Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Michigan Adoption Story

Christmas brings daughter to Washington Twp. couple
Christmas 2006 brought a very special gift to Jason and Amanda Carter of Washington Township - a beautiful and inquisitive daughter they named Emily Grace.

The Carters traveled to the Jiangxi Province of China in December to adopt Emily who celebrated her first birthday in January.

"She's just precious," Amanda said. "We feel so blessed to have her."

Chinese Adoption in Spain

I don't see how 10 years of bureaucracy is in anyone's best interests, particularly that of the children. A common lament, I know.

Spanish couples dodge adoption bureaucracy by turning to China
MADRID, Spain: Milagros Vacas Arlandis had three children and a demanding job as a doctor. Still, she and her husband felt something was missing from their lives and they decided to adopt a child.

For the next 10 years, they battled Spain's tough bureaucratic hurdles to adoption, without success. So they turned to China — and are now the parents of a 4-year-old girl they named Maria.

As once-homogenous Spain digests a newly diverse population, enriched by an influx of some 4 million immigrants over the last decade, it also has one of the world's highest per capita international adoption rates in the world. More than half the adopted children come from China...

After the U.S., Spain is the country that adopts the most children from China, the China Center of Adoption Affairs reported. In 2005, Spanish families adopted more than 5,400 children from abroad, up from 1,800 in 1997. More than 2,700 of the 2005 adoptions were from China, according to government data.

"They'll have to pry that mouse from my cold, dead fingers."

Consider it done:

Online addict dies after "marathon" session
BEIJING (Reuters) - An obese 26-year-old man in northeastern China died after a "marathon" online gaming session over the Lunar New Year holiday, state media said on Wednesday.

The 150-kg (330-lb) man from Jinzhou, in Liaoning province, collapsed on Saturday, the last day of the holiday, after spending "almost all" of the seven-day break playing online games, the China Daily said, citing his parents.

Xu Yan, a local teacher, said the "dull life" during the holiday prompted many people to turn to computer games for entertainment.

"There are only two options. TV or computer. What else can I do in the holiday as all markets, KTV and cafeterias are shut down?" the paper quoted Xu as saying. [Well, you could read, go for a walk around your village, interact with other humans, etc. Just a thought. - ed.]

China has seen an alarming rise in the number of teenage and young adult Internet addicts in recent years, despite attempts to restrict minors from cybercafes and limit online game playing times.

Speaking Truth to Power

Tiananmen mothers urge open debate
BEIJING (Reuters) - Families of victims of China's 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy protests have urged the government to allow open debate on the subject at next week's annual meeting of parliament and "reveal the truth."

An open letter by the Tiananmen Mothers, released by the New York-based watchdog Human Rights in China, urged the government to launch a judicial re-evaluation of the events of June 4, 1989.

"A just and reasonable resolution of the June 4 question is an inevitable trend, and is what the people desire," said the letter, signed by 128 survivors and victims of family members.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

This is What They Mean by "No Accumulation"?

We were expecting the dreaded "wintry mix" today, which I'm convinced is meteorologist code for "We don't know what's going to fall from the sky." Well, it turned out to be snow. The sticky kind, perfect for making snowmen:

In the interest of full disclosure, a bit of Photoshop sleight of hand was required, as we didn't have the necessary coal for the eyes and mouth.

Jan Risher Column

A poignant column about explaining adoption to a five-year-old:

Risher: Sometimes, saying 'good-bye' can be overwhelming
We talk very openly with Piper about China and our trip there to adopt her. In the past few months, she has worked harder than most would think possible to reconcile in her adoption in her own mind.

Piper was blessed to live most of her life in China with a foster family. We were blessed to meet them and have pictures of her in their home and us all together as they came to tell her good-bye. Taking that child and telling those people who loved her good-bye ranks high on my list of intense moments in life. Piper and I look at the pictures and talk a lot about her foster mom...

And, we talk about Piper's birth mother. We don't have any photos. We didn't meet her. In all likelihood, we'll never know her name. But still, I'd like to think I know something about her. She's probably musical, has an excellent sense of balance, a kind heart and a sound appetite.

Chinese New Year Parade in Alabama

Kids parade for Chinese New Year
Hundreds of parents and their children paraded in a colorful procession Saturday through downtown Fairhope to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Modes of conveyance ranged from battery-operated carts to rickshaws and good-old-fashioned strollers, but all of them were decorated for the occasion.

Children of the World, an international adoption and relief organization, has been putting on the parade since 1994, said the group's founder, Pat Lee. She said about 400 parents and adopted children participated in the event...

Laurie Joyce of Pensacola brought her 2-year-old daughter adopted from China to join in the fun. Her stroller was festooned with streamers and small paper dragons.

"I think it's great how they are putting the Chinese culture on display," the mother said. "We're having a great time."

