Monday, November 27, 2006

Pu tong hua!

We started Chinese language lessons on Saturday. There is a small group of us; Dean (whom we met at the IAFQ info day... he and his wife submitted their EOI the same week as us), Robin (in Batch 13, DTC and now waiting for LID!*), a man named Bob (I think) - he isn't adopting, but has spent some time in China, and Aaron & me!

Our lessons are held at a magnificent Taoist temple. Our teacher's name is Ellie. There are ten lessons to start with, and we'll see what happens from there. Even though Aaron and I know basic survival Mandarin, it was still valuable for us to revisit the basics. I'm not so crash hot at my tones, so the instant feedback and correction is going to be handy. Most of our current skills were learnt from books or podcasts, so we can really appreciate the value of having Ellie on hand!

*for our family and friends not familiar with the lingo or local process of adopting from China, files of prospective adoptive parents are sent to China in batches of around 5 files. Recently, Queensland sent over batch number 13, so there are some really excited couples and families celebrating this milestone. DTC stands for Dossier to China (for when the file is sent) and LID stands for Log in Date, which is an all important date provided by the CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs) when they have officially 'put you in the queue'. Currently the wait from LID to referral (where the adoptive parents receive a photo and some information about the child they have been matched with) is about 14 months. There is
interesting speculation around about how this time may increase. We're not interested in speculating this early on, as we know that anything can happen over the next couple of years - and probably will!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Daughter from Afar

This week I read Daughter from Afar. The great part of this book is that the author doesn't paint their adoption journey as a great rosy adventure - she is honest and shares the struggles, especially during the first few months after returning home with their baby. Three hours of sleep a night... night terrors... adjustment issues.

There is an FAQ section at the end of the book, with excellent anwers to questions like, 'Do you think you'll have children of "your own"?' and 'Dont you ever wonder about her "real" parents?' It reinforced to me the importance of modelling to others (and correcting when required) the most appropriate language to use, especially in front of the child.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Eligibility Established!

Just got home from work and opened our mail. How sweet it was to read the following words on a letter from DoCS; 'All necessary documentation has been received and you have met the eligibility criteria to remain on the Expression of Interest register'.

This is good news! We have now been invited to the next step in the process - Education. Our Education dates are 1st and 2nd December.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Lost Daughters of China

I've just finished reading The Lost Daughters of China. It was an insightful read. My perceptions on some things has been altered.

It seems that some of the issues relating to the status of women in China can be traced back to Confucius. He laid down a family system strongly built on male lineage, where women weren't even included in family trees. I always thought Confucius said some really wise things... now I realise that when it comes to women he also said some pretty dumb things too.

What surprised me more was that the person who made attempts to turn this around was Chairman Mao (although now that I think about it, it probably makes sense in terms of Communist beliefs). The Communists encouraged women to 'join the ranks of human beings'. Mao is quoted as saying, "Women hold up half the sky". Things like prostitution, child marriage, the taking of concubines and the selling of brides were outlawed. Peasant girls were allowed to go to school and wives had newfound rights. Mao promoted that men and women were equal.

Unfortunately, those reforms were somewhat shortlived.

I know that this is a book that much of the Chinese adoption community has read and promotes, and I can understand why. It explores the portrayal of Chinese women throughout history and how this has been represented, for example, in poetry (some of which I can't even bring myself to repeat because it revolts and disturbs me so).

I'm glad with all my heart that things are on the up and that the perception of girls and women in China is becoming more positive.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

First fabric!

We received our first square of fabric for our One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt! It's from my friend Desley, and as you can see is covered in ladybugs. Ladybugs have special significance within the China adoption community - it is believed that when you see one, it is a sign that something good will happen soon. Thank you Desley for your thoughtfulness - this is really special!