Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Home Study Approved!

Our home study just got approved by our adoption agency!  We can now file it with the USCIS  and begin the sealing process for the dossier.

So the home study along with the I-800A form is going to be mailed soon.  We're going to the social worker's office tomorrow to pick up the approved home study. 

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Shen Yun 2010

I don't know how I missed this as I read "Life with Briana" all the time (one of my favorite blogs), but there was a very interesting post about the Shen Yun which I find very distressing and disturbing (but it was from 2 years ago, so maybe some things have changed?)

What she writes is, "I am really shocked today to be reporting that I was not completely thrilled with "Shen Yun." I thought I would singing its praises today. Yes, it is BEAUTIFUL. Beyond visually stunning. The dancing and music and costumes - absolutely amazing.

But, there is a problem with it...

The problem is that there is a "Falun Dafa (Falun Gong)" agenda woven through the whole performance that is not revealed in any of the "Shen Yun Performing Arts" advertising. At all. They do give a little glimpse of their mission statement on their website, but there is nothing mentioned about "Falun Dafa". The only reason I understand so much about this movement now is because I have done some reading about it since last night. One of the things I've read about this movement is that the founder promotes racism and the hatred of homosexuals. I am also reading that there are many people out there that believe that Falun Dafa is a cult. And I found this website singing the praises of "Shen Yun." Obviously if we had known all of this, we may or may not have gone to the show. I'm not sure. Believe me, I have no problem with people expressing their beliefs. We live in a free country and you can believe and express what you want to. What I am upset about is the hidden agenda of this show. We were not given all the information regarding the show in the advertising so that Doug and I were able to make a completely informed decision whether to see this show with our daughter or not.

Doug and I brought our three year old child to this performance looking to share and enjoy traditional Chinese culture with her. I would say three-fourths of the show was mainly beautiful, traditional Chinese dance numbers. But, there were three songs sung during the show by opera singers and all the songs had a persecution-type tone to them (subtitles were being shown in English on the backdrop of the stage). And there were two dance performances that included people being persecuted by the Chinese government for practicing their beliefs (now I know Falun Dafa) - which included pretend kicking, hitting and even death. Yes, the death of a mother in front of her child for practicing her beliefs. (Oh - child was kicked and hit too.) Luckily, Briana is still too young to understand really what was going on.

So, if you decide to see this show - go with the knowledge that there is FAR more behind it than is let on. I am very, very disappointed today about all of this. That aside, the dance performances themselves were beautiful."

Racisim and hatred to homosexuals is something I don't tolerate.  I know it's out there, but I don't support it and I stay away from that type thinking.  And if this is a hidden agenda of the show, I feel misinformed and robbed and saddened.  This isn't how people's messages should be told, "hidden".  It's so dirty and underhanded.  We spent money on the tickets, and they can't be refunded, so we will still go to the show, but a lot of heart has been taken out of it.  I hope I will still find the beauty in the rest of the show.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shen Yun Tickets

My husband and I just reserved tickets to Shen Yun.  I'm very excited.  We'll see it in a couple of weeks!

It's classical Chinese dance and music.  They perform every year and it's always a new unique show and music.  We're hoping to make attending this show an annual tradition.

I hope many of the other APs out there are going!

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Kajal's first package

In the mail today, I received the welcome kit to our sponsored child in India, Kajal.  We got to learn her last name and about her country.  But even better, we got her ID number so we could email her a letter right away.  We told her hello and asked about her and her sister and told her we were a big family of pets!  We should get a letter back in roughly 4 months!

We also decided to send a package.  We can only send a package in a 6x9 envelope.  You have to be very creative to figure out what to fit in such a tiny space.  As we now have just stuffed all her items in her 6x9 envelope, we can't take a photo of it, as I'm afraid if I got it all out, I wouldn't be able to get it back in again. 

But we found a tiny My Little Pony activity book, a small Tweety Bird wash cloth, a Minnie Mouse puzzle, some erasable/twistable colored pencils, stickers, barrettes and a decal of Disney princesses that she can play with on a laminated board of some kind.  All these things we found at the dollar store.  We also put in a photo of my husband, the pups and me to send her.

And we found so much, we have her stacked up for every month for the next 4 months!  We have notepads, more stickers, paper dolls, jump rope, bouncy balloon balls and all kinds of cheap-small stuff to send to her.

