Monday, May 28, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened...

Hubby and I happened to be driving by a baby store a few days ago, so I convinced him to stop and take a look around. After we had spent a few minutes looking at cribs with the helpful salesman, he asked us when the baby was due. I answered, "Well, that's difficult to say. We're adopting."

To this, the salesman replied, "Yes, I guessed that."

My first reaction was to be offended. I wondered whether it was because of the way we looked. I was annoyed and my mind raced through a list of possible reasons why this person would guess that we are adopting. It took me a while to get to the obvious, but once I realized that I don't look pregnant, I was glad he guessed that we are adopting!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Before we received our referral, I didn't know how I would feel when I saw his picture for the first time.

Now that we have his picture and know a bit about him, we are convinced that this particular person was meant to be family. Our family. The interesting thing is that every other adoptive family I have spoken to about this topic feels the same way about their children. Whatever it is - whether it's a look or a mannerism or a number or a name or some other very special something - there is a connection for every family and we've found ours.

Before our referral, I wondered how people knew their son or daughter was waiting for them in China or Taiwan or Guatemala or Vietnam or Kazakhstan or any other country. As I looked at various adopted children, I would think that any one of those children could just as easily have been mine. As I watched my friends come home from Kazakhstan and from China with their children, my thinking began to change, but I still didn't think it would happen to me - and surely not at the "seeing his picture for the first time" stage. Yet, here I am knowing that there is no other baby in the world that was meant to be ours, and we are totally in love with him.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Shopping is Hard

Shopping is more of a challenge than I expected it to be. In so many ways.

Let's begin by noting that we're not sure how big our little guy will be by the time we bring him home (not to mention we don't know when we'll be bringing him home), so reading all of the "starter registries" and other "what to buy for a new baby" lists is much more work than it should be. I actually have to screen items for "under six months" and "over six months", although I'm not even sure whether he will be under six months old or not. Then there's always the chance that he will be small enough to qualify for many of the products designed for "under six months" even if he is over six months. So, with that in mind...

I tried to start with the obvious items. Something simple - say, a crib. That should be easy, yes? Hahahahahaha! Ok, safety is obviously the most important thing. Consumer Reports lists no less than twenty-nine safety organizations dealing with baby products on their website. Yikes. The bottom line is that simple is better - any fancy flourishes or hardware can give your baby something to get tangled in. I located a crib online that I thought looked great and sounded great, too. It had clean lines (essential for safety and aesthetically pleasing, as well) and a "bonding bench" attachment, and I'm a sucker for good marketing, so I had to have it. That is, until I saw the price tag. Care to guess? Anyone??

Six. Thousand. Dollars. No, it is not made of gold. No precious or semi-precious stones are attached. It has clean lines and it has a bonding bench and, for that: $6,000. Well, then! Moving on...

Friday, May 18, 2007


Our agency offers classes once a month or so. The most recent class was held this past Saturday and dealt with the issues adoptive parents face in talking about adoption with their children, with family members and with strangers.

The class was interactive and I learned the most amazing thing: that the people in that room, and probably most adoptive parents in general, are some of the most thoughtful, caring people anywhere.

When you think about it, adoptive parents must be, by definition, tolerant and loving people. For those of you that haven't adopted, you may not realize just how rude people can be with regard to adoption. Some people are genuinely curious and caring with their inquiries, while others are just plain nosy. Either way, no matter how offensive the question or comment, you need to remember that your child is within earshot (probably). We talked about how to handle rude questions whether they come from family, friends, or strangers.

For adoptive parents, a simple trip to the grocery store will often turn into an encounter with a Random Rude Person (RRP). As we sat there in class on Saturday and listened to stories from the instructor about her encounters with RRP's, I was touched by the suggestions and responses from the waiting parents (including my husband). As much as we'd all like to lob a snarky remark at every RRP that comes our way, the group instead took the approach that RRP's just don't know any better, and suggested crafting responses to:

1) Educate people about adoption and
2) Teach your child how to deal with people in a compassionate way, no matter how rude they are.

Now, that's Class.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Almost Mother's Day

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how happy I am that we received our referral in time for Mother's Day. It was so nice to be recognized as an almost Mom by my Mom, my husband, his family, and a few friends. I got pampered a little and felt happy to be closer to motherhood than I've ever been.

I can't wait until next year! Happy Belated Mother's Day to all of you almost mom's, mom's and waiting moms.

Monday, May 14, 2007

One Gallon of Love

Well, we did it! We shipped the package off this morning and it will be off to Taiwan sometime later this week (we think).

