Monday, July 31, 2006

It's the Year of the Wedding in China

China wedding boom fuelled by big spenders
One hundred and fifty thousand couples are expected to get married in Shanghai in 2006.

That is 50% more than last year.

A wedding craze sweeping China is causing a boom for the country's retailers.

Hotels and restaurants are booked up months in advance, while florists and cake makers are busier than they've ever been, and all because 2006 is considered a lucky year in the Chinese lunar calendar.

Walking up the aisle to the familiar tones of Mendelssohn's Wedding March, Jiang Min and Dai Lixia got married at precisely 6.18pm on the 18th of the sixth month of 2006.

In Chinese culture, the number 6 means everything will go smoothly, while the number 18 means the couple will get rich soon, but, most importantly, 2006 is considered a fortuitous year because there are two spring times in the lunar calendar.


Couples are tripping over one another to get married this year and many are stretching themselves financially in order to do so.

This couple spent $17,500 on their wedding and honeymoon - more than their combined annual earnings.

Chinese Church Building Torn Down

China clash as church demolished
There have been clashes between police and Christians protesting against the demolition of a church in eastern China's Zhejiang province, reports say.

The violence occurred when up to 500 police tried to break up a 3,000-strong protest, a rights group said.

Twenty people were hurt, including four who were seriously injured, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

PA Family Has Own Zip Code

Not quite, but they do jave a lot of kids. My hat's off to them.

With the adoption of 3, Pa. couple is up to 29 children
Welcome to 348 Richland Drive, otherwise known as the the home of Michael and Mary-Jo Jackson and now their 22 adopted children.

This week, the Manheim Township couple, both 55, finalized the adoption process adding three more children to the Jackson gang. The new additions are Ross, 8, from Texas; Jean, 11, from China; and Belinda, 13, from Serbia, who is confined to a wheelchair.

Indiana Adoption Story

Jeff couple finds Chinese adoption ‘smooth’
Lori and Todd adopted Lilliana from China, where she is believed to have been born on March 17, 2005, St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. The girl was found abandoned on the steps of an agricultural center in her home province of Hubei, approximately four days after her birth.

“She’s been with foster parents since she was 10 days old,” Lorie said.

Lilliana Liting Hollis became a U.S. citizen last Wednesday in Chicago, when an immigration official stamped her paperwork. On the same day Lorie, an English teacher at New Albany High School, and Todd, a Jeffersonville police detective, celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

What's Happening in Guatemala?

Related to Chinese adoption insofar as both China and Guatemala have ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions, which takes effect in mid-2007. In short, the treaty will require a government agency to regulate adoptions. Guatemala has ratified the treaty but has yet to implement it. A link to the article and salient quotes follow. And yes, I am put off by language that makes children out to be mere goods to be bought and sold.

Treaty likely to slow Guatemala adoptions
Every 100th baby born in Guatemala grows up as an adopted American, making the Central American country the richest source of adoptees in the Western Hemisphere. But U.S. ratification of an international adoption treaty is likely to choke off the supply next summer.

Critics say Guatemala has become a baby farm where adoptions are too easy and prone to corruption. Defenders say it offers the children a better future, and that legal corners are cut only to spare Guatemalan women the stigma of unwed motherhood or relieve them of another mouth to feed.

For now, willing parents can get Guatemalan babies by paying thousands of dollars to notaries who act as baby brokers, recruiting birth mothers, handling all the paperwork and completing the job in less than half the time it takes elsewhere. The process is so streamlined that Guatemala outpaces all other countries in the percentage of its children put up for adoption in the United States.


Berta Morales, 35, has given the last five of her 10 children to Americans.

"It would have been more of a sin to abort them," said Morales, who lives in Coatepeque, west of Guatemala City. "I'm poor ... but maybe one of them will become a professional."


Every profession has unscrupulous people, "but that does not mean everything is rotten," added Luarca, who is currently handling 40 adoptions. "Some people have tried to make the case that, just because a business is lucrative, it's bad."

It is lucrative: Notaries charge a "country fee" of up to $19,000. With U.S. paperwork and plane trips, the typical Guatemalan adoption costs as much as $30,000, adoption agencies say.

But in the last six months alone, the government has brought 30 criminal cases against notaries for falsifying paperwork, allegedly providing false birth certificates and even creating false identities to avoid having to involve the birth father or the parents of underage birth mothers.

