Thursday, December 28, 2006


Happy New Year from our family to yours!!!!!!! Whether this is the year you meet your daughter in China, or this is a year of waiting and anticipating, we wish you much peace and joy. Happy 2007!!

Movie Madness

Recently someone asked me, "What do Jewish people do at Christmas?" Well, assuming that Chanukah is over (or Hanukah - hey, no wonder we have so much division in our people; we can't even agree on the spelling of this holiday!) there is just one thing to do: go to the movies! Over last weekend we saw a lot of movies. I was struck by the disconnect between the reviews I'd read about various and my experience of them, so I decided to write my own reviews.


NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: The reviews were not promising. One reviewer described this movie as "two hours of hell" and another dismissed its frenetic pace. Maybe because I was expecting dreck, I was pleasantly surprised by this film. It's very original and at times even sweet. A delightful family movie for all ages. Normally I find Robin Williams to be frenetic and over-the-top, but he was very good in this movie, as was Owen Wilson.

BLOOD DIAMOND: The reviews panned this movie as "preachy" and slow, and disdained the fact that white Jennifer Connelly comes in to save the black man from a terrible fate. Huh? What movie did they see? This movie was not preachy, nor is it slow - it's called character development, people! I had heard about conflict diamonds but did not know much about the situation in Africa. This film is an eye-opening and riveting account of civil war in Sierra Leone, and its effect on one family. It's partly a thriller, partly an expose on the machinations of some diamond merchants and partly about a man's struggle with his conscience. The acting was solid. I was totally caught up in the story (except for a couple of times when I had to surpress the urge to reach into the screen and pluck Jennifer Connelly's eyebrows). I definitely recommend this film. I have a different view of diamonds, now.

THE HOLIDAY: What can I say? Cameron Diaz is adorable and had great clothes. Jude Law is sexy in that slightly self-deprecating way the British do so well (Hugh Grant has passed the baton on that one). Kate Winslet is a terrific actress. Jack Black is great as always. Holidays are about escape and this is pure escapism.


KEEPING UP WITH THE STEINS: If you've ever planned a bar mitzvah, you will laugh. If you've ever been to a bar/bat mitzvah, you will laugh. More importantly, if you have a family, you will laugh. This is an original coming-of-age story about a 13 year old boy who tries to reconnect his grandfather (a hilarious Garry Marshall) with his father (Jeremy Piven). Darryl Hannah and the rest of the cast is great. I recommend this sweet, funny movie.

THE TRANSPORTER 2: Ridiculous in plot, cardboard characters, yet absurdly and strangely watchable. This movie defines the term "mind candy". A lot of fun - especially if you like over-the-top action.

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: After two attempts to sit through Troy, I gave up on historical dramas and never saw this when it was in theaters. Too bad, because this film stands apart from the drivel that was Troy. Although not a perfect film (at some points it is difficult to follow) Kingdom of Heaven is interesting, with some strong characters and a story that may be about the Crusades but also has relevence today, drawing parallels between the Crusades and our war in Iraq. Plus, Orlando Bloom is not hard to watch.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


No matter what you celebrate or where you are in the world (and in the wait), we wish you a peaceful, joyful holiday!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Out of computer hell

Okay, two years with Adelphia cable and no problemo whatsoever. Then Time-Warner takes over and it's computer hell for days. Or rather, internet-connection hell. But now I'm ba-a-a-a-c-k!! Speaking of connections (the non-technological kind), last week I visted with Abbey, who is absolutely precious. Her mom, Christi, is head-over-heels over her and I am, too. Abbey is a delight: sweet, active, smart, funny. Adorable!! We met Christi at an FCC event a year ago, and now she finally has her baby. I also met a cyberfriend in person and made a new friend, Dianne, who is waiting for Sophie. Some other new friends, Dee and Damien, are leaving on Friday for China, and they'll be coming home with Amy. I can't wait for the day that our kids are all playing together and this wait will be a thing of the past!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ten Month LID Anniversary!!

Today is our ten month LID anniversary. So what the hell does that mean? Are we halfway to referral? A third? More? Less? I'm trying not to think too much about it. I'm stepping off the rollercoaster. Well, one foot is still firmly planted in that rollercoaster (the part that visits the Rumor Queen site regularly, by which I mean daily, multiple times, but who's counting?!). The other foot is dangling somewhere in mid-air looking for a place to land. Sometimes it lands in the Land of Whatever-Who-Cares-Anymore and sometimes in the Land of Goody-Goody-We're-Getting-Closer. Ah, it's enough to give a girl emotional whiplash.

