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!