Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Need Cheering Up? Remember: Things Fall Apart

Today's excitement is very common among the Kindergarten set, but it's a little weird when you think about it for a while, at least from a grown-up perspective.

Let me back up, though. The Bünj' was eating a sandwich but all of a sudden he started whimpering and sobbing to himself and saying, "ouuuuch." I comforted him, and asked him if he hurt himself, where, etc. He said he bit his teeth down too hard; he must've bit his lip. I tried not to make too much of it and let him get over it. Then the whining ramped up a little more. Something about him biting down too hard again and it not going away. I wasn't getting what he was saying (any more than he knew what the problem was). He kept talking about his teeth, not his tongue or lips. So I asked him what he meant and looked. Was his tooth moving?

"Is your tooth moving?"

"Yeahhh," he whined.

"Do you have a loose tooth?"

The whining stopped on the instant. First was the moment of comprehension, then the wonder spread across his eyes.

I looked closer, "Sure enough, you have a loose baby tooth. I see your new tooth coming in right behind it!"

This observation elicited a huge grin. He started wiggling around excitedly. "So that must've been why my teeth kept hurting when I bit down. I was biting down on my loose tooth!  he said, as if the incident about which he was just sobbing was his most cherished memory.

I've never seen pain turn to cheer so quickly. And all because his body is getting ready to shed a piece of itself.

At my age, if stuff is falling out or off, it's nothing to celebrate. (Well, expect maybe a particularly nasty scab; but that's just really the relief of being slightly less bestial again.) I guess the loose tooth days (heck, even the pimple-popping era) are now the subject of wistful memories.

Anyway, the Bünj' continued his excitement and he thought right away to call the Müms at work to tell her all about it.

Even hours later when his friend called on the phone, the Bünj' immediately told him he had "very exciting news." His friend — 5 year old friend, that is, and a first baby tooth veteran — needed no clues whatsoever.

"Did you lose a tooth?" he asked instantly. They all think alike sometimes (especially these two).

The ensuing brief flurry of conversation was plenty to convince anyone — even those who couldn't appreciate how darn cute it was — that this was truly a landmark event.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


"Ughhh. It's hard to have boxes as feet!" That's what I heard Bünj' say a couple of minutes ago. I turned around, and he was walking with each foot in a cardboard box (about 10" X 10" X 12").

I think he's probably right.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rats: Still Not Popular

I was searching for something else on the Internet and I stumbled on something . . . well, here is the headline: "Rat adoptions static despite Disney movie 'Ratatouille'".

And a quote from the article: "In our seven stores, I doubt if we sell a rat a week," says Burton Patrick, who owns Pet Supplies . . . ." Apparently he "had anticipated "Ratatouille"-related sale increases . . . ."

Rats: still not popular. Go figure.

Mr. Patrick's sales numbers are being topped about twelve-fold by another pet seller quoted in the article. He admitted, however, the reason was probably that his was the only pet store in town that sold live rats for feeding to snakes.

It's a tad ironic that I'm amused by this story, since I actually think most furry creatures are pretty cute, including rats — at least the ones in pet stores. The other day, however, I had a conversation with a friend who painted a pretty clear picture of how and why she found rats so creepy and disgusting. Most people are probably with her. And I'll wager it's going to take more than an animated Disney rat — a feral rat traipsing around a restaurant kitchen, no less — to polish the image of these overgrown rodents known primarily for their infestation and disease-spreading skills. The Bubonic Plague is just one of those skeletons-in-the-closet that will severely challenge even the slickest imagemakers.

So, rats and rat-sellers, go ahead and hope for the best, . . . but I wouldn't put a downpayment on that house on the coast just yet.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Do They Trick-or-Treat in China? OR We're Going to China!

We're going to China!

We now have our travel dates and have even begun a little bit of the packing. We will leave at the end of October and return in mid-Novemeber with Mei Mei!

As we have all along, we plan to go as a whole family — the Bünj' included!

The typical China adoption trip involves:
(1) An optional stop in Beijing to get used to the time change and to learn about China — see the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, etc.
(2) A stay in your child's home province to be united with her or him and do some of the legal paperwork
(3) A stay in Guangzhou to do final paperwork — the adopted child's U.S. Visa & immigration forms — at the U.S. Consulate there.