Then there's the whole hormonal thing. It's a cosmic joke that PMS and pregnancy feel so much the same, at least in the beginning. Every month there's some part of me that wonders if some bizarre National Inquirer-type of miracle has occured and those cramps and sore stripper boobs mean that I'm pregnant. Weirder still is my mixed excitement and dread at this possibility, which always ends with an equally bizarre mix of relief and disappointment when I'm not.

Am I the only one who feels this way? Or is it just that I'm so freaking weird? And why am I surprised that my emotions are all over the map? After all, I'm ten months (paperwork) pregnant!!

Friday, December 01, 2006


Referrals are here! The CCAA has sent referrals for families logged in between August 26 and September 8, 2005. Congratulations to all the parents who are seeing their children's faces for the first time! We are so thrilled for you!

Monday, November 27, 2006


Mmmmmm.... mashed potatoes... good!!

Happy on Thanksgiving Day!

Our good friends Rob and Greg, and Grandma Lori, David's mom, on Thanksgiving!

You'd never know it from these photos, but Ariel had strep throat over Thanksgiving week. She's better, now (thanks to the miracle of antibiotics) so I'm most grateful for her health, and ours. It's a terrible feeling to see your baby sick, no matter how old she is!

I hope to feel grateful every day, not just the third Thursday of November. I'm so grateful for my daughter Ariel, who is my miracle and constantly amazes me with her intelligence, zaniness, talent and compassion... for my husband David, who made me believe in the concept of soulmates, and is my true b'sherit (Hebrew for intended one, destined one, loved one)... for my friends... for my psychotherapy practice, which gives me the chance to help other people transform their lives and is both challenging and rewarding... for all our my many blessings.

Although there are heartaches in our world, especially the emotional loss of my parents, who have chosen not to participate in our lives for reasons of their own, I choose to focus on what we have, not what we don't have. I am working through my losses, and staying focused on the positive.

Hope everyone in the U.S. had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving isn't officially for another week, but it's never too soon to start reflecting on the spirit of Thanksgiving. To me, that's about gratitude, and also about remembering that people from different cultures can come together in harmony. Which, of course, seems like a fitting allegory for Chinese adoption (of course, now that adopting from China is on my mental radar, it seems that so much of life is a reminder of this journey... ever notice that?)

I've always felt there was something beautiful about the story of Thanksgiving; that the Pilgrims and the Native Americans were able to share a day of bounty and thanks is a lesson that has such contemporary implications. In a time when people seek to connect to their specific cultural roots (African Americans, Asian Americans, Jewish Americans, et al) it's easy to feel all too separate and divided. In truth we are both - we are products of our diverse heritages, and we are also all (at least in the U.S.) Americans - and for those of us adopting from China, it may be a challenge to incorporate those differences within our families. Or so I anticipate, as at this point it's all conjecture. But sometimes I really do wonder what I can expect in raising a Jewish Chinese American daughter! Thanksgiving Day is a reminder that we're all part of a greater identity, as members of the human race.

Thanksgiving is above all a day of giving thanks for what we have - a timely reminder at this time that shall one day be known as The Longest Wait, when the focus can often be on what we don't have (our children!!). I'll be writing about gratitude in a different post.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A cyber-handshake to our visitors...

Hello, out there! Yes, I'm talking to you. Yes, you! Thank you for reading our blog and sharing this journey with us. Most of you are on the same rollercoaster ride to our children in China and some of you are just stopping by to catch up. Whoever you are, please take a moment and leave a comment. We get a lot of hits every day but people rarely leave comments, and we'd love to know who's visiting. Thanks so much!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Nine Month Anniversary

Today is the nine month anniversary of our LID. We've been "paperwork pregnant" for a full term. Apparently, however, that nine month term only applies to human mothers. Elephants have a typical gestation period of 22 months, the longest pregnancy of any mammal. I've always liked elephants. As a child, the Babar books were particular favorites of mine. I once spent an afternoon getting to know an orphaned elephant who had been rescued from Africa. I helped to bathe her, rode on her back and pried her trunk off my bracelet (and the tip of an elephant's trunk is extremely agile - she could literally pinch the bracelet; clearly she had good taste in jewelery!). At one time I even collected elephants. Yes, I love elephants. But geez, I never wanted to identify with them!!

The elephant in the photo is pregnant. Look at her, bulging with her calf, probably wondering when this ordeal will be over and yearning to nuzzle her baby. I imagine she's grumpy and tired, and just wants this pregnancy over with, already, for her limbo to come to an end. She's probably tired of carrying around that extra weight.

