Friday, July 28, 2006

Stir Fried Facts #5 - The Orphanage

Received this e-mail from our case worker today.......

Many families ask if they will be able to visit their child's orphanage while in China. They also inquire about visiting the reported abandonment site. An adopted child's past can be very mysterious. As adoptive parents, we try to do our best to gather information for our children. We realize that when they grow older, they may have questions about where they are from. Thinking about these issues now is a great start! Whether visiting your child's orphanage is possible or not, what is critical is that you are in their birth-country experiencing things that you can share with them later in life. You can take photos of daily life, tell your child what China looks like, smells like, and what the people are like. You can purchase things that represent China. You have also breathed the same air as their birth-parents... There are some Provinces in China that do not allow for families to visit the orphanages. In other Provinces, the decision lies with the orphanage director. Sometimes it just depends on the day. A few reasons why orphanages do not permit visitors: -Very honestly, some are embarrassed by their facilities. They may not be clean or luxurious. In the past, there have been some families that made rude comments or showed their disgust in reference to the orphanage standards. -New visitors bring new germs. -They may not have time to entertain guests. The caretakers priority is to care for the children. Oftentimes, there is a lot of preparation for visitors (cleaning, preparing foods, etc.). -They may not have the funds to entertain guests. -The orphanage may be too far away from the capital city of the Province you are staying in. -There may not be safe roads to travel to the orphanage from your hotel or the weather may not be conducive to country traveling. -When families have visited in the past, it is difficult not to pick up the babies/children in the orphanage. Although this may be temporarily satisfying for the visitors and the children momentarily, it leaves the caretakers with many screaming children after the visitors leave :o(( -Some Provinces simply do not allow for adoptive families to visit or have direct contact with the orphanage. Should you be a family that is privileged to visit your child's orphanage, there are a few things to keep in mind: -It would be appropriate (and sometimes expected) to bring additional donations or money along to the visit. Please be mindful and respectful of the cultural differences. -Keep the visit and visitors limited, you are bringing new germs into the environment. -Do NOT bring your child back to the orphanage. After they have been removed from the orphanage and their caretakers, it may be traumatic for them to return again to see their surroundings, caretakers and little friends that are left behind. This may cause regression in your child's attachment to you. It can also be very difficult for other children remaining in the orphanage to see families parading through with their little friends. One parent can stay back at the hotel with the child, while the other parent travels to the orphanage. -Take health precautions (for your sake and the children in the orphanage) before and after entering the orphanage. -Ask first before taking photos or video. If they request no photos be taken, please honor this request. Oftentimes, the children in the orphanage may not be available for adoption or may be matched with another family. We need to protect their privacy. -This may be an orphanage with a lot of money and they are hoping to "show off" their accomplishments. Be complimentary! -This may be a very poor orphanage that is opening it's doors to visitors in hopes for extra donations. Be generous! -Please remember... there are families that are behind you in the process, please do not do anything that would prevent other families from having this amazing experience too. Depending on the conditions of the orphanage or your own experience, an orphanage visit may trigger many difficult emotions for you too, as a parent. We may or may not know whether an orphanage visit will be possible before you depart the U.S. Sometimes these trips are unpredictable. Possible orphanage donations: In addition to the required $3,000 orphanage donation that is a part of the China country fee, here are some additional suggestions: U.S. cash is always preferred. With the cash, the orphanage can purchase what they need, when they need it. Some families pool their monies and go shopping with Shiyan to make purchases. Some large items that may have been purchased in China include a commercial washer & dryer, cooking appliances, cribs, formula, and medical equipment. Other smaller items that families can bring from the U.S. are: Tylenol Cold meds for babies & children, child suppositories, dried prunes, antibiotics. These can be used for your child or donated to the orphanages.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Fingerprints ..... again!

Well, it's been a year since my posting about our fingerprinting episode last year .... (see "Archives" - Immigrations Aggitations & Illuminations). So, since they expire in October (their life span is 15 months) we'd best get them re-done since this paperwork pregnancy is taking a lot longer than we had opriginally planned. Be and I have just sent in our request for the re-deux and perhaps this will serve as a reminder to our visitors to check the date of your last printing - and renew as needed. Here's the site with the info .......

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Streets of St. Augustine

Where do Orlandoans go to escape the Magic Kingdom? Many head to St Augustine. We recently overnighted at a Bed & Breakfast at "The Oldest City in America" and took to the streets of the old city at about 7 AM, before the other tourists came out. Here are a few shots of our morning.....

Pictures .... from the top .......

The Victorian Inn (the floor in our room sloped and we slept with heads at the foot end of the bed

Be & B & B

Cemetary on Spanish Street

Be & Waterwheel

Artist Row

Charlotte Street

Aviles Street

Saint George Street

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New Thrill Ride from China

We've gotta save some time on our China journey to experience this!
I guess this means I'll have to pack a suit......

Monday, July 03, 2006