Chinese New Year in Princeton

Raising a Child With Roots in China
PRINCETON, N.J., Feb. 24 — Peter Fenton, 43, who is of English and Dutch heritage and grew up in South Africa, was dressed in a blue Chinese man’s shirt.

He was holding his adopted daughter, Lily Zhong Wei, who will be 3 next month. She was dressed in a red children’s version of a cheongsam, the high-collared woman’s dress of China.

The Fentons are one of thousands of families who have adopted children from China and brought them to be raised in the United States. As members of a national organization called Families With Children From China, they gather at regular events, but usually for non-ethnic social and educational programs, like picnicking or ice-skating.

Chinese New Year, the two-week celebration that began on Feb. 18, is different. It reminds families of the leap in the dark they took when they chose to adopt a child of a different race and different culture and brought them to America for a challenging role in the modern American family.

Virginia Mom Feels Blessed to Have Adopted Again

Prospective parents rush to beat China's new rules
Maggi Tinsley was in a hotel room in China, having just met and picked up her newly adopted daughter, when she realized just how lucky she was.

On that day in December, the Chinese government announced that single parents like Tinsley no longer will be able to adopt Chinese children after new regulations go into effect May 1.

Tinsley recalled being relieved that she filed her adoption paperwork when she did. Otherwise, she could be sitting in limbo, wondering if she would be able to adopt a sister for her other daughter, 5-year-old Caroline, a Chinese girl she adopted in 2002. Instead, she is home with Caroline and 21-month-old Betsy.

"I feel like I'm in a good place, blessed with these wonderful children," said Tinsley, 47, marketing coordinator for the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. "They're healthy and happy, and I get to be a mom. I'm grateful to China for making that possible."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

New York Parents Coming Up Against May 1 Deadline

Looming adoption deadline worries parents
Local families who are trying to adopt children from China before a deadline that imposes strict new restrictions are growing increasingly concerned that delays by state and federal agencies processing portions of their applications may jeopardize their adoptions.

Although the state's Office of Children and Family Services and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services have said they would expedite the applications, parents are still worried.

It took Jeanne Rockman of Thiells about five weeks to have her fingerprints cleared. She was notified of the clearance on Wednesday.

"I honestly will not know if I'm making the deadline until my dossier is logged in in China," Rockman, who works as chief compliance officer for a broker-dealer firm in Manhattan, said today, "so it's between USCIS actually getting me my documents to complete that portion of the process, and then everything has to be sent to China."

Beginning May 1, single parents like Rockman no longer will be allowed to adopt children from China. People over the age of 50, people taking antidepressants and obese people also will be affected.

The measures were announced in December, and have sent prospective parents scrambling to complete paperwork before the deadline.

Surfing the 'Net Costly in China

Next step: Waterboarding.

In China, Stern Treatment For Young Internet 'Addicts'
DAXING, China -- Sun Jiting spends his days locked behind metal bars in this military-run installation, put there by his parents. The 17-year-old high school student is not allowed to communicate with friends back home, and his only companions are psychologists, nurses and other patients. Each morning at 6:30, he is jolted awake by a soldier in fatigues shouting, "This is for your own good!"

Sun's offense: Internet addiction.

Alarmed by a survey that found that nearly 14 percent of teens in China are vulnerable to becoming addicted to the Internet, the Chinese government has launched a nationwide campaign to stamp out what the Communist Youth League calls "a grave social problem" that threatens the nation.

Few countries have been as effective historically in fighting drug and alcohol addiction as China, which has been lauded for its successes, as well as criticized for harsh techniques.

Don't Drink The Water

China plans to cut water consumption
BEIJING (AFP) - China plans to cut its average water consumption by 20 percent by the end of 2010 in an effort to avert a looming shortage crisis, state media reported Thursday.

The government will set up consumption quotas and make local officials responsible for managing the use of water, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing the ministry of water resources.

The government also aims to establish 100 pilot water-saving schemes in the run-up to 2010, and to roll out successful projects across the nation, according to the agency.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chinese New Year in Ohio

'Happy new year'
Local adoptive parents work to keep Chinese culture within children's lives

CIRCLEVILLE - The girls giggled together over some chicken with a bowl of oranges nearby, whispering secrets in each others ears.

The oranges and chicken are only two of many items Corrine Woods, 4, and Caroline Rhude, 5, were eating while celebrating the Chinese New Year Sunday at the Grand Buffet in Circleville.

The pair was surrounded by family and friends - other young girls (Maddy Wood, 1; Liliauna Carver, 3, and Maylee Young, 3) adopted from China by Chillicothe locals, and the New Year is just one of several times they all get together.

"We don't want them to lose their culture," said Kim Woods, who started the group of families with her friend Rachel Rhude.

The informal group of friends began three years ago when Rachel and Kim talked about celebrating the Chinese New Year with their daughters. The good fortune that must have sprung from that first New Year's celebration has been a close-knit group that has grown over the last few years to include five area families who have daughters recently adopted from China.