I feel her pain!! Only I'm tired of the extra "wait"!!

Congratulations... all the families who referred their referrals on Thursday and finally got to see the faces of their children. We're really thrilled for our neighbor and RQ buddy, Dee and her husband, who are looking forward to bringing their adorable baby Amy home!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006



Note the black rose!

What a difference a year makes!! Our baby is growing up so fast. I'm thrilled that she's still into Halloween and thinks it's fun. She may look like the near-teen that she is, but she's still got some little-kid in her!

Last year I still had the hope (oh, the naivete) that Kavanna would be here for this Halloween. That would have been a treat, wouldn't it?! This year I just hope we'll have our referral by next Halloween, and even that seems overly optimistic.

Face it, I just hope we get Kavanna home before Ariel goes to college!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

On the couch...

I wonder if the workers at the CCAA have any idea the extent to which so many people are trying to figure them out. There seem to be a variety of different takes on the psychology of the CCAA. Here are a few I've extrapolated from various sites and posts:

Power Trippers They are on a huge power trip and enjoy wreaking emotional chaos on the waiting families. They want things done their way or not at all. They gleefuly plan new ways of thwarting the families. In one country they will say the wait will be 14 months; three days later they will predict a 24 month wait. Then they sit back and laugh. Example: "If you really want a child from China, you'll wait as long as it take and you won't complain. Any complaints out of you and we'll deem you an unfit parent! Heh, heh, heh..."

Fear & Loathing: They don't want to do anything to upset their bosses for fear of displeasing them and falling out of favor. They will ignore their own needs (more workers, more space, more technology) and not make a move or have an independent thought. They are in the grip of a monumental paralysis. Example: "We're doing the best we can. Last November the orphanages suddenly emptied and there are no more children. Domestic adoption has taken off like wildfire and there are no more children. Isn't it wonderful?"

Making Nice: They will tell you what you want to hear for fear of upsetting you. They smile a lot and make comfortable predictions so that you won't get angry. They just hate people to be angry, especially with them. Example: "Your LID is February? Oh, you'll definitely get a referral by April at the latest, absolutely. Count on it. You have our word." (notice they don't say which April?)

I believe we need to let go of these viewpoints and take on a more balanced viewpoint.

Or.... a more balanced view: Let's say the CCAA is no different from your average corporate division. They have something that people want and are willing to pay for, and the manner in which they do business governs both how their customer base views them, and how they are viewed internally by those responsible for their raises, promotions, etc. Who to please first, or best?

Look at it this way: this wouldn't be the first time a business division (the CCAA, as a part of "the corporation," i.e. the Chinese government) was running smoothly under its division leader. That leader gets his or her coveted promotion, to a bigger division. They hand leadership off to the next person in line (who probably earned it because of political connection or achievement in a yet smaller division). At the same time, they inform the division that it is now responsible for a whole new set of responsibilities, such as domestic adoption, and more. That new person doesn't have the expertise, vision, or loyalty among the rank-and-file to pull it off. And the slowdown begins. It's hard to believe that in the space of a couple of months there was a dramatic slowdown in abandonments, or that the economic boom in China trickled down to the provinces (it hasn't).

We believe the CCAA is doing its best, considering all these changes. We hate the lengthening wait, but we are grateful for the opportunity to adopt a child from China and we will love her always.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Somewhere in China...

Mei is another child we're sponsoring through Love Without Boundaries (as little as $10 per month sponsors a child's education). She's in kindergarten, and I love this photo of her working so intently, focusing on her writing. We and other families are waiting for our babies and children, but due to her age, Mei will likely never find a forever family and may never know that half a world away another family cares about her and is watching her grow up... Look at that weathered, almost makeshift desk. Such a contrast to the bright clothes she's wearing, and to the colorful shirt of the child behind her. In the midst of all that gray, a splash of color, of life, of hope. Study hard, Mei.

Friday, October 13, 2006


So David and I are learning to tango... And it's so much fun! I have a newfound appreciation for dancers who can make the tango look so effortless. We're a bit more on the jerky and uncertain side at this point (Ariel burst into gales of laughter when we showed her our moves) but we're having a blast. Might as well do this sort of thing while we can, right!?

We're also learning to swing (dance, that is!!) and may even venture into the rhumba!

