Saturday, December 30, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Today is Acer's second birthday!  We hope to have him home before his next one. 

Monday, December 18, 2006

My husband

There are many reasons I love my husband, and why I'm proud of him. Recently he showed me in a big way, what a wonderful guy he is.
I've been in contact with 2 women who have actually been to Jingdezhen SWI and seen Acer and his foster mother. They both describe him as blind. When I told Bill what they were saying and the fact that this might cancel out our hope that he would be a coke bottle glasses kid, he accepted it no problem. When I asked if it made any difference, and if he still wanted to go forward with the adoption, he didn't hesitate at all, he just said, 'Sweetie, you don't function well without your glasses either'
So now we make plans for leader dogs instead of coke bottle glasses. I can't wait to get him to the opthamologist & let him tell me what's really wrong, and if there's any vision at all.
The blessing is that we're in an area where there are a lot of resources for blind people.
I know some people would ask why we're going ahead with the adoption with the change in visual status (unofficially). I guess it's like when you have a Bio child, if they turn out to be blind, you don't stop loving the child, you just deal with the new issue as it comes up.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Another 'Co-incidence?'

We believe that God is guiding us through this process, first in actually 'finding' Acer and in being able to request his info. I mean the fact that the number for the little girl we were looking at at first, pulled up the picture of Acer. The fact that despite his obvious cuteness, no one even looked at his folio.
So what is our latest 'Co-incidence?' The fact that for no real reason I decided to joined a Jingdezhen adoption chat group last week. The fact that the group has decided to get an agency to help them sponsor children and the agency just gave them a list of 20 children on the 12th. The fact that one of those children was ACER (and I was able to recognize him despite 6 months growth).
Acer'd already been chosen to be sponsored, but the lady in charge thinks there will be no problem switching.
Bill'll be posting the updated picture soon.
note from 1/11/06
The Chinese Gov't doesn't like you to post pictures until after the adoption is finalized so we've removed our older pictures and won't be posting the new ones

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yeah, yippee, wahoo, the bloodwork came in!

We finally got new bloodwork for Acer and all the numbers look good. All rates are well within normal ranges. We'd asked for his bloodwork update way back at the end of August and it finally arrived today. I was worried because his 6 months bloodwork he had low hemoglobin and platelet counts and now we know everything's normal. Extra reassuring that all is well with our little one.

Timing is everything

We've recently heard that the regulations regarding standards for adopting a child from China are going to change May 1, 2007. These changes won't affect us for Acer's adoption because we already have our paperwork in. It won't affect anyone who has their paperwork in before then, but boy will it affect those coming after. China is able to tighten up their standards because there are currently 2 applications for every child, so they can afford to be pickier.
When Bill and I originally talked about children, early in our marriage, we had decided to try to have bio children until I was 40 and then if no luck, we'd adopt. It's really a good thing we didn't wait, I turn 40 on July 5th, 2007. We would have been under the new stricter requirements, and I'm not sure we would make the new financial new worth part.
Another big change coming up in the adoption world will be USA's joining the Hague convention on adoption practices. Some agencies will be unable to complete adoptions if they don't get accredited, some countries will be unacceptable to adopt from and some new countries will open up. That doesn't directly affect us right now, but if we want a second child and can't go back to China, it might.
So, we're really glad we started when we did, and found Acer and we'll just have to wait and see what the future holds for all of us.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Are you ready for parenthood by Dear Abby

These are great questions, I wish more thought went into more pregnancies.


(1) Can you support the child financially? Children are expensive. I always urge people to complete their education and delay parenthood until they are self-supporting, in case they should find themselves in the role of sole provider.

(2) Can you support the child emotionally? Babies are cute, but they are also completely helpless and emotionally needy. While some young women say they want a baby so they'll have someone to love them, the reality is it's the parent's responsibility to love and sacrifice for the child. In plain English, this means the end of a normal teenage social life because babies are extremely time-consuming.

(3) Are you prepared to be a consistent parent? Children learn by example -- both good and bad. Are you prepared to be a role model for the behaviors you want your child to mimic? Because mimic they do. They learn more from what they observe than what they're told.

(4) Have you read up on child development? Are your expectations of what a child should be able to accomplish as he or she reaches various chronological milestones realistic? Ditto for your partner, whether or not he or she is the child's biological parent.

(5) Are you prepared to put someone else's needs before your own for the next 18 to 21 years? Remember, babies can't be returned to the manufacturer for a refund if you're not 100 percent satisfied. Sometimes they come with serious challenges. Can you cope with those realities?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

An excellent letter about what to expect from an adopted child

Below is a letter from Amy Eldridge, from Love Without Boundaries, addressing the recent adoption disruptions and parental preparedness. If you are reading this, think about posting it on your site - a waiting parent who reads your blog may benefit from it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~
I have been so saddened by this situation. I most definitely wish there was a way to educate ALL adoptive parents about the truths of institutional care, however I have come to realize in my daily work that there are just as many parents who are not online reading everything they can find on adoption and there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parents out there who have no idea what life is like for a child in an orphanage, and who head overseas to pick up their "China doll" only to be handed a baby who is unresponsive, thin, unable to eat... and on and on and on.

While adopting my son last month, I walked several times over to the White Swan to talk to parents, and over and over I spoke with moms and dads who had no clue whatsoever about the issues their kids were having. I heard so many times things like, "she won't eat solid foods" (oral aversion), "she has no muscle tone" (muscle atrophy from lying in a crib all day), "she won't smile" (pure grieving from being taken from her foster mom). I guess since I live China 24/7, I assume everyone adopting does, too, which is not the case.

I talked to at least a dozen parents who didn't even know their child's orphanage name, and while I gently said "you might want to memorize that for your child's sake", at the same time I was trying to process how many parents get all the way to China without ever reading about post-institutional issues. It was sobering to me.

Babies in the NSN (non special needs) as well as the SN (special needs) path can have issues with attachment, motor skills, emotional issues and more. I think all of us on the WCC (Waiting Children China) list acknowledge that, while also acknowledging that all children (whether bio or not) can have these same issues. Living in an orphanage of course increases the odds.