And Of Course, Chinese New Year in Northern Virginia

Last night we gathered at a Chinese restaurant in South Riding with the local FCC group for dinner and conversation...and playing, naturally. We sat with another family who adopted from Jiangxi province. Their daughter had an outgoing personality to match Ally's and they got along great. Here they are showing off their stuffed animals:

Our Agency's Position on Chinese Adoption

The China Coordinator for our agency was quoted in an article in the Mission Network News regarding China's stricter policy for foreign adoptive parents:
Published news sources estimate the new restrictions may affect as many as half of the families in the future. The waiting list for hopeful parents was getting longer and longer. For Bethany Christian Services, the current wait time from to referral is 17-18 months... and it continues to increase. The government's solution was to create a new economy. Tougher restrictions would effectively cull out the best candidates for the children available for adoption.

Bethany Christian Services' China coordinator, Jaclyn Skalnik says the changes also point to one thing: "I believe that they are moving towards domestic adoption. So, when we hear these new guidelines, I think we have a tendency to, of course, wonder what's happening with the children. I think the movement in China is that, their goal, and everyone's goal is to keep as many children in China, with Chinese families, as possible."

Skalnik says through a continued a positive relationship with the government, they'll keep the door open for ministry. "I believe, as a Christian agency, it's still our priority of course to care for the fatherless, and pray for those that we cannot care for. I think that we have somewhat of a trusting relationship and understanding with all of our countries, whether they are Christian countries or not, that, where we can help, we will."

There continues to be millions of orphans in China. Bethany staff believe they are privileged to work in China and serve all His children. Pray for the continued protection of the children, their caretakers, and for all the waiting families.

Chinese New Year in Florida

Local adopted Chinese children celebrate their heritage and New Year
DAVIE -- A group of South Florida moms and dads rang in the Year of the Pig with their adopted children at a festive picnic on Sunday.

The Chinese New Year celebration at Robbins Park in Davie had a little bit of everything -- a bounce house, Chinese food and a Kung Fu demonstration by Beijing Wushu Academy.

While most of the children enjoyed playing barefoot on the grass and flying their colorful kites, the families who belong to the South Florida Asia Group said the event was more of a reunion and a link to Chinese culture.

"If the children know about their heritage they won't think this is anything unusual,'' said Dawn Cope, 42, of Kendall, who came out to the picnic with her husband Jacob, 54, and her 4-year-old, Lily.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chinese New Year in Philadelphia

Cultural exchange: For parents of adopted Chinese girls, class helps bridge communication gap
“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” will take on a new meaning today in the Empire Buffet Restaurant at New Philadelphia’s New Towne Mall.

Several American families who have adopted Chinese daughters are joining area Chinese friends to celebrate the Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year. The song will be part of a program highlighting the sharing of American and Chinese cultures and traditions.

The group was formed when Dover neighbors Jody and Chris Engstrom, and Ted and Nancy George, discovered they had adopted Chinese daughters Grace and Lili within a year of each other. Both felt the necessity of incorporating the babies’ birth cultures into their Americanization, so they began searching for others in the community who might be interested in joining them.

Chinese New Year in Des Moines

Festival kicks off Year of the Pig
The children stared wide-eyed as a Chinese lion danced across the stage. It blinked its giant eyes and opened its massive mouth.

They laughed when the lion, operated by two dancers, "ate" a head of lettuce and then spat the leaves into the crowd.

The lion, along with a colorful lineup of dancers, martial artists, harpists and other performers headlined Saturday's Chinese New Year celebration at Northview Middle School and Ankeny High School in Ankeny.

The event, sponsored by the Chinese Association of Iowa, included performances as well as arts and crafts, a Year of the Pig poster contest, tea ceremony demonstrations and children's games. An evening program included an awards ceremony and traditional Chinese dance, music and theater. Chinese food was served by Ankeny restaurants China Moon and Jade Garden.

Chinese New Year in Upstate NY

Chinese New Year means new traditions for some local families
Kim Kaso occasionally celebrated Chinese New Year, but it didn't hold much significance until she moved to Vestal and adopted Natalie Bei Ryan, 5, from China. She and her family now make the holiday, which falls on Sunday this year, a part of their yearly customs.

"We've added another holiday tradition," Kaso said, explaining that families who have adopted children from China often must create new family traditions that embrace heritage and history.

Every year, the Kaso family and the Siteck family of Colesville celebrate Chinese New Year by driving to Syracuse and having an authentic Chinese dinner with two other New York families. They travel not only to celebrate the holiday but to reconnect -- all of the families adopted children from the same orphanage.

"We try to make her aware that she was born in China," Kaso said. "We enjoy getting together to renew ties with family and friends."

Jim Siteck, father of 5-year-old Julia, said he also believes it is important for his daughter to keep in touch with her heritage.