Ole! Okay, that may be more for bullfighting but it just seemed to fit, as we feel like the proverbial bull in a china shop on that dance floor, narrowly missing other couples and bumping into our instructor.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Eight months since our LID! Part of me feels good about this: Yes! Fantastic! Great! We're making progress!. Another part of me feels decided sour: Big friggin' whoop... Eight months is a drop of water in the proverbial bucket ( and I need that bucket to emotionally puke my impatience with this process, and purge the frustration) ... We may have another 20+ months to go... By the time we get our referral and travel to China, a snail could have crawled the length of this football field.

The unhappy truth is, Kavanna is becoming less real to me. When we first sent our dossier to China, I could easily imagine what it would be like to hold her and kiss her. I saw myself changing diapers, comforting her cries, watching her smile, hearing her talk. I imagined David pushing the baby jogger and being a great daddy, very attentive and caring. When I told people, excitedly, "We're adopting from China," she was real to me/us.

Now, she seems less like a person and more like a very faraway concept. I feel as if I'm on a treadmill, walking and walking and getting nowhere. The sound of a baby's laughter is getting dimmer in my mind.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Take a closer look...

I am completely smitten with Frances and usually only look at her chubbylicious face and take in her overall cuteypieness. By the way, Frances is about to celebrate her first birthday, and her dossier has been with the CCAA since April. She's in foster care and I wonder why she hasn't been adopted yet? Very mystifying. But I digress.... Today I looked past Frances to her surroundings. She's sitting on a worn, tattered chair. This is China and they don't know about "shabby chic" decor. It isn't a fashion statement - it's one very used and broken-in/broken-down chair. The concrete floor and the patched wall behind her gives some more clues about her living situation. It breaks my heart to see this. The economic boom in China is affecting the few, not the many. As far as Frances is concerned, her foster family appears to adore her and I believe she gets an abundance of love... but that chair and that wall are a reality check.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


This is Frances, one of the two foster children we're sponsoring through Love Without Boundaries. She's 10.5 months old and so adorable and precious. According to the social worker report, she's also lively, smart and happy. Everyone in her foster family loves her (what's not to love??!!) and her favorite food is noodles. Ooooh, I wish I could scoop her up to hug and kiss her. What a cutie!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Friends...

Last weekend we met our new friend Dee for coffee... but first we met on the Rumor Queen website, got in touch, and it turned out we lived only a few miles apart!! Dee and her husband are waiting for their daughter Amy. Their LID is 8/24/05, so they're getting close!

Of course, nobody knows what to expect from the CCAA. Rumors are swirling again. They're going to refer seven days! They'll refer two weeks! They'll get through August! (hope so, for Dee's sake). But truly it's just a guessing game.

Right now, the closest thing we have to a crystal ball is the FORECASTER. Check it out if you want some idea of when your referral may arrive. (warning: best taken straight with a martini chaser).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

See Yuan See! (part II)

Five months ago we helped to sponsor Yuan's eye surgery through the wonderful organization Love Without Boundaries. I'm thrilled to report that she has had her cataracts removed and her sight restored! There are dozens of other children at LWB's website in need of help. Please, take a moment to see their faces and read their stories. You can make a difference!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Today is the seven month anniversary of our LID! It's also the one year anniversary of Great Wall China Adoption officially accepting us into the adoption program. We started on this journey exactly one year ago. And how did we spend this momentous occasion? How else? We waited in line for three and a half hours at the USCIS. The building was beyond capacity so we had to wait half an hour lined up outside, standing in the direct, hot sunlight. Then we got to move inside where we were directed into seats by the soldiers - er, civil servants who work at the USCIS. These guys get a real kick out of telling people what to do and what not to do. They may have received their training in Iraq. At a detention center. I'm serious.

After that lovely experience was behind us, we went to the doctor and got our remaining Hep. A and Hep. B shots. Ahhhh, good times.

And you know what? It was a truly great day. We could actually DO SOMETHING that made us feel we were getting closer to our daughter in China. We're coming, Kavanna!!

Monday, September 04, 2006


EXTENDING THE I-171H!! Even if you're just starting the process, this bill may affect you!!

