Friday, February 29, 2008

China may scrap one-child policy

China may scrap one-child policy:

China, worried about an ageing population, is studying scrapping its controversial one-child policy but will not do away with family-planning policies altogether, a senior official said on Thursday. With the world’s biggest population straining scarce land, water and energy resources, China has enforced rules to restrict family size since the 1970s. Rules vary but usually limit families to one child, or two in the countryside.

“We want incrementally to have this change,” Vice Minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission Zhao Baige told reporters in Beijing. “I cannot answer at what time or how, but this has become a big issue among decision makers,” Zhao said. She added that the current plan was to study the issue seriously and responsibly, but avoid sudden changes that might cause a spike in births.

“Minority groups already have two children, even three, and in the cities like Shanghai and Beijing, a lot of only children are already released (to have two), but the most important is those in the middle like in Henan… nearly a hundred million people, but strongly influenced by the classical way, they want a son, and they are already very fragile environmentally.”

Teams studying the issue would have to consider the strain of China’s huge population on its scarce resources, popular attitudes, and how much of a social net China can afford to provide without the traditional reliance on large families to care for the aged, she said. Surveys show that 60 percent of Chinese younger than 30 want a maximum of two children, and only a “very small” number want more than three, Zhao said.

The average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime has decreased to 1.8 in China today, from 5.8 in the 1970s, and below the replacement rate of 2.1.

RELAXATION
In recent years, China has sought to soften its draconian and often controversial family control policies, which have included forced abortions and other punitive measures.
But local officials remain under intense pressure to keep numbers down, leading to skewed statistics and sometimes brutality.

The country is now relying more on education, especially about contraception, said Zhao, in charge of international cooperation, education and communication at the ministry.
China says its policies have prevented several hundred million births and boosted prosperity, but experts have warned of a looming social time-bomb from an ageing population and widening gender disparity stemming from a traditional preference for boys.

Normally, between 103 and 107 boys are born for every 100 girl infants, but in China, 118 boys are born for every 100 girls, Zhao said. Experimental policies include trying to improve women’s welfare and girls’ access to schooling. Still, the government has previously expressed concern that too many people are flouting the rules. State media said in December that China’s population would grow to 1.5 billion people by 2033, with birth rates set to soar over the next five years.

Officials have also cautioned that population controls are being unraveled by the increased mobility of China’s 150 million-odd migrant workers, who travel from poor rural areas to work in more affluent eastern cities.

China has vowed to slap heavier fines on wealthy citizens who flout family planning laws, in response to the emergence of an upper class willing to pay standard fines to have more children.

Playdates are the best

Shelby and I had a great playdate yesterday with Lily and Emily at the Playroom. We even topped it off with Mexican lunch-yummy! I am really enjoying my new schedule having one day off a week to enjoy doing whatever. Looking forward to tomorrow's FCCA Potluck dinner at Liz's house at 5PM. Oh and tomorrow is my favorite person's birthday tomorrow. My sweetie is such a great husband and father and I wish him the best birthday ever!! I gave him his big flat birthday present already since we found such a good deal at Costco. He had to install it himself, but hey you can't have everything for your birthday right ;) It looks great and the kids think it is supercool. My man deserves it and much much more. I had been saving my little bonus bucks for a long time to produce such a glamorous gift. Don't think all our birthdays come with such exstravegence! So please join me in wishing CJ a happy happy birthday!!

Here are some pics of the last few days for your enjoyment or maybe just for mine :) Shelby got to hang out with Papa and Grandma on Wednesday and of course she was filled with Easter candy already. Oh and here are a few pics from this morning as I was dropping her off at school. She thinks it is great that she gets to "drive" with me as we wait in carpool line. As you can see she has really come around to finally enjoy going to school and she doesn't even cry at drop off anymore-definate progress. She was talking to her daddy on the phone this morning telling him about everything she was going to do at school today. I am one blessed woman.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Crazy Weather

Well yesterday was quite a crazy day for us. We were awaken by a freight train (at least the sound of one) rushed the kids to the hallway. We sat there and were pounded by hail and debris hitting the house and then just as quick as it came- it was gone. Here are some shots from what the lovely little storm left us in our front and back yards. Of course all the kids were very concerned- but really just about their trampoline! Our trampoline was completely removed from our yard and we have a big yard. We finally found it over a couple of fences and placed on a tree in a neighbor's yard-crazy.