My husband and I had a lot of fun picking all this out for her.  We can't send her jewelry, toys or clothes.  And on the "toys" we did send her, we got approval on.  I can't wait to hear about her getting them.  It will be a long time coming until that day, but I'm sure this will help me get prepared for when it's my child I'm sending things to and learning to wait for any information back!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Ju Ju Be

My husband and I have finally agreed on a diaper bag.  I know this statement sounds silly, but since we've know we were adopting back in July, we've gone off and on to baby stores or on-line and haven't seen anything we're interested in or could agree on.

We wanted one that went traveled well for China, would be easy to carry, not look girly (as husband will need to tote from time to time) and be a conventional diaper bag.

Along came the BFF by Ju Ju Be.  We were at a baby store shopping for my cousin's daughter's 2nd birthday.  When we came across diaper bags.  We looked at them but weren't impressed.  But one diaper bag, called the BFF was on a TV advertisement sitting on the shelf.  It seemed like an amazing bag! 

The advertisement said that the entire fabric was made of TEFLON fabric protector.  So the stains won't stick to the bag.  Also the linings were made of agION which stop odors, prevents growth of germs, mold, mildew, fungus and bacteria.  This diaper bag came with a comfy changing pad.  There are crumb drains in the outer pocket and the bag is machine washable.  The insides is light colored so you can see what's inside, along with many compartments and such.  Also there are 2 bottle pockets with Thinsulate to keep the bottles warm or cold up to three hours.

All this was good, but the selling points for me was, a place to hold sunglasses, keys, photos, passports, etc and most importantly it also had 3 ways to carry, short handle, shoulder strap and book bag style.  This seemed perfect for functionality for China!  So it was a diaper bag that didn't really look like a diaper bag.  But all the styles (color choices) of the BFF in the store were all flowery or the such. 

I did see a plain black one with silver lining.  I thought I could settle on this coloring.  But then we saw the price.  No thank you.

I then decided to go on Ebay and see if I could find them cheaper or other styles.  I found many other styles and fell in love with the brown one with the blue lining.  My husband liked that too.  But they were all full price on Ebay except for one.  Which one was it?  My brown and blue one!  And we won it!!

It just came in and we're so excited!  It's half the price and brand new!  I'm very excited about it and so is my husband.  We of course can't wait to use it.  But that will come in time.

I don't know what other diaper bags are out there that other used for China, but this seemed perfect for us, and especially searching for the deal on Ebay.  I highly recommend if you can find it for cheap on Ebay or the like.
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Thursday, February 23, 2012


It's been crazy.  Ever since I've started my new job, I've been in a whirlwind.

I work through lunches and stay late and bring work home.  I have a lot of things that my job is trying to catch up on.  I love my job and what I do, just not the hours.  And I think it will be like this for 6 months or so and then finally slow down.  It will be worth it.

With my life now focused on my new job, I haven't been able to focus on the adoption.  I haven't been able to read my fellow adoption blogs daily or even weekly.  I haven't been on forums.  I feel like I've lost track or the pulse of where I used to be in all of this.

Even now I feel guilty spending 5 minutes to blog. 

With that said, my husband has really stood up.  He is taking the initiative and begining to take over running and double checking everything in this paperchase.  I'm very proud of him.  He's been so understanding and trying to be on top of all the details and foresee hurdles to jump.

It's been very hard for me to give up that control.  But I think this is a good test to his commitment.  It's definitely a huge turn-around from his lack of running with the ball when I was pressing for his bio months ago.

Regardless, we're just waiting for CCAI to authorize all the changes they asked for the home study.  Once that's done we have to send that with some copies of our info and an I-800A form to the USCIS.  And get that and the fingerprinting all done. Then once it comes back approved it's a I-797 form.  We then will have all that plus our original paperwork that we need to get notarized then authenticated then sent to the Chicago Chinese Consulate.

Lots of steps.  We're currently renewing our birth certificates (Meaning asking for new ones) and other things that would "expire" as they have to be dated less than 6 months when the Chinese Consulate gets it.  So my dear husband is taking care of some of those things.

It's so great that I don't have to worry about it all.  I mean, I still do, but I don't have to worry about the details.

Let's hope we get our Home Study back approved so we can go forward with the rest of the paperchasing.

