? Do you eat them warm or cold?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tea Eggs - Part 1

I've been reading up on popular Taiwanese foods and traditional Chinese New Year dishes in preparation for a Chinese New Year party. Kevin is definitely the cook in our family, but can handle myself in the kitchen, too. Kevin jokes that I only know how to cook with the microwave. This is what I hear when I make dinner: "Thanks honey. Tastes great! You really know how to microwave a good dinner." Yeah, thanks.
Anyway, I thought I'd try to make tea eggs as I'm confident that I know how to boil water. I googled "Taiwan tea eggs" and I've found lots of recipes for tea eggs, and they differ a little bit. This pic of tea eggs is one I found online. Mine aren't finished yet. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find star anise for tea eggs locally, but my mom found anise seed. These tea eggs are popular snacks, and people say that you can buy them at any 7-11 in Taiwan. I made my tea eggs with water, eggs, 2 small black tea bags, soy sauce, anise seed, 2 cinnamon sticks, 4 chunks of candied ginger. I boiled the mixture for 15 minutes. Then I took the eggs out and cracked their shells with a metal spoon. The tea eggs went back in the pot, and they are to simmer for an hour. Tea eggs are supposed to be able to keep for weeks if you cook them again and again 1-2 times per day, they are supposed to taste better the longer they're cooked, and you can add more eggs anytime. I started with a dozen, and we'll see how this goes minus star anise and me not really knowing what I'm doing. Stay tuned for my next tea eggs update.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


No real news. We're WAITING for all kind of things right now.

We're WAITING for our first draft of our homestudy. Our last visit was 18 days ago. We get a copy of the draft and so does our adoption agency, Families for Children. We look it over for errors (like if it said that I drive taxi cabs for a living and Kevin was raised in Alaska with wild wolves - that would be an error) and our coordinator at our adoption agency looks it over to make sure that it's in the format that the orphanages and courts in Taiwan want to see. Then all of these notarized copies are made of it. I get one, our adoption agency gets several, and USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) gets one so that little Hannah can get a visa (the kind that lets her come into the US, not the kind I use to buy fun stuff at Target).

After our homestudy is approved there's not much else for us to do except WAIT. We've already mailed our I600a application to USCIS. USCIS waits for a copy of our homestudy. Then we get appointments to be fingerprinted with some kind of electronic scanning device by USCIS in Indianapolis. All of this goes with our I600a application to get a I-171H - Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition. The I-171H allows us to get a visa at the American Institute in Taiwan so we can bring Hannah back into the US with us. Sigh. And we WAIT.

We're also WAITING to talk with our adoption agency coordinator as I have a whole bunch of questions for her. She's been busy, just back from Taiwan, so I'll try and be patient and WAIT my turn to talk with her.

Speaking of VISAs, I did go ahead and buy bedding for the nursery. Well, I've ordered it at least. and now have to WAIT 2-3 weeks for it to be shipped to our house. I read from multiple sources that preparing the nursery can keep pre-adoptive parents sane while they WAIT and WAIT and WAIT for a referral, well that's a good enough reason to justify this purchase to Kevin I think. Pink, brown, and cream scribbles are on the way!
Kevin and I went to Babies R Us a few weeks ago and picked out a crib for Hannah. We think it's really pretty, and practical as it will convert into a toddler bed and then into a full size bed when the time comes.
Sedona had a bath today and then a photo shoot to keep us busy while we WAIT. It was honestly hard to get her to sit still as she was much more interested that licking my forehead and mouthing my fingers. There were a lot of "sit" and "stay" commands during the photo shoot. She listened for a little while expecting a treat, but stopped listening after she figured out that I was busy taking pictures and didn't have any treats on hand. We invited my mom and dad over for dinner. Dad's been going through Sedona withdrawal and keeps talking about wanting to give her more gravy. Yuck. They brought over Valentines presents for Sedona and Hannah. Sedona got treats of course, and Hannah got a bunch of great books. Arf! Thanks, Grandma!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Is this us, or what?

Making a WeeMee is kinda fun!