Journey to Our Chinese Princess

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

When Love Takes You In

I am so excited I found a website where I can link the video. "When Love Takes You In" by Steven Curtis Chapman. Stephen is a contemporary Christian singer, who is very active with international adoption, particularly Chinese adoption. His family has adopted 2 or 3 girls from China, in addition to 3 or 4 biological children he already has. His song, "I Will Be Here" was the song we used for our 1st dance at our wedding reception. Isn't it funny, we started our lives together with one of his songs and now we are starting a new journey to become a family of 3 with another one of his songs.

Finally, we received Kevin's birth certificate, which had the state seal attached to it. The state of MI calls it authenticated opr apostilled ; this will be one of the documents that will go into our dossier & be sent to China. I was planning to work on a couple things: a letter to one of the state courts for 2 certified copies of Kevin's divorce decree, my autobiography, & the actual autobiography. We went out for pizza & then ran to Jewel for a couple things. Of course, the one we went to was out of the main things I wanted which were a BOGO (Buy One Get One FREE), so we went to another one and of course they only had one of the items. Come on, it's a BOGO you need to have 2; well I ended up getting a raincheck, but that wasted a good part of the evening. Then I got home & soon after received a call from my mother, who I had not talked to all week & had tried to call on my way home from the train after work. So here it is nearly 10:15 and I didn't get a darn thing accomplished, other than to add the video to my blog and update it with my latest entry. Luckily, it will be a long weekend, Saturday - Tuesday, so hopefully, I can get some stuff done and let's hear it for Friday, which is payday! But then that also means a new set of bills need to be paid.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I've kind of neglected our blog this week, but I stayed at my brothers Sunday night since we were to be at the funeral home earlier than planned and it would have been almost impossible to get from home downtown & then to my parents over to my brothers & then on to the funeral home. Since my brother lived the closest, I just stayed over night and thank goodness, my SIL is about my size, so I borrowed some clothes. Then also this week, I've been dealing with an ingrown toe nail. I went to my family doctor, who in turn referred me to a podiatrist. They removed part of the nail yesterday, so I should be starting to feel better soon. Actually, it is not bad compared to how it was when I had a bad ingrown toenail back in the 80s.

On the paperchase front, on June 14th, we got 2 copies of Kevin's birth certificates from MI. Geez, it took them over 2 weeks and that is with paying $10 for RUSH service in Vital Recordsa office! Who knows how long it would take if I didn't pay a rush fee. It's crazy that I got my IL birth certificate in less than 1/2 an hour and it cost over half what the MI ones did! I requested one other one that is going to have the great state seal applied to it. That will be the one that ends up going to China. On the website for getting the birth certificate, it says it takes 3 to 4 more weeks to get this done after it is received in theVital Records Office, so who knows when we will get the thing. We really need to start moving on this. This whole adoption process is a long enough process without me dragging my butt and procrastinating. I gues it's just kind of scary and the cost is scary also. But right now, once we are DTC (Dossier to China), the wait is then about 12 months to get a referral which is when you are given a couple pictures of your child along with information about her. After the getting the referral, it may take as long as 2 months until one travels.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A small part done

On Friday, I ran over on my lunch hour to the Bureau of Vital Statistic and not only requested mt birth certificates, I received them too! According to the instructions, you could pay by check, but once I was there the clerk told me no, you need cash or you can pay by credit card at this one machine they have set up. But there was a service charge for using a credit card of course, so I thought forget that the ATM is only in the next building, so I went to get cash. By the time I returned, the clerk had my birth certificates, so I paid for them and went on my merry way to eat lunch. The whole process took only about 10 minutes give or take. I expected a long line and to be waiting quite awhile. The only line that I encountered was for the ATM and that probably was because the other ATM was not working, so there was only one instead of 2.

Today, when we got home from some morning errands and meeting my brother and sister-in-law for breakfast, in the mail was our certified copies of our marriage certificate. I mailed it on Thursday and here it is Saturday and we already have them. Why can't everything be done as quickly. Now, we are still waiting for Kevin's birth certificates. Now at least, we know the check from that have cleared, but MI isn't that far, so it shouldn't be taking this long, but I guess we should start preparing for long waits. Too bad , Kevin wasn't born here in IL, we'd probably have it already. I even ordered Kevin's birth certificate a week and a half before and put a rush on it since I had heard Michigan is slow and since I had to request 2 certain types and the one which has what they call the state seal can 2-4 weeks longer than the othe more basic certified birth certificate. Well, I guess this is good practice waiting since most of the other paperwork & especially the referral has long & unknown length of waiting.

Going to go help Kevin with something in the yard and then make dinner (chicken drumsticks and then watch some Survivor 7 that I have from Netflix. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. Church in the morning and then we have to drive an hour or so to the wake and then before we know it it will be time for bed since we have work on Monday. I'll probably go in for a little bit, since I have to go to my parents anyhow, since I would like to go to the funeral. Kevin will most likely have to work, but since he has only met them once I believe that is understandable. Which reminds me I better check the train schedule for getting from the city to my parents on Monday.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Great Shock & Sorrow

I just found out my 15 year old cousin was found dead by his father! This is just awful and I'm in shock! I can't imagine what the parents are going through! Though not a parent YET, I can't imagine anything worse than that. Every parent expects that their children will outlive them! Needless to say, the post I planned to put here tonight will have to wait for another time.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Cleared Check!

