Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Get Your TIckets Here, Folks - Tour the CCAA

Pictures from Top to Bottom:

1- Dossier storage area - agencies are said to be color coded - (Look, honey. I think I see our dossier. Yeah, that one! Down 3 shelves and a little over to the left........)

2- The DTV (Dossier Transport Vehicle) bringing documents from the storage area to the Review Room where they are scrutinized and fine tuned. (Wait! No, that can't be ours. Rumor Queen says they haven't made it that far yet. Oh well, pass the soy sauce, please).

3- The Review Room

4- The Matching Room - where prospective parents are matched up with waiting chilldren.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Stir Fried Facts #8 - Transracially Adopted Children’s Bill of Rights

The "Stir Fried Facts" items in our blog are usually informational e-mails from our agency, Bethany Christian Services. We have come to have respect and admiration for the staff and their mission to place children in good homes.
The symbols on the header depict our daughter's name, Joanna, in Chinese.
Transracially Adopted Children’s Bill of Rights
Adapted by Liza Steinberg Triggs from “A Bill of Rights for Mixed Folks,” by Marilyn Drame.

Every child is entitled to love and full membership in his or her family.
Every child is entitled to have his or her heritage and culture embraced and valued.
Every child is entitled to parents who value individuality and enjoy complexity.
Every child is entitled to parents who understand that this is a race conscious society.
Every child is entitled to parents who know their child will experience life in ways differently from theirs.
Every child is entitled to parents who are not seeking to “save” a child or to make the world a better place by adopting.
Every child is entitled to parents who know belonging to a family is not based on physical matching.
Every child is entitled to parents who have significant relationships with people of other races.
Every child is entitled to parents who know transracial adoption changes the family structure forever.
Every child is entitled to be accepted by his or her extended family members.
Every child is entitled to parents who know that if they are white they experience the benefits of racism because the country’s system is organized that way.
Every child is entitled to parents who know they cannot be the sole transmitter of the child’s culture when it is not their own.
Every child is entitled to grow up with items in their home environment created for and by the people of their own race or ethnicity.
Every child is entitled to have places available to make friends with people of his or her race or ethnicity.
Every child is entitled to have opportunities in his or her environment to participate in positive experiences with his or her birth culture.
Every child is entitled to opportunities to build racial pride within his or her own home, school, and neighborhood.

Don't Call Me "Mr. Mom" - What Not to Say to a Stay-at-Home Dad

I read this article on a "Stay-at-Home-Dad" site and found it amusing and informative - I hope no one takes offense to the content. It pretty much sums up how I feel - in fact, I now have some ammo, although I may use my own bizzare twist to these slightly biting responses to some rather thoughtless questions........

Don't Call Me Mr. Mom!What Not to Say to an At-Home Dad

by Buzz McClain

Men who chose to stay at home to raise the children while the mothers commute to work experience things most fathers do not. Not the least of these are the insensitive comments by people who can't comprehend the concept.
It's the price at-home dads pay for being daring and non-traditional. After all, it's not everyday you encounter an at-home dad -- then again, maybe you do and just don't realize it because they look like ordinary fathers, except they have slightly more spit-up on their shoulders -- so you can't be blamed for saying the wrong thing. Well, we're here to help.
Here are a few things that make at-home fathers cringe, according to the members of the National At-Home Dads Association, who have heard it all.

"What are you going to do when you go back to work in the real world?" Oh, how at-home dads hate this. It implies raising children isn't real and it isn't work. It is lots of both.

"Wouldn't it be better for the kids if the mother stayed at home?" No offense, but no. Studies show that working mothers are more involved in their children's lives when the father stays at home than when given over to professional day care; and because of the circumstances, the fathers are far more involved with the children than the dads who see their children only briefly after work and on weekends. The kids get two parents with strong influences.

"What do you do with all your spare time?" No matter the ages and numbers of the kids, the statement is baloney: There is no spare time. Besides seeing to the children's feeding, clothing, bedding, amusement and education, at-home dads typically assume command of household chores, from laundry to kitchen duty to lawn care. And you can't punch a clock after eight hours and go home. You ARE home.

"Who wears the pants in the family?" This implies staying at home with the children makes you less masculine; true, at-home dads are likely to wash more dishes, fold more laundry and go to the tot lot more than the father who commutes, but when mom is home dads play and watch just as much sports, ogle just as many women and perform just as many testosterone-driven activities than other fathers. And they do it with more gusto because getting out of the house means more to them.

"Oh, so you're Mr. Mom." Don't call us Mr. Mom. The kids already have a mother. At-home fathers do not replace mothers, they simply assume duties traditionally performed by them. If you must call at-home dads something, try Mr. Dad. (I prefer HOMEDADDY myself - Don's editorial comment.)

"That's a nice Mommy Wagon you drive." Ahem. It is NOT a Mommy Wagon. It's a marvelously functional all-purpose utility vehicle that just happens to have enough room to seat more than half of the Stingers Little League soccer team.

"What does your wife think about you not working?" Ordinarily a fair question, but often asked to see how the woman is handling the pressure of being the primary breadwinner. Get real: The empowerment is a heady sensation, one most women don't get to experience, and she loves it. As a bonus, she goes to the office each day knowing her baby is in good hands. Real men deal with the role change just fine, thank you.