Adoptive Parents Form Nonprofit

Nonprofit group to aid international adoptions
When Petal residents Christie and Eddie Daniels decided to adopt, they knew it wouldn't be easy - or cheap. At roughly $20,000 for one child, China is the least costly international adoption option. And in Russia, the most expensive, the cost is about $35,000, according to Pat Lee, International Program Director of Alabama-based Children of the World.

For families like the Daniels - Christie is a teacher, Eddie is a government contractor - that's lot of money.

We looked into loans," Christie Daniels said. "At one point, we were having to look at refinancing our house to pay for an adoption. I don't want anyone to have to do that."

That's why Daniels and friend Heather Davis, who with husband Mark is also in the process of adopting a child from China, are starting a nonprofit organization - which they've named Open Hearts, Open Homes - that will give grants to families pursuing international adoption.

Meg Ryan Buys a Fixer-Upper in MA

From the SF Chronicle's blog. Take it for what it's worth.

Ryan Moves to Massachusetts
Movie star Meg Ryan is reportedly planning to quit Hollywood to concentrate on bringing her adopted baby up in Massachusetts.

The star has bought a $7 million, 12-room, cliff-top estate on Chappaquiddick Island off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, according to reports.

And she plans to raise Chinese baby Daisy there -- thousands of miles away from Tinseltown.

A source tells the National Enquirer, "Meg believes there's more to life than making movies."
Just some advice: If any of the Kennedys want to give you a ride, just politely refuse.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Another Day, Another Giant Rodent

Today my wife took Ally to the sensory assault that is Chuck E. Cheese's, or as James Lileks calls it Chuck E. Fargin' Cheese's. She got to meet the mouse himself, who was out for a little meet and great with his fans. Here he is taking Ally for a spin:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chinese Couples Add to Their Wedding Day Stress

For Wedding Photos, Chinese Couples Strike a Western Pose
With names such as Paris, Love in New York and Rome Style Life, the mostly Taiwanese-owned studios that dominate one of Beijing's busiest shopping districts have capitalized on a Chinese obsession with Western-style wedding pictures.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Florida Adoption Story

Couple gives lesson in love with adoption of special-needs twins
Two sisters — identical twins — were just 3 days old when their mother left them in a cardboard box outside an orphanage in central China with a hand-scrawled plea to help her babies.

Born premature on Sept. 12, 2003, the siblings weighed less than 5 pounds. Their twin status violated China's one-child-per-family law. Worst of all, their cherubic faces were warped with cleft lips and palates.

But to Don and Grace White of Stuart, the twins were a godsend.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Domestic Adoption in China

Many people wonder why so many children in Chinese orphanages aren't adopted within their own country. Brian Stuy has done some research into this question, which you can read about here. Today, there is an article in Toronto's Globe and Mail about the frustrations some Chinese families are facing in trying to adopt domestically.

Locals unwelcome at Chinese orphanages
BEIJING -- When he saw the poignant photos of orphans on an adoption agency website this year, Sun Xiaoping yearned to adopt one of them.

But it was just the beginning of a story of frustration for the 30-year-old civil servant and his wife. They soon discovered how hard it can be for a couple in China to adopt a Chinese baby. Several months later, they are still searching.

"It's easier for foreign couples," Mr. Sun said. "Chinese organizations don't care to provide services for us. Information is very limited and hard to find. It's unfair, but I guess it's understandable -- our children are expected to lead a better life in developed countries."

Further on in the article, it says that
In 2005, only about 38,000 children were adopted by Chinese families -- a relatively small number for a country of 1.3 billion people.

Considering there are about 10,000 adopted internationally per year, this seems to indicate that most Chinese children are adopted domestically. That still leaves many children in Chinese orphanages awaiting adoption by someone.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


The tropical storm that is my sisters and their kids is now centered somewhere over Long Island. Damage here in Virginia was minimal, but its presence was definitely felt. As mentioned, we met at Port Discovery, where the kids had lots of fun. Here's Ally creating music the John Cage way by randomly placing wooden balls on a conveyor belt where they fall off at the end and strike keys of various tones. There are ways to arrange the balls so that they play recognizable songs, but hardly anybody was doing that.