Well fortunately no one was hurt anywhere in our subdivision. There was alot of damage in our little subdivision including my mom's house. Here is a quick shot of her house along with some of the other damage just in our neighborhood:

I tried to get me and Shelby on the news, but we didn't make the cut I guess. All 3 channels had our neighborhood on there last night though. We spent the day yesterday cleaning up (well CJ did) and just assessing all the damages. Shelby and I strolled through the neighborhood back and forth from my house to my moms about 50 times. Everything is back to normal today and we were off to work and school. Thank God no one was injured and that we had minimal damage. Hug your kids a little tighter today! Can't end a post without of a shot of my cutie pie...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Informative Weekend

Well the weekend is over so here is a quick recap. Friday night was spent at Monkey Joes hanging out with some friends. Shelby loves to go to Moneee Ohs! Then Saturday mom went to the seminar to hear some HARD facts about my little girl. This wasn't a touchy feely sugar coated seminar. It was definately some hard bare bones stuff to take in about Shelby and some of the thoughts and feelings she may experience in her lifetime. I was very glad that I went and hopefully I will be able to attend more things like this in the future. Knowledge is power, and everyone knows I like the power ;)
Well I also got to hang out with Susan and Darcy all day so that was great too. Big thanks to Darcy who guided me right to the church for the seminar since I had been lost in Decatur for 45 minutes Saturday morning trying to find the place.

So here are a few things from the book that the speaker wrote:

Twenty Things I Wish Adoptive Parents Knew(an excerpt from the book by Sherri S Herrie Eldridge)
1. I suffered a profound loss before I was adopted. You are not responsible.
2. I need to be taught that I have special needs arising from adoption loss, of which I need not be ashamed.
3. If I don't grieve my loss, my ability to receive love from you and others will be hindered.
4. My unresolved grief may surface in anger toward you.
5. I need your help in grieving my loss. Teach me to get in touch with my feelings about my adoption and then validate them.
6. Just because I don't talk about my birth family doesn't mean I don't think about them.
7. I want you to take the initiative in opening conversations about my birth family
8. I need to know the truth about my conception, birth, and family history, no matter how painful the details my be.
9. I am afraid I was given away by my birth mother because I was a bad baby. I need you to help me dump my toxic shame.
10. I am afraid you will abandon me.
11. I may appear more whole than I actually am. I need your help to uncover the parts of myself that I keep hidden, so I can integrate all the elements of my identity.
12. I need to gain a sense of personal power.
13. Please don't say I look or act just like you. I need you to acknowledge and celebrate our differences.
14. Let me be my own person but don't let me cut myself off from you.
15. Please respect my privacy regarding my adoption. Don't tell other people without my consent.
16. Birthdays may be difficult for me.
17. Not knowing my full medical history can be distressing at times.
18. I am afraid I will be too much for you to handle.
19. When I act out my fears in obnoxious ways, please hang in therewith me, and respond wisely
20. Even if I decide to search for my birth family, I will always want you to be my parents.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sherrie Eldridge in town

It's apparently not too late to still register and attend this seminar on Saturday. It is from teh author of Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew. I am going so if you don't have plans you should join me. See the link below to register and get more info:

From author Sherrie Eldridge:AN INVITATION FOR PARENTS AND PROFESSIONALS—ATLANTA AREA : I would love to meet you! I’m doing a speaking event in the Atlanta area. If you are a professional, there are two days of events at beautiful Lake Lanier (February 21-22). For parents (and teens, age 14 and up), there is a parent conference in Decatur (February 23). Click here for contact information and details. It’s not too late to register!


here the link for the conference:http://www.sherrieeldridge.com/upcomingevents.htm

Great mom-no not me

Well the kids have been out of school for the last couple of days-lovin life! They spent all day Monday at their Nana's or Nanwaaas as Shelby says. She spoiled them rotten and let them do whatever they wanted and of course fed them her famous Chicken n Dumplins. They even got to hang out with their favorite cousin Austin all day over there as well. The boys actually spent the night over there Sunday night and Shelby was very concerned as to why they were not home that night. Each time she woke up in the middle of the night she would ask where they were. I know it sounds cute and all for her to be concerned, but she did not sleep well knowing they weren't there. Needless to say she was very excited to go to her Nana's the next morning to see them there waiting for her to play. Nana has been a blessing straight from Heaven to help me with Shelby. I don't know how I would be able to get through my working days without my mom's help these days. We are so fortunate to have Nanwaaa live so close by and be officially retired. I bet she had no idea that she would go from babysitting the postal employees to now babysitting her grandchildren ;) So a big fat thanks to mom for taking such good care of me and my babies!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New Name and New Foods

Yep it was finally time to change the name of the blog. What do think??

