Monday, July 30, 2007

Canine Computer Geek

We came home to find Diva on the internet doing a Google search - "How to Be A Feline Friendly Canine."
After countless scratches and clawings, she finally decided to get some info on approaching a cat without bloodshed.
See Diva's story .......

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Nature Walk

My cousins Lyn & Ellen, from California, flew in for dad's memorial service and have been visiting us for a week or so. Both are biologists and so we took a walk at Shadow Bay Park, right in our neighborhood, for a look at the plants and wildlife.

I'll post more about the service and our day of 'tubing' later .........

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Not So Sweet 16

16 Months since our



When we began our journey, it was a 9 month wait from LID.
Our paper chase began 4/16/05 with our initial adoption informational meeting.

.....and so, we skip merrily along the adoption pathway...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Chinese Chick Flick

We squeezed in an evening together a few days ago when we popped in the Chinese film "The Road Home". A great movie for families to watch together, it is a simple love story, in narrative form, about a young woman from a remote village and the school teacher who catches her eye. Be ready to read the sub-titles to the kids, as there is no dubbing selection in the special features. The photography is breath taking and the story unfolds like a moving picture book. Here is the link to the synopsis .......

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Finally Got My Passport ..... How 'Bout You?

We requested passport renewal just after we
were sprung from the Review Room at the beginning of March. We just received our new docs this past week - 3rd week of July ...... so check those dates, folks, and don't forget that they need to be valid for at least 6 months after you return to the states with the yung 'un from China.
In the pic ..... Don holds up his first passport prior to sailing to the U.K. on assignment for the State Department

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cases of Forced Abortions Surface in China

A slogan on a village building outside Baise in southwest China, reads, "Keep the birth rate low to enhance the quality of the population."
Pro-Life or Pro-Choice - Forced abortion is an abomination. Yet, the story in the article from National Public Radio is not the only story out there. Google it.

As the wait for Joanna Mei gets longer and longer, folks in the waiting room are becoming more aware of the imbalance of information being released to prospective parents. Yahoo groups have evolved into rumor mills which could make the queen herself want to jump off the highest tower of the Great Wall and the word "patience" is about to be struck from my Funk & Wagnalls.

So, here is the link to the NPR article - not for the overly emotional, needy, squeamish or extreme sensitive types .......

Pardon the tone of my post ....... as the wait lengthens, I feel like I'm starting to rot.
....and so we merrily skip along on the adoption path.......

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How Old WIll You Be?

I found this tongue-in cheeky article on the "Older Parent Adoption Blog"

"Do you know how old you'll be when that kid is a teen?"
Heard that? Yeah ... I'll be you have.
Does it scare you? No?
What? Are you simple, or something? Because it certainly should!
Not that your status as an older adoptive parent should be the root of all fear. No. Any parent of any age should tremble at the thought of sharing space with raging hormones, perceptions of wisdom far beyond what years would indicate, and the potential for mistakes with dire and life-long consequences.
Teens are scary, even to themselves ... well, maybe especially to themselves. They're hairy and smelly, and totally freaked out about both. They're subject to pressures big, small, important and ridiculous, and lack the capacity to tell the difference. They're out in the world in ways you can't even begin to guess, much less control, and they think you're a moron, and it doesn't matter if you're thirty or eighty ... you're old and tired.
It might, however, be just a teeny, weenie bit tougher to parent these strange and quixotic creatures if you're of a generation that thinks tattoos are only for sailors and that body piercing means ears.
My mom is only nineteen years older than I am, but when I was fifteen she might just as well have been fifty ... sixty, even. She thought pierced ears made girls look "trashy", and in the 60s ... the height of Twiggy fashion ... "advised" me that mascara on the bottom lashes would "make my eyes look too big"! (For those not around at the time, eyes looking "too big" was simply not possible. My nearsightedness was quite an asset at the time, in that when I finished applying my makeup, I'd go to the far end of the room to check myself out in the mirror. If I couldn't make out dark black smudges where my eyes were supposed to be, I didn't have enough on.)
For anyone heading in the direction of suffering through the teen years with kids and looking for some help with preparation, Kids Health has a handy guide to surviving the teen years.
If you've not raised teens before, you might not want to study this too closely too far in advance. First-time parents can wait until the age looms large on the rapidly-approaching horizon ... like when your child is, say, eight?

