Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Pony Tails Are Back!

We received an update from the orphanage today:
Chun Tian’s update photo was taken on Feb. 24, 2010
Updated measurements:
Head circumference:49cm
Chest circumference5 2cm 
Teeth number:20
Foot length:16cm
"Today, see if you can stretch your heart and expand your love so that it touches not only those to whom you can give it easily, but also to those who need it so much." Daphne Rose Kingman

Monday, March 29, 2010

How Do You Define:

Natural Child? 
Any child who is not artificial. 
Real Parent? 

Any parent who is not imaginary. 

Your Own Child? 

Any child who is 
not someone else's child.

Adopted Child?

A natural child, with a real parent, 
who is all my own.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Born in Our Hearts

Not flesh of my flesh, 

Nor bone of my bone, 

Yet still miraculously my own. 

Never forget for even a minute, 

You didn't grown under my heart,

     You grew in it.

8 Differences In Culture

Used with permission and written by: Dr. Jane Liedtke, CEO and Founder:
Our Chinese Daughters Foundation, 
please visit at

Are There Really Cultural Differences between China and the West?
Yes, there are 8 differences in culture, maybe more. 

These 8 create much of the problems that foreigners encounter when living and working in China. Below is an explanation. The word “we” means “we in Westernized countries” such as Canada, US, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, and New Zealand. “They” means Chinese persons. This is not meant to be an “us” versus “them” discussion. Rather, it is designed to point out key differences in behavior and thinking that impact East-West relationships.
First is trust, we expect people to earn trust by proving themselves to be trustworthy. Chinese automatically expect to trust you and expect you to trust them. Then you lose trust when you do something wrong in their eyes (when you lose face or cause them to lose face).
Second is respect, we expect people to earn respect by proving themselves worthy of our respect. Chinese automatically expect respect and automatically give respect based on seniority systems.  You lose their respect when you do something wrong in their eyes(when you lose face or cause them to lose face). 
In the case of trust and respect we give people the chance to make up for their wrong doings and therefore we give them a chance to regain our trust or respect. Chances in China are lost when you lose face or cause a Chinese person to lose face.
Third is motivation - we are motivated by the satisfaction of doing a good job and achievement. To Chinese achievement is reaching a high position and the motivation is money. The quality or quantity of one’s work is not the measure of their worth, it is only position and money that create status in modern China.
Fourth is friendship - we form friendships from mutual interests and experiences and do not consider everyone we meet or are acquainted with as friends. We would never expect someone we meet to do things for us in the same way we would our closest and dearest friends. Chinese people consider everyone they know or ever meet as friends and therefore expect to rely on them in the same way as we would expect only our closest and dearest friends. 
Fifth is independence/dependence. We raise our children to be independent of us and believe we have been successful if they can go off into the world and be good citizens and community-minded people - taking care of themselves and giving back to the community at large. Chinese raise their children to be dependent on other people, to rely on family and connections to get what they need and consider themselves successful as parents if their children stay close at hand, take care of them, and give them what they as parents need/want. 
Sixth is direct/indirect. We are to the point and direct with people about what we need/want/desire/feedback. Chinese are indirect and will avoid being direct at all costs. Direct conversation, if negative feedback, is perceived to be criticism and a loss of face rather than being what it is, an opportunity to learn or for that matter, just direct information. 
Seventh is risk taking. We encourage our children and ourselves to take risks (calculated ones, but nonetheless risks). We want and encourage our children to try new things and to explore. If we make a mistake we say "it's ok - what did you learn from it?" and life goes on. We expect to make mistakes and learn from them. Chinese avoid taking risks and will not do anything that involves risk-taking behavior. They fear taking risks and fear the loss of face when making a mistake. They instill a great fear of failure and therefore many people never try and never succeed. They will not try new things, not change, not do anything that might require something new. They will watch others to see if they failed and if they did, they will not try to do that particular thing.
Eight is responsibility/accountability. We know that we must be responsible and accountable for our actions. If we do wrong we will be held accountable and we don’t expect others to “get us off” or use “connections” to make up for our failures. Chinese will not take responsibility for their actions if the result if negative. If positive results were achieved, they will take credit. However, when something goes wrong, it will be someone else’s fault, someone else will be held accountable but at all costs it will not be them. They will use whatever connections and family relationships they can to cover up or conceal their involvement and place blame on others rather than take responsibility for their actions.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Letter Of Approval has arrived ! Day 74!

Hopefully we will have our Travel Approval in 2 months, and then it's off to China we go!

"What makes the difference between wishing and realizing our wishes? Lots of things, and it may take months or years for a wish to come true, but it's far more likely to happen when you care so much about a wish that you'll do all you can to make it happen."   ~ Fred Rogers

Here it is!
Official Letter Of Approval!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Glimpse Of Almond Eyes

As the moon begins to rise
I catch a glimpse of almond eyes
Staring back from outer space
The moon reflects your loving face.
My heart begins to yearn for you
A love down deep that grows so true
I see the moon throughout the night
My dreams of you are taking flight.
So when you look upon the moon
Please know that we will be there soon
I pray reflected in its light
Will be our love for you this night.
The moon must now complete its course
Let’s not regret and show remorse
It soon will rise and start anew
Reflecting love meant just for you.
Tom Fisher

Monday, March 08, 2010

Positive Adoption Language

The way we talk, and the words we choose, say a lot about what we think and value. When we use positive adoption language, we say that adoption is a way to build a family just as birth is. Both are important but one is not more important than the other.