Oh and I am on this quest to feed my family more often at home and actually have them eat what I make. I was given this great website from Kraft and it looks to have some great ideas. So tell me what is your favorite dinner that you make and your kids actually eat??

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Kid on the Block

I would like to say Congratulations to Karen and Bruce! Micah's Gotcha Day is today!! I am so happy for them to have their new little one. I love to read the blogs and stalk others while they are in China. It brings back so many memories :)

We had a great weekend and it even included a visit from Sheridan on Friday night. The kids actually played together this time around going from one room to the next on their "shopping sprees". It was a lot of fun hearing them giggle together.

We enjoyed a Boy Scout dinner on Saturday and that is where we discovered that our little girl LOVES ribs! It was too funny to see her chowing down on the rib bones and asking for more. This was the most meat I have ever seen her eat. I was quick to bring home a doggy bag of more ribs as she has enjoyed them for breakfast each day-yum. Oh and of course a piece of the giant chocolate fish mom got the boys for Valentine's day makes a great breakfast too.


Oh and we did receive our $2K grant from the lovely state of GA-yeah! I have also completed my taxes and I never knew I would be so excited to file something with the IRS than I was this year :) Now with Michael's wonderful assistance, I am working on Shelby's readoption here in GA. Will the paperwork ever end...

Friday, February 15, 2008

SMILE the weekend is here


Had to post this cute as can be pic that I stole from Ellen. Just makes you smile doesn't it?!?!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Heart Day!!

Hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day today! You will be happy to know that Shelby did come home without HER Valentines and she had all of the ones from her friends :) Not sure how her teachers talked her into that, but it was a success. Oh and speaking of hearts today. Just so you know that CJ has finally won over Shelby's heart 100%. All last weekend Dad was the one that she preffered to do everything for her-even diaper changes (yeah for mom). Even yesterday when I told her that I would be picking her up from Nana's house, she told me no that she wanted her Daddy to pick her up! I guess my full time in the spotlight is over and I have to move over and make room for Daddy. Heaven knows CJ is lovin it!!

PS: Please Click here to vote for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to win a new playground for FREE from Colgate. You can actually vote once a day and it is simple to do. Just click here and then click on the pic of GA, then choose Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and hit submit. They don't ask for any other info. Easy to do and you just may help make a child's surgery or hospital stay a little bit easier!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Valentine

Today is Shelby's Valentine Party at her school so she was looking too cute this morning so I had to take pics. Shelby and I get to do the dishes together on the mornings she has school since we get to spend an extra hour together at home. She is so proud of herself when she gets to help mom. Shelby even makes doing dishes fun at our house!


Anyway, I knew that some things would be tough you know doing this adoption thing. BUT, who knew that making Valentines for the kids in her class would be tough. Shelby has had the hardest time grasping the fact that she is supposed to give away HER valentines?!?! She and I have had the conversation over and over again and trust me she is not excited at all about giving away these valentine cards she has colored and worked on and pur HER name on. I sure hope her teachers can do a better job at convincing her that this is a fun thing to do. I guess we will see tonight if she returns home still holding on to all of HER original valentines or not ;)

Oh and I am off to the post office today to mail my package of gloves and hats and of course pictures of Shelby to her orphanage. Thanks again to Tymm and Laura and Kim and Michael for contributing to my package. I was able to squeeze about 60 pairs of gloves in this one little box. I am sure that they will be well received and enjoyed by many on the other side of the world.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

30 SN Adoption Agencies

I have found someone who is compiling the list of the 30 agencies that are still in the China Waiting Child new program. Click here to see her list she has going and please let her know if you know of another agency name to add to the list. Thanks.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Chinese New Year Party

We had a great weekend full of friends and fun. It started out Friday night where our friends Ellen and Frannie, Tymm and Laura, Kim and Sheridan, and Lori and Alex all met us for dinner and a playdate. The best part was that they brought me lots and lots of gloves to send to China-YEAH! I am going to mail the package this week along with some recent pics of Shelby to her orphanage. Thank you so much for contributing to my little project. It was alot of fun to get to talk to everyone over Mexican dinner and of course the playing. I think the big "kids" had just as much fun as the little ones.