"I'd like my child to take an interest in her culture, but I won't force it on her. It's up to her to decide how much she wants to pick up," he said.

Chinese New Year in New Jersey

LONG BRANCH — When 6-year-old Jordana Friedli left for school Friday, she brought along 11 red envelopes, each one stuffed with 50 cents, to give to her classmates.

Jordana, who was adopted from China and came to the United States when she was 13 months old, is the only student of Chinese ancestry in her class at the Gregory School. She and her mother, Joanna Friedli, wanted to share the Chinese tradition of giving out red envelopes for luck and prosperity to start the Chinese New Year, which begins Sunday.

"She may have been baptized in a Greek Orthodox church and she may go to Sunday school, but she's still Chinese," said Friedli, 49, of Long Branch.

The Friedlis are part of a growing group of Americans who have adopted children from China and who are faced with a delicate balancing act — how to help their children assimilate into the culture of the West while maintaining the traditions of their homeland in the East.

For many American families who have adopted babies from China, the Chinese New Year celebration is a time to embrace the heritage of their children.

Chinese New Year in Springfield, MO

A taste of the East
Clad in a pink silky Chinese dress embroidered with plum blossoms, Marissa Hope Langguth was in her element Saturday.

"I like it — the lights, the decorations, and the food," said the Chinese girl, 8, standing in the atrium of First & Calvary Presbyterian Church.

There, red lanterns were hung high, red couplets with auspicious Chinese characters adorned entryways, and lucky bamboos and fresh tangerines were the centerpiece on dining tables.

More than 60 local families with adopted children — most from China — celebrated the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year and the Spring Festival, on its eve. They welcomed the Chinese Year of the Pig, which begins today.

Chinese New Year in Denver

Tooting the year of the pig
More than 400 children sang Chinese songs in Mandarin and English and performed traditional Chinese dances to usher in the Year of the Pig.

"It's very important to maintain some link to your heritage," said Charleen Quinn of Broomfield, who watched her daughter Alaine, 5, perform.

Quinn has two adopted daughters from China and theirs is one of 7,000 Colorado families that have had Chinese children placed with them through Chinese Children Adoption International in Centennial...

During Saturday's Year of the Pig party at Mission Hills Church in Greenwood Village, 40 3-year-olds sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in Mandarin and a group of 12-year-olds performed a traditional Chinese Lantern dance and other acts...

Katia Krupa, 13, performed the Lantern dance and welcomed the audience during a Chinese New Year greeting in which she donned a pig snout and ears made with pink paper.

"It makes me feel special," she said, "because it's the only day for me to perform in front of American and Chinese parents and meet people who are adopted and of the same culture."

Chinese New Year on Long Island

My old stomping grounds.

Chinese New Year has extra meaning for growing segment
The lunar new year beginning Sunday is but one of three such celebrations each year for Jayne Hirsch and her daughter, Rebecca.

"There's the American one, the Chinese lunar new year, and the Jewish new year," said Hirsch, 49, a retired computer consultant and single mother. "We celebrate them all."

The triple dose of holidays and cultures fits this Ronkonkoma family. Hirsch, who adopted Rebecca, 7, from a Chinese orphanage in 1999, is raising her as a Chinese-American Jew...

Hirsch draws support from organizations such as Families With Children From China. The nonprofit group's Long Island chapter is expecting about 400 people to attend its March 4 lunar new year celebration at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University, with dance and music performances by local student organizations...

In Teresa Baldinucci-Greenberg's Medford home, she serves dumplings and oranges symbolizing good fortune for her family, which includes two girls, Frances, 7, and Phoebe, 4, adopted from China.

"We're adapting our family to the girls' background," said Baldinucci-Greenberg, 43, who learned so much in the adoption process that she now works as an adoption consultant for prospective parents.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Oink! Happy New Year!

China ushers in year of the pig
People across China are celebrating the arrival of the Lunar New Year - China's most important festival which is seen as particularly auspicious this year.

The year of the pig is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity. But this time it is a golden pig year, which happens once in six decades.

Vast numbers have been on the move to be with their family for celebrations.

Carnival dragons have been on parade and fireworks have been lighting up the night sky in Beijing and elsewhere.

State TV broadcast images of President Hu Jintao visiting a Chinese family to wish them well.

Friday, February 16, 2007

NY Sun Article on Chinese Adoption

I hope Ms Carner didn't pick the unfortunate headline. Just the same, she's written a thought-provoking article:

Baby Supermarket
China's recent announcement of tighter guidelines for foreign adoption, together with a claim that the supply of available babies could not meet growing demand, surprised many.

How could there be a shortage when even the government-controlled Chinese press reports that thousands of babies are abandoned or killed shortly after birth, while many others are forcibly aborted?

Looking at the 2005 Unicef annual birth report and the Chinese government 2006 report of the country's boys-to-girls ratio, one would expect to find 1.7 million more girls than appear.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Adoption in Holland

Interesting article here. Brian Stuy's name is mentioned, but he's not quoted directly and there is no source cited for his research. Check out his blog to see the work he's done. Also, I'd never heard about the teahouse angle to the Hunan story.

It's also good to know Chinese babies are "hip". Goodness knows I wouldn't want to be "unhip".

Fewer Chinese Babies Adopted by Dutch
AMSTERDAM — The number of Chinese children adopted by the Dutch decreased dramatically last year. According to researcher Brian H. Stuy, this was due to the elimination of a large child-trafficking network in China.

According to a 2005 study in the province of Hunan, hundreds of children were sold to teahouses and later given out to foreign couples for adoption for a fee. This was almost one fifth of all the children adopted by foreigners that year.

After the network was uncovered, the number of Chinese children adopted by the Dutch decreased, although adoption bureaus in the Netherlands working with China strongly deny any former involvement in the Hunan schemes. In 2006 there were 362 Chinese children adopted, as compared to 666 in 2005 and 800 in 2004.

Another factor may be that married couples wishing to adopt a baby from China have to wait for 450 days now. In 2005 the waiting period was almost half that time.

Meanwhile, Chinese babies are “hip” now. Chinese authorities informed that the number of applications from foreigners to adopt a Chinese child has doubled in the last three years and reached 24,000 per year, ANP reports.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Boy Shortage

Wifeless future for China's men
China's future problems are easy to spot. You can see them in the front row of the Hui Kang kindergarten class in the city of Huizhou.

Four boys sit next to a girl. Further back, a girl in pigtails and a pink jumper stands out amid a group of boys.

In recent years, the kindergarten has been getting more and more boys.

Since the late 1970s Chinese couples have been allowed just one child - and most parents here prefer to have a son.

Ohio Adoption Story

Local family adopting from China
Greg and Cricket Matherly decided part way through the adoption process to consider adopting a special needs child. Then they started getting pictures from the agency and saw a smiling face, 6-year-old Jhin Jhin, abandoned at 4 months old at a police station.

Greg Matherly says, "If the child is over 6 years of age they're labeled as special needs because at that point it's considered to be a language barrier between English and as it is Mandarin."

So, the Matherly's will welcome, not a baby, but a six-year-old girl into their family.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Waiting Their Turn

China to eradicate queue-jumping
China has launched a campaign to try to eradicate queue-jumping in the capital ahead of the Olympic games in Beijing next year.

Thousands of volunteers have been out on the streets trying to persuade people to wait in line in order to present a better image to visitors.

The campaign was launched under the slogan: "It's civilised to queue, it's glorious to be polite."...

The queue-jumping campaign will take place in Beijing on the 11th day of every month from now on, demonstrating that no detail is too small to escape the authorities' attention.

Illinois Adoption Story

Families celebrate adoption, diversity
ROCKFORD — They say the hardest part is the wait.

Or the paperwork. Or the cost. Or the stigma.

Or more paperwork. And more waiting.

But the downsides to adopting abroad instantly vanished for Evelyn and Dennis Meyers the minute they spotted Molly. Next it was Annie. And then Zoey.

And in about two weeks, the family will return to China to gather the couple’s fourth child, 2-year-old Mary Su Yuan, after nearly a year of anticipation.

“It’s a really long and tiring process, but once you see that child, it’s like giving birth,” Evelyn said. “You have the child, and you forget it.”

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Valentine's Day in China

Don't tell my wife; she's getting dinner and flowers.

China's rich spend big to celebrate Valentine's Day
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Once considered a symbol of the decadent West, Valentine's Day is becoming big business in newly affluent China.

Nowhere more so than in Shanghai, China's showcase city for the economic reforms of the last three decades, a financial hub which is once more rediscovering its glory pre-World War II days when it was known as the Paris of the East.

This Valentine's Day, Shanghai banker Richard Fan will be buying his wife a 40,000 yuan ($5,146) Cartier wrist watch.

"I think it's a better gift than some 10,000 or 20,000 yuan ($1,300-$2,600) meal," said Fan, 37.

"A gift you can use daily looks much more concrete," he added, blithely.

Adoptions From Ethiopia Increasing

An article in The Post Star, of Glen Falls, NY, that give lie to the myth that Americans are shunning African orphans.

Adoption across an ocean
Ethiopian orphans finding homes with American families

When Cheryl Carter-Shotts first started trying to help Americans adopt children from Africa 20 years ago, she said people told her, " 'Africa, Cheryl? Wise up, nobody cares.' "

In her estimation, a couple of huge celebrities helped change that situation.

"Bono got involved in Africa, and people started paying attention," said Carter-Shotts, managing director of Americans for African Adoptions. "Then Angelina Jolie went in, and oh my god, it blew the doors of Ethiopia open for adoption."

