Monday, November 02, 2009

Hanna Is In Catherine's Arms


Those on the adoption highway who are bloggers have probably met
Catherine of Catherine's Chatter.
This wonderful woman finally met her daughter, Hannah, after a 3.5 year wait (from LID).
It was 16 months ago that we stood in the very same room in the Chengsha, Hunan government building and met our Joanna Mei for the first time.
We are so very happy for you Catherine!
Click on the hyperlink above and leave her some congratulatory remarks .....

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

FaceBook


I have set up a FaceBook account which pretty much
chronicles life with a 3 year old.
Join me in my adventure.
If you have a FaceBook account click on my address below
and request access ......

http://www.facebook.com/orlandodon

You can set up an account easily by clicking the image above
and then going back and clicking on my address.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Cracks - A Drama For The Foundations Sermon

HomeDaddy goes Hollywood - performed @ our church, First Baptist Windermere about building on a solid foundation.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Potty Humor


It's come down to this. My first post on poop.
I try to maintain poise and dignity over here on this blog,
so you'll have to go over to
"The Other Blog - Content: Questionable"
for HomeDaddy's reflections on the rite of passage from diapers to potty.
Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Great Chinese State Circus - Swan Lake

While surfing things "China", I came across this piece. Remarkable

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Hope, PA


While walking the sidewalks of New Hope, PA, on a recent visit,
a local told us to be sure to see the artwork in the alleyway near the main intersection.
Well, this is what we saw.
We're happy to report that the rest of this little berg is quite charming.
See our photos over on
"Joanna Mei, BeBe & HomeDaddy - or - Tales from the Cryb"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Eclipse


Residents watch a solar eclipse at a square in Chongqing municipality July 22, 2009. A total solar eclipse on Wednesday swept across a narrow swathe of Asia, where hundreds of millions of people watched the skies darken, though in some places thick summer clouds blocked the sun. REUTERS/China Daily

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Babies for Sale

From The BBC - July 2, 2009

Dozens of baby girls in southern C**na have reportedly been taken from parents who broke family-planning laws, and then sold for adoption overseas.

An investigation by the state-owned Southern Metropolis News found that about 80 girls in one county had been sold for $3,000 (£1,800).

The babies were taken when the parents could not pay the steep fines imposed for having too many children.

Local officials may have forged papers to complete the deals, the report said.

Unpopular policy

Parents in rural areas are allowed two children, unlike urban dwellers who are allowed one.

But if they have more than that, they face a fine of about $3,000 -several times many farmers' annual income.

The policy is deeply unpopular among rural residents, says the BBC's Quentin Somerville in Beijing.

Nearly 80 baby girls in a county in Guizhou province, in the south of the country, were confiscated from their families when their parents could not or would not pay the fine, Southern Metropolis News said.

The girls were taken into orphanages and then adopted by couples from the United States and a number of European countries.

The adoption fee was split between the orphanages and local officials, the newspaper said.

Child trafficking is widespread. A tightening of adoption rules for foreigners in 2006 has proved ineffective in the face of local corruption.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Support Breat Cancer Research


With a 2 year old and a breast cancer survivor in the family,
this pic has special significance to HomeDaddy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You Know You're an Older Than Dirt Parent When ....

..... you slice nuts for your little girl's Almond Chicken dinner
with your pill splitter.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day

HomeDaddy's First Father's Day
Picture is stock Google stock photo

Monday, June 15, 2009

Coming Up On A Year


In celebration of 1 year as a family of 3, we would like to do a raffle for a CD of Chinese lullabies sung by the Beijing Angelic Choir. This music has soothed Joanna Mei to sleep each night and we'd like to pass on this beautiful music to a lucky winner. Just go over to "The Other Blog - Content: Questionable" and leave a comment on the raffle item indicating that you'd like to win. Joanna Mei will draw a winner on July 14, our Forever Family Day.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Check Out The Empress' Swimming Lessons


Joanna Mei is 2 weeks into the Safe Start infant swimming program at the YMCA. Check out my Facebook log of her progress over on "JoannaMei, Bebe & HomeDaddy - or - Tales From the Cryb"