I think the easy out is to say that agencies have to do more, as well as social workers, but I do think that most of them do try to give information to the parents but often parents don't want to hear it or else think it won't happen to them. Again, I am often surprised to talk to parents leaving soon and to realize they are not prepared. One family was adopting from our foster care program, and when I told them that the child was DEEPLY attached to the mom, the father said, "guess she might cry for an hour or so then?" An hour or so? She had been in foster care for over a year! I tried to explain that this little girl was about
ready to lose everything she had ever known, and that they should not expect her to be sunny, happy, and full of personality after an hour. I told them to please remember the 72 hour rule.......that after 72 hours they would probably see her spark, but that she would probably grieve for a long time after that as well.

I think for many adoptive parents, they just don't want to read the "bad stuff", and so I do think that ultimately it is the parents who are at fault for not doing more to educate themselves. There certainly are books galore out there about post-institutional issues. I equate this to when I was pregnant with my kids and I would read "What to Expect When Expecting", and I would get to the C-section part and always skip it. Each and every time I would jump to the next chapter as "that wasn't
going to happen to me". Well, on my fifth baby, when they were rushing me in for an emergency C section, I sure was wishing I had read that section earlier! But at that point in the OR, while they were strapping my hands down to the table, it was too late, and so I felt complete panic when I could have been prepared. I think adoption from China is very similar to giving is much more rosy to only read the happy stories on APC, but I now encourage every family I meet to read the harder ones as well, because if you are the family who is handed a child that is limp and listless and who looks autistic, what you
have learned in the past will help you make the right decision for your family during those very emotional first few days.

I have been called many times in the last few years by parents in China worried about their children. I agree that having a support network to help you through the initial time is essential. Everyone should go to China with at least one phone number of someone they can call if they are panicked upon meeting their new child. I remember feeling so alone when I was handed my daughter and she was so tiny and limp. Because our foundation often helps with the kids who have been disrupted, I am aware that sometimes there are children who have much more serious issues than originally reported... and that is such a hard thing for a parent to get to China and then discover their child is truly autistic or has serious mental delays.

I think everyone on both the China and international side would agree that it is absolutely wrong of an orphanage to not be honest in their reports, and no one would excuse that, but I also know without a doubt that the majority of kids who are disrupted are just suffering from institutional issues and would catch up quickly in a loving home. It is always a very sad day for the orphanage and everyone involved when a child that they know is absolutely fine, but perhaps thin and grieving, is returned by their new parents for being "delayed".

I think far too many people believe their child's life is going to begin the moment they meet them. The truth is, and everyone must realize it...
a child's life is going on RIGHT NOW in China, and all of their experiences are shaping who they are.

The vast majority of aunties that I have met in China are such kind and caring people, but it absolutely is not the same as having a mom and dad at your beck and call. I have had new parents call and say "we didn't think living in an orphanage
would affect her at all", and those statements truly puzzle me. How could they not contemplate life in an orphanage?

Walk through Babies R Us and you will see every gadget known to man to make our children's lives here as ideal as possible. Now Americans have two way video monitors, so that when baby awakens not only can mommy see when to immediately rush in and comfort him, but she can talk to baby so that he doesn't even have one single second where he feels alone. How
many new parents would have a newborn and then put that baby in a crib 22 hours a day on their own? How many would only feed their baby, even if they were really crying hard, every 8 hours? Or prop the bottle in her crib and then not watch to see if she ever really ate?

Of course no one would do that...we feed newborns on demand, comfort on demand, love continuously. .. and whether people want to recognize it or not, that is NOT the life of an orphan in an institution. ...even when the aunties are as good as gold. I remember one night when I took some volunteers in for the night shift in an orphanage, when normally just a few aunties are working. One mom looked at me with tears in her eyes as she slowly realized that it was absolutely impossible with just two hands to feed every child, to comfort every child, to soothe every baby who was crying. She said her heart was aching to realize that her own daughter most likely had many, many times where she cried without someone to comfort her.....and she told me that for the first time she finally understood why her daughter had such a deep seated fear of
being out of her mom's sight.

The aunties are trying their absolute best, but that doesn't equal mother/child care. I remember being in an orphanage in the north this past winter and the aunties were so proud of how they had 6-8 layers of clothes and blankets on every baby to keep them warm. They were swaddled so tight that they couldn't move, but it was freezing in the orphanage and so the aunties wanted the babies to stay as warm as possible. What alternative did they have? It really was freezing there..I was cold
in my wool coat, so the babies couldn't be up and about with just 1-2 layers on, with the ability to move their arms and legs. To stay warm they had to be immobile, and so of course all of those kids have weak muscle tone. But the aunties were truly trying their best, and when a parent is given one of those beautiful children on adoption day, I am sure they will go back to their room with concern and say "she can't sit up by herself..she can't put weight on her legs". That is absolutely the truth, but she also survived 10 degree weather in a very cold province and she will catch up soon enough with parents to encourage her.

To not acknowledge that living in orphanage circumstances can cause lower body weights, low muscle tone, inability to make good eye contact is very sad to me. Can it be overcome? Most definitely! The one thing I have learned over and over again about the kids in China is that they are fighters and survivors. But for some reason, people seem to want to ignore these issues in public forums.

Recently, one of our medical babies that we had met several times in person was adopted, and we all knew that this child was
a "spitfire". When the family arrived and spent a few days with her, they decided she was too much of a handful for them and they wanted to disrupt. She absolutely was not what they expected. When they called their agency, they were told they had two choices: adopt the child, bring her to the US, and change their expectations of what they were hoping for, or adopt the child, bring her to the US and the agency would have a family waiting at the airport to adopt her locally. Option three of leaving the child in China was never once given. I admire that agency so much, as they were thinking of the child and the child alone. The family followed through with the adoption and handed the little girl to a new family upon her arrival in the US. As horrible and tragic and emotional as it was for everyone involved...I still feel this was the right decision for the agency to make. It was done in the absolute best interest of the child, who had waited a long, long time for a family.

I wish more agencies would advocate for the rights of the child, instead of always seeming to give in to the parents, especially in those cases when they know with absolute certainty that nothing is permanently wrong with the
child. Recently with another disruption, the agency I spoke with told me that it was "easier" to just get the family a new baby.