Currently the I-171H expires after 18 months. There's a bill in Congress that seeks to extend it to two years. The House will reconvene after Labor Day, so it's important to contact the members of the Judiciary House Committee on Immigration and urge each of them to push this bill through. Unless the bill passes this Committee, it will never get any further. The House members on this Committee are located here:

I just emailed everyone on the subcommittee, and hopefully if lots of you will do so as well. Together, we can effect some change!! This is what I wrote:

My husband and I are writing to request your support for the Helping Families Adopt Orphans Act(SB HR5888). The I-171H is currently valid for 18 months but for those of us adopting from China, the wait has doubled and is continue to lengthen, requiring us to re-do this paperwork, a considerable financial burden ($2500-3000 for some of us, given that we also have to renew our homestudy). Extending the I-171H to two years would help thousands of families across the country, as well as keep the already backlogged USCIS from the burden of having to renew all the paperwork. We urge your support for this legislation! Sincerely,

Feel free to cut and paste this message on your emails. Emailing the entire subcommittee only takes about 15 minutes. I urge everyone to write the members of this subcommittee and help get that bill passed!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How Will You Use The Wait????

I've been in a world class FUNK for a while now. My mind (and heart) has been swirling with all kinds of egregiously dark thoughts and feelings. Look up "down in the dumps" and you'll see my photo.

Basically, I've been wallowing about in exquisite agony. Fine, if I were a character in a Jane Austen novel. But is it appropriate for a woman in the 21st century? Not so much.

Today I just decided to snap the hell out of it. I'm going to use this time productively 'cause when Kavanna comes home I won't have the luxury of doing... well, much of anything, probably. So here's my plan: (in no particular order)

1. Clean out the garage. We have a three car garage that presently fits one vehicle. That's just not right! We've lived here nearly two years. It's time. And I have time.

2. Finish my novel. I have 273 pages completed. I'm close to the finish line and it's time to get this bad boy done.

3. Complete our backyard renovation aka get rid of the frigging koi pond, which is now minus fish (and water, and no, we didn't eat them - although they always looked like sushi to me) but still a monstrosity that takes up too much of our yard.

4. Take a dance class with my husband. Ah, the tango... I picture me in a dress with a plunging neckline, lots of eyeliner, a smoke-filled room (okay, scratch that, it's Los Angeles and nobody smokes), red lipstick and my dashing handsome husband sweeping me across the dance floor... So much more fun than wallowing.

5. Take an oil painting class. Always wanted to do that.

That's how I'm going to use my time during this wait. What about you out there in cyberland? How are you going to make the best of this wait???

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Back from Chicago!

We're back from a wonderful visit to David's parents in Chicago. I'm lucky enough to have the world's best in-laws and we all had a great visit. We walked down Michigan Avenue to the Art Institute and soaked in its impressive Impressionist Collection. David and I may be the only people who were disappointed in the Musee D'Orsay in Paris; its collection is simply not comparable to that at the Chicago Art Institute. I could look at a Renoir painting for hours; his paintings are so alive and evocative, and they make me happy.

The last day of our trip we took Lori's dog for a walk... from a distance we saw what looked like a dad with an Asian daughter. I blinked my eyes and looked again. Was I seeing things? Or were all dark-haired kids starting to look Asian to me? Nope, I had seen exactly what I thought I'd seen, a dad and his Chinese daughter out for a stroll. Her name was Hannah and she came home in April... she was absolutely precious.

Someday, we told ourselves afterwards. Someday that will be us.

When? asks a little voice in my head, growing louder. WHEN???? WHEN??

That little voice is good at asking questions but it's horribly silent when it comes to answers!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Congratulations, Ariel!

Ariel performed in six shows of Fiddler On The Roof over the course of four days. She did two shows a day on the weekend (just like Broadway!). We are so proud of her dedication and great attitude. Ariel, you were a wonderful "Hodel" (the pretty middle daughter who runs off to Siberia with the guy from Starsky & Hutch)... Our friends Marty, Andy and his mom "Shirl the Girl" joined in the celebration after the final show. Good times!!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

12 Step Program

Hello, my name is Nina and I am addicted to the Rumor Queen Website.

I admit that I am powerless over this website. I have made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself and admitted to my Higher Power, to myself and to others that I do not have the ability to stay away from the site, although I know it is bad for me (especially when I read that the wait may extend to t-t-t-three years).

I know I have harmed my friends and family by fretting incessantly over the rumors I find on the RQ Site. I am willing to make amends to them all (and I'll get right on that, just after I check the site again for the 100th time this week... er, today).

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

We're six months into the wait. Or as I prefer to put it, we're in our seventh month! Total regression time in terms of this countdown. Remember being a little kid and insisting, "I'm not six years old - I'm six and a quarter!" Yes, that extra quarter (or in our case, two days) make all the difference in the world.

A more adult voice in my head says, "Yes, but are we halfway into the wait? Or a quarter of the way into the wait? Or...." (in a dark, highly doubtful tone, naturally)

And then I clap my hands over my ears, stick out my tongue and shout, "Shut up!"