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Arte du JMei


"Daddy! Rabbit! Mommy! Rabbit!"
Joanna Mei repeated it several times as we ate our
breakfast this morning and held up the paper on which she was drawing.
We were quite impressed. There on the paper were 3 rabbits which
were easily identifiable in a Salvatore Dali sort of way.
Be added whiskers and a missing ear or two as well as the
dinosaur looking character in the lower right.
Not bad for a 31 month year old kid.
OK - I'll quit tootin' my horn.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Boycott "Orphan" Movie


On July 24, 2009, Warner Brothers Pictures and Dark Castle Entertainment plans to release the movie, “Orphan” nationwide. This horror movie is a fictional story of a couple who loses their unborn child and decides to adopt a 9-year-old girl, Esther, from a local orphanage. The tagline for the movie is, “There is something wrong with Esther”. Another line from the movie states, “It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own".The adoption community adamantly opposes the themes in this movie which suggest that orphans are 'problem children' who will bring nothing but destruction and violence to a family. This deception also brings unnecessary fear to families considering adoption.This theme is extremely offensive and hurtful to the hundreds of thousands of families who have adopted. Unlike the message that this film portrays, these families can attest to the great blessings of adoption, and their unmeasurable love for their children. Sign the petition here .........

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Adoption Event in The Smoky Mountains

Hi Y'all,We've decided to attend the Adoption Reunion Event in the Smokies. It will be a great getaway for us (part of a round robin vacation visiting family in North Carolina and New Jersey) as well as a 'nice package' with the cultural focus as well as the Cirque du Chine show. Once out of the Gatlinburg area, the Smoky Mountain National Park is breathtaking. We will be skipping the Dollywood visit (lots of Disney where we live.)



Our accommodations will be at the Wyndham Resort, just up the hill from the event site (very handy at nap time), We stayed there for a week before Joanna Mei and it's quite nice.




I've hyperlinked the Reunion web page and the Wyndham Resort just in case there are some China Adoption Bloggers who might be interested. There is a registration page which also has a schedule of events and prices (a reasonably priced package including activities, souvenirs, games and stories of the Chinese culture as well as the acrobatic show for 24 bucks per person (kids are free) - 10 bucks if you'd like the buffet lunch.It would be great to meet some Blog friends there. Give it a thought for vacation ......


Friday, May 29, 2009

New Adoption Movie Due in Theatres


Adoptive Parents Say 'Orphan' Exploits Fears
Amid Outcry, Film Execs Strike Line:
'It Must Be Hard to Love an Adopted Child as Much as Your Own'
Adoption Deepest Fears
Other adoptive parents, whose own young children would never see the R-rated film, were concerned about its impact on teens.
"The audience for horror movies tends to be teenagers and young adult men," said Andy, the mother of a 6-year-old adopted son who did not want his last named used. " Many of us wrestle with our identity during our teen years and some of us used the 'I'm going to find a family that loves me' threats during our teen years to our biological parents."
" I can't imagine how an adopted child of impressionable age would feel hearing that line in the trailer," the 46-year-old from Chicago told ABCNews.com.
Peggy Scott, 58, of Berkeley, Calif., is not surprised the trailer taps into the fear that adopted children won't be loved enough.
" It's no coincidence they came up with this line as a hook," said Scott, who has a 15-year-old adopted daughter. "But it has nothing to do with reality."
Scott, a single mother, said she has never seen her adopted daughter as anything but, "my own."
Meanwhile, Amy Eldridge said she cannot distinguish between her seven children, two of whom are adopted.
"Every child has the desire to be part of a family," she said. "It's a longing they can't even put into words," she said. "My children are my own and one of my jobs as a parent is to make sure all of my children realize there is no difference in the way I feel about them."
And as her 10-year-old Anna pursues the questions about her own adoption, her mother always answers with, "Love has nothing to do with genetics, it has to do with your heart."



'Orphan' Sends Negative MessageBut Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Institute, said the film itself sends a negative message to the tens of thousands of American children in foster care who desperately need adoptive homes.
"The fundamental premise [echoes] so many fears among Americans, that kids adopted from foster care are damaged goods and they can hurt you," said he said.
By rescinding the trailers, Warner Brothers has shown "they are responsive," he told ABCNews.com. But the film itself is still perpetuates the stereotypes about adoption.


"The film preys on who these older kids are," Pertman said. "That's why we have so much trouble getting older kids adopted. I fully respect that they are not going to pull a multi-million-dollar movie out of the theater, but they can mitigate the damage and make the ads less corrosive."
Pertman said that suggesting parents don't love an adoptive child as much as a biological one is inconceivable to adoptive parents.
"To love my kids any more, I would have to grow a second heart," he said.
Adoption experts say that while the adoption landscape is changing, older foster children are the hardest to place in permanent homes. The difficulty lies in prejudices and lack of knowledge about the joys of adopting an older child.
Older Foster Children Hardest to Place
"A younger child is easier to get a home," he said. "Five is harder than three, and seven is harder than five."
"The good news is there is a concerted effort to help these kids and it's working," he said. "There is an incrementally larger number of them being adopted."
An estimated 129,000 American children are waiting for adoption, according the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Of those, 48 percent are 8 or older, the hardest age group to place.
About 60 percent of these children have been in foster care for two years or more and 20 percent have been without permanent homes for five years.
"The longer they sit, the longer they wait," said Soronen, noting that about 20,000 who turn 18 leave the foster care system each year.
Many of the older children in need of adoption have special needs and many have "flitted from home to home," according to Pertman.
"Many have been abused and neglected, so already these kids haven't had an easy time," said Pertman. "Adopted kids aren't without problems, but adoption is part of the solution."

Friday, May 01, 2009

Conversation with The Empress


I heard The Empress fall in the living room. She was up, crying and running to me before I could get out of my chair ......


JMei (crying) - Daddy. JMei fall. JMei have owie.


Daddy - I'm so sorry, baby. How did you fall?


JMei - Down.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Last July, our family expanded a bit when our daughter became a member of our clan by adoption. She is the joy of our lives. It became increasingly evident that, as time went on, our vehicles did not suit our needs so we bought a Ford F150 with extended cab. We needed room for a car seat, and I like to ride high off the road.Shortly after the purchase, a neighbor, who had never met my new daughter, came by to congratulate the family. I was gracious and told him what a good girl she is, how our family was enriched by the whole experience and how much we appreciate her. His response ..... "Yep! That's one fine truck!"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Post on JMei's Blog


Check out Steve Martin and Joanna Mei displaying their language skills over on "Joanna Mei, Bebe & HomeDaddy - or - Tales From the Cryb" - if you would like a password, drop us an e mail at duoloco@cfl.rr.com and we'll set you up with one.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Resurrection Day!

It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna ( the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household), Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

We had many considerations in choosing our daughter's name, like any parent. I have always liked the name Joanna.
It is the title of a song of unattainable love as a "commoner" in a favorite musical sings to his beloved Joanna, daughter of an upper class politician.
Joanne is Be's sister's name - she passed away only recently.
And after just a little bit of biblical research, we found that Joanna was one of the first people on the scene after Jesus' resurrection. The angel at the tomb spoke directly to Joanna and the other women when he said "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!" ...... so ..... Joanna it is! (We added Mei -beautiful - to the name in recognition of her heritage.)
And our heart's desire is that she come to faith in Christ early on and serve Him with zeal. Joanna of the Bible must have been one special gal. After all, God chose her to be one of the first to spread the message "He is risen!" - the fact which is central to the Christian faith.
So, from our family to yours, Happy Easter. He is risen!
May the risen Christ shine His light upon you and remain with you. ..... and even if you are not Christian, we wish you His light and peace. He is central to our faith. Our faith identifies who we are.
And when a holy day central to your faith comes along, we will receive your blessings with honor and appreciation as well.
Luke 24
The Resurrection
1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " 8Then they remembered his words.9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Monday, April 06, 2009

You Know You're an Older Than Dirt Parent When ....