Saturday we attended Hope for Children's annual New Year Party. It was fun and of course great to see alot of the people we have met along this journey. I really enjoyed seeing all the children who have come home to be with their forever families. Of course I particularly enjoyed seeing Ally, Frannie, Michelle, Lily, and Danielle all dressed up for the occassion. We all have some beautiful children! Enjoy the pics as I was catching up for you all.

Friday, February 8, 2008

China Slowing Down SN

Well it looks like China is also starting to slow down their special needs adoptions as well as their non-special needs adoptions. It is very disheartening to hear that China is not going to allow more children into loving homes that are ready and waiting on a child. I really don't understand why they are not letting the children be adopted. Yes, they are still doing some adoptions but not near as many as they could be doing. I learned yesterday that my agency, Hope for Children, was just cut from doing any special needs adoptions. Here is what was posted on their website:

As many of you know, HOPE for Children has been approved to do adoptions of children with special needs for the past six (6) years through the CCAA. Traditionally, we have always received a list of “Waiting Children” with full medical reports and photographs in the mail approximately every four (4) months. Over the last several months, the CCAA has been developing an online system for agencies to view available Waiting Children. The first stage of implementation of this program has begun, and the CCAA has randomly selected 30 agencies to be in the first trial group. Unfortunately, HFC was not included in this first group though we were approved to be included in the online system in 2007. We are hopeful that we will be included in the new program at a later date. The CCAA is testing this new system to make sure that it is running smoothly before they grant access to additional agencies. We have not been given a timeframe as to when this will happen. The CCAA did inform us recently that the postal mail budget for the Waiting Child Department has been cut, thus the CCAA will no longer be sending out paper referrals of Waiting Children to any agencies during this interim or in the future. HFC, along with many other agencies, will not be able to participate in the Waiting Child Program until we are told by the CCAA that we can begin utilizing the new online system. We will continue to work to obtain further information and keep you informed as we learn of new developments regarding this process.

So basically what this means is that China is now only allowing 30 agencies to handle special needs adoptions, and Hope for Children wasn't on that list. It makes me sad to know that I won't be able to use Hope again if/when we decide to adopt again from China. I really liked the way Hope posted and matched their SN kids. It was straight forward and no big mystery in the way they did it. The really sad part is that fewer and fewer children in China are going to get to find homes and parents who love them. Please pray for the children and for the officials that are making these life impacting decisions in China!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

Welcome the the Year of the Rat. The best part of the Year of the Rat is that CJ and I are both Rats!! We are attending a New Year celebration with our agency Hope for Children on Saturday night and are looking forward to seeing all of the families we have come to know through our agency. Here are some facts about the China traditions surrounding their new year:

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4706 begins on Feb. 7, 2008. Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
A Ratty Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in rat years tend to be leaders, pioneers, and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Affleck, Samuel L. Jackson, William Shakespeare, and Mozart were all born in the year of the rat.

Fireworks and Family Feasts
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

3 months ago today...

Our lives changed forever! Click here to see what we were doing 3 months ago today! I can't believe how much our daughter has "grown" and attached to us in just 3 short months-only 90 days ago. She is absolutely wonderful (and challenging of course) but we wouldn't have it any other way :) She is such a perfect fit for our family. The scared little girl on the left is from Gotcha Day, and the happy little girl on the right is today. We are truly blessed to have her in our lives forever. Oh and as you can see below she is truly "Moma's Baby" and she knows it!!


video

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dos and Don'ts for Palate Surgery

Here was some great information that someone just posted on my cleft board. I am already starting to get nervous about Shelby's palate surgery on April 7! I pray everyday that her surgery will be successful and as painless as possible. This little girl has already been through so much, the thought of putting her through more pain is heartbreaking. I realize that the surgery is necessary and is of course going to make her life easier in terms of long term speech. But it still makes me sad that she is going to have to endure another surgery. I have heard alot about the surgeries that are done in China and about the non-use of pain medications after surgery. When I think about Shelby sitting in a hospital bed for 2 weeks by herself without her foster mom or pain medication- it just breaks my heart :( I really hope that her surgery did not take place that way, but I guess I will never really know what she had to endure during her first surgery. I so pray that this upcoming surgery will be as painless as possible!

