Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Parents in the Waiting Room

We had our second meeting of the Orlando area "Future Parents of Chinese Children" last Monday and benefited from a few tidbits of info that were passed on by our guest of the week.
The meeting was held at the Mongolian BBQ in Orlando (all you can eat) and our guest was a church member who had gone on a mission trip to China to work in an orphanage. She and her husband presented a short slide and video show which included a serenade by some of the orphanage's residents. They were beautiful! I never heard anything that sounded so much like cats in heat that sounded so beautiful! The expressions of gratitude on the faces of the children were radiant.
Our speaker indicated that the orphanage they worked in had several 'closed to visitors' areas which included the dorms. She speculated that due to funding, the staff were not able to keep some areas 'up to par' with others.
Another interesting item - Don't be surprized if the orphange hands over your new child in clothing which may not appear to be the newest. The orphanage personnel realize that the children will have clothing above and beyond what the facility can provide and save the better clothing for the children who will stay behind. Even if you send new clothing to YOUR child, chances are it will be given to another.
More next month after our meeting........

Monday, June 26, 2006

Bethany Christian Services Golf Tournament - June 15 - Diamond Player's Club, Clermont, FL

Don here.........

I had the opportunity to volunteer for a charity benefit for our adoption agency this past week. Not being a golfer myself, I had a few questions when approched about working the tournament.

What kind of tournament was it? I found out that a 'scramble' does not mean that you play with different players on each hole, but refers to an event when groups of players start their game at the same time on different holes and play until they've completed the course.

OK ..... so what will I be doing? I would be monitoring the 'closest to the pin' contest on hole 14. I had watched enough golf to know what my duties would be so I set out with my co-monitor, Kyle, another volunteer, and we drove our golf cart out to our location. "So, where's our air conditioned monitor's booth?" This is the middle of June in central Florida and we're out here for the next 3+ hours and no air conditioning? Relax, Don. The first group in the scramble started at hole 13 so as soon as they play through, you can head back to the clubhouse for about 90 minutes while the other 8 gtoups play through. Cool.

So, the first group sets up to tee off and realizes that the markers are not properly spaced. They start complaining to me - like I had the answer. Well, apparently I did because I told them just to put all the markers together and everyone in the tournament would tee off from the same place. First group was fine with that, and no one else complained, and a sacred hush fell over tee 14 as the first golfer wacked the ball. The rest of the group finished and I told Kyle "This should have been a 'closest to the sandtrap' contest." We howled and waited for the next group to come through and then we headed back for our break.

Kyle drove back, and on the way I said "Kyle, tell be about that tattoo." He had a wooden cross, about 6 inches long, with a crown of thorns tattooed on his arm. Kyle said that he had just graduated high school, played football for his school and found out during his senior that he had cancer. I was floored! Here was an 18 year old who appeared perfectly healthy ---- and he was a cancer survivor! He said he wants to carry the cross for the rest of his life to remind him that Christ had already suffered the pain for him. After several surgeries, he is cancer free! I told him that my wife, Be, is also a cancer survivor and we both realized all we had to be thankful for.(Note- don't be afraid to have whatever tests it takes for early cancer detection - Be and Kyle are living examples of survivors who benefited from early detection.)

So, we get back to the clubhouse and cool off. I came across our adoption case worker, Sallie, who said she wanted to see the course but was stuck in the clubhouse until the groups finished up their play. I took this as an opportunity to chat with her about a few of my adoption issues, so I told her to hop in the cart and I'd show her around. She grabbed her camera and off we went, photographing various groups along the way. We talked about my future child and how great it will be that she'll have a full time parent as well as our unique circumstances concerning our ages. We had a fine time and as we were headed back to the clubhouse, we went up a steep slope and the cart was groaning to make it to the top. I began to sing "Climb Every Mountain" and stopped short in horror realizing ......"Here I am ..... sitting with my adoption case worker ...... on a golf course ...... I'm a guy and I'm singing show tunes!!!!!" My fears were brought to a hault when she took the song up where I left off and we finished it in two part harmony. I think we both had a bit too much sun.......

So Kyle and I went back to hole 14 and on the way we passed the biggest (largest) foursome who truly tested the structural integrity of their golf carts. Kyle asked "Are those guys supposed to be athletes?" I responded "Yeah. I think there must be a sumo wrestlers' golf tournament here today also." We howled and finished out our day at hole 14.

Sallie promised to keep the duet under wraps.....

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Moved To The Top - Happy Father's Day

Moved this to the top for Father's Day........
........ I pulled this post from the archives as I believe it is important in the international adoption arena to stress the significance of the father in the mix ..... not only the adoptive father, but also the many fathers, who with their wives or mothers of their children, had to make the heartbreaking decision to give up their baby for adoption due to governmental restrictions or cultural guidelines. Yes, as a male, a prospective father, I cannot imagine being placed in such an unthinkable circumstance - it would rip my heart out. So here's to the dads who make the best decisions they can for their children, the fathers who will know the joy of adding to their families - and - the fathers who agonize over releasing their precious child to a complete stranger because they are unable to care for her....

Did you know that the USA is one of the few countries that formally recognizes and celebrates "Father's Day" as a holiday? The common Chinese word for Father or Dad is: "Baba."

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to Dads and Dads to be!!! The origin of "Father's Day" varies slightly but ultimately the purpose was to honor Fathers or Father-figures. Some say it started with a woman in Washington state who wanted to honor her widowed father who raised her and her five other siblings since her mother died in childbirth. Another story comes from West Virginia during a dedicated church service. Like many traditions, we may never know... but this Sunday, we will honor, celebrate, and acknowledge men who are Fathers or Father-figures to children and adults. Thanks to Dads everywhere! Oftentimes in the world of adoption, it is the Mother that prepares the paperwork, researches and educates on the subject of parenthood and adoptive parenting, nests the home, and develops a bond to the idea of an adopted child. The maternal link of bonding and attachment pretenses this idea. We do know, however, that there are many Fathers in the adoption world that are very much involved in the adoption process. Step back from your adoption process and do your best to be sure that both parents are equally involved in the process. When it comes to Birth-Parents, our focus is typically on the Birth-Mother. What about the Birth-Father? What is his role? How do we talk to our children about him? What are the cultural implications of his contribution? Why is it that some adoptees don't think about their Birth-Father, but rather their Birth-Mother? As adoptive families, we should be careful not to create a huge separation between the Birth-Mother and the Birth-Father. We honor Birth-Mothers but too often forget about Birth-Fathers. They too, contributed to the LIFE of this precious child. Regardless of the circumstances around the conception or birth of these children, we must find a way to talk about Birth-Fathers. This concept plays an important role in the child's perception of gender equalities, future relationships and the child's relationship with their Adoptive Father. Please remember, what we say about our children's Birth-Parents ultimately is what we are saying about them.

Tip: Check with your employers to be sure that Adoptive Fathers are equally eligible for Adoption Leave, Paternal Leave, or FMLA. It is just as important for Babas to have ample time to bond to their new child as it is for Mamas!

Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

In the Archives.........

For new visitors to our blog......

We are in a very LONG waiting "post-log-in" period where we need to exercise the virtue of patience for the next 9 months or so. Consequently, most of our posts are either comics, funny pics or informational items we find on other sites re: Adoption in China. So, for the more personal stuff, you have to go into the Archives. Here are a few posts which document the beginning of our adventure.........

August 2005 Adoption? ... Why Now?
September 2005 Immigrations Agitations & Illuminations
November 2005 2 X 4
April 2006 Let's Talk Paperwork
April 2006 Chinese Baby Ultrasound (Log In Date Announcement)

You'll also find other gems along the way ..........

Friday, June 02, 2006

Some Beautiful Scenes from China

Cut and paste the link to your address line (or click below if site reference appears as a link) and take a look at these fine pics from China. The site also includes links to other photos........