Sometimes easier does not equal right. The first baby who was rejected has now been labeled "mentally challenged" even though the agency knew the child was really going to be okay.

I think all of us, who do realize that delays occur and that babies can usually overcome them, should be these children's advocates by continually trying to educate new parents on what to expect in China. By helping them be better prepared, we just might help stop a disruption in the future. I love Chinese adoption with my whole heart, and it is my life's work... but I also want every family who goes to get their baby to go with their eyes open and to be as emotionally prepared as possible, for the child's sake.

Amy Eldridge, Love Without Boundaries

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Time, Time, Time

I pray that our travel approval comes quickly, I want to be approved and get Acer home Reality is that the China Center of Adoption Affairs is swamped with many more applications than they have children's information. I do know they're at least looking at our information, otherwise they wouldn't have asked for more, but based on what I'll paste below, my thoughts of having Acer home by Easter may just not happen. It might, but our dossier was submitted to the CCAA on 10/18/2006

Length of waiting process: Once dossier is submitted to the CCAA, on average, it can take 4 to 6
months for CCAA to issue Travel Approval (TA). Once TA is issued, CHI can start making
your travel plans.

Travel Information: Upon receiving your Travel Approval (TA) your schedule will be coordinated
with other Waiting Children Families and/or with the NSN Referral Families waiting to travel. You may
be traveling to your child's Province without other CHI families, but a CHI Coordinator will accompany
you during the whole process. You will travel approximately 4-6 weeks after receiving your TA.

Nothing Happening Here

Well, this has been a 2 week period when we've not had a single piece of paperwork to submit, re-do, or create. I'm not quite sure what to do with myself.

Aaah, I know I have to find a sturdy box to pack away my china tea cups and stuff that are currently on a wall shelf hanging above Acer's bed. Exciting I know. Maybe I could try to fit them in the regular cupboard, that would involve re-arranging a lot of dishes, also high on the excitement factor. Woo Woo, feel my joy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Log in Date Finally!

We were pleased to find that our LID is 11/14! A little tiny bit sooner than I'd expected. Here is the notice we got on our CHI chat group.

Congratulations to the 27 CHI families whose dossiers left our St.
Louis office on 10/5/06 (DTC), our Beijing office submitted your
dossiers to the CCAA on 10/18/06 and the CCAA logged your dossiers in
on 11/14/06.

Yeah Us!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yet more paperwork

Yesterday I received a call from two of the agency staff, they explained that the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) had requested that I write a letter explaining my being a birth mother to an adopted baby. While I felt this was a good thing, because it meant they were already looking at our paperwork, it was frustrating because it's a slow down and I thought this was well addressed in our home study and application. Here's the letter I came up with. I hope this works!

To the China Center of Adoption Affairs
Thank you for reviewing our request to adopt JSC from Jindezhen, Jiangxi Province. As part of this review I was asked to explain about the child I gave up for adoption, what happened and my thought process; what is our current relationship; and whether the child will come back in the future.
In the summer of 1998, when I discovered I was pregnant, I was shocked, I didn't think I could get pregnant at all. I was not married, not in a relationship with a man with whom I wanted to be married, not in a financially rewarding job and not going to have an abortion. As a parent your first responsibility is to do what is best for the child. What was best for my child was to be raised in a stable, secure 2 parent family, as I wasn't able to provide that, I went looking for a couple who were.
I contacted a lifelong friend who had relatives, whom I'd met, who had lost several babies to miscarriages and asked him to ask them if they were interested in adopting, in an open adoption. This couple had been married for 17 years by this point, and had the stability and security I was looking for, for my baby. They were actually in the process of adopting a girl from China at this point, and decided to adopt both children so their children would have siblings.
The adoptive family and I have kept in touch and we meet yearly at the wife's father's home for a weekend visit. They are a warm, close, loving family and have made both myself and my husband Bill welcome during the visits. I have watched my son grow and mature in their care, turning into an intelligent, funny child. He also has a good relationship with his sister, with little sibling rivalry.
I have left the timing of telling him he is adopted up to the adoptive parents, as well as the fact that I am his biological mother. Right now, he just knows me as someone he meets at his grandparents once a year, a friend of the family.
During the adoption process I signed away my right to sue for custody but I kept my right to sue for visitation. I feel it would be very harmful to him to be taken from his family, but I never want to be totally excluded from his life. If as a teenager or adult he wanted to come for a visit to get to know me and my family better, we would welcome him, but his true family is the one who raised him from the day he was born, not the one who gave birth to him.
The decision I made, to give up my son for adoption was the hardest decision I ever made, but it is a decision I am totally at peace with. I would never try to wrest him from his adoptive family and undo all the good I achieved by placing him with a loving stable family. My son will always be a part of my life, always loved by me, but he won't come back to me, to our household, he will stay with his family because that is what is best for him.
Thank you again for considering our application to adopt Jing Shen Chao.
Heather Annis Bowman-Tomlinson

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I just visited a very good sight dealing with what I believe will be part of Acer's vision problems. The site seems to day that surgery will be part of the cure and that therapy will be another part, which is extremely logical. It warned that some surgeons will think that surgery is the best option and will ignore therapy options. So I will continure to study on this and go armed to our appointments with knowledge.


For the past 2.5 months, I've had a bookmark on my web browser. The bookmark to Acer's 6 month old pictures and brief medical description, the page where we fell in love with this small boy. I've watched as the description under his picture went from 'being reviewed' to PLACED, as the descriptions under the other children in the batch underwent the same process ahead of his description.

From a group of 35 waiting children, with varying problems, Acer was one of the few left. No one even looked at his file before we did. I have to wonder why. There were children with far more severe or disfiguring problems than his, he has a wonderful cute chubby face, why did no one look? I sincerely believe he was meant for us, he was protected for us, that's why no one else looked.

Today I clicked back to the bookmark to look at those baby pictures and the page is gone. They're bringing in another batch of waiting children, with special needs like Acer, and so Acer's page is gone, cleaned away to make room for the new children.