In our case, we will do the optional Beijing tour. We believe this will be especially good for getting the Bünj' used to being in China and night being day and day being night. Then we fly to Guangzhou, since Mei Mei lives there. Our flight home leaves from Guangzhou. So we only have the two China destinations.

We booked our flights to China and back. We won't get our in-China itinerary (hotel reservations, flights) for a week or two.

I'm pretty anxious about getting everything ready, making sure we don't forget any of the irreplaceable important documents, keeping our luggage under the weight limit, etc., etc. And of course, I'm nervous but very hopeful about Mei Mei making a good transition in her first days, as well as the coming weeks, months and years.

But, of course, we are so very excited. We can't wait to meet and be united with our sweet, little Mei Mei.

Matched: Mei Mei

By way of continuing the recap of our recent adoption news, here is the announcement letter we sent out in July when we were matched with Mei Mei.

It is with overwhelming joy and gratitude that we announce the referral of our daughter! The picture was taken in December, 2006.

Here's what we know so far:

Her birthday is in April, so she is three years old — just two years younger than the Bünj'. She is living with a foster family in Guangzhou, China, and has lived with them since she was 11 months old. Guangzhou (sometimes called Canton) is in southern China and has a very tropical climate.

She is described as "active," with a ready smile. She is not timid. She likes music. She gets along well with others, but is "sometimes obstinate." (What three year old isn't?) She is "talkative," just like her daddy and big brother-to-be. Her favorite activity is going down slides.

We think she is perfect!

The normal wait to travel is between 3-6 months. The average is 110 days. That means, with any luck, we'd travel in early November and have her home by Thanksgiving. We will not know our exact travel dates until about 1 month before we go.

Given the increasing wait times to adopt from China, we were not expecting to be matched with a child for many more months. However, the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs periodically sends a list of special needs and waiting ("older") children to our adoption agency. Our agency circulates the list to all of their clients in the country who are adopting from China. We saw her on the most recent list, and we both just fell in love with her. We applied to be matched with her and were thrilled when our family was chosen. Her special need is thalassemia minor or thalassemia trait. Thalassemia is a type of anemia. Our pediatrician has looked at her lab results. Her type of thalassemia is not likely to have any effect on her. However, if she has biological children with a man who has the same trait, her children could be very ill. Therefore, she will need to have genetic counseling before she has children.

We would appreciate your prayers for as smooth a transition as possible for her. We can't imagine telling the Bünj' when we was three, or at any age, that he was going to go live with strangers on the other side of the world who looked different, and spoke differently and ate different foods. We have been taking Mandarin Chinese lessons for a couple of months and our Chinese teacher is also teaching us how to make some southern Chinese food. We hope those things will make her new life with us easier for her.

We want to thank all of you for supporting our decision to adopt. We can't wait to meet Mei Mei and for our family and friends to meet her as well. As we learn more, we will keep you updated.

Waiting, a Change and a Match

I can't go completely in reverse chronological order, or you won't know what's going on.

So to quickly summarize: we were in the "regular" adoption-from-China process. That is, we submitted information on our family along with a request for a child, including the sex (girl) and age range (as young as possible) we hoped for. From that point, we waited for the Chinese government's adoption office (China Center for Adoption Affairs or CCAA) to match us with a child.

Our adoption agency periodically sends out lists of waiting and special needs children. During the time we've been waiting, we have expressed interest of varying degrees in some of these children. A few months ago we were strongly drawn to one of these children, a three year old — Mei Mei. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.) We requested that she and our family be matched. The agency chose us to be Mei Mei's family!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Filling In Gaps Starts . . . NOW

Ironically, Mrs. OccupationDad encouraged me to start a blog because of blogs she had encountered in the international adoption realm; yet I stopped blogging during some of the biggest moments of our adoption process.

So I had better recap, in reverse chronological order perhaps.


Why haven't I written a blog entry in so very long? Letting everything else (high priority things, low priority stuff, and outright putzing) crowd writing out of my "schedule," I guess.

Well, in the words of veteran Korean war army cook Frank Costanza, "I'm back, baby!"

(Of course, with a hackneyed but bold [literally: note the font] statement like that, I'll have to follow through. Oh crap)