Sunday, September 30, 2007

ready for the referral with photo buttons

I've been saving this photo button for the last eight months. I plan on wearing this little girl's photo, keeping her close to my heart every day until we can make her part of our family.

We're ready! I've even made list of family and close friends to call on the phone. I've lined up a international adoption clinic to take a look at our medical information with the referral just to make sure everything is how it should be, and if we need to ask any more questions before accepting the referral. Funds are in the bank ready to pay our agency fees due at referral. And of course, the photo button is out of the package and ready for a photo to be popped right in!

Here are the October guesses for the guess our referral date contest:
October 1st: Rob and Karin
October 3rd: r... (Island Boy's parents)
October 15th: Shelley
October 18th: Sandy
October 19th: Grandma Chapman
October 20th: Marina
October 30th: Andrea

Saturday, September 29, 2007

What kind of American English do you speak?

I've always thought that my Hoosier speech was pretty "normal" American English. Now I've got proof! I'll never bring myself to call a Coke a soda... it will forever be a "pop" in my vobabulary.

Sarah's Linguistic Profile:
65% General American English
10% Dixie
10% Midwestern
10% Upper Midwestern
0% Yankee

After taking the survery, feel free to post your results in the comments.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Got Shots?

Yeah, we never have any of our own adoption news. I'm just always happy for other people with good news. I know. I'd like some too. How about this? Kevin and I got our last shots today in our series of Hepatitis A and B vaccinations. With our immune systems building up a defense against Hepatitis and little Cipro on hand just in case, we're ready to taste test street vendor foods with no worries. I think there's some stinky tofu somewhere out there fermenting just for me.

Baby boy for Mel!

Mel (also using my agency) has announced she and her husband have accepted the referral of a baby boy at St. Lucy's Center in Taiwan! He's beautiful! Congratulations!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why we only put "1 child" on our immigration paperwork

Biological or adopted, twins are pretty cute to read about as we watch them grow up. But can you imagine adopting TRIPLETS FROM TAIWAN?!?! Oh. My. Gosh. This is why we only put a "1 child" on our immigration paperwork. We don't want to be tempted by double or triple cuteness!

Travel Approval for Ti!

I'm so excited for my bloggy friend Nicole and family who learned last night that they have travel approval to bring home their daughter Ti. Nicole lives near Kevin's parents' home, and I hope to meet them when we travel to visit family after Christmas.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Goodnight Mooncake

I knew that the Mid-Autumn Festival was coming up tonight and I really wish I could try a mooncake. I gave up too quickly, knowing that there won't be any bakeries around here catering to Asians. I should have thought, "Sarah, you know you can buy anything online these days!" but it didn't click in my head until now. Tonight I'm having a google buffet of images of mooncakes. It's really neat to look at their beautiful designs and all sort of different fillings inside. Some have egg yolks inside that look like little yellow moons. There's a lot less calories and cholesterol in virtual mooncakes than the real thing! It appears that people buy them from bakeries because of their complex designs and really don't make them at home. They sound a lot like fruitcake, very rich and you only eat a few bites. Like fruitcakes, some people like them, and some people really don't! Well if the mooncakes are icky, there's always American Moonpies! If I had a young child at home, I think it would be fun to eat mooncakes, read stories about the moon like Goodnight Moon, have a long daytime nap so we could stay up late and look at the moon. The optimist in me has all sort of great ideas. We'll see how this works out three years from now after working a whole day and doing four loads of laundry at night. My favorite link to read about the Mid-Autumn festival and buy mooncakes online is at the Boston bookshop. Dear Mooncake, my sweettooth and desire for culture both want you but my hips are glad you didn't make an appearance in our home. Goodnight, Mooncake.

Monday, September 24, 2007

TX vacation: Fort Worth Japanese Gardens

TX vacation: Misc. Pictures

TX vacation: Boba Tea House (Anyone for boba tea, fried tofu, or pot stickers?

Those of you who have read this blog for awhile know that I've very interested in trying popular Taiwanese food, including boba tea and stinky tofu. This was one of the highlights of my trip to Fort Worth to visit Kevin's sister and her daughter. Be sure to read the links to boba tea and stinky tofu to understand why I'm so excited about this.

Kevin and I were out running errands around town with his sister Karen in Fort Worth one day. We just went through a drive-thru bank when I spied this restaurant across the parking lot. "Does that say boba tea? Ohmygosh, we have to go!!!"

I took a photo of our receipt so I can remember what we all ordered. They had a special that day, buy three specialty drinks and get one free. Kevin and I shared three flavors of boba tea between us. Watermelon flavor was our favorite.