I'm happy he's found a home and doesn't need to be on the waiting children site anymore, but sad because those were the only baby pictures we may ever have for him and I don't have a copy.

Note,(1/15) I found that the SN Co-ordinator had actually sent us those pictures, I've gotten some from people who've actually seen him and am up to 12 pictures of him now! Album here we come!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Maybe Acer won't go back to the orphanage

I was re-visiting the site about Acer's SWI (State welfare agency) when I came across the following line.

In the summer of 2004, one family found out that there are a few infants and toddlers living in the SWI. Each child's situation is different. Some babies have multiple foster parents, some have only one. Some come to the orphanage 2 or 3 weeks early and some stay with their foster parents up until the day they travel to Nanchang. There is no firm set plan for all children.

It gave me hope, that He'll be allowed to stay with his family. For a guy with limited vision I can't help but feel it would be better for him to stay in familiar surroundings.

You can visit this site via the links on the right of the page

Friday, November 03, 2006

Link to visit, very powerful

I just visited this link and read the article. Wow, very well written and it brings up things you just don't think of and explains them to you in a way you can understand.

It's called perspective

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dossier Copy Finally arrives back home!

Our Dossier copy was in the mail tonite when I got home. Yeah! We'll need this when we go over to pick up Acer. What was interesting to us were the front couple pages where the agency had put our pictures into a collage-esque effect. They chose to put the picture of our Chinese language class barbecue at our house on the front page. I think they liked the fact that we had a mix of obviously Asian with obviously not Asian. I'll have to email our friends from class Mark & Kristin, who are waiting for their referral, and let them know they're part of our dossier.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Acer back in the orphanage?

I just found out from another mother to be (out of the same waiting child batch and the same province as Acer) that she heard they will take Acer (and her Hannah) away from the foster families they've been with and put them in the orphanage before we come get them. She says it's so they bond better with us, but I hate to think of the little guy pulled out of his foster family and put into a situation where they don't really know him. No sad little guys! He'll be all confused and lonely for so long until we get there.

Letter of Intent

We received a postcard yesterday that stated our letter of intent had been sent to China 10/27!
Yeah! One more step down the road to Acer!

Commenting is okay

If you read something that resonates with you, that really makes you think, or smile or mutter, please let us know. Just click on the comment button and let us know that you're actually reading what we're typing.
Don't forget to read from the bottom up if you want to read this in chronological order!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Adoption and Bonding letter (written by someone else)

Wow, does this say a lot. I've adapted it to refer to a boy for obvious reasons, (used with permission).

Dear Family and Friends,

As we get ready to embark on the most exciting event in our lives, we are thinking a lot about the people around us and how much our lives are going to change. Family has always been important to us. We are so fortunate to have such loving, involved family and friends. We appreciate the support and excitement that you have all shown to us as we have made this journey. We're thrilled about bringing our new child home! We've done a lot of reading, research and asked a lot of other adoptive parents about this process and we feel prepared to help our baby become a well-adapted member of our family.
There are some things about adoptive parenting that are the same as parenting a biological child. There are also quite a few areas that we have learned are different. Through our adoption agency, books, other adoptive parents, adoption social workers, psychologists and more, we have learned that our baby needs a specific type of environment and parenting when he first comes home in order to feel safe and secure and to learn how to live successfully in our family.
While we know that every child is different, we also understand that there are many possible things that will impact our child's beliefs and behavior when he gets home. These include how much nurturing our child received, if there was abuse or neglect, the amount and quality of food received, illnesses, the quality of care and our child's unique temperament and personality. The result of these things can include behavioral issues, emotional disorders and a sense of grief and loss from being separated from the only home and caregivers our little one has ever known.
Adoption is a traumatic and scary event for any age child whether they are newborn or 10 years old. They're being removed from all of their routines and familiar surroundings. Even babies will feel grief and sadness at an event like this. In order to help our child feel safe and learn that we are his parents, we are creating the type of environment that will help promote security during this stressful time.
When our child gets home, at the recommendation of experienced adoption professionals, we need to implement specific parenting approaches to help encourage a strong, attached, emotionally healthy family member. Our child needs to learn that we're the parents. He needs to feel nurtured and safe.
Here are some things we will be doing for our child based on research and experience with other adopted children. We'll be living a very quiet life with limited trips out and few visitors in for a little while. Social workers and psychologists tell us that when children are first adopted, they may be overwhelmed, scared, and nervous. By keeping our lives very boring at first, we'll be helping our child feel safe. This does NOT mean that we do not want visitors coming to see our little one for the first time. We will just have to limit it a little so it is not overwhelming.
We know you'll all want to hug, kiss and help spoil our new toddler, but it is recommended that we be the only ones to do that at first to improve his chances of attaching strongly to us. Until we feel our child has attached and clearly knows we are his parents, we will need to feed, change and take care of him. I know that missing out on some diaper changes will disappoint many of you. Have no fear, there will be many more once he becomes comfortable at home.
As strange as it may seem, adopted children who act very outgoing and affectionate with strangers is not a healthy thing. It is called "indiscriminate affection" and can mean that they haven't really attached to anyone. It would not be a good sign that our child has attached to us if during his first months home he will let just anyone take him and hold him without searching for his mom or dad.
For sure it is going to be a weird and wonderful experience for us. We are so excited and can't wait to bring our toddler home so you can all see him and get to know him. Things are just a little different when you are adopting a child rather than having a biological child. He will be adapting to a lot of new things . . . new parents, new family, new home, new foods, new time zone (totally opposite what he's used to). That's a lot to swallow at one time.
We appreciate your understanding in reading this. We've giving you all this letter so that you will understand how dedicated and committed we are to helping our new child adjust and adapt during this stressful time in his life. We feel confident that everything will smooth out quickly and we will be on a more normal schedule.


Heather and Bill

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

And now we wait

Our last paperwork is at the agency, to be sent to China soon. Small Urchin ETA 2-5 months.
Waiting is not easy, they do all the paperwork by hand and are very thorough. It's good they're thorough on everybody else's paperwork, but don't they know that they should rush ours? That we, because we are getting this wonderful little boy, should be pushed to the front of the list?
Oh well, reality sets in and I realize that all our paperwork has gone slowly, so Instead of a Christmas Child, I should hope for a Valentine's day child. Or I should still be nervous and hope they don't deny our request. Did I really fill out all those forms correctly?