I just checked our bank website and the checks I sent for Kevin's birth certificates, have cleared as of Monday. So Yeah!! I ordered them expedited, but the one then goes to geta state seal. I sent 2 separate requests, so I expect the ones that are just being certified will come back first. We'll see how long they all take though!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Why China?

When I told you I am in the process of adopting a child from China, did you notice I was a little delirious with joy? Did my eyes shine brighter? Did my step seem lighter?

Did it raise questions in your mind? Those questions are natural.

For example, you might wonder why we and 20,000 other US families per yearwould travel to China and other countries to adopt a child. After all,aren't there kids here in the US who need a home?

The good news is some families have success stories of domestic adoption.The bad news is for every success story there are too many horror stories.The US public system of foster care and adoption often resembles a trainwreck that traps many kids and traumatizes them just when they need loving care the most.

The US Dept. of Health & Human Services reports around 550,000 kids are inthe foster care system, average age 10.6 years, and about 126,000 await adoption. Kids are placed in foster care when they are abused or the parentsare unable or judged unfit to care for them. Substance abuse is a factor in75% of cases according to HHS.

Abusive and frequently addicted parents are given "one more last chance"again and again, with the child torn to and fro in their very own nightmare.In a few cases they are abused in the foster home intended to protect them.Legal decisions to terminate parental rights and place the child foradoption come only after a long and torturous struggle. By then theunfortunate child is likely to have serious behavioral problems of theirown.

Like most who seek adoption, we just want children, and we aren't preparedto bring difficulties into our family.

What about private adoption of a newborn from a willing birth mother? Thatworks for some but has its own challenges. Because we are older, our wait would be uncertain and could be, well, forever. Couples must compete for thebirth mother to select them and pay as much as $30,000 or more.

Furthermore, state laws treat children a bit like property, protecting therights of biological parents at the expense of adoptive parents and the child. The birth mother can reverse her decision to give up the child, andlong after the adoption a birth father can surface to claim parental rights in a legal battle he just might win. We've all seen high profile cases on TVwith families torn apart.

While the US systems tend to discourage adoption, things are different inChina. Population control measures and cultural practices fill Chinese orphanages with infants, mostly girls, birth parents unknown. The Chineseadoption system works very well for their citizens and foreigners alike. The entire process spans just over a year, has a clean record without thecorruption in some other countries and the children are healthy and well cared for in the orphanages. Adoption procedures are well established and expenses compare favorably to other countries. The adoption is legallycomplete and irrevocable during our two weeks in China; the chance of birthparent challenge is virtually zero. Finally, it doesn't hurt that Chinese children are beautiful.

As part of a China adoption we must obtain BCIS (INS) approval to bring aforeign adopted child into the country. Many others who preceded us reportthat during their China adoption our own BCIS gave them the same shabbytreatment and poor service they give to immigrants. By contrast, theofficials they dealt with in China treated them with efficiency and courtesyand respect at every juncture.

What is wrong with this picture? Our US system discourages adoption whileother "less developed" countries break down barriers and streamline theprocess. Is there any wonder so many travel to other countries to adopt

Some believe adoption is "easier" than childbirth, and that genetics makeyou love a biological child differently than an adopted child. They arewrong on both counts. Just like pregnancy, the adoption process has its'very own emotional roller coaster ride into and out of the clouds, so pleaseunderstand if I am a little tense as I wait. And I promise you, just as thousands have discovered before me, I will love my child more than my ownlife. "Adoption" will not define her, it will merely be the way she joined the family. As one friend puts it "Some of my children are adopted, but Iforget which ones."

I am thankful for all the families who have and will adopt from China.Nevertheless, I wish we would break down the barriers in our own country.

My hope is that some day our foster care train wreck and imperfect laws will be cleaned up so families who want a child and children who need a home have a better chance of finding one another, right here in the US. Until that happens, a growing number of American families will reach across national boundaries to adopt because they don't want problems, they just want a child.

It is natural to wonder why we would adopt from China, and we wanted to help you understand. While I am waiting for my turn to travel to China I might be a little crazy with nerves on edge. When I return I will be crazy in love with my child.

Copied with the writer's permission.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Back to work

Well my week of vacation is officially over. It was good to have time off, but I did not get done nearly the things I had hoped to. I was incredibly lazy. I guess that's good sometimes and I even needed it, but still I wish I got more done. I did plant flowers in the garden; my first try since buying the house, so we'll see how they do. Kev had to work all week, so nothing too much was done during the week. Friday night, we were going to go see the movie, RV, but after we ate at Sweet Tomatoes and got to the mall, we decided we really did not want to wait over an hour more for the movie, so we just watched "Over The Hedge". It was cute, but not quite worth the $15 it cost; at least we had just eaten a big meal so we did not want popcorn or soda. Saturday, we headed over to the Milk Days parade in Harvard, went to church on Sunday, and then I watched Brother Bear that I got from Netflix, while Kevin watched his DVD of M*A*S*H. Then it was back to work today. I really didn't sleep that well, probably because I was afraid I would not be able to get up, so darn early. At least, it was a beautiful night for sleeping, with the temps going down to the mid-50's. I had a extremely productive day at work getting a bunch of tasks completed, but it already feels like I was not gone all week. Except for the fact that I did feel more rested and happier. Better get too bed; it's later than it should be for someone who has to be up before 5:30. Let's hope for another productive day, as well as a Starbuck's-free day.