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Friday, February 17, 2012



Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.  Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.  Life is a challenge, meet it. 
Life is a duty, complete it.  Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.  Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.  Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.  Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.  Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

Mother Teresa
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Sunday, February 12, 2012


Our Home Study is complete!  Mr. T emailed it to us to compare for any errors, and also sent it to his boss and our adoption agency to be sure everything is right.

Once they verify it we can pick it up and get it sent off with the I-800A form to the USCIS and start that whole thing with the rest of the paperchase.

I'm very happy to get things completed and checked off the list.  I feel like we're making good progress. 

On another note, my husband and I decided to sponsor a child. We've always wanted to but never have.  Well, we got a chance to choose a child to sponsor yesterday.  We wanted to sponsor a child from China, but unfortunately that country wasn't available through the program we were looking at.  So we choose Asia, the closest possible and found a young girl, just turned 4 years old, from India.  She was born November 7th. 

Somehow by sponsoring her we feel closer to our little girl in China.  Making the world a little smaller or something.

She's adorable. We should get a letter of introduction from her in 2-4 months.  We're very excited.We can send her ribbons, coloring books, etc.  I think it will be wonderful to sponsor this little girl and see the difference we are making with her and her community.

I can't wait to learn more about her.  Her name Kajal is pronounced Kah-jull.  Ka rhymes with pa and jull rhymes with dull.  The meaning of the name Kajal is eyeliner.  It's origin is Hindu.

Fascinating!  I can't wait for Ashton to help send her letters and chose stickers to send etc.  I'm very excited to see where this sponsoring will take us.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Amadeus!!

Just wanted to give a shout out to my little man, Amadeus!  He is 4 years old today!  He's my little snuggler and protector.  Life wouldn't be the same without him.  Happy Birthday my baby Ami!!

For those who want to know about Ami's arrival:  We love our already wonderful zoo of a family. Everyone gets along. However, we wanted a boy Chihuahua to befriend our Arwen (our 3-pound blue Chihuahua). We wanted a dog her size to play with. 

I always wanted a merle Chihuahua. I just have this thing for spots. We found a good breeder who bred the merle gene correctly and fell in love with this guy.

He had a sister that was a tri-color and double his size. He was the runt of the litter. 

When we met him he ran, well kinda bounced his way to us and licked me to death. He was a lover from the moment I met him. Who could say no to a greeting like that?

We brought Arwen to the breeder's home to see if she hated him or loved him. She didn't mind him, she just didn't like the ear pulling. So with that we prayed that they'd get along but as no alarms went off saying no, we took him home. The next morning Arwen and Amadeus were playing. We took it as a sign we made the right decision.

They're inseparable now and lay curled up together with Amadeus' head always resting on top of Arwen.  It's so cute! 

I can't wait to see Ashton loving our furbabies as much as we do!
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Home Studies Done!

I didn't sleep very well last night.  I kept thinking about the home study.

We had our 2nd, 3rd and 4th home studies done tonight.  It's been a crazy few days.  My husband was gone all weekend for the Superbowl and had a theater meeting on Monday, so he was running on empty for the home study today.  But we got through it.

Mr. T, our social worker, arrived and I got my solo interview done first.  We basically talked about my childhood and people who influenced me.  Then it was my husband's turn.  He spoke a lot about his mother's level 4 cancer and how he'd like to raise our daughter.  Then we were asked a few questions together, about our lifestyle and community and education for Ashton.  Then we gave a tour of the house.

I was ready for a drill.  I was ready for tough questions that would challenge me.  None really came.  It was more just getting a feel for us and what we envisioned.

We should get the Home Study complete in a week or two.  Then we can get everything notarized, then certified , and so forth.

We accomplished a lot tonight!  I'm exhausted!  Off to bed to sleep peacefully!
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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day

I've also really enjoyed the weather.  It's been in the 50s!  It's been fantastic.  My husband and I've been airing out the house every chance we get.  Especially with the Home Study coming on Tuesday!

I love Groundhog Day.  No one ever really notices it I know, but I think it's such a cute tradition.  I'd love to go to the town that actually has Phil the groundhog.  And yes, I love the movie "Groundhog Day".

Anyway, I just wanted to give a shout out to one of our minor holidays.  I hate that he sees his shadow 90% of the time.  I don't get it.  Your shadow only takes up 25% of the ground compared to everything else.  How can one statistically see their shadow that often?  I don't know, I don't get it; but it's still adorable!
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