Friday, October 20, 2006

On time

Just so that it's on the record, Bill knows I am a time spazz, I hate to be late and I hate things to be late. I've learned to tell him ahead of time when I want something or someone, somewhere on time. This has saved us many disagreeable moments as I used to time spazz without telling Bill what time I felt things should be happening. This would confuse the heck out of Bill because he would have no idea why I was suddnely so tense and running around like the proverbial chicken. So, Bill knows I run on a different time schedule than he does. Hence my last post of "Errgh' I was time spazzing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Our last piece of paperwork is still sitting on the table. I realize that we had a few days when we weren't home long enough to actually write it out and send it, but It should have gone out yesterday. It only needs one sentence on a second piece of paper and then it can go out. My beloved husband has left it now for 2 mornings! I'm going to remain calm, but every day matters, and 2 days is just goofy.


I realize that the best parenting plan by the best parent in the world will go out the window the very first time the parent actually gets to hold their newest child. What may work perfectly with one child will go horribly wrong with the next child. Oh well, all I personally can do is to try, try, try, and try again to be a good parent.

Ramblings on being a parent Part 3

The main issue I see and have seen through 20 years of retail experience, is that parents don't pay enough careful attention to their children. Parents of children with behavior problems AKA Brats seem to pay more attention to things, how the child is dressed, what the child wants to buy, and less to the important things in life, like is the children running like a maniac through a dangerous area. Parents like those seem to think that the store staff are baby sitters, there for their own convenience.
All of life should be a learning experience. The children should be kept nearby and allowed to ask questions of the sales staff to help learn, not allowed to run lose and break things or body parts.
I can't think that this behavior only happens at stores, I have to believe that behavior like this happens at restaurants. Except the running would be on furniture and through the restaurant, where people seem to think running is both okay and safe, a place it is definitely neither.

Ramblings on being a parent Part 2

Parenting is tough, and I certainly don't think I'll be the perfect parent. I don't think anybody can be the perfect parent. All you can do is to be consistent and love them and hope that whatever parenting plan you personally came up with doesn't screw things up too badly.
I don't believe that grown children should blame their parents for all the problems they have. Let's face it, if you have a problem and you can figure out why you have the problem, then after you figure that out it is your choice whether or not you continue that behavior. If you continue to do the problematic behavior, you have chosen to do so of your own volition, not because your parents made you that way. The problem is now yours.
If you're a parent of a young child with behavior problems and you have figure out what behavior patterns you have that feed into the mis-behavior, you now have a choice. You can continue to feed into the problem or you can adjust your responses to get appropriate small child behavior.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dossier to China date

Our Dossier was officially sent to China 10/05/06. Now it goes to be translated, and then will be 'Logged in' at some date in the future.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ramblings on being a parent Part 1

Oddly enough, people always want to reassure you that you'll be a good parent. I worry about being a good parent. I figure it's the people who assume they're going to be good parents or don't even think about the fact that they should be good parents who aren't.
Things I think parents should realize
1) They're parents, not friends. Children need parents far more than they need friends. Parents aren't there to win popularity contests, they are there to do what's best for the child. That said, there's nothing stopping someone from having fun and playing with their kids.
2) Kids learn all the time, mostly through what you say and do. Talking to and listening to children is very important. A huge percentage of a person's adult daily vocabulary has been heard by the time a child turns 3. Don't skimp on those syllables and don't skimp on the listening. Don't just let them play, but listen to what they tell you about the play. I've noticed with parents, the better you listen to your children, the better they listen to you.
3) Discipline is good, if children don't get an appropriate amount of discipline at home, they go looking for it. Ever notice the dynamics of a gang, there are very rigid social patterns for discipline and respect that must be followed or there are repercussions. Most of the kids in gangs weren't getting appropriate discipline at home, so they found it on their own.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Always remember

Always remember, when reading these blog posts, they start from the bottom.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hopefully, the last paperwork

I've spent all morning writing, hopefully the last bit of paperwork. We received our pre-approval packet from the agency. No not for a mortgage, but for Acer. We have 2 sheets to fill out, with a plan for the child advantages of nurturing and adoptive expectation. I write or type it out & then Bill fills out the form because he has neater handwriting.
If Acer is still in China when he's 2 we'll be able to send over a photo album with pictures, a small beanie baby type toy and a disposable camera for his foster family to use to take pictures of themselves and their house for Acer to keep.
I was hoping that since the dossier was filled out, that was it for paperwork, but it seems not to be. At least now we have a time frame, somewhere between 2 and 5 months. Yeah Us!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Not positive putting pictures on blog is okay

We don't know if it's okay to put the pictures up on the blog or not, but there they are. If any one asks, you have't seen a thing.
Note, We decided to take them down because we found out it was NOT okay. I guess the Chinese government does not like pictures shared until the process is final.

More Pictures

Photo Removed per CCAA guidelines

Pictures, pictures, pictures

Photo Removed per CCAA guidelines

Although, with the Elmo doll, we may need to make sure that we get it without batteries. :)
This and the next are the most recent pictures that we have of Chao (Acer). We hope we are not making trouble, but if so, we will be removing these in the next few days.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Now that we've made our decision, I'm just nervous. Odd. I keep wondering how it will all work out. Oh well, I think we can just keep praying.

The decision

Today we told the waiting child co-ordinator to put 'Placed' under Chao picture. It's a scary decision as we still don't have the bloodwork.
She's sending a pre-approval form for us to fill out. Sounds like something for a mortgage. I know Bill will be thrilled. More paperwork to fill out.
We've gotten this far so I guess it's okay for me to post pictures here now.
Dern, the pictures won't load. I'll have to ask Bill about it later
Send up lots of prayers that this is our little guy! Our James Acer Chao Bowman-Tomlinson

Monday, October 02, 2006

Paperwork nightmare

I know Heather has been putting up all kinds of information for a while now, but I have to say that this process is horribly broken. Just the paperwork, and the amount of "data" that the agencies need is insane.