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Yin & Yang

This week has been about finding balance. Some of my states of mind over the past several days: happiness for all the families who received their referrals and now have seen their babies... dejection because the wait seems interminable and the idea of welcoming a new daughter into our lives seemed like a mirage in the desert of my imagination (okay, the worst, most dreadful metaphor ever but somehow it captures my feelings of desperation and deprivation).

In other words this week was the best of times and the worst of times (apologies to Charles Dickens). I figured I'd either take to my bed like some Victorian heroine and pull the covers over my head for the next 8/12/18 months or find some way to reconcile these feelings. I began to reflect on the idea of balance between opposite feelings.

So here (courtesy of Wikepedia) is some information on yin and yang, the Chinese philosophy of balance in the universe:

Yin and yang are opposites. Everything has its opposite—although this is never absolute, only relative. No one thing is completely yin or completely yang. Each contains the seed of its opposite. For example, winter can turn into summer; "what goes up must come down".

Yin and yang are interdependent. One cannot exist without the other. For example, day cannot exist without night. Light cannot exist without darkness.

Yin and yang are usually held in balance—as one increases, the other decreases.

Yin and yang can transform into one another. At a particular stage, yin can transform into yang and vice versa. For example, night changes into day; warmth cools; life changes to death. However this transformation is relative too. Night and day coexist on Earth at the same time when shown from space.

Part of yin is in yang and part of yang is in yin. The dots in each serve as a reminder that there are always traces of one in the other. For example, there is always light within the dark (e.g., the stars at night); these qualities are never completely one or the other.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I've hit the wall...

They say that marathon runners routinely hit "the wall", that moment in the race when it seems impossible to go on. Your lungs feel seared, your legs feel like jello, and your will to even one step farther droops like a wilted flower. Now, I'm no marathon runner. Before embarking on this adoption, the closest I get to marathon anything is my incredible endurance when it comes to shopping for clothes... But I know about the wall. And I've hit it. Hard.

The finish line seems really distant. I feel as if the more I press forward, the farther away the finish line has become. My spirit is sagging like that wilted flower.

Mind you, I'm not giving up the race. I'm staying in the race, difficult as it feels. But wow, this is tough.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Write USCIS Director Gonzales!!

Want to save $2000-3500??? Write the USCIS Director Gonzales to let him know about the hardship posed by renewing the I-171H. You can write him here:

Here's what I wrote:

My husband and I are in the process of adopting a baby from China. Our I-171H expires May 2007 and, due to the increasing wait times for Chinese adoption, it is probable that we will have to renew the I-171H at a considerable expense (approximately $3500).

My question is, what can you do to help my family and the thousands of other families who find themselves in this predicament? There is a precedent for I-171H to be extended (during the SARS outbreak, for instance) and I/we are hopeful that your office can once again extend the I-171H.

It is my understanding that the effective period of the I-171H is structured to protect the children. However, and as I'm sure you would agree, it is highly improbable that families would suddenly act in contravention of the law during the wait period for a highly anticipated and blessed event. If someone has not broken the law prior to going through the grueling process of obtaining a I-171H, it is highly improbable that they would do so while waiting to adopt a child and expand their family.

Extending the I-171H would in fact be in a child's best interest, since the expense of the renewal would pay a significant portion of child care and would forestall parents' needing to return to work, losing valuable attachment time. For these reasons, extending the effective period of the I-171H is in the children's best interest.

Thank you for your attention. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What a ride!

Referrals are picking up! Referrals are slowing down!

On a recent visit to Australia the CCAA officials told people to expect 12 month referrals!

The Australian government then told people this was not true and the wait was expected to be 18 months!

The CCAA is moving and it won't affect business at all! The CCAA will be closing down due to the move!

People are being rejected in the Review Room for medical reasons. People are being rejected because they're left-handed (okay, that one's not true but it's getting to feel like it's heading in that direction).

I have emotional whiplash. I feel like the person in the rollercoaster, hanging on for dear life.

Someone on a message board asked me for my thoughts before the Australian statement. These were my thoughts:

I do not think the rumors of 18+ months are true. First of all, the CCAA has stated that they wish to keep the wait to 12-13 months and for them to miss that by such a huge margin would be tremendously embarrassing to them. They would lose a lot of "face" which from a cultural perspective is huge, and I don't think they'd put themselves in that kind of a situation. In the past, they put quotas into place, which they have not done so far, and that bodes well, I think.

