Monday, November 28, 2005


This has been a real rollercoaster of a year - a year of loss and disappointment, and a year of new beginnings and accomplishments - and as it draws to a close, we are definitely thankful for all we have and all we have to look forward to next year and beyond. We celebrated Thanksgiving with our wonderful friends Wendy, Jonathan and Madeleine, and their family. Then we went to Santa Barbara for a short vacation at Bacara, which was everything we hoped it would be - beautiful, calm, relaxing, and fun. David and Ariel hung out at the pool... they met a baby orangutan who was visiting the Children's Program... and Nina read books and got some spa treatments. Ahhhhh, the stress melted away....

We came home to find the I-171-H in our mailbox!!!!!!!! The final piece of paperwork to complete our paperchase. Today we notarized it and sent it to our Great Wall China Adoption liason. She'll have it certified and authenticated, and then we'll be DTC (dossier to China)!!! It's hard to believe the paperwork is complete. Next step, DTC... then LID (log in date, in China) and then the wait officially begins.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Families With Children From China

Yesterday we attended our first FCC (Families with Children From China) event, a ceremony to honor both new arrivals and waiting families, like us. We drove to West L.A., not knowing quite what to expect. We parked in the church parking lot and saw many other families arriving, families of all sizes and ethnicities, but with one thing in common - at least one child was Chinese. I felt a whole new world begin to open up. One day, that would be our family.
As soon as we walked in, we were welcomed by wonderful, friendly Susan, who helped organize the event. She introduced Ariel to her son, Zach, who's the same age. Soon the two kids were busy selling snacks for the fundraiser. There were many older children with Chinese siblings, several girls who were around 8-9 years old, and a ton of the most precious, adorable babies.
When it was time for the ceremony, we all gathered in the church. New arrivals were on the left, waiting families on the right. There were so many new arrivals that some of them spilled over to our side. In the pew in front of us, a baby named Mia began to smile and wave to us. She was fascinated by Ariel's "bracelets" (they were actually ponytail holders) and Ariel gave them to her. Mia was absolutely beautiful and clearly happy. Her parents told us Mia has a 13 year old sister and a 10 year old brother at home. Ariel was thrilled to realize there will be lots of families like ours, once Kavanna comes home.
Each family was given a red candle. The new arrivals were greeted and honored... Then it was time for the waiting families to step forward... We lit our candles with the candle flames of the families with new arrivals... It was very beautiful and heartwarming.

China has recently extended the referral time from six months to 10-12 months, which means that instead of traveling to China next Fall, we may not go until 2007. We're definitely being challenged to learn patience (this for someone who's motto could easily be "I want to learn patience and I want it NOW"). I comfort myself with the knowledge that one day we will among those families of new arrivals... I imagine Ariel lighting a candle of welcome and us holding Kavanna in our arms. It may not happen on our timeframe - yesterday - but it will happen!!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Being Thankful

For her smile, a gift on the occasions of waking, returning home, saying goodnight.

For her laugh, a radiance of bells.

For her courage, to take the fears of others and make them into paths home.

For her insight, never keener than when turned on herself.

For her resilience, from which she made a home for all our hearts.

For her beauty - she's cra-zee beautiful.

For her brownies. 'Nuff said.

For her flannel pajamas, sexy just because she's in 'em.

For her good-morning emails, like a hug across the miles.

For her head on my shoulder when she's falling asleep.

For her hand on my leg when we're driving.

For her silent I love you over Ariel's head at the movies.

For her.

Wherever you are right now, one day, Kavanna, you will be thankful for her too.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The CCAA requires some family photos for the dossier. These are just a couple of the photos we're sending them. We can't wait until we're a family of four (or more!).

The longest wait...

Recently the CCAA (China's adoption affairs agency) changed the wait time for adoptions from 6 months to 10-12 months. It feels as if the headstone should read: These are the bones of someone who's been waiting... and waiting... and waiting for their adoption referral... !!!!!
We had a fun, scary, sugary Halloween. Ariel carved the pumpkin all by herself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bye, bye koi

Goodbye, koi... We inherited the koi when we bought a house with a huge koi pond. They're really cool, for fish... they recognize people, and they have personalities... but when I looked at them only one word came to mind. Sushi.

So the koi are gone... yummy! No, just kidding!!! They went to a new pond and now they're hanging out with dozens of new fish friends. We're razing the pond and putting sod over it (it's 30 feet long!!) to make a bigger lawn. Kavanna will get more use out of a bigger lawn than a koi pond.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Our home study is finished and we are approved to adopt a baby girl or baby girl twins!! Yayyyyyy!!! Next step, sending the completed home study to the CIS (Citizen and Immigration Service, formerly the INS) and awaiting our 1-71 approval form. After that our dossier is sent to China and we await our LID (log in date), which is when the clock starts officially ticking. We're very excited to have our official approval, which brings us one step closer to Kavanna...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Learning to speak Chinese...

November already! I can hardly believe it's almost 2006. Goals for next year: 1) finish paperwork, 2) transform the office into a nursery 3) learn to speak (some) Chinese and 4) bring Kavanna home!! Well, we're almost finished with our paperwork and our plans for the nursery are moving forward, so...... it's time to tackle a new language. Since our new daughter will know only Chinese (and we're gambling that she'll understand Mandarin, not Cantonese) it will be nice to be able to actually communicate with her. Languages are not my thing at all (unless the ability to curse - mildly - in five different languages counts?!!) so we anticipate a huge challenge. We don't expect to be able to read the language - we'll be happy if we can speak and understand basic Mandarin by the time we're in China.

Some facts about the Chinese language:

It is the oldest written language on record, believed to date to the 2nd millennium B.C..

Over 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese - the dialects include Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese and other regional dialects based on these main languages. Writing found on turtle shells from the Shang dynasty (1500-950 B.C.) are the same as that found in modern China.

Chinese is written with characters - each one represents a syllable of spoken Chinese, but also has a meaning. Each character is comprised of between one and 64 strokes. The writing system is open-ended, so there is literally no limit to the number of characters. The largest Chinese dictionaries include about 56,000 characters, but most of them are archaic and/or obscure. To read most magazines or newspapers, you need to know about 3,000 characters. To read literature, you need to know twice that. To increase literacy, the government has simplified about 2,000 characters.

Spoken Chinese is also challenging. Mandarin has about 1700 possible syllables, as compared to over 8,000 in English. Therefore, many sounds may sound the same but have different meanings.

再见 玩得高兴
(goodbye, have a nice day)