And the best part of the process is the paperwork. Let's see, when there is 1 item that they don't tell you about, the whole process has to be basically started over. I was just working on the financial form, and have filled it out over and over, just to try and get the information that they wanted on it. I was at the point of calling and just having the SW fill it out, have her ask me the questions, and then fax it to me to sign. It might have saved a few of my brain cells.

Well, that's enough of a rant for now. The paperwork is "done" and now we wait.

Dossier to China (DTC) ready

Finally, our financial forms have met criteria different than the criteria we were originally told. It took us 4 tries and much intra-couple discussion, but we did it.
This Thursday our paperwork (dossier) will be officially sent to China. If we don't get the young Chao, it will be approximately 12-14 months from now before we get matched with a young child.
I'm really hoping that we actually do get the little guy, sending up lots of thoughts to the big guy, prayers that we do the right thing. Still waiting for the bloodwork. Not sure what's taking so long. ARRRRGGHHHH!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The process, the paperwork hunt

Paperwork accumulation is the key to this process. And not just any paperwork will do, a regular birth certificate isn't good enough, it has to be one from the state. I didn't even know there were state birth certificates. Medical forms, financial forms, references there was a whole list of paperwork to be accumulated. I think the paperwork pile ended up an inch thick!
After it was accumulated, it had to be notarized. After it was notarized, it had to be taken to the special Secretary of State office for 'The Great Seal'. After the Secretary of State gave it 'The Great Seal' it had to be sent to the Chinese consulate to be Authenticated. After it was authenticated it was sent to our agency to be sent to China.
So we get the paperwork, the the notary says that, yes indeed we did sign it, the State says the notary's seal was okay, the Consulate says the state's seal was okay and hopefully the people over in China will say that everything written and accumulated is okay and we'll be able to come home with a child.
We've divvied up responsibilities on this, I find the paperwork, make sure it's complete and write a dummy copy, then Bill re-writes it legibly. Bill is also in charge of receiving faxes, copying and mailing stuff out. Partnership at its finest.

Filling out one piece of paperwork again, again, and yet again.

This world of confusing paperwork.
First we fill out financial forms with the instructions that they have to match the information in the dossier and send them in. This actually involved re-type setting the form off the web page as that form wouldn't print properly.
Then the queen of dossier paperwork says we didn't fill it out correctly. So we have to get a copy faxed to us, it comes out crooked and blurry, we fill it out, scan it in, and think we're set.
Nope, the paperwork queen then emails us specific instructions and re-faxes us a hopefully clearer copy. We have to put soomething either a NA or a '0' in each and every line NO blanks allowed.
I know it could be worse, it's just annoying because I had conversations with people about this form before we sent it in the first time.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Boy, if nothing else, this paperwork gathering and all the events around the paperwork really show me that I need to be more exact about every stage of this process.
I thought the lady in charge of the waiting children knew that we were REALLY REALLY interested in Chao. I guess not. Whilst we were in Toronto, Thursday the 14th, for our Anniversary celebration, she called my cell and left a message. I didn't get the message until Tuesday the 19th. She was asking if we were still interested in Chao as the Beijing office wanted to know what to do with the paperwork. On the 18th I emailed her asking if she knew how long it would take to get the bloodwork back. So she emailed back and asked if we were interested.
After sending a resounding YES, we learned that his paperwork had already gone back to Beijing before we had expressed an interest in him. So she's getting the paperwork back from the Beijing office, and we've actually gotten color pictures and an updated personality profile.
His foster family calls him Guang Guang (Bright Bright) and he can see somewhat, but isn't the greatest at walking because of his vision. There was also a statement that an adult usually accompanies him while he walks because he likes to throw things!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dern, we missed some stuff

Yesterday our adoption agent called me at work. We'd forgotten a few items in our dossier. We didn't send some extra pictures, Bill needs some dates for our medical stuff, and I need to outline my operations and their results. Bummer, yet another delay. At least this delay is still before the results have come back on our bloodwork request, so I don't actually think it'll slow us down in the long run. I had just been pretty happy thinking our paperwork was done. Oh well

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Still waiting

Yesterday was Mum's 70th Birthday, she didn't want to go out to dinner, she wanted us to go to a dinner at her church with her instead. There was a gentleman there speaking on his experiences as a Messianic Jew. A very interesting message in a warm and welcoming church.
While we were there we discovered there were two people whose family members were leaving this week to go get their daughters in China. One proud grandmother pulled out her copy of the baby pictures, while a sister was disappointed she'd left her copies at home on the fridge and couldn't show us anything.
And so we wait, not as long as some of these families have waited and will wait in the future, taking a special needs child helps speed up the process so I really shouldn't complain ...but I'm not sure how long it will take to get the results back from China. I am definitely not tremendously patient. I want those results NOW. however, I don't have much choice in the matter, and so I continue to wait.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Finally the dossier gets sent

Yesterday Bill sent in the dossier. It only took us 7 months to assemble all the pieces. Unfortunately Bill didn't realize that when I wrote copy I really meant copy and so we're going to have to have the agency copy it for us, for a fee of course, but at least it's do able.
I'd also emailed our rep at the agency earlier about taking glass I'd made myself as presents to the various people we're supposed to give presents to. There's quite some protocol involved, and they suggest items to take. Honestly though, how many cross pens sets does one person need? So the rep saw the link and said she thought it was a good idea, which is nice, as it gives me an excuse to blow glass. Not that I really need one.
Still waiting impatiently for our new bloodwork

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Realistic or Rose colored glasses?

I talked with my friend Mindy yesterday. She'd had her boss, who is Chinese, and married to a Dr. take a look at Chao's medical records. She said everything looked okay, that they said he was intelligent, but that he had eye problems (which we knew). I guess she has a special needs son, and so she was nicely trying to discourage us from Chao with his special needs.
I guess we're pretty hopeful about Chao's needs, like they won't be as bad as they could be. We do have to prepare for the worst, like blindness in the future possibly, but hope for the best, like exercises will cure it. I think we will have to be realistic about it, I think we are realistic about it, but who knows.