Here was the post of dos and don'ts for palate surgery moms:

It always makes me feel better to write and hope my experiences will help others so here's what I've recently learned (we're on day four post-op)


Do: Right after surgery expect a lot of mucus with blood coming from nose and mouth, think of wearing a dark colored older shirt to be able to hold your child for hours in

Do: Expect your child's face, feet and hands to be swollen for a few days

Do: Expect your child's body weight to feel as if it has tripled during surgery when they are in recovery

Do: Expect night terror behavior when they are still waking up (I knew to expect this and even though Kaylee didn't experience it, I heard other children around us doing it and parents scared and not knowing how to deal with it)

Do: Expect a cranky child for days, even with pain meds

Do: Plan ahead to have every possible food to put in the blender and/or soft foods (for example, puddings, yogurts, jello, soups) and plan for your child to turn their nose up at most of themExpect TONS of drooling, get ready with extra bibs; Kaylee is going through 4+ shirt and bib changes daily right now

Do: Expect to feel as if you were physically the one in surgery, full time care of a child after surgery is exhausting

Do: Expect your child to have the most foul smelling breath you've ever smelled in your life!

Do: Expect your child to act like they haven't napped in days..Remember your sweet child is still there, they've just undergone a surgery that's going to have them not feeling themselves for a little while but you'll both be happy after it's all said and done

Don't:Expect your child to be themselves quickly, they are dealing with a lot of pain, the overwhelming concept of a liquid diet, wearing no-no's and not knowing quite how to deal with any of it; plus pain meds can affect your child's personality

Don't: Be afraid to ask for pain meds that you feel your child needs, they wanted to give Kaylee pain meds orally several hours after surgery but the taste of it made her not want to drink so the next time we were due for meds, I requested it be put in her IV, she started drinking again soon after

Don't: Forget to keep yourself fed, even when your child cries wanting real food with you (if you aren't able to eat out of their sight), you have to keep yourself fed to be able to keep your energy up

Don't: Forget to stock up on groceries for the house before surgery so you don't have to leave the house with your little one, the less exposure to outside cold air and/or possible flu/cold germs immediately after surgery the better, pneumonia is easy to get after the body has undergone surgery

Don't: Worry about bringing pj's from home for the hospital, frequent changes might be needed due to all the drainage and drooling, don't worry about the extra laundry for yourself to do

Don't: Expect your child to let you put them down or them to want to sleep outside your arms, get comfortable in the rocking chair and rock that baby for hours; trust me, you don't want to let go of them any more than they want you to let go anyway!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Good Video

Here is a neat video I came across tonight. Wanted to share with everyone:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeKEqsd2-xA

Saturday, February 2, 2008

WANTED-Gloves!

As I was just reading about all of the bad cold weather that has hit China, I decided what I can do to help in some little way. I actually read about someone else doing this and it sounded like a great idea. First, stop and read this article and report about the how the current weather conditions have affected the orphanages in China. The weather is so bad and most of the orphanages are unprepared for such cold temps. It is even too cold to dry the diapers that the babies wear so that is why they are asking for disposable ones. As I sit here in my nice warm living room under my electric throw blanket, I can't help but feel guilty thinking about these little ones in China who are wearing about 5 layers of clothing each just to stay above freezing. It really puts things into perspective about how good we have it. The pics are of Shelby and this was in "normal" weather conditions in South China. Can you imagine how these kids are having to dress right now in the current conditions?!

Well back to what I started to talk about, instead of just doing nothing I am going to start collecting gloves of all shapes and sizes to send over to Shelby's orphanage. I am choosing gloves/mittens because they aren't very big and they don't weigh much. So I am thinking that maybe I could fit about 50 pair all shrunk down in a spacesaver bag in a relatively small box and get that over to China for about $25 shipping. I think that 50 pairs of gloves for the nannies and foster moms and for the kids would help them fight the bitter cold and hopefully help keep some babies fingers from freezing. So I asking for some help from you all to please contribute some gloves for the cause. Please visit your local Walmart or $1 store and buy up some cheap simple gloves/mittens and give them to me soon! I would like to send this box off to China by say February 14. What a great way to show some love this Valentine's Day by sending some babies on the other side of the world a small token of warmth. I will be happy to come by wherever and pick up the gloves if you just call me. Thank you so much for helping me make this winter a little more bearable for these wonderful nannies/foster moms and of course these beautiful children!