......and so we merrily skip our way toward adoption.........

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sing in Chinese

Go ahead folks ...... pull up to a stop light, roll down your window and sing along ....
How to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle" in Mandarin.

You like singing, don't you? I do. It's part of why children are fun. You get to sing without feeling all self-conscious about it.
Here's a song you know, although you might not recognize it at first - this is how you sing it in Mandarin. With your kids, if they'll settle down long enough to do it!

...One by one, glittering bright,
Yi shan yi shan, liang jing jing, 'EE shan EE shan, lee-ang jing jing (the "jing" is said almost like "cheeung" only very quickly at the back of the throat.)

..all the sky is filled with little stars.
man tian dou shi xiao xing xing.
mahn chee-un dow shirr hsee-ow hsing hsing.

...Hugging the sky, hanging and shining,
Gua zai tian kong fang guang ming,
Gwah tz-eye chee-un kong fung goo-ang ming, (like "jing," fast and at back of throat)

....resembling many little eyes.
hao xiang xu duo xiao yan jing.
how hsee-ang hsoo doo-oh hsee-ow yun jing.
...One by one, glittering bright,
Yi shan yi shan, liang jing jing,
'EE shan EE shan, lee-ang jing jing

...all the sky is filled with little tian dou shi xiao xing xing
Mahn chee-un dow shirr hsee-ow hsing hsing.
.......and so we skip merrily on our way to adoption from China

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

China Has 37 Million More Males Than Females

China has 37 million more males than females

China has become the most imbalanced country in gender ratio of newborn babies in the world. This period of imbalance is also the longest time in the world. In 2005, the ratio between newborn girls and boys was 100:118.88, far from the average ratio of 100 to 104-107. In Jiangxi, Guangdong, Hainan, Anhui and Hunan provinces, the ratio is even higher- 100:130. Experts said, on Wednesday at a seminar in Beijing, that China should deal with this problem immediately.Since the 1980s, China's birth ratio between newborn girls and boys has been increasing:

1982: 100 to 108.5
1987: 100 to 110.9
1990: 100 to 111.3
1995: 100 to 115.6
2000: 100 to 116.9

In 2000, average ratio was 100:116.9. Except for areas such as the Xinjiang Uygor Autonomous and Tibet Autonomous regions; all the provinces were above the average ratio of 100 to 104-107. Some provinces had a ratio of 100:138.

As a result, there are 37 million more males than females now in China. Within the 0- 15 year age group, there are 18 million more boys than girls.

According to State Family Planning Commission, a social consequence of the gender imbalance is smuggling of women and children. In provinces highly imbalanced in gender, women and children become the victims of human trafficking. Illegal and forced marriages, as well as forced prostitution, have run rampant in some areas.

Li Huiying, deputy director of the women's research center in the central party's school, cited three major reasons for such a phenomenon: a long period of paying more attention to men than women, an incomplete social security system, and the abuse of ultra sound technology.Liang Jun, director of the community education center in Henan Province, said China's social security system is incomplete; the rural security system is even more backward. Parents have a son to guarantee care when they are older. He said that if social security existed for everyone, it would effectively encourage their desire to have a baby- especially a boy.

The participants of the seminar assert that the gender ratio imbalance has something to do with the family planning policy; but that it is not the only reason for it. They directly blame the abuse of ultra sound technology. In many areas, due to lack of effective supervision of ultra sound use, many people choose the sex of their baby.

In order to solve this problem, China has implemented the following: Population and Family Planning Law, A Regulation on Banning Non-medical Need of Identifying the Gender of a Fetus, and Sexually Discriminative Artificial Suspension of Pregnancy. The Care for Girls Activity was also launched to advocate the idea that men and women are equal, in order to deal with the gender imbalance.

Participants from the seminar also hold that people should understand the significance and urgency of dealing with such a problem. To solve the problem, people must be creative in their thoughts; and utilize methods to monitor and prevent sexual discrimination. There should be gender education in the whole of society, and the idea that boys and girls are equal should be advocated. People should follow the family planning policy and be guided to change the traditional idea that women must follow men. Experts suggest that in order to shake the traditional idea, people should advocate the new idea that after marriage, men follow women. This will be an effective way of changing people's traditional ideas, and promoting equality between women and men.

By People's Daily Online

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thank You ..... our blogland buddies who e-mailed us and left comments for us when Daddy-O got his promotion to heaven. The road to eternity was paved with many obstacles for him in his last days and we are grateful that we were surrounded with many caring friends, family, caregivers and internetters (some of whom we don't even know) offering their prayers, support and encouragement through the process. Kudos to VITAS Hospice who guided us through an incredibly difficult month - helping us make decisions, offering medical counsel and ultimately, supporting Daddy-O when he passed on. We are grateful beyond words.Albert was buried in Whiting NJ, next to his beloved wife, my mother, of 55 years, Frances, last Thursday, July 5, 2007. The following sequence of pictures was taken when, spontaneously, a part of the family stopped at Asbury Park NJ on the way home from the funeral service ........
Be and I detoured to Ocean Grove, NJ, (on our way home from the funeral) a square mile town established in the late 1800s by the Methodist Church for the purpose of offering retreat as well as training for missionaries. Many of them were housed in tents around the Great Auditorium, the center of the church’s operations in the town, and some of the tents still survive as vacation rentals (the waiting list is quite long). The streets are lined with Victorian homes and getaways as well as B & Bs. Until a few years ago, Ocean Grove prohibited vehicular traffic on Sundays, however the evangelical presence is felt just about everywhere you look. It was a refreshing step back in time to a place where the right things really mattered and God was lifted up……..
The Great Auditorium at the center of Ocean Grove
Tents which once housed missionaries are now 'vacation' rentals.

Be explores the tent city - over 100 of them are still in use during the summer.
We walked a mile or so up the boardwalk to Asbury Park. My sister, brother and nephews called us as we walked trying to locate us. They decided to join us for our detour........

When I was a child (did I really progress from that time in my life? Perhaps that’s why I’m adopting) we frequented Asbury Park as a quick and easy getaway. I remember the Casino, the kiddie rides and later on, the concerts at Asbury Park Convention Hall where I saw The Who, Herman’s Hermits (in the 60s) and The Doors (in the 70s). The city went to ruin (take a look at the film "City by the Sea"), due to racial riots and the financial strains of the 70s, the place lapsed into a state of decay and ultimately died.
Two natives, Bruce Springsteen & Jon Bon Jovi, sang of their city’s finer points in their music and eventually, Asbury Park became a part of the culture of the 80s. Several years ago, a developer with a vision for the seaside town began restoring the boardwalk and the surrounding area with the hope of raising it from it’s state of ruin – and he could succeed if NJ residents and those who held the city dear respond to his plan.

Glass Works - A sign of recovery on the boardwalk.

The Stone Pony - Bruce & Jon Bon Jovi got their starts here.
Quite the dive.....

Faded Glory - Asbury Park Convention Hall

Waiting for some paint......

North boardwalk with Convention Hall
Restoration has begun.

The manical grin of this clown on the former Palace Amusements building, was immortalized in Springsteen's recording of "Born to Run" and his "Tunnel of Love" music video. A nonprofit group saved the nearly 50-year-old face when the building was demolished last month for the sake of revitalization efforts, but it will remain out of sight for the time being.
Local lore has it that a 3D version of the likeness was offered to the Smithsonian -
they didn't want it.

"Well the cops finally busted Madame Marie for tellin' fortunes better than they do."
---Bruce Springsteen - 4th of July, Asbury Park---

The interior of the Casino - it housed the Merry-Go-Round
and other amusements as well as Ripley's Beleive It or Not.

On the beach - my brother Paul with sons Jason & Dale
Nephews Jason & Dale
Bizzare behavior staged by their Uncle Don