Saturday was the Key West Fest at Breaux Vineyards. The weather forecast was not encouraging but the sun broke through right around 10 AM, so we decided to make the trip west. The rain held off and we indulged in some wine along with a bit of jerk chicken (my wife's pet name for me. Ha!) and cheeseburgers in paradise. Here is Ally with her two cousins, before getting into the sandbox and visiting the face painter.

Nothing says festive like plastic leis, huh? As far as the wines go, the reds fared better than the whites and the 2002 Merlot shows real promise. If it's anything like the 2001, it should be a real gem.

Health Issues For International Adoptees

Children from afar get local health care
Children adopted from overseas often bring issues with them: Parasites. Attachment difficulties. Developmental delays. Hepatitis. Feeding issues...

For them, finding a health care provider in this area with answers to their particular questions has been hit and miss — mostly miss. Until now.

Now there’s a special place — and soon there will be a second — for those families. Children’s Mercy Hospital has launched a clinic geared at the fast-growing population of internationally adopted children. The University of Kansas Hospital plans to follow suit in early September.

Going Back: Another Story

Children adopted from China to visit as government guests
When Hannah Pendleton returns to China this week, it will be like seeing her native country for the first time.

While Hannah was 10 when she was adopted from China by an American family, she saw nothing in her first decade beyond the walls of an orphanage.

Now, Hannah and her two adopted sisters will be among 42 Bay Area children invited by the Chinese government to see the famed sites and wonders of their birthplace, from the Great Wall to Tiananmen Square to iconic pandas -- things Hannah knows only from pictures.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

China Related TV

China Sprout posts a much-appreciated weekly guide of China related TV listings.

Going Back to China

George Baker's family, a brood of three young teens, is shopping for bug spray and clothes for their big trip to China next week.

"It will be fun. I want to see if there are any new video games,'' said 13-year-old Michael, a student at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School in Palo Alto. And he wants to return to the Chengdu orphanage where he lived for the first 6 1/2 years of his life, ``to see if any of my old friends are there.''

For some Bay Area adolescents, next week's trip to China is the first time they've gone back to the country of their birth. Moreover, local participants believe it is the first time China will be extending a high-level official welcome to a new group of overseas Chinese, those whose families are not usually ethnically and culturally Chinese.

Transracial Adoption

Families by choice
It's challenging when adoptions cross the racial divide. Many kids and parents do fine, but observers have a problem

Amanda and Hakeem Blair Roberson are fed up with the rude comments and questions. Things like: "How come your parents are white?" or "Black and white don't mix." Adopted as babies, Amanda, 14, is Latina, and her brother, Hakeem, 10, is black.

Fortunately, rude comments are something we haven't had to deal with. If they happen to come my way, I might not be as amiable as the Robersons.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Road Trip

We're off to Port Discovery tomorrow morning to meet up with my sisters and their kids, who are traveling from New York. Port Discovery is the Children's Museum in Baltimore, located near the Inner Harbor. There should be lots of hands-on exhibits to stir the kids' imaginations.

Wisconsin Adoption Story

Baby Emma meets parents in China
They prayed. They waited. They talked to God a little more and their prayers were answered in the form of a 9-month-old baby. When just 10 years old, Lori (Reed) Kay, originally of West Salem, remembers standing by her locker and telling a friend she wanted to adopt a baby from China someday. She told her husband, Rob, of her desire to adopt before they were even married. He wasn’t opposed to the idea.

Five years ago, the couple learned they could not have biological children and began looking into adoption more seriously. In 2004, they started filling out paperwork and researching agencies. Because China will not allow a couple to adopt before they are 30 years old, Rob and Lori were forced to wait for her 30th birthday in January 2005.

NYT Article on Chen Guangcheng

Advocate for China’s Weak Runs Afoul of the Powerful
BEIJING, July 19 — Only a few years ago, Chen Guangcheng, a blind man who taught himself the law, was hailed as a champion of peasant rights who symbolized China’s growing embrace of legal norms.

Mr. Chen helped other people with disabilities avoid illegal fees and taxes. He forced a paper mill to stop spewing toxic chemicals into his village’s river. The authorities in his home province, Shandong, considered him a propaganda coup and broadcast clips from his wedding ceremony on television.

