Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Information on One Child Policy

China's One Child Policy: First, a bit of background to understand how the One Child Policy came about: In the 1950s, Mao Tse-Tung urged his people to have lots of children to strengthen the country. The population growth from this edict led the government in the 1970s to be worried that China would be unable to feed her citizens. So, the Chinese government implemented the One Child Policy in 1979.The goal of this policy was to keep China's population below 1.3 billion by the year 2000. Today, China is home to over 1.2 billion people. Couples who violate the One Child Policy are subject to fines (equal to three years' salary!), community ostracism, and even jail time.

Baby boys are more valued in Chinese society than are baby girls because boys carry on the ancestral name, inheritance laws pass property on to sons, and sons are responsible for taking care of aged parents. Because of this many couples will abandon baby girls. A heartbreakingly cruel choice, yes, and an event that happens all too often - hundreds of thousands of baby girls are abandoned every year in China.

The babies are abandoned in public places (such as busy streets, railway stations, and in front of public buildings) so they will be found quickly. The babies are abandoned as infants - usually when they are only a few days old. In addition to little girls, handicapped babies and sick babies (both boys and girls) are also abandoned because most parents in China don't have the money to provide for their special needs. Once found, the abandoned babies are given a medical exam and then taken to orphanages. While the numbers of such adopted orphans has been growing, it still represents only a small percentage of the number of children abandoned annually.


Subscribe with Bloglines

Maybe most of you already know about this, but I recently discovered Bloglines. (And yes I flat out stole this post from one of my adoption friends:) If you're one of the techies who's been doing this for years, just ignore me. But if you're a newbie like me, you might find it pretty darn cool. Bloglines lets you subscribe to the blogs you read most so you can see when a new post has been made. Rather than clicking on link after link only to find no updates, you can see all your subscribed blogs on one page and the ones with new content will be highlighted. It also can generate a list of links to your favorite blogs that you can include in your blog (they call it a blogroll). It may also do laundry and dishes, but I haven't figured that out yet.
Anyways, if you click on this link, it will walk you through setting up an account and subscribe you to my blog. This is not a paid advertisement - I just thought it was cool and had to share.

Monday, July 30, 2007

For the love of camping

We spent the weekend doing our favorite family event-camping at the lake! CJ and I have been camping at the lake our entire marriage. The boys starting camping with us as soon as they were born. We have had baby beds, high chairs, and play pens all as part of our camping gear :) I wouldn't have it any other way. I had a great time this past weekend just watching the boys play together. They are so good together (most of the time). As I sat and watched them playing, I started thinking about my childhood camping and at time spent at the lake. I wonder if my parents knew then what a wonderful gift they were giving me "camping with family". I grew up camping all the time with my family. We used to go to the North Georgia mountains-often. We also used to spend a lot of time at the lake either out on the boat or at my Pawpaw's house boat at Lanier. These times are great childhood memories that I really hope we are passing down to our kids. I can't wait to have Shelby home to enjoy these special camping trips with us. It is amazing how much I miss her not being here and I haven't even met her :( Every time I would look down at the lake, I really felt like I was missing "one". And in my heart, I truly am.

Well even though the rain tried to spoil our fun this weekend, we had fun anyway. Playing in the rain can be just as much fun as playing in the sunshine :) The fishing wasn't so great this weekend as Caleb will be quick to tell you all the scientific reasons why, but he did manage to pull in a few. Travis is not as blessed as Caleb to have the "fishing gene" in him. However, Travis is blessed with having the BEST BIG BROTHER anyone could ever ask for. I watched Caleb hook a fish and then reel it in. He would then throw the fish back out into the water and call for Travis to hurry hurry...Caleb would hand over the pole and let his little brother reel it the fish and take all the credit! How sweet is that!! Travis would come show me the fish "HE" caught with Caleb simply standing beside him giving me a quick wink of the eye. Shelby is the next one to be so loved by her big brother. Here is Travis showing off "HIS" big catch!