Choose the following positive adoption language instead of the negative talk that helps perpetuate the myth that adoption is second best. By using positive adoption language, you'll reflect the true nature of adoption, free of innuendo.

When describing family relationships:

Use terms such as:
  • "Birth parent," "birth mother," and "birth father" to describe the man and woman who conceived and gave birth to the child. All of us have birth parents. However, not all of us live in their custody.
  • "Parent," "mother," "father," "mommy," "daddy," and "child" to describe the members of the adoptive family. It is not necessary to say "adopted child" or "adoptive parent" unless the situation specifically centers on adoption.

Avoid terms such as:
  • "Real parent," "real mother," "real father," and "real family" -- these terms imply that adoptive relationships are artificial and temporary.
  • "Natural parent," "natural child," and "one of your own" -- these terms imply that because they are not blood-related, the relationships in an adoptive family are not as strong or lasting as relationships by birth.

When describing the adoption process:

Use terms such as:
  • "Make an adoption plan" or "choose adoption" -- these terms acknowledge that the birth parents were responsible and in control of their decision.
  • "Parent her child" -- when a birth parent decides not to choose adoption.
Avoid terms such as:
  • "Abandoned," "surrendered," "released," "relinquished," "gave up for adoption," "adopted out," or "put up for adoption."
  • "Keep her child" -- this implies the child is a possession and ignores the responsibilities of parenting.

We have chosen to build our family through adoption. She is "ours", we are hers, we are an adoptive family.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Sealed With A Kiss

When I was young and went away to sleep over camp, my mother used to send me the very best care packages. All the other campers in my bunk knew they were in luck when a package arrived for me. It was always filled with tons of candy, goodies, snacks, comic books, and love ;-) 

This must be a hereditary trait because I have been preparing and sending care packages to Tian Tian  since we received pre approval, starting with this one:

And this one was a big one....
we got to see photos of her opening it in November....

and she was very excited

Then about a month later...
We watched her open another care package in December

Another one in February for the Chinese New Year

This panda is on it's way to her now with our dear friend Amy, 
squeeze it's left paw and it say's "I love you Tian Tian" in Chinese, 
squeeze it's right paw and it plays a lullaby.
To be continued...

Here she is with the panda!

Xie Xie Ni!

Waiting for a taxi in downtown Liuzhou

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Too Cool For School

We found out today that Jake got accepted into a new school and he is starting on Monday !!!!

Hooray Jakey! 
We are very proud of you.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Nesting Instincts

Nesting is an uncontrollable urge to clean one's house brought 
on by a desire to prepare a nest for a new baby, 
to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world.
Females of the animal kingdom are all equipped with this same need. 
It is a primal instinct. Just as you see birds making their nests, mothers-to-be do exactly the same thing. The act of nesting puts you in control 
and gives a sense of accomplishment. 
Big Sister going through her "old" clothes and passing them along to Bella
Organizing her hand-me-down's
Preparing Little Sister's new bedroom

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Lantern Festival

Falling on the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar Year, the Lantern Festival takes place under a full moon, and marks the end of Chinese New Year  festivities.

Legend of the Lantern Festival's Origin 
In one such legend, the Jade Emperor in Heaven was so angered at a town for killing his favorite goose, that he decided to destroy it with a storm of fire. However, a good-hearted fairy heard of this act of vengeance, and warned the people of the town to light lanterns throughout the town on the appointed day. The townsfolk did as they were told, and from the Heavens, it looked as if the village was ablaze. Satisfied that his goose had already been avenged, the Jade Emperor decided not to destroy the town. From that day on, people celebrated the anniversary of their deliverance by carried lanterns of different shapes and colors through the streets on the first full moon of the year, providing a spectacular backdrop for lion dances, dragon dances, and fireworks.

It took me a while to realize
but now I clearly see
When I look into your eyes
I know it was meant to be
A simple twist of fate, I guess
was holding us apart
But my child I must confess
You've always lived inside my heart
A stranger to you I am right now
but the time is drawing near
And soon you too will see just how
you've always been right here.
Marsha Roberts


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Our Adoption Timeline:

Begin Home Study:
August 10, 2009
Liu Chun Tian
Referral Photos:
August 19, 2009
Letter Of Intent:
August 24, 2009
September 2, 2009
(in 9 days)
Home Study Completed:
October 5, 2009
I-800A Sent:
October 6. 2009
Immigration Approval:
November 19, 2009
(in 45 days)
Dossier To China:
December 18, 2009
Log In Date:
December 31, 2009
(in 13 days)
~Happy New Year~
Letter Of Approval:
(in 74 days)
I-800 Sent:
I-800 Approval:
Cabled 4-7-2010
Article 5
Picked Up 5-4-2010
Travel Approval:
Leaving On A Jet Plane:
June 12, 2010
Forever Family Day:
American Citizenship:
July 4th, 2010