All that changed last year, when he organized a rare class-action lawsuit against the local government for forcing peasants to have late-term abortions and be sterilized. Mr. Chen, 35, is now a symbol of something else: the tendency of Communist Party officials to use legal pretexts to crush dissent.

Cracks in China's Great Firewall

The link is to a BBC News article in which a Chinese dissident, a film maker and a journalist give their thoughts on how the internet has changed, and is changing, China. I particularly like the quote from Liu Xiaobo (reproduced below).

Inside the great firewall of China
Liu Xiaobo has taken part in every political movement in China in the last 30 years including the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations and the 1979 democracy wall movement.

He has been to prison twice and is banned from publishing any articles inside China.
"In China, where there's no freedom of speech, the role of the internet is much bigger than in Western countries which enjoy free speech.

Since the days of Mao Zedong, the authorities have created a very closed prison of information. There is only one voice. But with the appearance of the internet, cracks are appearing all over this prison.

The internet is the best gift god could send to China for the people of China to claim their rights.

In the 1990s, when I wrote an article and wanted to send it to the foreign media, I had to ride my bike across the city to ask foreign friends to fax it for me. I was lucky if I could send one article a month like that.

And I couldn't see anything I'd written because the Chinese media wouldn't publish it.

With the internet, I can e-mail my articles abroad as soon as they're finished. The internet has changed my life dramatically.

More and more people are using different software developed to bypass the authorities' control and to get access to the blocked websites.

Whatever method the government uses to block the internet, it's doomed to failure because of technology and because of people's desire for more and more information."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Spaniards Adopt

I wouldn't have guessed this:

Spain has highest adoption rate in world
MADRID — Spain, once the Catholic country famous for large families, has the highest adoption rate in the world, it was reported on Wednesday.

Each day last year, Spaniards adopted 15 foreign children, most from Asian countries.

There are 12.3 adoptions per 100,000 people in Spain – the highest figure in the world, according to the social services minister Amparo Valcarce.

China is the favourite country for Spanish couples or single parents wanting to adopt.

There was a Spanish family staying at our hotel in Nanchang when we adopted Ally. I remember thinking about them about a week later when the Madrid train bombings occurred, probably right around the time they got back home.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Local TV Personality Chronicles Her Adoption Story

The link below has video as well:

Bringing Hannah Home: An Adoption Story
You may have noticed in the last couple of months, we haven't seen a lot of Newswatch Investigative Reporter, Stefanie Silvey.

That's because she's been busy with her toughest, but most rewarding assignment yet: Family leave with her new baby girl.

And now, Stefanie takes us along on the emotional journey to bring Hannah home.

Mom Gets a Chinese Cooking Lesson

Rent an expert: Chinese celebrations made more meaningful
The request for Chinese cooking lessons was simple: "After adopting our daughter Olivia from China in 2001, our family has tried to learn more about Chinese culture," Susan Hunt wrote. "We love to celebrate Chinese holidays, but we have to get take-out food because I don't know how to cook any Chinese dishes. I would love to join an expert in Chinese cooking to learn recipes that I can cook to make our Chinese celebrations more meaningful."

We asked Meiling Dawson if she would be the expert. Self-taught and with a good start from her mother in Taiwan, Dawson gives cooking lessons in the kitchen of Ace Hardware's Bountiful store, and at Orson H. Gygi in South Salt Lake City.

Parents of the Year Help Place Chinese Orphans

Parents of the year spread the joy
Art, Amy and Anna Zhong have the best parents in Colorado.

For the year, at least.

Their parents, Joshua Zhong, 44, and Lily Nie, 43, were named Colorado Parents of the Year Monday by the Colorado Parents' Day Council.

The recognition goes beyond what they do as parents of their own 16-year-old twins and a younger adopted daughter, though - Zhong and Nie have helped many others become loving parents by placing about 7,000 children into families through Chinese Children Adoption International, an agency they established in 1992.

The web site for Chinese Children Adoption International is

Monday, July 17, 2006

South China Flooding

Toll rises after Chinese floods
At least 160 people are now known to have died in southern China from tropical storm Bilis, according to state media reports.

