As all adoptive parents know, you must spend two weeks in China when you travel to get your child. When I travel to China, the majority of my time will be spent in the Guangdong Province. My daughter currently lives here and the American consulate is located here. Your sight seeing plans depend a lot on where your flights arrive and depart from. Many adoptive parents arrive and/or depart from Beijing. You can visit the Bird's Nest (site of the 2010 Olympics) and the Great Wall of China. I plan to depart from Hong Kong. Why? 1) Because Hong Kong is near the Guangdong Province. 2) Because I am a Disney fanatic and Hong Kong is the location for the newest Disneyland. There is something magical about Disney, maybe… [more]
The Chinese New Year is upon us. As a prospective adoptive parent, I plan on celebrating it this year with my husband and a few family members. As this is not a typical American holiday, I was unfamiliar with the holiday's history and particular nuisances. The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in the Chinese culture. The holiday season typically last many days, like the American holidays in late December. New Year's Day is based on the lunar calendar so it can fall on any date in late January or Feburary. It starts with the new moon and ends on the full moon 15 days later (the lantern festival). For 2011, the date for the Chinese New Year is February 3. The Chinese New Year… [more]
After my husband and I applied to our agency, we started the home study process to adopt our child from China. As many of you can attest, the home study is not as bad as you might think (but that is for another post). During our first home visit, my social worker asked me how long I thought the entire process would take. I was somewhat naive and responded "I think it will take 18 - 24 months from start to finish". "You will probably wait 4 - 5 years for a referral of a non-special needs (NSN) child," said my social worker. "Wow! That's a long time," both my husband and I exclaimed. "Why is it such a long wait?", I asked
If you're soon to be traveling to adopt a young Chinese person - or if you're just the type to be interested in other people's trips - you could do worse than to cast your eyes over Randy Cassingham's travel blog. If you haven't heard of Cassingham, he's one of the godfathers of internet publishing. He's been running a for-profit e-mail newsletter, This is True, since the mid-90s. It collects news stories from the world press - focusing on the bizarre, idiotic and just plain unbelievable - and presents them in a snappy little digest with just a little bit of wry editorializing. There's a free version that's worth checking out if you haven't already. Anyway, he and a bunch of subscribers recently got… [more]
I have been a bad adoptive parent. I'm beginning to get the idea that parenthood is really one long negotiation involving equal parts frustration (because they never do what you want them to do) and guilt (because you never wind up doing what you should be doing). One of the things I feel like I should be doing - one of the Big Important Things for internationally adopted kids - is signing Daughter up for Mandarin lessons. She's four, she's brilliant, and she's taking ballet. She likes ballet. She does well at it. But when she's 24, I wonder if she'll have built up a tremendous reservoir of resentment over not having any real mastery over the language of the country of her birth. I know… [more]
Because traveling families (and other people with a connection to China, like, uh, people who've adopted from China) need to know what's going on, here's just a few headlines from the Middle Kingdom:
- The Dalai Lama just got a medal from America's government, and boy, is the Chinese legislature ticked off. That official statement is as good a way as any to learn China's version of Tibetan history. It also ends dramatically: No force can stop the progress of Tibet in the great family of the Chinese nation. All attempts to interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine China's fundamental interests are doomed to failure. You can practically hear the ominous music swell, can't you?
- On a marginally related note (and of more interest to
One day, the Leader of the School called all his pupils and declared, "Life and death are serious things. You pupils waste your time making offerings, seeking worldly blessings and not even trying to break out of the cycle of life and death! If you give yourself over to delusions, how can blessings save you? Go to your rooms and think for yourselves! "Those who have true wisdom, use it! Each of you has to write a verse for me. For the student who best sums up the basic ideas taught by the Buddha, I will hand over my robes, naming that person the next Leader of the School. Go on! Hurry!" ...Late that night, Head Monk Shen-hsiu snuck out and wrote a verse on the wall by… [more]
So, we're teetering closer than ever to a diplomatic something between the United States and China - something that could, one way or another, have a direct effect on paperwork and people traveling between the two countries. Including, of course, those of us involved in the business of international adoption. Today is the day that the Dalai Lama is supposed to get a Congressional Gold Medal. He's already been buddying around with Dubya at the White House, and joining Al Gore in the limelight from getting the Nobel Peace Prize. And the United States has been warned. Declared Zhang Qingli, the leader of the Communist Party in Tibet: "We are furious. If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must… [more]
If you're planning on going to China for any reason and doing any kind of business there - or simply interacting with people on any level ("More tea, please!" "Why yes, I think the document you need is right here."), then it's a good idea to know something about Chinese etiquette. There are guides aplenty that define important concepts like guangxi (personal connection) mianzi ("face" or reputation) and keqi (modest propriety), or that give pointers on gift giving and how to communicate or how to address people. What's interesting lately is that, according to what this humble typist has been reading, China has a new Ms. Manners who's working on changing China's public rules of courtesy… [more]
- So Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, the cartoon we've all been waiting for with the Chinese-American family and the adopted Chinese vocal star... well, we'll have to keep waiting. It won't be airing until February now. I'm hoping this doesn't bode ill for the project. And I hope it comes out on DVD soon.
- This wait is nothing, really, compared to the real wait. And for some families - like the Burkes, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, it can take 12 years. OK, really, that's more of a metaphorical wait, but their adoption story is sweet, and the whole story did take more than a decade. Key facts: special needs, toddler, in foster care, boy (very much so): But