One reason for the current slowdown was the huge number of dossiers in April, May and June 05. The months after that continue to have smaller numbers of LIDs, even if November is big (still not as big as June) and they should be able to get through those faster. Although domestic adoption in China is no doubt on the rise, it is not a signficant factor in terms of the slowdown. The Chinese have a bias against adoption and it is still prohibitively expensive for most people. The economic boom has hardly trickled down to the outer provinces/agricultural areas. These people live in near poverty. Also, from what I've heard, Chinese prefer to adopt slightly older toddlers, not babies.

Second, 7-8 orphanages in Hunan were closed for a year once the Hunan scandal broke. The orphanages started publishing finding ads in April, which means those babies will be paper-ready in October or November, and there will thus be an influx of available babies at that time, not a decrease.

I believe the CCAA could not keep up the 6 month referral time due to a variety of factors but mostly supply (decreased due to Hunan situation and possibly due to other factors) and demand (waaayyyyy more people wanting to adopt from China). The 12 month timeframe is more realistic. I believe the wait will go to about 14-15 months and then speed up in October/November.

I really think/hope these agencies who are fueling the 2 year rumors are doing so without direct knowledge and just extrapolating what's been happening with referrals for the past several months and projecting those number into the future.

I was so sure of myself when I wrote this back in the hopeful days of yesteryear... oh, wait, that was two days ago. I don't know what to think anymore. What about you? Thoughts are welcome!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I've been tagged!!

Okay, I'll admit it... when I was tagged, I groaned internally. Normally I like making these kinds of lists about as much as I like the thought of playing with snakes (which is to say, not at all!). But having done it, I'm glad I did. Kind of an interesting exercise...

Things I'd like to do before I die:
Become a mom again
Write and publish a novel (or more)
Get my PhD in clinical psychology
Go on an African safari
See the pyramids
Learn Mandarin
Learn French

Things I cannot do well:
Tolerate ignorance/selfishness/cruelty
Ignore rude drivers
Keep my garage organized
Deal with bureaucracy

Things I can do:
Laugh heartily
Bake brownies
Put together an outfit
Be loyal
Be tenacious

Things that attracted me to my husband:
Insight into himself and others
Those incredible blue eyes
The amazing bond he had with Ariel
The fact that he's a hottie didn't hurt, either!!

Books I love:
Any novel that features Sherlock Holmes, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or not
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Most of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels
Nearly everything Raymond Chandler wrote
Nearly everything Dashiell Hammett wrote
Nearly everything Ross Macdonald wrote
Nearly everything Agatha Christie wrote
The Eight
The Agony and the Ecstasy

Movies I love:
North By Northwest
Rear Window
To Catch A Thief
Dial M For Murder
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Lethal Weapon I & II
Beverly Hills Cop
48 Hours
La Femme Nikita

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Ariel's biggest passion in life is musical theater (She said to me recently, "Mom, theater is my life. I mean it!!"). She's spending her summer in theater camp preparing for an upcoming production and has gone swimming only a couple of times this summer - a mark of true dedication, considering what a little fish she is. David mentioned her dedication and passion to a friend who's working with the producer of Rent, and asked if we could perhaps get an autograph from one of the leads, knowing that would thrill Ariel beyond measure. A few weeks later the cast and crew of "Rent" (the touring cast) sent a coffee table book all about Rent, signed by each of them, with personalized notes to Ariel. She was stunned and amazed, as were we.

Sometimes people go the extra mile for no other reason than it will bring a smile to a child's face and delight to her heart. Thank you to the touring company of "Rent"!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Five Months Since LID!

Yesterday was the five month anniversary of our LID. That means we're officially in our sixth month of waiting! Yeah! Yay! In some ways that five months has seemed like a very long time. Yet it also seems to have gone by fairly quickly.

One question has kept popping into my mind during this time (not, "What is the meaning of the universe?"... not, "Is it possibly to care any less about Jennifer Aniston's state of mind? (really, Jen, you're not the only woman in the world who's gotten divorced, and jeez I'm sick of hearing about you)"... not even, "Why would anyone eat candy that doesn't involve chocolate?").

The question is: has Kavanna been born yet?

I always had the sense that she had not been born. In the last couple of weeks, however, I definitely had a different feeling. So here's my psychic prediction: I believe Kavanna was born in late June.

Which brings me to your psychic predictions about our LID. According to the last poll, 45% of you think we'd get our referral next April and 55% think it will be June. Pretty close. My secret (well, not anymore) fantasy is that the CCAA catches up in the Fall. The September batch of LIDs is relatively small, as is December and January. Plus, the Hunan orphanages will once again have paper ready children ready for adoption around October/November.

So my second psychic prediction is: the wait will go to 14-15 months or so and then catch up, keeping the wait to around 12-13 months, which means a referral for us in February/March.

Of course, I thought Superman would tank, so what do I know?!! (that was before I saw it, and it was a lot of fun)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thank you, Mei Ling!!

Last week I came home to a package from my wonderful new friend Mei Ling. Inside were some absolutely beautiful and thoughtful gifts: the most gorgeous pink photo album, a really cool and unique photo album for Ariel (it opens like an accordion and it's made in Hong Kong), a book on experiences in China and a sachet and heart-shaped soap. We absolutely love our gifts. I found it especially thoughtful that there was a special present just for Ariel. Sometimes people focus so much on the new baby that they forget there's a big girl in the house, and even a 12 year old can feel left out.

THANK YOU, Mei Ling, for your generosity, sensitivity and great taste!!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Happy Fourth of July

Whatever your political orientation or leanings, whatever you think of this country's leadership (using the term loosely, and now you know where I stand) I'm proud to live in a country where we have the freedom to express ourselves in blogs like this one... the freedom to disagree... the right to free speech... where people from all over the world, even China, are welcome to become citizens. Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Politically incorrect


Congratulations again to all the families who received a referral this week!! That said, this referral cycle has created a whole new area of fear and worry for me (as if it's not enough to worry about getting through the review room, or to obsess about the wait). The new worry has to do with the relatively high number of boy referrals, some of whom went to families who expressly asked only for a girl.

Here's where the politically incorrect thing comes in. I posted a question on the Rumor Queen's site asking what happens if you get a boy referral and turn it down. Someone wrote in saying she was "shocked" (shocked, I tell you!) that I or anybody else could even imagine turning down a referral, suggesting that I should take what was given to me and be grateful.

Okay, here's the thing: I want another daughter. I want a girl and only a girl. I do not want a boy, for various reasons that I won't go into right now and really aren't relevent. To be honest, I was actually worried about having a boy when I was pregnant last summer, as horrible as that may sound. I like girls. I "get" girls. I adore girls (this is the same thing my friend B. said to her parents when she came out to them but that's a whole other story...). I truly ONLY want a girl and I'm now worried that we'll get a boy.

It does not escape me that my preference for a girl is ironic in the face of the Chinese preference for boys, cultural factors notwithstanding.

I truly and absolutely have my heart set on another daughter. David and I both feel strongly about adding a girl to our family. I don't think I could accept a referral for a boy. That's how strongly I feel about this issue. Are we alone in this? Anyone else feel this way?

Friday, June 23, 2006

GREAT NEWS ABOUT REFERRALS!! Sometimes it seems as if this wait is just some interminable... well, wait. No end in sight. For the lucky LIDs of June 16-28th 2005, that wait is about to end. Congratulations to all the families who will be receiving their referrals next week. We can't wait to see the referral photos of all the new additions!

Is it just me, or do does anyone else feel something shifting in the air? For the past several months (otherwise known as The Great Slowdown of 06) I have felt as if the wait was always stretching farther away, that as soon as we got a month closer, the time frame extended to another yet-impossible to believe length. Now I have hope again that the CCAA will manage to keep the wait to 12-14 months and we'll see Kavanna's face sometime next Spring.

Hope springs eternal, I guess!! In the meantime, congratulations again to this referral group!!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Say Cheese!

Here's Ariel with our new friends Mai Ling and Gale. We first met in cyberspace (in the RQ's forum - thank you, Rumor Queen!) and got to meet in person this weekend. Their LID is close to ours, so we're hoping to be in China together next year!! We had so much fun meeting them and their friends. We can't wait to see them again!!

David and Nina in ancient Egypt... and for those who might notice that Nina and Ariel are wearing the same shirt, a strange thing has happened in our household. Ariel, who has a closet overflowing with clothes (overflowing onto the carpet, her bathroom floor, to such an extent that we now suspect her clothes may be dividing like amoebas and multiplying nightly, which explains the ever expanding nature of the overall pile) has no interest in her clothes. She likes Nina's clothes. She fits into Nina's clothes. Nina must now put some of her clothes onto the floor and hope they multiply so she can grow her wardrobe to keep up with Ariel!!

They did facial tattoos of snakes in Ancient Egypt. Who knew?!

Ariel and Stephanie at their booth...

My beautiful ancient Egyptian....