The BBC has more pictures here.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Recreating History in a Chinese Cathedral

Jesus in China
A California priest is helping replace stained-glass windows at a Shanghai cathedral smashed during the Cultural Revolution. They abound with Chinese imagery.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Articles of Interest

Two good articles in this Sunday's Washington Post Magazine. The first is by adoptive mom Jeanne Marie Laskas, writing about how being a parent isn't always what you'd thought it would be:

Motherhood, the Reality Show

The second is about a man, Jhou Lianchun, who grew up as a member of Mao's Red Guard and later became an entrepeneur with a very, uh, interesting line of business:

The Life and Times of Book Idiot Zhou

"Book idiot" is a Chinese term meaning the same thing as a "bookworm".

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Future Prima Donna

Ally had two days of Baby Ballerina boot camp this week. My wife took some pictures today, and, you know, it would be a crime not to post 'em. So here they are:

UK Adoption Story

Juana-Mai is at home in Ballymoney
Hazel and Austin Millar from Heatherlea Place travelled to the communist country in 2004 to adopt Juana-Mai who was just 13 months.

She was found by a security guard wrapped in a blanket on the steps of Dangyang council offices and later taken to the local orphanage...

Hazel first considered adopting a baby from China after watching the 'Dying Rooms' a film which depicted the horrendous suffering imposed on young children in orphanages.

The Millars aren't the first family inspired to adopt after seeing "The Dying Rooms", a documentary made in 1995 which I've never seen and would probably find very difficult to watch. It's influence, however, has been undeniable.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wisconsin Adoption Story

An all-American family: Rysers have adopted three daughters from Asia
Mark Ryser, 45, and his wife Connie, 46, have adopted three children from Asia, returning home from China with their newest daughter, Gabrielle, in May.

"Other than adopting from Asia, we just consider ourselves an all-American family," Mark, a cheesemaker for Grande Cheese in Juda, said. "I myself don't even think of the kids being Asian anymore."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ally's New Duds

When we went to China a couple of years ago, we bought Ally a Chinese outfit to wear, which she has since outgrown. At the Reston Festival last weekend, we were pleased to see they were selling Chinese-type clothes at one of the booths. Naturally, we couldn't resist, and we made sure the size was a little big. We think red is her color.

China's One-child Policy: Brutally Enforced

China's One-Child Problem
"The current family-planning policy must be kept basically stable, a fundamental measure to cope with the fourth baby boom in the next five years," Zhang Weiqing, director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said in April.

Although other regions have seen forced abortions, activists say the abuses in Linyi were unusual because local authorities took villagers within the area hostage. When women fled to avoid losing their babies, lawyers and residents say, officials seized their parents, nephews or cousins as leverage, hoping to force the women to return.

Liang Suhe, a villager in Banqiao, said he was detained with his wife for a month last year because her brother and sister-in-law were planning to have a third child and authorities couldn't find her.

"We were both beaten up, but my wife was beaten harder," he said. "Her waist and her back still hurt periodically.

"The officials wouldn't believe Liang when he told them he didn't know where his in-laws were, forcing him to make a 10-day trip to northeastern China in search of the couple. When he returned without his in-laws, Liang was detained again. He still doesn't know their whereabouts, he said.

If they suspect you are in violation of the policy, they come after your family. Sad.

Monday, July 10, 2006

One Conjoined Twin Dies

Sad news from China:

Conjoined Twin Dies 4 Days After Surgery
SHANGHAI, China -- One of the 10-month-old conjoined twins who were separated in an unusually complex surgery last week died Monday, a Shanghai hospital official said.

Hu Jingxuan's condition deteriorated over the weekend, and she died Monday afternoon, said an official at Fudan University Children's Hospital. The official, who works in the hospital's administration office, refused to give her name, saying she was not officially authorized to speak to media.

Pray for the surviving twin, Chen Jingni.

Tennessee Adoption Story

Local couple has reason to smile 16-month-old Luciana welcomed from China
June 28 was a day that Bob and Shannon Reiser have been dreaming about for years. That was the day they brought their daughter home to Tennessee. The Reisers adopted 16-month-old Luciana in Nanchang, China, and brought her back to Tennessee last week.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

China Daily Article on Adoption

Adopted kids helped to discover cultural roots
It's a question every couple from a Western country who adopts a child in China has to face: when to tell the youngster about the place where they were born?

For inter-racial adoptions, the differences in physical appearances are obvious.