These stars and Madonna may have focused more attention on Africa lately, but interest in Ethiopian adoptions has been growing for several years.

The number of children adopted to the U.S. from Ethiopia shot up from 135 in 2003 to 732 in 2006, making Ethiopia the fifth-most-popular country for American adoptions.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Celebrating Chinese New Year in NC

A common bond
Families of Asian adoptees celebrate Chinese New Year, new life

HICKORY - The house filled up quickly. Parents of children adopted from Asia gathered Friday evening for a Chinese New Year celebration at the Moore’s Ferry home of Alan and Judy Massengill.

About 80 people gathered in the couple’s basement. The children, wearing traditional Asian clothing, played while the grown-ups swapped stories and met newcomers to the celebration.

The group has a name: Catawba Valley Families with Asian Children. Shirley Mills, whose daughter Riley was adopted in China, is instrumental in keeping the families in touch with each other. The expanding network gathers about four times a year. They come from Boone, Wilkesboro, Morganton, Shelby, Statesville and the Hickory area.

Maryland Adoption Story

Parents opt for Chinese adoption
SALISBURY -- Keira Mengyu Linne Deysher ran around the house Wednesday morning in pink pajamas with sippy cup in hand.

Her energy was unstoppable until the 20-month-old focused her attention on two Chinese health balls from her home country of China.

"Sometimes I forget that she looks different than us," said Keira's father, Jack Deysher. "I see her -- I see my daughter."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

China to Shame Wealthy Serial Procreators

China to name those who skirt child policy
BEIJING - Officials in eastern China plan to name and shame rich families who ignore the country's strict one-child policy and simply pay the fine for having a second or third baby, state media said.

Zhang Wenbiao, head of the family planning commission in Zhejiang province, announced Wednesday that his agency plans to expose a few such cases in the near future, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

"The public is very much aware that some celebrities simply pay money to have two or more children," Zhang was quoted as saying, without mentioning any names. "This kind of behavior must be stopped."

Xinhua said the province also has raised the amount of the fines for violators. In some cases, families will have to pay more than $130,000 for violating the policy, it said without giving details.

Different Chinese provinces and cities have their own methods of punishing family planning violators, including fines and work demotions. Fines are sometimes calculated based on a family's income.

China's family planning policy — implemented in the late 1970's — limits urban couples to one child and rural families to two to control the population and conserve natural resources.

The government said last month that although a recent survey showed that about 60 percent of Chinese people would prefer to have two children, there were no plans to relax the policy.

China has about 1.3 billion people — 20 percent of the global total. The government has pledged to keep the population under 1.36 billion by 2010 and under 1.45 billion by 2020.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Number of Religious Chinese Three Times Greater Than Official Estimates

Survey finds 300m China believers
The number of religious believers in China could be three times higher than official estimates, according to a survey reported by state media.

A poll of 4,500 people by Shanghai university professors found 31.4% of people above the age of 16 considered themselves as religious.

This suggests 300 million people nationwide could be religious, compared to the official figure of 100 million.

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Alabama

Families that adopted from Asia host Chinese New Year
Amy Hall wanted to be a mother and had feared that might not happen.

So, she and husband Richard decided it was time to start an adoption process, which took them all the way to China.

That was in 2000. Today, they have three children — two they were adopted in a far away land and one biological child.

On Feb. 17, the Halls and approximately 50 other families who have adopted children from China will get together for their second-annual Chinese New Year Celebration at Lindsay Lane Baptist Church in Athens.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Russian Lit 101

A few months ago, someone in our October 2006 DTC Yahoo group posed a question, to the effect of what we were going to do during the long wait for our referral. Partly in jest, I responded that I would read The Brothers Karamazov, Les Miserables and War and Peace, the three longest novels I could think of. Well, today I finished The Brothers Karamazov, three months after I started it. It’s a book I had begun reading a few times before but never finished. It is a daunting work, a complex psychological novel filled with long Russian names, religious themes, greed, lust and murder and it weighs in at almost 900 dense pages. I committed to reading about ten pages a day and I figure it took about 40 total hours to complete. Suffice it to say, I think anytime spent reading great literature is well worth it.

I was already familiar with the philosophy espoused by the character of Ivan Karamazov, the intellectual brother who surmised that without God, all things are permissible; in other words, we are accountable only to ourselves. This way of thinking is internalized by Smerdyakov, a servant to, and illegitimate son of, the father, Fyodor Karamazov, and it’s how Smerdyakov justifies killing him and successfully framing another brother, Dmitry, for the murder. Aleksey, the youngest of the brothers, is a novice monk and is under the tutelage of an elder at the local monastery when the story begins. He is seen as the novel’s “hero” and moral conscience and his relationship with the other members of his family makes for some interesting dialogue. Throw in some jealousy and good old fashioned greed and you have a great novel. I know I’m enriched for having stuck with it.

