Friday, August 31, 2007

Missing Trixie

On a lighter note...

We may be missing out on seeing our Island Boy's early development, but the "good" news is that we are also missing out on a *@&$load of diaper changes. There's always a silver lining, right?

Let's come up with a few other things we are missing out on that can be considered "positives"!

How about not having to purchase all of those items that are needed for the first six months but never again?

How about not having to work off the baby weight gain? (ok, that has nothing to do with when our little guy comes home, but it's still nice!)

How about no need to find a sitter for "date night" with my husband (yet)!?

Any others anyone can come up with??

Thursday, August 30, 2007

WSJ Article on International Adoption

There is an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal today about the growing complexity of international adoption. With new rules and longer wait times, parents face all kinds of new challenges in planning their lives and dealing with stress. (Ok, this isn't really news to us, right?)

The good news is that many employers are offering some sweet benefits to help parents through the difficulties. If your employer isn't already on the bandwagon, perhaps you could drop a copy of the article off at your HR department. :-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ice Ice Baby

We said goodbye to hubby's dearly beloved ice machine yesterday. Over the past six weeks we've been running it many times each day and it's become part of our daily lives. We were told by hubby's surgeon, his surgeon's assistants and more than a few perfect strangers(!) that icing often is the best thing we could do to speed recovery. So, we've been icing as often as possible, and it is with great sadness that we had to return the high-tech ice machine. We still need to ice, but our current "device" is not nearly as elegant, nor as effective. The high-tech machine wasn't the most beautiful thing to look at, but it worked well and it delivered high-pressure icy coldness to the parts that needed it. It will be missed.

The crutches, on the other hand, we can't wait to get rid of. They will not be missed, and not simply because they are still with us.


Did you see it? Did you see it?

We did! It was cool!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

News or No News: Which is Better?

We're waiting with a very similar time line as another family. We received our referrals within days of each other and entered the Taiwan court system within days of each other.

While we haven't hear a peep out of Taiwan, our friends received news that a hearing date has been set for their case. It is great to know that their case is being considered, but we would all prefer that it be happening much more quickly. Meanwhile, we have no idea about the status of our case and that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't being considered. It simply means we must continue to be patient and trust that things will all work out eventually.

So which is better: news or no news? Neither. The only news that is truly meaningful is news that a decree has been reached and a travel date set. That will be news!

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Global Education

Most people learn a lot during the adoption process and I am no exception. For example, I learned not only that someone from New Zealand is reading my blog(!), but also that there are people who must wait three or four years for their children!! I cannot imagine how hard it must be for those families to plan their lives around that time line, but I do know that for all of us, eventually, it will all be worth it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Different Kinds of Waiting

There is some debate or curiosity at least about which is harder for adopting families: the wait before referral or the wait after referral.

Of course, the wait isn't the same across the board within any given country let alone between countries. Different countries have different policies and procedures resulting in drastically different time lines and experiences.

Those adopting from China, for example, are currently being quoted wait times of approximately two and a half years(!) from the time their paperwork is completed until the time they will receive their referrals. While that may seem like an extraordinary amount of time, the good news is that these families must only wait a few weeks from the time they first receive news and photos of their child until they can travel to pick them up.

While other countries have shorter wait times from paperwork completion to referral (I don't think any country has longer wait times than China!), as far as I know there are no other countries that have as long a wait AFTER referral than Taiwan. With Kazakhstan, for example, once a referral is received, families typically travel within a month or so to see their babies and their babies can come home, in most cases, within three months of referral (of course the families may spend seven weeks or more in country before coming home but that's a whole 'nother topic).

The point is that it makes no sense to me at all that babies that have been matched with families shouldn't be united with those families ASAP. *sigh* If only logic ruled the court systems of the world...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Picture This Response

We've received four sets of pictures (three official, one unofficial) of our Island Boy since our referral in early May. Although the first two sets of pictures created a great sense of joy in us, the more recent photos have not produced the same feelings.

Instead, looking at the pictures made me realize how much bigger he is getting in an orphanage instead of with us. That just can't be right for anyone.

So there you have it, update photos make me angry. From my very small and statistically insignificant sampling of waiting parents, this seems like a common reaction, but I never would have guessed it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Go Bears!