China passed a law on adoption in 1992, when 206 orphans found homes in the United States. Since then, US parents have adopted the highest number of children from China. Last year the figure was 7,906, a record, and 95 per cent of the adoptions were girls. That brought the total to about 50,000 in the past 13 years, according to US immigration statistics.

Read the whole thing, it's a fascinating article. Some links mentioned in the article follow:

Intercountry Adoption From China: Examining Cultural Heritage and Other Postadoption Issues

Our Chinese Daughters Foundation

Chinese Language Website

China sets up website to help foreigners learn the language
BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese is notoriously one of the world's most difficult languages, but Beijing authorities are now trying to make it a little easier with a special website for foreign learners, state media has said.

Sponsored by the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, was launched over the weekend, offering online training, volunteer help and search services, Xinhua news agency reported.

"The website features multimedia technologies including online interactive courses, virtual communities, blogs and podcasts," said Zheng Zhongxiu, leader of the team who prepared the website.

The website so far is in Chinese and English only, but authorities are preparing additional versions in Korean and Japanese, according to Xinhua.

Interest in learning Chinese, especially the main national standard known as Mandarin, is exploding, presumably aided by the rapidly growing economic importance of China.

Statistics from China's Ministry of Education show more than 30 million people worldwide are learning Chinese, and more than 2,500 universities in 100 countries and regions offer Chinese courses.

China has also established a network of so-called Confucius Institutes around the world to facilitate understanding of Chinese language and culture.

Happy Birthday Tai Shan

They grow up so fast. Before you know it, he'll be asking to borrow the car.

Tai Shan holds zoo’s hopes, public’s heart

Saturday, July 08, 2006

China Related TV

China Sprout posts a much-appreciated weekly guide of China related TV listings.

Zhang Rongliang Arrested

China jails underground church head
HONG KONG (Reuters) - A court in China's Henan province has jailed the head of one of the country's largest underground Christian churches for seven and a half years, Hong Kong's RTHK radio reported on Saturday.

Quoting the China Aid Association, a U.S.-based group which monitors religious freedom in China, RTHK said Zhang Rongliang had been convicted of fraudulently attaining a passport and crossing a border illegally. Association officials were not immediately available for comment.

Zhang had been arrested several times before, serving a total of 12 years in prison for organising church activities, according to international human rights group Amnesty International. Amnesty said he had been tortured in jail.

Aged about 55, Zhang heads the China for Christ Church, one of the country's biggest "house church" networks. Many Chinese Christians worship in private homes rather than in the official churches supervised by state-backed religious bodies.

Chinese police sometimes harass and detain members of the underground churches. In June, the U.S. House of Representatives approved resolutions accusing China of rising levels of religious persecution. Beijing called the accusations groundless.

Friday, July 07, 2006

New Hampshire Adoption Story

Couple awaits baby from China
Jessica and Greg MacNeil have been awaiting their newborn baby for nine months. Now it seems like the wait will be extended two to five months.

No, the natural order has not flipped upside down. Women still carry babies for the regular nine months, but the MacNeils have, like many others recently, decided to adopt a baby...

"My ultrasound will be a photo of our baby girl at whatever age they give us. I've made jokes with people saying that my pregnancy symptoms are somewhat the same. I did nine months of paperwork! My 'labor' will be the 24-hour plane ride to China," said Jessica.

Do They Have Cereal in China?

Not much, but that isn't stopping Kellogg's from trying:

Kellogg's eyes China with cereal
The world's biggest cereal maker Kellogg's has big ambitions to target China, a potentially booming market.

But typical western breakfasts, such as cold cereal with milk, are not popular in Asia, so the firm says it will tailor its products to local tastes...

"People [in Asia] tend to reject cold breakfast or milk," said Hans Shin, president of Kellogg's Asia.

Subsequently the firm is considering developing cereal bars and hot cereals as well as whole-grain cereal, to respond to demands for healthier food from an ageing population.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Delicate Surgery

Docs Race to Save Conjoined Twins in China
SHANGHAI, China -- Doctors were racing to save the lives of 10-month-old conjoined twin girls on Thursday in a complex separation surgery expected to take up to 24 hours, hospital officials said.

The girls, Hu Jingxuan and Hu Jingni, were born last August joined at the abdomen. They share a liver, spleen, gall bladder and digestive tract.