Throughout this whole process, people I know, family, friends and even customers have been extremely, incredibly, supportive. Some have wondered why we didn't go domestic, or why China in particular, but all have been supportive.
My mum and brother are there for me, whatever I do, and always have been, but Bill's family is newer to me. I wasn't quite sure how they would all react, I don't have all their dynamics pinpointed yet. They've been wonderful too, even the Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. My sister in law Kerry and I have had innumerable conversations about the whole process, always positive, even when we switched from the idea of bringing in a Calliandra to bringing in Acer. Kerry likes the idea of having another girl in amongst the children, but is happy with the thought of Acer too. I've promised her that when (if) we go back for Calliandra, she can accompany me to China.
I don't know how far along we would have gotten if I didn't have the encouragement of people asking me, 'How's the adoption coming'. Nothing spurs you on like daily inquiries, you feel stupid saying, 'oh nothing yet' after a while.
Just about everybody I know has some connection to adoption, a neighbor, a friend, a sister. It should be more common though, it should be everybody has a relative or friend. There are just so many little ones in need.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The process, the next step

After we received word that CHI had accepted our application, I had to find a local Michigan agency to do our local homestudy. Again I asked my customer and went with her agency Child and Parent Services. We had 4 sessions, one of which was the initial phone call, when our social worker called to set up our first meeting and asked a few questions on the phone.
We then had 2 meetings in her office and one meeting at the house. The meeting at the house was the most stressful. Even though we had been told that they really don't look for dust and stuff, I spazzed the day before and asked my friend Becky to come over and dust while we cleaned. She being a good friend came over and spent the morning dusting for us, I forget what we fed her for lunch, but it was a bargain for the amount of piece of mind it gave me.
So then we got our homestudy, it was okay, but there were odd mistakes,I don't know if she took bad notes or what. We got the big stuff corrected, and hope the little stuff doesn't trip us up.
Okay so they tripped us up with the immigration paperwork already, and had to file an amendment, but I mean trip us up again

The process, back to the beginning

After we had decided to adopt from China, we had to pick out an agency to go through. There are so many out there, I spent hours looking through websites. I was attracted to Children's hope International because it was based in St Louis, where I had spent 4 wonderful years, Christian and Big. They do 10-20% of the Chinese children adoptions for the whole country in a year. They do more Chinese adoptions in a year than many agencies have done total. So then I asked one of my regular customers at work what agency she went through to adopt her lovely daughter Mia. She said she went through CHI and that she felt the most important part was how well the agency took care of you while you were in China. CHI has actual staff, not just agents, who work in China for them. They should be able to take care of us just fine over there. I have had mixed results with communicating with them over here, some people are very good and some seem to ignore my emails. Oh well.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Black & White photos arrive

We received our clearer copies of the black and white photos. It seems that his left eye, the one with the blotch, is his dominant vision eye and that his right eye is pretty cross eyed. I'm actually hoping that that cross eye is really his vision problem, that the abnormal retinal development is just orphanage speak for we don't really know what's wrong. I know 4 people with amblyopia 2 have had surgery and 2 have done exercises, the exercise seem to have taken better than the surgery as far as correcting it and keeping it corrected. So it looks like it'll be physical therapy time in the future.
We're getting pretty attached to the pictures of this little guy, I just hope his blood work comes back okay, actually I'm starting to care less and less whether his blood work is okay or not.
Oddly enough, he doesn't seem to have any hair. I read about a little girl who grew hair pretty rapidly after she was adopted. I can only hope his case will be the same. Bill's considering buying a hair trimmer kit for his own hair. It looks like it'll be a while before we'd need to use it on the little guy.
His legs seem pretty short, our sister in law Kerry says it's probably just normal little kid proportions. I just never noticed little kids have short legs, odd.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Wow, I was pretty shocked today when I went to our agency's waiting child webpage. I usually go there at least once a day anyway, but have been going more frequently since we got our packet on Chao. It seems that we expressed an interest just in time because all the children, there were about 8, who were not either placed or under review are GONE. I'd forgotten that the agency just had these photos for 3 months to try to place the special needs kids before they went somewhere else, maybe another agency. We just asked for his paperwork on Monday, we could have missed him.
I wonder when the blood results are going to get here and when the hard copies of the black and white photos are coming in the mail. I'm feeling pretty solidly happy about this being our little guy, but there's the nagging thought about the blood work. I'm just not sure if I can go into knowing there are two major problems ahead of us, not just one. Oh well, can only keep praying.

How did we get to the decision in the first place

Late summer of 2005, we decided to see why Bill was sterile and what could be done about it. I'm not really sure we ever found out a true 'why' only that for the price of an operation with no guarantee of success, we could adopt an already living one.
We had a lot to consider, not only if we wanted to adopt or to go to a sperm bank, but also even if we wanted a child. I mean our life is relatively comfortable and we could be happy just being Auntie Heather and Uncle Bill, so were we sure we even wanted a child. So we decided we did want a child and that we wanted to adopt.
Then we had to decide, did we want domestic or international adoption. Our thought process was that even tho' there are many many children in the Foster care system, they still have it better than the kids not in this country. Now I know that people disagree with that, and they feel called to adopt kids from our country, but Bill and I didn't feel called that way at all.
Once we'd decided on international adoption we had to decide on what country to adopt from. We did a lot of both internet and soul searching. We decided to adopt from China for several reasons, frankly one reason was price. There can be a more than $25k difference between China's costs versus other countries' costs. That's a lot of money to us. Then we learned more about the political situation over there and the way they dump girls or boys with obvious defects. The National Geographic special 'China's lost girls" still makes us sniffle and we've seen it many times now. So we ended up deciding on China, where so many girls are abandoned because they aren't boys and boys are abandoned because they aren't perfect. I've watched a lot of CCTV (China central television) and we've taken a basic Chinese language and culture class.
While I had leaning a little more towards adopting a boy, because I feel my parenting skills would lead me to be a better mom to a boy than a girl, we started planning on a girl simply because there are more available. (Calliandra may still be in our future, who knows).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Way back, the first news

I think it's funny that Bill started this Blog, and then stopped after our first bit of news and didn't even write anything about that. Maybe it was because I wasn't hugely enthusiastic about the idea of blogging. You certainly can't tell that from the number of posts I've done lately. But back to the day we heard our first big news, January 17th 2006.