Although I haven't been posting about gifts to our little guy along the way, we love every single one of them. Each one is so thoughtful and so appreciated and so individual. This particular one arrived just a few days ago and lifted our spirits a bit. It is hand made by an actual person we know! It is adorable down to every detail including the little bear claw buttons. Lest the colors be unfortunately confused with that other school, the button detail and clarifying "C" on the back should confirm that this is indeed a Cal sweater. We can't wait for football season! Go Bears!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Timeline Reset?

Yes, I know the ticker above says 15 days until we might travel. Shyeahright! That little ticker was originally set up to reflect the "four months from referral" average time we had been quoted by our agency. When our agency updated their estimate (or rather our understanding of it) to "four months from the time the case is logged into the courts" I didn't bother to reset the ticker - still hopeful as I was that we would get lucky and beat the average time somehow.

I am stubborn (this is not news to those that know me best), so I don't intend to update the ticker until we get a real travel date. It will be interesting to see how close to our original expectations our news might be.

For a review of the court process with a bit more detail than previously posted, you can take a look here. Of course, the bottom line is that each case is different and each judge is different, so as always, the process and the time line for any particular case "just depends".

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Things That Keep Us Going

There aren't many things that can make you feel better when you've suffered a loss, so we're very thankful for every call, each message of concern, each expression of love, each comment from people we've never met, and every memory those that were touched by the lives of our dogs have shared. Even our vet sent flowers to our home along with a card letting us know how Shasta touched his life. One sweet friend sent us a book called Doggie Heaven. While it's meant for children, it was nice for us to read.

If Shasta is in Doggie Heaven, I'm sure she insisted on going in through the Angel's Gate rather than through the doggie door. She always was more Princess than dog and behaved accordingly.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Life Goes On

It's always very strange when you lose someone close to you. The world just doesn't feel quite right without them in it. We've been so fortunate to have such amazing dogs. They were with us for a long time, yet it wasn't nearly long enough. Now that they're gone, the house feels empty. We are now free to be completely spontaneous. We could decide to run off to Vegas for the weekend, for example, without concern for finding a sitter or getting back in time to feed the girls.

On Friday, as we wondered what to do with ourselves, we decided to do just that and off to Vegas we went. We're not big gamblers, but Vegas now has a lot more than gambling to be enjoyed including good food, great shopping and beautiful pools for relaxing. It was exactly what we needed. That and a call from Taiwan, but Vegas was the only one of those things we had any say at all in.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rainbow Bridge

You know, some people treat their dogs as if they were children. For us, we've always treated our dogs not quite as children, but still, as a wonderful and important part of our family. However, when you've had more than your share of heartache trying to grow your family, they do start to fill that void in your heart that you've reserved for your children. The trouble is that, unlike children, you know that they won't outlive you. You know that some day you will have to say goodbye, but it always seems to come before we expect it -- before we're ready. It's a part of life. I guess we're never ready.

Shasta, you've been a great friend and a treasured part of our family. We love you very much. Find Winnie at the Rainbow Bridge, take care of her, and tell her that we love and miss her very much. Goodbye.

Shasta 1995-2007

Four months after her sister Winnie left us, Shasta passed away in our arms this afternoon after being diagnosed with liver cancer just 2 months ago. She was a beautiful, intelligent dog that always carried herself with grace and elegance. She was sweet and gentle, and of course, always did things her way. We loved her very much and miss her already.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Update sans Update

So we got a little update last week. This one was kind of fun in that it included little teasers about our baby's personality. Apparently, he is a very good baby. While we are pleased to know that, we would be more pleased to know that he will be home soon.

Another waiting family received some exciting news last week. They have a hearing date! While that news doesn't have any direct bearing on us, it does help to know that things in Taiwan are moving for someone. On the other hand, not all cases have hearings, so I'm not sure if having a hearing means the process will go faster or slower for them. A few families that have had hearings have moved through the courts very quickly, so I don't think any significance can be read into it other than that they know their case is moving and there is certainly a lot to be said about that. Yet another family had a hearing on 5/31/07, received their first decree on June 26 and final decree on July 6. You may wonder, as I am currently, when they actually picked up their baby. I'd love to tell you, but I am honestly too wiped out to recall which family I was writing about this evening. It will come to me or someone will remind me and I will update this post to reflect the relevant data. In the meantime, my apologies to the lucky family I am referring to (I say lucky as they are now at home enjoying their beautiful little baby).