Hospital officials confirmed reports that the surgery was under way but would not provide any details. The officials, like many people in China not authorized to speak to media, would not give their names.

"The Left Behind Children"

A different kind of orphan now all too common in China's countryside:

Orphans of the Chinese Economy
Lu Siqin can't help but cry whenever someone mentions her parents. The 13-year-old doesn't remember the last time she saw her father. He left home to work on a construction site when she was 5. Her mother is deaf and mentally disabled. Siqin grew up in a world with few sounds of life. The only person she can talk to a little is her frail 73-year-old grandmother, who is nearly blind.

In the two teens' classrooms, about half the children raise their hands when asked how many are in a similar situation. Their parents are spread all over the world's most populous country, working on construction sites and factory floors, and in restaurants and timber mills.

As capitalism transforms this nominally communist nation, it has quietly reshaped the lives of China's rural young, creating a new underclass called liu shou er tong, or the "left-behind children." An entire generation is growing up without parents in deserted villages populated mostly by the very young and elderly.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Arizona Adoption Stories

The changing face of Northwest families
The faces of a typical American family have changed.

What people used to consider the norm - a mom, a dad and two or three children with similar features - has become just one option for the makeup of a family.

American families, now more than ever, adopt children from all over the world...

[Denise and Brian Zelinsky] adopted their first Korean child May 1, 1997...

While the Zelinskys serve as a sort of poster family for international adoptions, in another part of town, Jennifer and Matt Bouton ready themselves for a new addition of their own...

Rather than waiting to spring the idea, the Boutons have always told their children that one day they will have a Chinese sister.

Ever since she was in junior high, Jennifer Bouton dreamed that one day she would adopt a Chinese baby in addition to her having own children...

Excited, to say the least, Jennifer Bouton can only imagine the day when she and her husband head to China for their new baby.

Lucky License Plates

The nouveau riche in China are spending their new found lucre on license plates with plenty of numbers considered "lucky" in Chinese culture:

First Comes the Car, Then the $10,000 License Plate
GUANGZHOU, China — At a government auction inside a dingy gymnasium, a young businessman named Ding walked away a happy winner the other day. Like everyone else, he was bidding on license plates and did not seem to mind that his cost $6,750.

For the same money, Mr. Ding could almost have afforded two of the Chinese-made roadsters popular in the domestic car market. His bid was almost 20 times what a Chinese farmer earns in a year, and almost 7 times the country's per capita annual income.

And yet, in the auction in this manufacturing capital in southern China, Mr. Ding, who gave only his last name, could not even claim top price. The most expensive plate — AC6688 — fetched $10,000 on a day when officials sold hundreds of plates for a total of $366,500.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

They do have Merlot in China

...and Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and other major varietals:

Working on a Dream: Fine Wines of China

Monday, July 03, 2006

China Related TV

China Sprout posts a much-appreciated weekly guide of China related TV listings.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Do They Have Merlot in China?

Apparently so:

Cheers to China's wine industry
In 2005, China produced a total of 434,000 tons of wine, 25.2% more than in 2004, said the report. Wine exports generated 106 million yuan of revenues, up 37.5% over the previous year.

Thanks to changes in their diet habits, Chinese people would consume more wine this year, bringing the wine industry a bright future, said the report. Statistics show that there are more than 100 wineries in China, among which Dynasty Winery (Remy-Martin) is by far the most successful. The immense potential of the country's wine market, with 1.3 billion people, has led foreign investors to set up joint ventures in China, such as Dynasty and Great Wall Wineries.

Apologies to Mary-Mia and Rod for the obvious play on the name of their blog.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Readoptions in California: DIY?

Some families in San Diego are balking at the high fees associated with a readoption (required to get a California birth certificate) and are doing the required paperwork themselves. Good for them. Twenty dollars versus $1000 for a two-paragraph enjoinder is a lot better deal, I think.

Readoption adds strain for adoptees' parents

New Name

As you can tell, I've renamed the blog. Again. This time, it's more in line with what it has evolved into. There will still be the occasional wine post. In fact, we're planning to go to Breaux's Key West Fest in a few weeks when my sisters visit. But mostly it will be about adoption and family life. I hope it turns out to be fun and informative. This may be a work in progress for a few weeks as I update the blogroll to include more adoption sites. Stay tuned...