...... a rainy day activity includes your toddler helping you fill your monthly pill organizer ......

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Suitable for Framing

On July 14, 2008, when we received Joanna Mei into our family,
she was wearing a pair of split pant pajamas and jelly slippers.
That was the extent of earthly treasures that accompanied our
frightened little daughter.



JMei's Jellies

While sorting out some clothes the other day, we came across the shoes
and decided that they were a significant part of her story, so we framed
them up in a shadowbox frame.




They now occupy a place of honor in her room
beneath a beautiful
Welcome Wish from our friend, Molly.


Friday, March 27, 2009

We Have A Court Date!



May 20
in the court of
Orange County Florida.
Judgement will be handed down that Joanna Mei
was truly born.
She'll receive a Florida Birth Certificate indicating that her birthplace was Hunan, China.
(for a fee, of course)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IKEA Playroom

We took on the major task of re-locating JMei's playroom from our
spare room downstairs to the 2nd floor loft, adjacent to her bedroom.
We chose IKEA again for their creativity and price.
The additions brightened up an otherwise dark room.
JMei's tuffet for viewing her Disney & Blue's Clues videos.

At her musical playstation, a Christmas gift from Aunt Aly & Uncle Ford.


Toy storage doubles as wall decoration.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Waiting for a Court Date

Our petition for Adoption Certification with the State of Florida (giving JMei a Florida Birth Certificate) has been filed with the Orange County Court. In about 2 weeks, we'll receive a court date to finalize this ongoing adoption process.
We were fortunate to be referred to an attorney who adopted his daughter from China and now guides parents through the process and attends the hearing with the family. His assistant spent a year volunteering in a Chinese orphanage. We feel a wonderful team is representing our family.
In Orange County, the Adoption Certification hearings are clumped in with the non-contested divorce cases. When an AC item comes up, the attitude of the whole court changes ...... it's not in any procedure manual, it just happens. Judges will stop for pictures, interview the family and generally make it a happy and honoring occasion. We're looking forward to this family time with Joanna Mei. We'll post video if it's allowed ........

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Wash of a Weekend


Head on over to "The Other Blog - Content Questionable" and read about HomeDaddy's weekend .......

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Our Testimony

video

Our church, First Baptist Church of Windermere, has been doing a video series called "Transformed Lives". Troy, one of our pastors (a really neat guy), realized that we probably had a transformation story relative to our adoption of Joanna Mei. He is right. We probably did about 5 minutes of video which was edited down to 60 seconds or so.

So folks, it can be a bit preachy - after all, it is a presentation for our church. Our faith is the major influence of our lives. Our faith makes us who we are.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Velentine's Day ...... WHAT! No Magpies!?!?!?

On the evening of the seventh day of the seventh month on the Chinese lunar calendar, don't forget to look carefully at the summer sky. You'll find the Cowherd (a bright star in the constellation Aquila, west of the Milky Way) and the Weaving Maid (the star Vega, east of the Milky Way) appear closer together than at any other time of the year. Chinese believe the stars are lovers who are permitted to meet by the queen of Heaven once a year. That day falls on the double seventh (Qixi in Chinese), which is China's own Valentine's Day.
Most Chinese remember being told a romantic tragedy when they were children on the double seventh. In the legend, the cowherd and the Weaving Maid will meet on a bridge of magpies across the Milky Way once a year. Chinese grannies will remind children that they would not be able to see any magpies on that evening because all the magpies have left to form a bridge in the heavens with their wings.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

More Change

I had some fun on obamaconme.com with one of JMei's pics.
Head on over to
and have a look at the original.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy New Year! Our Daughter Is Into Pyro!

Happy Year of the Ox.

We are moderately concerned (at this point in her life) that our daughter be aware of her Chinese culture. She is American by citizenship, but her heritage is Chinese and we plan to cultivate that awareness as she progresses in age. A local organization was having a Chinese New Year celebration which was aimed toward children from China who were adopted by American parents and we decided to take the young Empress to the affair.Both myself and the Empress are just about over The Cruds and we’re still not 100%, so venturing out to a gathering of this nature was not my top priority. But we embarked on the journey to the other side of town for the sake of the young ‘un – and she could have cared less.