Indiana Adoption Story

Goshen family adopts baby from China
Ministry started to help others adopt

Goshen, Ind — Watching Cydney Culver play, it’s hard to imagine that she has been in the United States for only six months.

The 14-month-old enjoys looking at books, emptying her toy box and “helping” older sister Chelsea put away the dishes.

Cydney was born in China and abandoned by her mother shortly after birth. She lived in an orphanage in Chong Qing with 100 other babies until being adopted in July by Wes and Val Culver of Goshen.

OT: The Strange Case of Lisa Nowak

How does one go from being the pride of NASA’s space program to looking like a meth addict from an episode of “COPS”? Ah, t’was love that did it, apparently:
An astronaut and married mother was charged for plotting to kidnap another woman whom police believe to be her romantic rival — the envied third in a romantic triangle involving a fellow astronaut.

Lisa Nowak, a 43-year-old robotics specialist who last year soared 350 kilometres above Earth in the International Space Station, spent Monday night in a dingy jail cell awaiting her Tuesday court appearance…

Police said she drove more than 1,400 kilometres, donned a disguise and was armed with a BB gun and pepper spray when she confronted a woman she believed was a competitor for the affections of Navy Cmdr. William Oefelein
Wait, it gets weirder:
Nowak raced from Houston to Orlando wearing diapers in the car so she wouldn't have to stop to go to the bathroom, authorities said. Astronauts wear diapers during launch and re-entry…
I suppose she had an extra gas tank, too? I don’t know of any cars with a range of 800 miles per tank. Anyway, let’s see what else she carried along:
Police found a steel mallet, a 100-millimetre folding knife, rubber tubing, $600 and garbage bags inside a bag Nowak was carrying when she was arrested, authorities said. They also found a letter "that indicated how much Mrs. Nowak loved Mr. Oefelein," an opened package for a buck knife, Shipman's home address and handwritten directions to the address, the arrest affidavit said.
Now I’m no lawyer, but that sounds premeditated.
Police said Nowak told them that she only wanted to scare Shipman into talking to her about her relationship with Oefelein and didn't want to harm her physically.
Scare the dickens out of romantic rival? Check.
Flush career and marriage down the toilet? Check.
Embarrass space program? Check.

Not bad for a day’s work, huh?

Texas A&M 100, Texas 82

Yes, I stayed up to watch the game, which was actually closer than the final score indicates. Kevin Durant is a nice player but he can't carry Texas by himself. A gutty performance by the Ags, who found themselves behind in the second half after being up by as many as 14 points.

These guys are good.

Aggies stay on a roll with win over Longhorns
Carter, Law combine for 45 points as A&M follows up win over Kansas

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Brief History of General Tso's Chicken

Not surprisingly, this dish is unknown in Hunan Province.

Hunan Resources
General Tso’s (or Zuo’s)chicken is the most famous Hunanese dish in the world. A delectable concoction of lightly battered chicken in a chili-laced sweet-sour sauce, it appears on restaurant menus across the globe, but especially in the Eastern United States, where it seems to have become the epitome of Hunanese cuisine. Despite its international reputation, however, the dish is virtually unknown in the Chinese province of Hunan itself. When I went to live there four years ago, I scoured restaurant menus for it in vain, and no one I met had ever heard of it. And as I deepened my understanding of Hunanese food, I began to realize that General Tso’s chicken was somewhat alien to the local palate because Hunanese people have little interest in dishes that combine sweet and savory tastes. So how on earth did this strange, foreign concoction come to be recognized abroad as the culinary classic of Hunan?

Aussies Rushing to Complete Dossiers

Adoption rule change sparks rush
SINGLE women across Australia queuing to adopt babies from China will have their applications speeded up before a rule is introduced barring applicants who are single, older than 50 or overweight.

The Chinese Government has announced that from May 1, the process of applying to adopt from China will become even stricter.

But authorities in NSW, Victoria, the ACT and Western Australia, the only states that allow adoption by sole parents, have told the hopeful singles already approved by Australian authorities that it will give them priority in the batches of applicant files they send through to the Chinese adoption agency.

Texas A&M: It's Not Just For Football Anymore

I was watching this game last night and, die-hard fan that I am, went to bed when the Aggies were down by eight in the second half. It ended up turning into a historic win. Tomorrow night, they're playing arch rival Texas on ESPN. Note to self: Watch the game, tape "24".

A&M ends Kansas' rule
Law's trey at end caps Aggies' rally to earn 69-66 win

LAWRENCE, Kan. - It was a stage unlike any Texas A&M had been on before.

Stuck in a hostile environment in a packed Allen Fieldhouse. A national television audience was watching, and sixth-ranked Kansas was waiting.

Oh, by the way, the Jayhawks had never lost to a Big 12 South team on their home floor.