Karen ordered a smoothie with boba.

The boba tea cups were sealed with a plastic wrapper. One pokes through the seal with your big straw. The straw is huge to allow you to suck up the black "boba" tapioca balls into your mouth.

I got really excited when I saw fried tofu as an appetizer. Unfortunately, it wasn't stinky tofu. I'll have to wait until we go to night markets in Taiwan for the stinky variety. Darn. It was alright, and served with a soy dipping sauce. The scallions added to the flavor. Four years ago on a family vacation to Germany, Austria, and the Czech republic, my mother took beautiful pictures of the foods we ate on our trip. Thanks mom for this great idea!

My dinner. Very yummy, shaken beef with sticky rice and salad. The lettuce didn't have a dressing. Karen and I ordered the same thing. We figured it was meant to eat together with the beef and sticky rice at the same time.

Kevin's dinner. These "combination soft noodles" were great! I helped myself. Thanks for sharing, sweetie.

On our second trip to the Boba Tea House, we brought the little munchkin Isobella with us. She wasn't too keen on the idea of black tapioca balls in her banana smoothie. If one of the balls started going up her straw, she stopped sucking so it would go back down. Isobella must have liked the looks of Uncle Kevin's "combination soup," and we heard repeatedly, "I want combination soup!"

This was the first time that I've ever had pot stickers. They were alright, kind of a simple food. Here's Isobella finishing off a pot sticker.
Kevin's combination noodle soup looked yummy.

My glazed pork wasn't so great. It wasn't bad, but I didn't enjoy it.

TX vacation: Fort Worth Stockyards

Here are some of our pictures from the Fort Worth Stockyards last week with our niece Isobella. Anyone wanna take a close look and guess what I'm holding in my hand here? Never seen these for sale before in Indiana!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

7 months

Although we've been on our agency's waiting list for 7 months, we've been working on this paper pregnancy for even longer than that. One year ago we'd just announced to parents and siblings that we hoped to adopt internationally, we'd chosen China, and figured that the timeline would have us going to China about the time of the August 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and we were e-mailing them links to read about international adoption. I'd read all kinds of adoption stories and thought that we could have a referral from China in only 6 months after LID (log in date when the Chinese government gets your documents to get ready to adopt). Boy, were we off!

This week has been non-stop go-go-go returning from vacation and working on projects for our community's fair. My pictures from Texas are still on my camera and I haven't even had a chance to take a good look at them yet!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

UN Secretary General declares Taiwan's application for UN membership "legally impossible"

The heat has been rising lately around Taiwan's application for membership in the UN under the name "Taiwan" this time, and not the "Republic of China." About 250,000 people demonstrated in two cities in Taiwan on Saturday, even though their efforts were doomed. China has once again threatened to attack Taiwan if they formally declare independence. Most of the world just isn't willing to tick off the People's Republic of China. Former Senate majority leader Bob Dole wrote a great article in The Wall Street Journal yesterday calling for the UN to recognise Taiwan. I highly encourage you to follow the link to read it on Michael Turnton's blog. Then today the UN Secretary General declared that it was "legally impossible" for Taiwan to join the UN. Keep it up, Taiwan! Laws change. Political alliances change. Nothing is "legally impossible" as the definition of what's legal changes like a pair of socks.

Monday, September 17, 2007

AGENCY UPDATE: We'll temporarily stop accepting appications for healthy infant placement

Our agency will temporarily stop accepting applications for healthy infant placement starting October 15th. After six months they will re-evaluate the situation. For new families starting now, the waiting list is already plus 24 months for healthy infants. This doesn't affect the time lines for families waiting for referrals, but will allow them so spend more time with their waiting families. I'm pleased that they arrived at this decision. No complaints here, obviously!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

AGENCY UPDATE: 30-60 days

When we arrived home today, Kevin checked my e-mail first thing. I had over 100 messages in my in-box! We quickly searched through them for anything from our adoption agency, and I got all nervous when I saw a message. Nope, not a referral of course... but a really nice update. 30-60 more days. Hopefully September referrals will bring more girls. Our sixth wedding anniversary is October 13th. Information and pictures of our daughter would make such a nice present! Hannah Claire got some really cute bibs this month. She needs to come home and mess them up. Bring on the congee, formula, and baby food peas!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Will be back to blogging soon...

I read an adoption message board tonight where someone asked where I was. Haha! This picture is a little taste of what I've been up to. I'll be back to blogging later this week with oodles of pictures when things settle down a little bit. WE HAD BOBA/BUBBLE TEA THIS WEEK!!! And pot sticker dumplings, and fried tofu... but it wasn't stinky tofu. I'm not sure if that was a good or bad thing. Man, Texans sure do like their Dr. Pepper.

I haven't had access to my e-mail, just internet... so I'm sorry if you've tried to call me or e-mail me and I haven't replied.

No referral that I know of. Until then, just thinking happy thoughts of a future "Rodeo Princess."

Poem: Dear Sweet Daughter

Thanks to Rebecca for finding this poem. It's a rare gem.

Dear Sweet Daughter
Author: Gayle Leubecker

Dear Sweet Daughter,

As a girl I had a common dream, to be a mom someday.
My baby would have eyes of blue and hair the hue of hay.
But now my dreams have been transformed. New visions fill my head.
Now the tresses that I long to stroke are raven black instead.

And in my dreams those eyes are not so big or blue or round.
Now in my dreams they're almond shaped and colored cocoa brown.
And in my dreams my arms can stretch across enormous seas.
They reach half-way around the world and hold you close to me.

As you grow in your mother's womb, carefully knit together,
You're also growing in my heart, where you will stay forever.
And in my dreams the moment that your mother says good-bye,
I'll be right there to comfort you and hold you as you cry.

Our features may not look alike; we're different as can be.
But still I know the Father has created you for me.
And though I've not yet seen your face, or held your tiny hands,
And though we're half a world apart in very different lands...

I'll be right there to get you just as soon as God allows.
But til He says the time is right I give to you this vow:
I'll pray for your protection every night on bended knee.
For God will hold you in His arms, until you're here with me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Gotcha day for the Reeds

I'm so happy for my bloggy friends the Reeds who met their son today. Their gotcha story is beautiful and tugs on my heart. This family was meant to be, that's for sure. Congratulations, Jeff and Abbey. What a beautiful beginning!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

two adults, no kids, watching PBS children's programming

Kevin and I watched the TIVOed Arthur episode today where Binky's mom and dad adopted a daughter from China. Wow, can you believe that they got a referral only a year after their homestudy started? (That's a joke, as people starting now will most likely wait three years, possibly longer.) Anyway, we think they did a good job telling a believable story with positive adoption language... except that Binky's mom didn't look very excited when they got their referral. I mean... heck. I full expect to be an emotional mess when we find out about our referral, complete with lots of screaming, crying, and laughing. Maybe Binky's mom had other problems (schizophrenia or was she heavily medicated???) because she announced the referral to Binky with flat affect. But then how did she qualify to adopt from China with those problems? I'm glad that some cuties enjoyed the show for it's entertainment value a lot more than we did. If anyone local wants to watch the show... well, wants their children to watch the show, we'd be more than happy to burn it to a DVD for you. Overall I think this Arthur episode would be a great way to introduce a child to the the idea of international adoption.

Newspaper Article: American girls revisit their roots in China

I really enjoyed this article on 5 families with daughters adopted from China returning to learn more about their birth country. I definitely plan on returning to Taiwan with our daughter for this kind of trip. I think that 12 sounds like a good age to do something like this. Interesting to note that the parents of 4 out of 5 of these girls would not have qualified to adopt from China today because they are single, obese, have taken antidepressants, are homosexual, or over 50.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day Weekend 2007

Here are some pics from this weekend's activities with my family at the lake. Here's some highlights:
  • Perfect weather in the low 80s, light breeze, and not a cloud in the sky.
  • Holding baby Ella with strict instructions from baby Ella's grandma that that you'd better not let a mosquito bite her granddaughter on your watch. Well, that's when Ella's grandmother would let anyone else hold her.
  • Watching my animated mother recount stories from this summer's fishing trip.
  • Kevin hung out with the high schoolers and twentysomethings playing Guitar Hero until 1:30am Sunday night! I was fast asleep in bed with the babydog long before that.
  • Traditional pontoon rides doing laps around the lake. Sedona goes on the pontoon boat too, but wants to be held for most of the ride.

What I'm Reading: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

My mother-in-law just finished reading this book, and I'm picking it up at the library tomorrow to bring on vacation with me. The book is Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Here's a link to Amazon and the author's web site if you'd like to check it out. I'm very pleased that my local library not only has this book, but four books from this author!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

PBS Kids TV: Binky's family adopts from China

Arthur's friend Binky Barnes is getting a little sister. Binky's family is adopting from China. My local PBS station will air the episode "Big Brother Binky" Parts I and II on Friday, September 7th. I'm so excited that this has gotten rave reviews from Adoptive Families magazine, and that PBS has put a lot of research into doing this just right with positive adoption language. Way to go PBS! I'll have Kevin set the TIVO to record. I'm excited to be able to share this episode with children in our lives.