"How can you stand to change diapers all the time?" This is likely to be asked by the "traditional man," the kind who will overhaul a greasy auto engine but can't bring himself to wipe a baby's butt. We know of one such man who, when confronted with a messy diaper, put the baby in the bathtub until the mother came home. Diapers are easy, pal. (Plum-and-sweet potato spit-up is another thing altogether.)

"Do you miss the security of having a job?" Maybe at first, but who isn't disillusioned by the general lack of loyalty companies express these days? Mergers, takeovers, layoffs, forced relocations and a slavish devotion by corporations to the bottom line are enough to rattle anyone's sense of security. An at-home dad has the job of a lifetime -- you can't be fired or transferred to a lesser position.

"What do you mean you didn't get a chance to finish the laundry?" Most often asked by frazzled wives coming home from work. Well, honey, things got really fun at the tot lot with the playgroup and we stayed a few hours longer than we expected . . .
Copyright © 2000, Buzz McClain.
Buzz McClain is a music critic for the Washington Post, a columnist for Rugby magazine and an at-home dad of two, Samantha and Luke.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Stir Fried Facts #7 - O.K. Now....Let's Review

We've probably ALL been through the following in some manner, shape or form with all the on-line courses and required reading in the preliminary adoption process. But lest we forget, our agency sent us the following memo......


Jaclyn Piotrowski, MSW

1. Refer to birth-parent, birth-culture, and birth-country in a positive light.

2. Be cautious and sensitive when talking about the adoption with others, while your child is in ear-range.

3. Talk about or plan to visit birth-country when time is appropriate for your family.

4. Be able to provide resources to your child about their birth-country/culture, without forcing the issue.

5. Allow your child to “grieve” their loss appropriately without taking it personal. This feeling is real to adoptees, and needs to be dealt with without the child feeling guilty.

6. Have a plan in place to affiliate with other support groups, adoptive family groups, or cultural groups.

7. Celebrate your child’s “adoption day” or “coming home” day.

8. Always provide a safe and open environment for your child to approach you with questions or discussions. It is important to find a safe balance between asking them questions and allowing them to come to you when they are comfortable.

9. Have ethnic dolls, role models, and friends of your child’s race so that they grow up with pride, not unfamiliarity of their own face.

10. Have a sense of humor!

11. ALWAYS be honest with your child and share information at an ‘appropriate’ age.

12. Emphasize gifts your child received from birth parents: facial features, talents, etc., even if they are different than yours!

13. The reasons for your child being placed for adoption were due to circumstances, NOT the child, make sure he/she knows that they did nothing wrong.

14. Do not judge birth parents. Remember: What you say about the birth parents, you are saying about your child.

15. Do not allow or accept racial/prejudicial remarks, jokes or comments in your presence. If you do, you are teaching your child that it is OK that others may be doing that about them.

16. Celebrate similarities ALONG with differences. If you just emphasize similarities, you’re down-playing the obvious differences, which may make your child feel shameful.

17. Integrate Christianity and “God’s Plan” for all.

18. Emphasize and reassure your children of your permanent and unconditional love.

*Keep in mind that some adopted children generally tend to be more sensitive to circumstances of serious illness, marital discord, death, separation, moves, financial upsets, transitions, and other major family losses. You want to emphasize that no matter what, you are there for your child.

Friday, September 08, 2006

We Have Our Vacation Pictures......

I have posted an online photo album of pics from our stellar trip to Tennessee. We stayed in Sevierville, just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and hiked just about every day. With a young 'un comin', we were trying to keep up with our exercise regimen of improving stamina and increasing energy.

On some computers, you may need to cut & paste into your address line ....... others may take you directly to the site by clicking on the above address.

The photo of the old mill was taken at Cades Cove in the National Park - I did the antique treatment on Photoshop.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Stir Fried Facts #6 - Insurance for the Child of Promise

We received the following e-mail from our case worker regarding health insurance for the Child of Promise..........

Many families have questions regarding medical/health insurance coverage and the adopted child. During the formal application process, all families are asked to have their employer (HR representative or health care carrier) sign the "Affidavit of Health Insurance Coverage" form. This is your verification that your employer/health care carrier will cover the adopted child.

When considering China's children with special needs ("Children of Promise"), it would behoove families to verify with their particular health insurance carriers what is considered "pre-identified" and what exactly is (and in some cases, is not) covered.

In most cases, medical or health insurance coverage by law, begins at physical placement. The moment your child is physically placed in your arms, your health insurance begins to cover your child, whether the adoption has been finalized or not. For example, in China, if you receive your child on a Tuesday, the adoption registration and finalization is on Wednesday, and you arrive back in the U.S. the following Monday (your child becomes a U.S. citizen the moment the plane lands on U.S. soil), her/his health insurance coverage began on Monday, the day you physically received her.

If you have difficulties adding your adopted child to your health insurance coverage plan, contact your social worker. Your social worker will be able to compose a letter explaining the lawful requirements for adopted children. Most health insurance carriers are typically informed, but there may be some that are not familiar with internationally adopted children. This may be your opportunity to help educate them, which can benefit other adoptive families down the road! Other times, you may need to involve your Congress person or contact your State Insurance Commissioner. Nonetheless, what is most important is that your adopted child be treated equally to a biological child, even when it comes to health care coverage.

Please see the following articles about this topic: