Sunday, April 30, 2006

Thanks, Secret Pal

Our Secret Pal sent us a beautiful pink dress (plus matching bloomers) and a Little Miss Spider book. Hard to believe that Ariel once fit into such a tiny dress. Also, Little Miss Spider was one of her favorite books when she was little. Now she's not so little anymore! My baby is growing up (but she'll always be my baby).

Thank you again, Secret Pal!!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

For Other Adoptive Families

A few days ago I wrote a letter to my Congressman (Henry Waxman, California) about extending the time period for the validity of the I-71H. Imagine my surprise when one of his assistants called me personally to ask 1) if there was already a bill about this subject in Congress and 2) if they could do anything personally to help us right now.

I explained the situation that we are in and underscored how helpful it would be if we didn't have to resubmit our fingerprints. If the I-71H could be good for 24 months instead of 18, that would make all the difference to us and all the other families in our position.

She is forwarding my letter to their immigration person in D.C. and hopefully we can get some movement on this issue.

If we each wrote a letter (letters carry more weight than emails, apparently), maybe collectively we could exert enough influence to get the expiration date extended.

To find your representative, go to this link:


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Birthday Wish...

Yesterday was my birthday. I bet you can imagine what I wished for when I blew out the candles (hint: if this wish came true it would delight many, many families during this wait). If our wait is "only" one year, there is actually a possibility that at my next birthday we'll be a family of four!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

These two art scrolls were made by Chinese orphans (most of them around 15 years old). You can see more art at Scrolls From China, a site run by adoptive parents. Part of the profit for the sale of these scrolls goes to the artists and part of it will help fund a second adoption for the people who run the site. It's stunning to read the stories of these abandoned artists and to see the beauty of their work. Truly, these scrolls are a testament to the human spirit and to hope.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Introducing Mei

Mei is three years old and we're sponsoring her education through Love Without Boundaries. She's in kindergarten and doing well. Although there's no way to put a value on education, for it's priceless, the cost of sponsoring Mei's education is only $10 per month, a tiny investment for something so potentially life-altering.

Look at that grin. Irresistible, isn't she?

We'll be getting monthly updates on Mei's progress which we look forward to sharing.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Introducing Frances...

This is Frances, a baby in foster care. Isn't she beautiful? We're sponsoring her through Love Without Boundaries. She was born on the anniversary of the day that David and I first met (awwwwwwww) and my grandmother's name was Frances. It's a sign! Check out her mohawk hairstyle. Ariel has pronounced her "really cute." We agree!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

See Yuan See!

This is Yuan, a baby girl who was born October 2005 with congenital cataracts. We are helping to sponsor her and pay for her surgery. You can see other babies and children at the Love Without Boundaries website. Lots of kids are in need of medical and educational and nutritional help. You can also sponsor a child in foster care. You can make one-time donations (such as for Yuan) or monthly donations to the same child. If your corporation provides matching funds, you can make double the difference!

For those of you waiting to travel to China to adopt your daughters and sons, please consider helping a child right now, through sponsorship. You can also sponsor babies, older children and nannies at Half The Sky.

It feels good to know that because of us, and her other sponsors, Yuan will grow up with the gift of eyesight. There are dozens more children like Yuan out there. Please, help make a difference!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Did you know....?

I love history (I could watch the History Channel around the clock, except for Law & Order re-runs). Here are a few interesting facts about Chinese history:

Chinese Emperor Shi Huang-Ti built a network of 270 palaces, linked by tunnels, and was ao afraid of assassination that he slept in a different palace each night.

A terracotta army of six thousand men and horses was buried with Shi Huang-Ti, China's first emperor, at Xianyang.

The purpose of the Great Wall of China, the monumental fortification separating China from Mongolia, was not especially to keep out the Huns from the north. The Huns could easily find places along the stretch that they could scale with ladders. But they couldn't get their horses across. Without their horses, they weren't very effective warriors.

Paper was invented in China around 105 A.D., by the eunuch Ts'ai Lun. According to the official history of the Han dynasty (3rd century A.D.), Ts'ai Lun was given an aristocratic title after he presented Emperor Ho Ti with samples of paper. In 751 A.D., Chinese papermakers were captured by the Arabs at Samarkand, and by 794 A.D. several state-owned paper mills operated in Baghdad. The Arabs were manufacturing paper in Spain around 1150. It was not until 1590 that the first English paper mill was founded, at Dartford.

The Chinese physician Hua T'o, born sometime between 140 and 150 A.D., was the first doctor known to perform surgery under general anaesthetic. The potion used to render his patients unconscious was a mixture of hemp and strong wine called ma fei san.

Fingerprinting was used in China as early as 700 A.D. (who knew it would one day be an essential component to adopting from China!)

Cheng Ho, court eunuch and great admiral of the Ming Dynasty, led Chinese fleets on seven voyages of conquest and diplomacy, between 1405 and 1433. As a result of Cheng Ho's voyages, which ranged as far as West Africa, 36 countries sent tribute to China. However, in 1433, the eunuchs' opponents gained the upper hand in a power struggle in the Chinese court, and the fleets stopped, shipyards were dismantled, and outbound shipping was forbidden. Had these voyages continued, it is possible that the Chinese would have "discovered" America before Columbus.

Some nineteenth-century Chinese warlords had an interesting way of fighting their battles. The rivals would meet in a tent and have an elaborate tea ceremony, during which each leader would drop hints at to the size of his army, the size and firepower of his weapons, and his chances of victory. Then the two would balance accounts, with one usually admitting that, because his enemy was stronger and deserved the victory, that he himself would accept the role of loser and pay reparations. The two armies then went their separate ways without loss of life. (Hmmmm, perhaps modern politicians should take a cue from the past).

You can read other tidbits at this website.