We'd mailed off our application for adoption to our local chapter of our agency, in Chicago. Bill Had sent it certified mail so that we could track it, but I still wasn't prepared for a phone call at work. I didn't even think the letter had arrived there yet, and here Mary House from Children's Hope was calling me at EG. I was so stunned, and excited, I guess I was a little more worried about their accepting our initial application than I realized. So, I made it thru the phone call as she explained what my next steps should be.

I never thought the news would hit me so hard, I thought it would be something I could take in stride. Instead here I am running through the store to find a shoulder to happily blubber on. I thought Wendy was close, but she'd moved off somewhere out of sight and so I ran into Matt. Fortunately Matt's pretty cool about most things, all he did was tell me to breath, and hand me a tissue and listen to my hyperventilating story.

I had to run thru the store to get something, everyone was concerned, but soon were reassured when they learned it was good news not bad. I calmed down enough to call Bill and he said 'no crying' and I said 'too late'. I told him I was sorry I couldn't tell him first, because I had to calm down. He just said that everybody at work just counted as one person, and at least the was second.

it was an odd day at work, I was so excited, something would set me off and there I'd go, snivelling again. Oh well, the customers seemed to understand at least. Probably they were just relieved I wasn't sniffing because of a cold.

I still have a hard time believing how emotional I became, but it was a good feeling. When I found out I was pregnant with the son I placed into an open adoption, all I felt was a sad bunch of emotions. This was definitely a good feeling.

The welfare agency in charge of JSC

I've discovered a webpage dealing with adoption from the province our potential guy is in and actually from his city. Interesting. He's been fostered with a lady since they day they found him, so he's not actually stayed in the orphanage, but they oversee his care

After the Dr's visit

I feel blessed to have made the connection to the Dr we have. I met her thru work and have known her for a few years as a customer. She's older, actually was a nurse before med school and very enthusiastic. She's already going to talk to an opthamologist she did a rotation with and get us an appointment for Jan. She feels everything is on track with the little guy and the only thing, other than the eyes, she was concerned with was his '05 blood work platelet count was low. So I emailed the agency to see if they have any other news or information available.

Why aren't the pictures better

It seems like I've spent my free time pouring over the paperwork, the English part at least. I've even stared at the Chinese script trying to discern meaning. So far I've ascertained little, only that he had 0 teeth at 6 months and has 10 teeth at 18 months. The pictures are the worst though, I know there's detail there, in that grainy faxed & re faxed & Re faxed picture, maybe if I stare at them long enough they'll magically reveal more detail. oh well

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Deciphering Chinese med speak

Our paperwork finally arrived, along with 2 blurry much copied, much faxed pictures. All we can really tell is that he is sitting, maybe on a bench, and that he is riding a rocking horse. They must have examined his eyes sometime, yet there seems to be no record of it. His height seems normal and his weight high normal, which means his foster mother is feeding him well. All that cod liver oil must do some good, it states right in the records that he gets some every day. Poor kid, my mom forced that stuff on us, bleech. It says he loves to play outside, maybe our dog Lobelia will finally have someone who will play endless games of catch with her outside instead of down the hallway. The rest of the paperwork seems to skim the surface, things like he has 10 teeth at 18 months.
Good things about the Boy
1) His age, He's 20 months old, not a baby. I'm not a huge baby person, I like little ones with personality.
2) He's a boy. We figured that going the Chinese adoption route we'd have to take a girl, but I was nervous about caring for a little girl's up bringing, could I do her hair and make sure her clothes were fashionable, appropriate and flattering and teach her girlie things if she's a girlie girl? With a boy, I know I have the skills.
3) He's available sooner.
4) he's been in a foster home since the day they found him. Very Good developmentally & emotionally - he hasn't had to spend time in the welfare institute fighting for attention and maybe just being forced to sit and do nothing.
5) he probably likes spicy food, it seems the state of Jianxi is noted for spicy or Pickled food. Bill will like that.
The Down Side
1) his age, we'll have missed the first steps, the first words etc.
2) his vision. Thankfully my Dr knows the premier pediatric opthamologist in the area and he's world renown. If anyone can do something for the little guy, she says he can.
3) He's not a girl. We have been prepping for a girl, not much, we just have this really cool rug and a bright rose chenille throw. I feel a little guilty that we may be abandoning a little girl over there. I guess right now I feel that if we get a boy now, we'll go back for the girl later. Of course we'll have to see what next year brings before we make that decision.
and to me these seem like the only problems, but Bill has to go over the paperwork himself & then we'll have to TALK & PRAY.

Monday, August 28, 2006

What to do?

Nervous, I guess, After 7 months of assembling paperwork and getting the correct bits of information here and there, we've decided to express an interest in a 20 month old boy with vision problems. I think he'll be legally blind but he's able to see some stuff. When you adopt, you come to realize that there are some special needs that you personally don't want to deal with. For me, one of those needs is a cleft lip or palate, but I could deal with a near blind child. Of course this means that 'Calliandra" will be on hold and 'Acer' will take her place. We hadn't really counted on being able to adopt a boy from China, so most of our plans were for a girl. There are many good things about this particular boy, but we'll have to see if there are any other health problems. That would be the kicker. I don't think we could handle others stacked on top of the vision. I try to balance between selfish and realistic and hopeful.
Here's hoping

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Beginnings

First, some background. We are a typical couple, house, 2 cars, brothers(only) and sister in law. The one thing that we don't have is children. While some might think this is an ideal situation, we are not of that group, and decided that we wanted to have a child.

The problem is, I have an issue, I am sterile.

According to the Doctor, we have 2 options, I have a $18,000 surgery with a 38% chance of success, or we adopt.

By the title of this blog, you should be able to tell what we chose.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Decisions, Decisions

We made the decision to use Childrens Hope International as our agency. We have heard many good things about this one, and the application fee is only $100. We downloaded and read the application here and were also sent 2 copies in the mail.