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

China Visas are Here

Our Visas for China arrived safe and sound in our passports on Friday thanks to Carol at Dependable Adoption Courier Service. I can't say enough great things about her services. She was very professional and priced very reasonable. She saved me a lot of money without any extra grief. Love it! Our Visas are good for 6 months, so we need to get that LOA here now ;)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Shopping Results

Well I had a good time last night with a LOT of crazy women shopping at the sale. We were in line at 5:30pm and the line was already around the building. Fortunately we were under shelter and did not have to stand out in the rain. I did not find my stroller that I was hoping to get at a discount. Oh well, just gives me another excuse to go to another sale ;) I did very good at sticking to the "necessities" for the most part and I only spen $38 total. Not too bad considering I was there from 5:30-9:15PM! The line was insane to checkout, but I had good company to chat with in line so we didn't really mind.

Since I did so good at the sale, I just didn't feel complete without spending more money. So I then went to Kim's house to check out some of the new baby carriers she just bought to possible take to China with her. I have been wanting an Ergo, but I wasn't sure of it since I had not seen one yet. Well, I loved it and Kim had decided to go with the Mei Tai instead of the Ergo. So they were nice enough to sell me the Ergo. Needless to say by the end of the night I did spend a little more than originally intended, but I did finally get my Ergo! Now I just need to get Shelby to put in it :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Consignment Sale

Anyone who knows me should know how much I LOVE bargains! Tonight I am going to this giant consignment sale at the Cobb County Fairgrounds. Thanks to some of my friends telling me about this big sale, I will be in attendance tonight for the "advance" showing of the stuff. I am hoping to get some of the bigger items I still need. I know, I know, I promise there will still be stuff left to get Shelby for the baby shower ;) I just can't stand for me or anyone else to pay full price for anything, so I am going to try and find some deals tonight. This is consignment season and there is a great website here to find all the sales if you are interested. A lot of people have asked about what size Shelby is going to be in. With the latest report from China Babies her stats are as follows: 21 lbs and 31 inches tall and a 5 inch foot. So what that means in terms of clothing is that she is currently in a 12-18 month size and about a 5 shoe. So I suspect she will be wearing 18-24 months and about a size 6 shoe when she comes home. I am very fortunate to have a couple of great hand-me-down sources, so her closet is already full. But who doesn't just love buying little girl clothes ;) I have promised CJ to only come home with "necessities" tonight, so we will see how I do!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More pics of our beauty!

Adoption Credit

Adopting in 2007? Your Tax Credit Just Got Increased! WOOHOO!!

Good news for those who are adopting or finalizing an adoption in 2007:
The Federal Adoption Tax Credit limit is being increased to $11,390 for a child with special needs and the maximum credit allowed for other types of adoptions has also been raised to $11,390.
You can exclude this tax credit from your gross income for qualifed adoption expenses paid or incurred by your employer under a qualified adoption assistance program in connection with your adoption of an eligible child. The credit begins to phase out if you have modified adjusted gross income of $170,820 or more and is completely phased out if you have modified adjusted gross income of $210,820 or more.

HaHa, I don't think we need to worry about the "phase out" part ;)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Frogs, Friends, and Family

Here are just a few more pics of our camping weekend in Hiawassee. Caleb and his best friend Austin found a couple of frogs in the pond at the campground. Talk about big fun- FROGS! We also spent some time at the lake with my dad and his best friend, Charlie. Everyone had a great time hanging out and just spending time together. Even my mom and her brother and sister in law came up to enjoy the fair with all of us. It was a great weekend spent with frogs, friends, and family :)

PS- We have sent off our passports to get our China VISAs to Carol at http://www.dependable-acs.com/ who does them very cheap for a family of 4. The fees are going up August 1, so anyone who may travel within 6 months should act today!