We pulled up to the church (which had hired out a hall to the sponsoring organization) to find it being pressure washed. “Maybe it’s a building purification ritual for the Year of the Ox” I said to my wife as the compressor roared and our daughter squirmed to break free of her loving embrace. Both mother and daughter were attired in Asian garb crafted of the finest imitation silk, so as the Empress did the ‘alligator death roll’ to gain her freedom, the 2 slippery surfaces of the garments made for difficult carriage of the squirming package. “Here you go, HomeDaddy” said Mama and she handed over our writhing tot to daddy as we entered through the gentle shower of mist from the pressure washer. “Just get me an eggroll and some Tylenol and I’ll be a happy man” said HomeDaddy as he took on the task of playing pack mule and beast of burden for the Empress.

We entered the room to the peaceful sound and vision of little Chinese cherubs running about the dining area whilst screaming and producing sounds similar to that of a hole being bored in one’s scull. They were followed by event organizers who were attempting to corral them for activities and games. It was actually rather calming. No really. I whispered a quiet prayer of thanksgiving. “Thank you, God. I’m not the only one.”

The line for “The Slow Boat to China Buffet” was probably 30 hungry folks long and we shared stories about our adoption including Beijing in the dead heat of summer and ‘through the roof’ laundry bills at The White Swine. After 22 minutes, when we got to the steam tables, we were greeted with the news that they had run out of rice (fried and steamed) as well as noodles. Dang! 40 bucks and no rice?!?! Oh joy, oh rapture. I longed for some of the unidentifiable delicacies from the buffet tables back in China. I grabbed the 2 remaining eggrolls, and some fried nasties with sweet ‘n sour sauce and headed on as some kid grabbed the last crab rangoon. Twit!

We had pleasant conversation with the couples at our table and made the most of our incomplete meal. We gave thanks that we brought along the booster seat complete with child containment straps. After a truly primitive dining experience, the Empress delicately removed her bib and flung it on top of a decorative tea candle placed on our table for proper ambiance. As the bib went up in flames and began melting the plastic tablecloth, I thought “Just throw me on the fire and end it all” as I reached for my plastic cup of Sprite and doused what looked like a burnt offering at our table. “JMei, I know your food was cold, but I think I could have found a microwave in this place!”

After a family portrait in front of a bamboo screen, we bid a fond farewell to the remaining revelers and headed back to the sanctuary of my Ford F150. The pressure washers had left the scene, but the compressor remained behind. “Hhhhmmmm ……. Could’ve used that at our table.”

So, Happy !#@$ Year of the Ox, Y’all! Anyone have a Tylenol?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Brightman Review


We recently attended a Sarah Brightman concert here in Central Florida.
Head on over to The Other Blog - Content: Questionable for my review of the over the top event featuring popera's biggest nutjob.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Pray for Our President Elect


We are about 10 days out from the beginning of a new presidency in the United States. We've had some tough times this last decade and Barach Obama is going to have a full plate when he takes office shortly.
Regardless of party affiliation, our nation needs to come together and pray to God for this man who will lead our nation. God will hear the prayers of the people as we pray for wisdom, direction and peace for Barach Obama.
The election circus is over - it is time to put it behind us and get on board in the reconstruction of a country in need of God's hand directly on the shoulders of our new president ....... let us pray .......

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What to Do With Great Art .......

..... when there's no more room on the refrigerator .....

JMei's Wall of Art on the way to the utility room.
We bought some shirt gift boxes after Christmas.
When the wall is full, the objects d'arte get stowed away in the boxes
until she's ..... maybe 18 .....
when we'll give her the boxes of art to do with what she wants.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year and Congratulations!


Happy New Year, Y'all ....... and congratulations to all those who received their first glimpse of their new family member!
LIDs through the review room:
February 28, 2007 (no change)
LIDs through referral:
February 28, 2006