Just to review the process: a judge may or may not call for a hearing. If a hearing is set, a ruling will usually follow within 2-6 weeks and a first decree will be issued. A minimum of 10 days must pass after the first decree before a second decree may be issued. What happens between the first and second decree other than time passing? I have no idea whatsoever. In any case, we may or may not receive any news between today and the time we receive our second (and final) decree. Once we have news of a decree in our case (either the first or the final - you never know what information you will get until you get it), we will also learn when we can bring him home.

The State Department website still says ten months from first contact with your agency until you bring your child home from Taiwan. If only!

Monday, August 06, 2007


How cool is this? An organization focused strictly on attachment parenting that is not specific to adoption. I am learning all kinds of new things. I had no idea that attachment parenting was an issue in the broader world of parenthood, but I am glad to hear it. I don't know anything about this organization, but find it interesting that it exists.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

We are nearly speechless after last weekend's baby shower and "after party". Picture this: we walked in to one of the most beautiful hotels in Los Angeles, strolled through gardens so secluded and peaceful you would never know you were in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world, then arrived in a private room with crystal chandeliers, two private patios, hand painted screens and filled with close friends and family all dressed as beautifully as the hotel itself. On the table set with fine china were centerpieces filled with so many roses, tulips, hydrangeas and orchids that you couldn't see the top half of the vases. As guests arrived, many were accompanied by personal butlers from the hotel staff carrying their packages for them. Seriously!!

It was so much fun to catch up, introduce friends to friends and to family and sip the most delicious iced tea I've ever had. When we sat down, we were served sweet strawberries and cream followed by tasty little sandwiches and tiny little pastries, along with our personal pots of tea, complete with cozies. Does this just sound like the perfect girlie afternoon or what?? It was. It really was.

The cards were so thoughtful and full of love - I wanted to savor each one. I will be rereading those a number of times between now and the time our little guy comes home and probably for years after that as well.

As if that weren't enough...after this simply unforgettable afternoon tea, we headed to Orange County (yes, the Real OC) for a wonderful "after party" at the home of some very thoughtful friends. There we spent the evening celebrating with more friends, including the guys as well as the doggies and even some kids. The place was overflowing with food and drink including tacos hot off the grill, fresh margaritas, hot churros and CAKE. It was so nice of our friends to recognize the expectant dad needs a chance to celebrate too!

Oh yes, and the presents...they were all so perfect. I simply cannot begin to describe how generous and thoughtful these friends and family of ours are, nor can I come close to conveying just how lucky we feel to have these people in our lives, but I hope that somehow they already know. We can't wait to bring our little guy home.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Here in California, we all do our part to keep the air clean by getting our cars smogged (i.e. tested for appropriate smog levels) every couple of years or so. Since we had nothing else going on over the past few months (kidding!!), of course hubby's car came due for getting smogged. Wouldn't you know it, but on Tuesday while my unoccupied car was busy getting hit by another unoccupied car, hubby's car was busy getting smogged. I have never known someone whose car did not pass the smog test, but guess what?? As he pulled in to the smog test station, the "check engine" light came on. How about that timing, eh? Let's just say one cannot pass a smog test when one's engine computer desires service. Thanks to Tuesday's failed test, Wednesday meant his car had an all day visit to the dealer and we all know how convenient that is. Tuesday evening we were assured everything had been fixed, but Wednesday brought another "check engine" warning and another visit to the dealer, then another trip to the smog station only to be advised we need to come back after driving 100 miles, then a trip to AAA to get a permit for driving until we can drive 100 miles and after 100 miles we get to go back to the smog place yet again and AAA yet again. Goody.

Oh, and did I mention that I received a message from the insurance company of the rolling van saying that there was a "coverage issue"? Honestly, what kind of luck do you have to have to get your unoccupied car hit by an unoccupied, uninsured 1990 van?

Before I sign off of this post, and lest you think it's all bad in our lives, it's not. It's really not. But sometimes, just for a bit, it might seem that way.