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Georgia Mountain Fair

I just love modern things. I am sitting in my camper blogging. Talk about 2 ends of the extremes today. We spent the day at the GA Mt. Fair in Hiawassee experiencing all the ways of the "olden days". We watched them make apple cider by literally pounding the apples by hand and squeezing all the juice out. We saw men making boards by hand with an axe, and of course we watched some old fashion pickin on the front porch. I contrast that by "camping" in my 2 bedroom, 2 bath camper with cable and WI-FI! Boy have we come a long way in a short amount of time.

It really makes me think about how close Shelby really is to us. To see her holding a picture of us that was just in my hands only a couple of weeks ago. With all the moderns of today's world, we can send a small package from our own little Georgia home and it will be on the other side of the world in "5-10" days-amazing :) And to think that we are going to be able to get on an airplane and in hours be on the other side of the world finding our daughter. I am so thankful that we live in the world we do today with all of our luxuries of modern times. I don't know how all of this would have been possible without all of today's modern ammenities. Thank God all of this is available to get Shelby home soon!

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Chinese Buffet

I just love that we can get a little taste of China right here at home. The boys and I met my mom and nephew for Chinese last night. I know that our Chinese food here is probably nothing like the real food in China, but hey it is as close as I can get right now :) While we were there, I had one of the waitresses translate a small letter for that I am sending with Shelby's next care package. It was short and I had tried to have the computer do a translation but the waitress said that they would not understand it and that she would be happy to write it for me. So I tipped her an extra $10 and have my new letter ready to send. The main thing I wanted to convey in the letter was to ask them to please NOT cut her hair. I know most of the time they tend to give the kids a "nice short hair cut" right before Gotcha Day. So hopefully with my note and the hint of sending lots of hair bows in the care package, she will not be scalped before we get there. My package is going to include candies, lotions, small toys, and hair bows. I am sending it off today so hopefully she will get it some time next week.

We are packing up and heading off to the famous Hiawassee Fair this weekend. We are planning on having lots of good ole southern fun. A little bit of camping, fishing, swimming, parading, crafting, bluegrassing, and of course clogging! What more could a Georgia girl ask for?! (except maybe a Chinese daughter to share it with :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Picture Recap

Ok, Ok, now that I am a little more calmed down from all the picture excitement yesterday I can explain a little more. The pictures came from Misty at China-Babies via email. I had requested an update from her as to if she had received ANY information about Shelby at this point since it has been 30 days of requesting information from her. Well, low and behold she sent the 2 pictures and said the following:

Hi Donna,
I have received some photos so will attach a few for you. I am currently waiting on additional requested photos and answers to some followup questions. I am hoping to have the report to you later this week. Your daughter is doing very well. She is a happy and outgoing little girl (and also a bit stubborn;). She is absolutely beautiful!!!!

Stubborn?! Well it looks like she will fit in with the Straight's just perfectly :) So hopefully I will get to see a lot more photos by next week and learn more about her in general. We are so excited and this feel so REAL now that she is holding our pictures. I have been really concerned about her health lately, and this is so good to see that she looks great. For some reason I was feeling like she may have already had palate surgery. I guess my report next week will tell me for sure, but considering that she looks so well now I doubt she has had another surgery. I just did not want her to have to go through that without us. Keep praying for us to get her home as quickly as possible.

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." Isaiah 43:5

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

LOOK LOOK Updated Photos!

Look what I just got today... These pictures were just taken on July 5, 2007! Can you believe what a big girl she is now. Isn't she beautiful!!

Split Pants

Some of the images of the kids that constantly draws questions from everyone is about their pants. Split pants are pants with a giant hole on the bottom - known in Chinese as "kaidangku" (literally "open-crotch pants"). Although many people in China now use disposable diapers, several still use the split pants. These pants not only make it easier to change a diaper, but I have learned that they assist with potty training. Apparently, it would not be unusual to see a bare baby bottom out in public…or even stopping to go to the bathroom…right on the street! Bare baby bottoms are an increasingly rare sight…but apparently kaidangku used to be almost a uniform for toddlers. I guess this explains why some of us have heard that the Chinese potty train their children at a young age. Or as us adoptive parents refer to as "squatty-trained"!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Updates on others

Yesterday was a big day for a couple of my adoption friends. Kim and Michael received their long awaited TA! They will be traveling in just a couple of weeks to get their little boy. Also, my friend Ellen who is one of the parents that was matched with her little girl at the same time I was matched with Shelby received her LOA yesterday. This is great news for their little girl Frannie and also good news for us. Ellen is only 22 days ahead of us in this process. So we have a very good chance of seeing our LOA in 22 days as well. That would be awesome, awesome, awesome. If that happens then we could possible travel at the end of September! Also, go check out Ally in China. Her family is there picking her up right now. Ally was the other family that was matched with us at the same time as Shelby. So it looks like #7, #8, and #9 on the waiting child list are all getting closer and closer to coming home!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Toddler Thoughts

Thank you to everyone for all the great birthday wishes yesterday. I was able to do everything I had planned...yard sale, baby shower, and dinner with CJ. I had a great birthday!

I have been thinking alot about how difficult it is going to be for Shelby to come live with people that she doesn't know or "want" to be with. She has been living with her foster mom for about 2 years and I know that it is going to be very hard for her to understand why she can't live with her anymore. I found this on another blog and thought that it was a great insight into how Shelby may feel when she comes home:

From a Toddler's Perspective
My child was adopted at age three from China. She learned English fairly quickly and
has intact memories of the adoption. I was quite surprised (dismayed really) to hear her view of events. She told me that in China she thought that I was *stupid* because I could not talk!! My English must have sounded like gibberish to her. And apparently my attempts to speak Chinese were not successful. That I was *angry* at her in China. That she tried and tried to talk to me and I refused to answer her. (Her toddler Chinese was gibberish to me.) She simply could not understand why I refused to speak to her and attributed malevolent motives to it. That I looked "ugly and frightening" to her (she had never seen a Caucasian before). She told me that she thought her nanny had turned her over to monsters. (In hindsight we should have had our facilitator do more in the way of explanations with our new daughter.) As an aside, my child grieved and grieved the loss of her nanny for months after we got home. It was pathetic. She kept looking for her nanny and insisted her nanny would come back for her. Insisted also that she saw her nanny down the street, or that her nanny lived in a house across the way. One day, about 5 months after we got her, Lia asked me if the reason her nanny had given her away to strangers was because her nanny "no longer loved her." I had understood in an abstract way that my child would grieve, but I was not prepared for how heart wrenching it would be for Lia, and for me, to live with it on a day to day basis.
Please keep Shelby and our family in your prayers that we will be able to help Shelby grieve for the loss of her foster family. None of use will be able to fully understand the loss she is going to experience. I pray for the wisdom to help her in the best way possible.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Not much to report today except TGIF! I have spent the evening with Lori organizing our yard sale we are having tomorrow. It is amazing how much stuff you come up with when you have the thought of "extra money" in mind. My husband is actually loading up an entire trailer full of stuff from the garage to take over to Lori's for me to sell tomorrow. I hope we have a good turn out of people to buy up all my extra junk, oh I mean stuff ;) I will be sure to report the profits tomorrow for any of you considering taking on such a task in the future. It will be interesting to see how my "hourly rate" works out to be tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I will officially be OLD! Well old in my book I guess. My day is going to be pretty busy with the yard sale in the morning, then maybe attending a baby shower for Sheridan in the afternoon, then my wonderful hubby is taking me to dinner to celebrate my birthday! Looks like a fun day ahead of me.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Acronyms of Chinese Adoption

These were posted on another blog. Yep, I stole them :) I thought this would explain alot of my abbreviations that I tend to think everyone knows what I am talking about.

LOI:Letter of Intent
This is a letter sent to the Chinese adoption authorities (CCAA) by the prospective adoptive parents (PAP), stating they intend to complete the steps necessary to adopt a given child. It also spells out a basic medical plan for any health concern that the child has. It tells a little about the family, respect for Chinese birth cultureof the child, and gives sort of a convincing plea to the CCAA on the part of the PAP. The LOI is sent to China along with basic financial information about the PAP.PAPreliminary ApprovalLetter given to the prospective adoptive parents from the Chinese adoption authorities, saying that they have approval to go ahead and complete the steps to adopt a given child (for whom they have filed a LOI).

DTC:Dossier to China
All the paperwork from the prospective adoptive parents has gone to China to be reviewed by the CCAA.

LID:Log In Date
The dossier has been logged in at the Chinese adoptive governing office. The PAPs are officially in the process for adopting the child.

CCAA:Chinese Center for Adoptive Affairs
The Chinese adoption governing body, located in Beijing.

PAP:Prospective Adoptive Parent

LOA (or SC):Letter of Acceptance Seeking Confirmation
The letter that the CCAA sends to the PAP to confirm that they want to adopt the child for whom they have filed a LOI. This same letter is also sent to PAPs who are adopting in the NSN (Non Special Needs) program, where a child is matched/referred to the PAP after the CCAA reviews the dossier (paperwork). In that case, the PAPs review the child's info and sign the LOA/SC if they do accept the referral/match.

TA:Travel Approval
This is a letter sent by the CCAA to the PAP inviting them to travel to get their child. (The PAP then has 90 days in which to travel).

CA:Consulate Appointment
This is the LAST step in China before you can board the plane for home! You go to the American Consulate in Guangzhou and present the plastic envelope full of documents. You get one back that is sealed and NOT to be opened. You give it to the Immigration officer when you enter the United States. (Really - don't open it!) You also take an Oath at the CA. Don't take your guns, knives, cell phone, PDA, etc. etc. etc. to the CA. (OK - don't travel with guns and knives. It will just be easier that way.) Leave your camera behind, too. No photos allowed. Your CA date is the date from which you plan your entire trip -- backwards!! Once the CA is confirmed by your agency, you can plan your travel!

So in summary, we are currently waiting for our LOA. We hope to have this within 100 days of our LID-6/13/07. Of course, I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Passports are here

Finally, after 10 full weeks the boys' passports have arrived. If you were not aware of the backlog of processing US Passports, then let me tell you that they are swamped! We were told the wait would be 10-12 weeks for processing. We didn't think that was going to be a problem considering that we did not really expect to travel for a looonggg time. Well, needless to say we found Shelby right after we had applied for their passports. Amazing how that works, isn't it ;)Anyway, they have arrived in time. So now I find out that they are going to raise the price of a China Visa by 100%! Yes, it is going from $50 a person to $100 per person after August 1, 2007. So we are going to go ahead and beat the increase since we have all of our passports now. Visas are good for 6 months so we are praying that we are going to get to travel within the 6 month time frame. Actually we are really praying for a 3 month time frame to travel and meet our little one :) So with the help of some adopting friends, I hope to find the best "deal" to get our Visas in the works. I will let you know who we use when I find the best rate.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New Day

Well needless to say it has been a tough few days. However, we made it through. Thank you very much to everyone who has sent their support. It is amazing how many friends my family has surrounding us. I found this poem today and just had to post it for Shelby:

Kisses in the Wind
I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.
I know you wonder where we are...what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.
Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.
Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God wrap you in His ams and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.
Unkown Author

Sunday, July 8, 2007

In Memory of...