After much trial and error and a few "blowouts", we were satisfied with the results. Our regulation-sized one-gallon ziplock bag contained:

1 blanket
1 pair of socks
1 beanie hat
3 onesies
3 bibs
1 toy teething ring
1 toy fish with chewy parts
1 toy dog (that rattles and barks)
1 disposable camera
2 photos of Mommy & Daddy (with ribbon to hang from crib)
Lots of love

Weighing in at one pound, fifteen ounces, we determined that this was the optimal mix of items for a first care package to our little treasure. Selecting these particular items was no easy task and, in the end, the decision was only possible once we learned that we could send an additional package (or packages, for that matter) directly to Taiwan. With this sudden freedom, we can now send our little one all of the items we want him to have. We know that he has everything he needs at the basic level, but we want to make sure he has his own things to comfort him, to stimulate him and to delight him while he waits for us to bring him home.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

World Record

We are going for the world's record on how much baby stuff you can stuff into a one-gallon ziplock bag. We've been busy packing and repacking, rolling, stuffing, crunching, and generally rearranging things to see just how much we can send over to our little one. It's amazing just how much you can fit in one of those things! As impressive as it is to see what we are able to fit, it is not quite enough room for all of the things we'd like to fit.

To make matters worse, with the deadline fast approaching, we still have a bit more shopping to do (disposable cameras!!), so we're going to have to be very creative in order to send everything we'd like to send. We're hoping our engineering backgrounds will come in handy. :-)

The trade offs are difficult: is it better to send more clothes or more toys? Does he need another bib or another outfit? This one takes up so much room, but we really like it, but are we better off with more of these??

Stay tuned to see what makes it in to the final care package...

Monday, May 07, 2007


Our little one is healthy and normal and we are pleased and proud to know that he has scored very well on all the little baby tests that they run on them at this stage of development in Taiwan.

It is interesting to note that in Taiwan, they apparently run a lot more tests on infants at this age than we do here in the US. While that can be a good thing if you learn that all of the test results are normal, it can certainly be a bad thing if they aren't, especially if you are prone to worry (and aren't all mothers prone to worry when their baby's health is in question?). For example, in the US, physicians wait until the babies are older before they administer certain hearing tests, believing that babies should not yet be expected to perform consistently and well on these tests since they have not yet developed enough to do so. So, if a test in Taiwan suggests that your baby has a hearing issue, try to remain calm and remember it may not be an issue by US standards.

We've also been warned that we shouldn't be surprised if he gets the sniffles over the next few months nor should we be surprised if, as a result of his getting the sniffles, he is given a brain echo. What?! I'm not entirely sure what a brain echo is, but I think it is something akin to an MRI and, to my American way of thinking, it seems a bit of an aggressive diagnostic tool for a case of the sniffles.

In any case, it sounds like he will receive excellent care while he waits to come home. Still, we hope he stays healthy enough so that he doesn't even get a case of the sniffles.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Referral Day arrived a little later than we had originally planned and hoped, or a lot later, depending on how you count.

When we first started this whole process, adoptions from Taiwan were happening MUCH more quickly than they are now. Way back in early 2006, if you got your paperwork in, you could expect to get your referral in 2-3 months(!) and you could plan to travel 3-5 months after that. That was potentially less than nine months from start to finish. Yikes!!

By the time we got our paperwork in back in October, the expected wait time to referral had extended to 5-6 months, with an emphasis on six months. For those of you adept at advanced math, you can see that our referral wait time was a little over six months. Adoption time line math is always a little fuzzy since it's not always clear when you're officially on the wait list, but six plus months is in the ball park.

We feel fortunate. Those that are entering the pipeline now are being told they might wait as much as a year to receive their referral. That sounds long to us, but not to those considering China where wait times are now close to 2.5 years!

Referral Day

Referral Day has arrived! Even though we've been told a dozen times what to expect on referral day, nothing quite prepares you for seeing a picture of your son for the first time, reading through his medical records, learning about the circumstances surrounding his birth and realizing that he will, if all goes well, be yours. We were, to be honest, in a bit of a shocked state.

The day started out as I'm sure many will - we had planned to be in meetings and working from dawn until dusk. Our plans changed completely. Instead, we started the day by taking my dear husband to the doctor to find out he would need to have surgery on his knee AND on his ankle. As if that wasn't bad enough news, the injuries are, of course, on opposite sides, so the surgeries need to be staggered so that he can get around while he heals from each of the surgeries.

We rushed out of the doctor's office to visit our agency and arrived on time, but Fedex did not. The agency did a wonderful job of putting together our referral package (pictures, medical records and documents for us to sign) without the Fedex package we were all waiting on and Fedex showed up just as we were heading out the door, so it all worked out and we arrived back at home just in time for hubbie to make it to his lunch meeting.

We did manage to relax long enough and late enough to have a very nice dinner celebration.

What a day!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Call

The message on the machine was innocuous enough: "Call me. I have a bit of an update for you.".

We were pretty sure that meant we didn't make it into this batch of referrals and that the "good " news would be that we would be near the top of the list when the next batch came in. We called the agency back, but they were gone for the day and we figured we were out of luck for the evening. Imagine our surprise when the phone rang and we learned that our referral is here!!! Our baby boy, should we choose to accept him, is normal and healthy and, we're told, cuuuute! We won't see the photos until tomorrow - a day when my dear husband had already packed his schedule far beyond capacity, but sometimes you just have to make priority changes even on days when you thought it wasn't possible.

Tomorrow morning, we will see photos, medical records, and we're not sure what else. And then the next wait begins. Oh, and the shopping!!