Friday, September 30, 2005

Boo! (a month early)

Ghouls? Goblins? Witches? Bah! Everyone knows Halloween is about... flappers! Ariel's ready to Charleston all night. Hard to believe that this time next year (fingers crossed) she may have a little sister to take trick-or-treating.

No school today...

Due to the fires, Ariel's school has been closed for two days. She's so bummed out she took to her bed. Nah, she just gets to sleep in for once!!

A little perspective...

For the past two days wildfires have swept through our community. We watched thousands of firefighters bravely battling a seemingly endless line of fire. We saw flames consuming nearby hills. Our neighborhood was covered by gray smoke and ash. We're so grateful that so many homes and lives were saved, when the outcome could have been much different. This experience gave us some perspective and took our minds off our paperchase. Our hearts go out to the people who lost their home. We're relieved that so many families and homes are safe!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bureaucratic Hell... (Nina)

Everyone warned us there would be glitches in this process. We'd been lucky enough not to run into any so far... until today. The certified Police Clearance Letter we obtained last week wasn't good enough documentation. It had to be notarized. So we drove all the way to downtown Los Angeles, hired our traveling notary to meet us there ($110, yikes), intending to have the police issue another letter which would be notarized on the spot.

Instead, we discovered the original letter shouldn't have been issued, since we didn't technically live in Los Angeles city. We had to go to the County Offices in Norwalk, another 20 minutes away - basically a descent into the smoggiest, creepiest, yuckiest part of town (no offense to Norwalkians). We passed billboards advertising stripper bars and drove past two sheriff buses filled with inmates. Once we got to the right office, the clerk said clearance letters took two weeks to process, and that they might not give me one since I'd had more than two names (as anyone who has been married twice and changed her name would have). Aggghhhh, instant freak-out. I immediately went to the worst possible scenario: I would be the first person on earth not to obtain a police clearance letter for this reason, and the adoption wouldn't go through.

Yes, I went there. And stayed there all the way home. An hour of complete anguish.

David, aka the most understanding husband on earth, tried to reassure me but I was inconsolable. We called Natasha, our Dragon Plan person at Great Wall China Adoption ( and she'd never heard of such a thing (Natasha is wonderful and is saving our - okay, my - sanity). She offered to contact the clerk's supervisor directly to sort it out. David called the Supervisor first and explained the situation. She said we'd been misinformed and the name changes won't be a problem. She felt bad that we drove all the way from Calabasas only to get incorrect information. We've got an appointment with her tomorrow. Stay tuned...

UPDATE...........SUCCESS! We got the documents we needed! They only do clearances for the last five years, so hopefully that will be sufficient. What a relief...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Choosing the name "Kavanna"

Kavanna (pronounced "Ka-VAH-nah") is a Hebrew word that means to act and to live with intentionality and consciousness. Instead of going through life on 'automatic pilot', you can live with awareness and intentional choice. Kavanna reminds you that you are part of the whole cosmic 'tapestry of being'. Out of that awareness, you rediscover and live from your essence, from your wholeness.

We chose Kavanna's name because we love its meaning, which also resonates with Eastern philosophy. Her name bridges both her cultures, and that feels really perfect!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Thoughts on a Sunday afternoon (David)

Three days ago, we celebrated our 19 month wedding anniversary. The wedding was magical; you should have seen how beautiful Nina looked under a rain-splashed canopy. Days later, we were in Paris, and Venice after that. We stayed at an amazing little hotel there, the Locanda Orseola, owned by some truly wonderful people. They'd become engaged at a local restaurant, and wanted us to dine their before we left for Rome. It was there that we - Nina and I - first talked about having children.

We talked about my fears, that maybe I wouldn't be a good dad, that maybe I'd be like mine, that we as a couple would change in some unforeseeable way. We talked as well about Ariel - her daughter from a different marriage, and my daughter from a past life, it seemed - and how this child I bore no biological relation to felt so much a part of me.

I had no idea that we'd already answered the adoption question a year and more earlier - how will I feel about a child I'm not related to? How will I come to love her?

I already have. We've been through 4 in vitro procedures, and came to the decision to adopt in an indirect, sometimes painful, always united way. But we're here, and it feels like it's where we're supposed to be. Where we were always headed. And when I wonder about that question of loving Kavanna, I remember a candle burning between Nina and I in Venice, and the look on Ariel's face the first time we met (gazing at me suspiciously over an offered plate of cupcakes, as if to say, "who are you with my mom, and did you take any of the vanilla ones?") and the looks we exchange now, and I know the question was answered quite a while ago.

Don't know if you're there yet, Kavanna, but we're here, and we're cutting the distance between us a day at a time.

See you.

The Great Paperchase

8/26/05 Mailed application to GWCA (Great Wall China Adoption)
8/29/05 Spoke to Kathy at Partners For Adoption, our home study agency
9/02/05 Joined FCC (Families with Children from China)
9/12/05 Sent autobiographies to Partners for Adoption
9/17/05 Applied for Ariel's passport
9/20/05 Mailed I-600A Form
9/20/05 First mailing to Natasha at GWCA (our Dragon Plan contact)
9/23/05 LiveScan fingerprinting
9/23/05 Adoption physicals
9/29/05 LA County Sheriff - clearance letters
10/01/05 Fingerprinted by the CIS for I-600A
10/03/05 Social Worker visit (3 hours)
10/10/05 Second mailing to GWCA
10/14/05 Received Dept of Justice (Live Scan) clearance
10/26/05 Second Social Worker visit
11/08/05 Home Study complete
11/27/05 I-171-H Received!!!
11/27/05 Third mailing to GWCA
12/19/05 Dossier sent to L.A. Chinese consulate for authentication
1/13/06 DTC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2/06/06LID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally, yayyyy!!!!!!


This is Ariel and her best friend, Lisa... with Roy, who wanted to get into the picture (it's the only thing that gets him off the couch, besides walks and food).

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A little about us...

This is David and me in Paris on our honeymoon...

We're a family of three (four if you count our pound puppy, Roy, whose name was Elroy when we got him from the pound - he's a German Shephard and Labrador mix who thinks he's a lap dog and spends all his time on the couch!). Nina and David found each other three years ago and got married on 2/22/04. We are proof that miracles do happen and soul mates can find each other!!! Ariel, who just started 6th grade, is into theater and dance. She was "Sandy" in Grease this summer, as well as the Baker in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and now she's in rehearsals for Anything Goes. We're really proud of our rising star!

Journey To Kavanna

Somewhere in China a baby girl is waiting to join our family. Welcome to our journey to bring her home!

A little background... the Chinese government limits families to one child. Since the culture prefers boys (who traditionally take care of their parents when they are older), each year many girl babies are abandoned by their parents. We imagine this is a terribly difficult decision for the birth parents and our hearts go out to them. We're grateful for the opportunity to expand our family by bringing one of those little girls into our family and our hearts.