Granny Moss
1/22/24 - 7/8/07

Friday, July 6, 2007

Granny is Sick

Unfortunately my grandmother is in the hospital today and is not doing well. I am at Tanner Medical and have been here all night with my mom. I was really looking forward to 1st Friday meeting tonight, but obviously I will not be able to make it. Please keep the family in your prayers to accept God's Will whatever that may be at this point.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Parade Pics

Here are the parade pics I promised...
And here's the proof that we had a great time yesterday!
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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Independence Day

Just a quick blog entry today to wish everyone a Happy Independence Day! We started the holiday off last night with Caleb clogging as the pre-show for the Kennesaw Fireworks. There were A LOT of people there and Caleb was tired after clogging so we did not stay for the fireworks. We went ahead and left early so we could get some rest for today. Today was Caleb's big parade debut in the Marietta Parade through the square. Fortunately it wasn't too hot today, so it turned out to be perfect parade weather. Our friends Ethan, Amy, and Daniel even braved the traffic and came out to watch the parade with us. Well I say "us", but it turned out that I had to walk in the parade too! I walked beside their float to make sure all the kids did what they were supposed to do. The float was constantly moving so we had to make sure the kids were off and on safely to do their performances. CJ said the parade was "a good one". We were on television all of about 10 seconds according to mom and dad ;) Hey at least we made it on the big screen! I will update tomorrow with some parade pics. Here is a shot of my patriotic dad and Caleb to hold you over...

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Ni Hao

So how is YOUR Chinese?! Well mine was not so good, so I finally found a very helpful CD to learn some Chinese. The problem with Chinese is that I don't have enough time to "learn" Chinese from the beginning to the end. So the next best thing was to find something to teach me to talk to Shelby in the shortest amount of learning time. There are alot of "Learn how to Speak Chinese" tapes out there, but that wasn't what I wanted. I just wanted to learn the things that will help me in easing the transition for Shelby. So low and behold, I found it... Chinese for Adopting Parents. This CD is great because #1 it was cheap only $17.99, #2 is that it has phrases that I will need to know just to survive with Shelby. Things like "I love you", and "it is going to be OK", and of course, "please don't cry"! I don't have an affiliation with the people who made the CD and it is kind of plain and simple, but that is what I like about it. So click here if you want to check it out.

BTW- Caleb is clogging tonight in Kennesaw for the big fireworks show. Here is the blurb from the Kennesaw paper: The Rockerz to Headline July 3 Concert & Fireworks Spectacular. In what has become a favorite summertime tradition, the City of Kennesaw will present its annual pre-Independence Day celebration, complete with a free concert and fireworks spectacular, on Tuesday, July 3. This year, the historic train Depot in downtown Kennesaw will come alive with the sounds of the Atlanta-based group, The Rockerz, for what promises to be an amazing night of music under the stars. The Rockerzextensive repertoire ranges from classic rock to dance, and country to rhythm & blues. Formed in 1995, the group has performed with such artists as Marshall Tucker, Molly Hatchet, The Tams and The Drifters. The Rockerz concert is the third of five featured performances in the City of Kennesaw Summer Concert Series. The concert is scheduled to start at 8:00pm. Pre-concert entertainment will be provided by the Kennesaw Mountain Cloggers, a new local performance group dedicated to shining a contemporary light on one of America's oldest, and loudest, forms of dance. Beginning at approximately 9:30pm, the night skies will come alive with the brilliant colors of a spectacular fireworks display.
Just look for the cute little boy really focusing on his clogging moves!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Painting Party

As you can see this is how we spent our weekend. It really wasn't as bad as we thought it would be though. We painted the entire living room in one day!! I just realized that I forgot to take an "after" picture though. Just take my word for it that it turned out great. We are trying to get all of our household projects taken care of before we have a 2 year old running around the house. At least our 4 year old only paints the walls. I can only imagine what all would be painted if we were to give a roller to Shelby right now ;)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Officially Addicted

Saw this on another blog, so of course I had to see for myself how bad I really am...

71%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Go ahead and click it to take for yourself! I am sure I am not the only one out there with a problem :)