Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Try as we might, we couldn't get her to wear a "Mulan" costume. Minnie Mouse would have to do this year:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One Year DTC: Some Thoughts

It was one year ago today that we were DTC for our second adoption from China. At that time, the most recent batch of referrals contained 18 days worth of log in dates (LIDs) and the wait was 14 months from LID to referral.

What I wouldn’t give to see that now. The seven most recent batches have contained single digits of LIDs and the wait is now about two years. All signs are pointing toward fewer Chinese children adopted into American families this year (FY 2007) than last, and 2006 was down about 1,500 from 2005. Factor in China’s booming economy, making it possible for more families to pay the fine for multiple children, and the prospect of adopting a second child by 2008 looks bleak. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that more children are staying with their families or being adopted domestically in China. It’s not. It’s just that you plan on a certain time frame and when it looks like it will be pushed back by a number of years, you start to wonder: How long is too long?

I turn 44 this Saturday. I know plenty of folks who became parents in their 40s. I don’t feel old, but I haven’t kept up with my running and for the first time I am starting to feel my age (even if I don’t act it!). The pants are a little tighter, the wrinkles more numerous, the hair a bit grayer. It’s all there. End-of-life issues are starting to work their way into my thinking: Wills. Retirement. Early-bird specials. I know I shouldn’t worry about those things yet, but I do. I worry about depriving a child of a parent, a child who has already experienced abandonment once. Maybe it’s because my own mom and dad were in their 60s when they died. It definitely makes you think.

On the other hand, we are lucky to have the daughter we do have. Ally is growing into a beautiful, intelligent young lady and we couldn’t be more proud. She talks about getting a sister from China. We haven’t really emphasized the second adoption, but she knows. Recently, for the first time, I’ve begun wondering what would happen if we didn’t, or couldn’t, adopt again. It’s already been a year and it will, in all likelihood, take at least another year, probably more. Can we live with that? Perhaps, but I wouldn’t want to. Right now, we’re in it for as long as China will keep the door open. I just wish they’d open it a little wider.

P.S.: Sorry for the dearth of posts the past couple of weeks. It's been a busy October, but I expect a bunch of stories coming up in November for National Adoption Month.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"He followed me home, can I keep him?"

We made our annual pilgrimage to Cox Farms yesterday, wherein many hay rides were taken, many animals were pet and many gourds observed. A perfect day to take in some Fall activities and secure some pumpkins for the front porch, soon to end up as orange mash in the middle of the street (darn kids). There were many slides featured this year, of varying heights and changes from potential to kinetic energy. We worked our way up to the taller ones.

And the pony rides! How can you not shell out the five spot for a couple of turns around the ring at a half mile an hour on a wild animal that may throw your precious, helmet-less little girl at any minute? No, really these were the most docile creatures on the planet, doubtless sedated with the equine equivalent of Valium for this gig. Of course it was Ally's first time on one, and not her last I suspect.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Missouri Adoption Story

Wells learn adoption process while adding a new member to their family
Adopting a child from any country is difficult but it is something the Wells family is tackling with great pride and large smiles.

Andy and Angie Wells have two sons, six-year-old Jack and two-year-old Jude, but have decided to diversify and adopt a child from China to make their family complete.

The Wellses have a blog. You can check it out here.

More Child Abuse on a Chinese Girl By Her Dad

Not to be outdone by this idiot, another Chinese dad got the bright idea of torturing his daughter for sport:

Girl swims river with hands, feet tied
BEIJING - A father tied his 10-year-old daughter's hands and feet and watched her swim in a chilly southern China river for three hours in a task he said Thursday would help the girl achieve her dream of swimming across the English Channel...

News photos showed Huang Li, wearing a skirted swimsuit, being picked up out of the water by her father. Her ankles were tied together with string and her hands were bound by a strip of cloth. A newspaper report said the girl was so cold her face had turned blue.

"It's not dangerous because, first, her swimming skills are really good and second, I was swimming with her, staying close to her," the father said. "I had her when I was 35, so she is my heart. I would never play around with her life."


Georgia Adoption Story

Pair adopts child as an act of faith
Their years together were forever changing, but their dream never changed.

For 12 years, it was constant, rooted, like many of the couple's aspirations, in Scripture.

For Bill and Amanda Burke, their yearning to adopt a child was in keeping with James 1:27: "Pure and undefiled religion before God is this: to care for orphans."

At Cornerstone Church of Christ, where the Lawrenceville couple are members, it has become part of the mission.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Chinese Housing Bubble?

It's not only happening in the United States. Can subprime loans be far behind?

China blames local officials as housing prices keep soaring
The Chinese government has admitted to failing to curb soaring home prices, blaming local officials for not doing enough to ensure sufficient housing supply, state media said Tuesday.

The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top planning agency, will make lending and taxation policies more targeted in order to improve the situation, the China Daily reported, without elaborating on the new measures.

From January to August, sales of houses increased 30.9 percent from the same period last year, and supply has had problems keeping up with enormous demand, according to the paper.

"Some places have failed to act more actively to adjust the structure of house supply and stabilise house prices," the paper quoted the National Development and Reform Commission as saying in a statement.

The commission said the failure amounted to "dereliction of duty" on the part of some local officials, citing an offense punishable by lengthy jail terms in China.

Most importantly, local officials have not met targets for the construction of relatively small apartments of less than 90 square meters (970 square feet), the paper said.

Government policies dictate that 70 percent of all new homes being built must be of this modest size, but currently less than 25 percent falls into the category.

Land set aside for building houses has also not been developed in a timely manner, while some developers have hoarded land and houses to profit from rising prices, according to the paper.

As part of new measures unveiled last week, the downpayment requirement for people buying a second home was raised to 40 percent from 30 percent.

China has since 2005 taken a lengthy series of steps, including interest rate hikes and imposing taxes, to curb rapidly rising real estate prices amid concerns of a dangerous bubble in the sector.

But apparently to little avail. Property prices in 70 major cities across the country rose 8.2 percent in August from a year earlier, the fastest so far this year, according to official data.

Property prices in Beijing were up 12.1 percent in August year-on-year and 20.8 percent in southern Shenzhen, a booming city just across the border from Hong Kong.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Some Canadian "Waiting Child" Adoptions Stonewalled

On P.E.I., the government has taken over facilitating the adoption of children from China's Waiting Child Program, with predictable results:

P.E.I. building obstacles to international adoption, families say
New polices on P.E.I. are blocking international adoption, some families are complaining, and they've formed a group to lobby for change.

They're urging the premier to step in and change his government's policies. They fear without a change, they will lose their chance to adopt.

"All of us feel that the province does not support international adoption. That's why we're coming forward," Tammy MacKinnon, spokeswoman for the P.E.I. Adoption Coalition, told CBC News Friday.

"We want to know why it's being made so difficult."

The issue is with China's Waiting Child Program, which places children with medical problems, sometimes very minor ones. Because of the difficulty of successfully placing these children, the Chinese program uses agencies in Canada to help select families. Four P.E.I. children have been adopted under China's Waiting Child Program.

But in 2005, China became part of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The P.E.I. government believes this requires the province to take a more direct role in the adoptions, and it has cut the Canadian agencies from the process, causing lengthy delays.

The agencies are accredited provincially in Ontario and Quebec. P.E.I. is the only province in Canada that has stopped using the agencies for the Waiting Child Program, because it believes it is illegal to use them.