And still the upstart Aggies staged a show-stealing performance, defeating Kansas 69-66 and quieting 16,300 fans in the process to claim the outright lead in the Big 12 standings.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

China, Taiwan, What's the Difference?

Quite a lot:

Taiwan anthem played for China officials
ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada - A diplomatic gaffe marred Saturday's inauguration of a China-financed stadium on this Caribbean island when a band performed the national anthem of Chinese rival Taiwan.

Chinese Ambassador Qian Hongshan and scores of blue-uniformed Chinese laborers who built the $40 million Queen's Park stadium as a gift were visibly uncomfortable as Taiwan's anthem echoed inside the 20,000-seat venue.

Describing it as a blunder, Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell pledged an investigation into how the Royal Grenada Police Band could have prepared the anthem of Taiwan instead of China.

The Jolie/Madonna Factor

When Stars Adopt
Could High Profile Adoptions Backfire?

At first, it seemed like the best possible PR for a worthy cause. Two of the most famous female performers in the world — first Angelina Jolie, then Madonna — chose to adopt children from third-world countries. When Jolie adopted her second child, Zahara, from Ethiopia, the number of adoptions from that country rose dramatically, from 441 in 2005 to 732 in 2006.

But then came the negative attention: Accusations that Madonna had used her star power to circumvent an African nation's adoption rules. The printing of supposedly critical comments about Madonna made by Jolie. And the sentencing of a Washington state woman for fraudulently arranging Cambodian adoptions — which would not have gained much attention, had Jolie not been one of her former clients.

South Dakota Adoption Story...

...and a little bit about the new CCAA rules.
Stricter adoption options
But couple says international rules shouldn't deter families
At Dennis and Jeri Hoffman's Sioux Falls home, four little girls add up to the perfect number.
The Hoffmans have brought the children into their family through adoptions from China."I can think of nothing I'd rather do with my life than to see the four becoming grown and independent and thriving, and they are. They are smart, hardworking young ladies that love life," says Jeri Hoffman...
While the Hoffmans had lengthy waits to claim each of their young daughters through foreign adoptions, they did so before rules become more strict this spring. They went to China to bring their youngest and last adopted daughter, Jayda, home in October.
Future adoptive parents will face tougher restrictions from China and other countries that are tightening the rules for foreign adoptions. Beginning in May, China will require parents to be between ages 30 and 50, be married at least two years and have $80,000 in assets. In addition, they cannot be obese, have mental health issues or have any other medical condition, says Barbara Palmer, a Sioux Falls social worker with Holt International.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Disturbing Scene...

Justice is swift and ruthless under Judge Ally. Today, she sentenced two of her stuffed animals to the Saddam treatment for crimes against humanity…or something. Bunny Rabbit and Black & White Dog were dead animals walking as they were somberly led to the scaffold. Both nobly refused a hood as they met their demise. Here’s the aftermath, obtained from a grainy cell phone image (WARNING: Graphic picture to follow):

*Sigh* I'll have to have a talk with that girl.


Well, this goes to show I should read the blogs on my blog roll more often, but, alas I’ve been busy of late and have fallen behind. It seems I have been “tagged” by Monica over at Dumplings, Three to list six weird things about myself. Really? Just six, huh?

OK, here goes:

1) I can wiggle one ear at a time. I’m not sure how uncommon this is, but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone else who could do it. When I wiggle my right ear, my right eyebrow goes up as well. Not so with the left.

2) I majored in Physics. Enough said.

3) I don’t use an alarm clock and still manage to wake up around 5 AM every morning, no matter what time I went to bed. On days I don’t have to go to work, I have to force myself to go back to sleep. Sometimes it doesn’t happen.

4) Since college, I have done my own laundry and ironing and that has continued to this day. My wife has never ironed a single article of my clothing in the eleven years we’ve been married. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

5) I can sometimes make myself sneeze by looking at a bright light. From what I’ve read, about 25% of people can do this.

6) As a young teenager, I had an extensive collection of Barry Manilow records. To this day, I have no idea why I was drawn to his music. I later gravitated to Springsteen, The Eagles and Neil Young when I got to high school.

So there’s the list. I think Monica tagged enough people, so I’ll leave it at that.

California School Board Says "No" to Chinese Classes

Palo Alto Board Rejects Classes in Mandarin
PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 31 — It would have seemed to be a perfect fit: an academically ambitious plan for an ambitiously academic city.

But after weeks of debate occasionally tinged with racial overtones, the Palo Alto Unified School District decided early Wednesday against a plan for Mandarin language immersion, citing practical concerns as well as whether the classes would give the small group of students in them an unfair advantage.

The proposal, which was voted down 3 to 2 after a marathon six-hour meeting of the district school board, would have established two classes taught mostly in Mandarin — the world’s most spoken language, used by nearly one billion Chinese — to 40 kindergarten and first-grade students at a local elementary school.