Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Love Our Way

Today I read Love Our Way, a recent Australian book outlining the story of a large adoptive family who learned that their youngest two children from India were not willingly relinquished for adoption, rather stolen from their mother and sold.

Ugh. I can't even begin to fathom the birth mother's anguish and pain... nor the emotions of anyone else involved in the saga. As I read the story I couldn't help but be relieved that these children were adopted into this particular family, where the parents were bold enough to confront the issue and wise enough to take the steps they did. In a strange series of events it seems that the birth mother's life has been saved through the reunion and she has a hope and a future.

We need stories like this to be told. There is/has been corruption in international adoption in a number of countries, and unless people are aware then there can be little done towards ensuring ethical practices are employed globally. I am pro-adoption, but as I have said before on this blog, I believe international adoption should be a last resort, and then only for children whose only other option is to be raised in an institution without a permanent loving family. I've read too many stories from adult adoptees to believe that transnational adoption is always the fairytale ending it's often made out to be.

Julia Rollings, the author of Love Our Way, has a blog - Towards a New Ending. It was nice to finish the book and then read the following installments and see current pictures in her blog. I was excited to learn also that the television show Foreign Correspondent will be sharing some of this story when it recommences screening in February.

If you're interested in buying the book, I picked mine up at an airport Newslink store. You can also use the link above.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas wishes

Happy Christmas! We are off to tropical far north Queensland for a week where we will celebrate Christmas with my parents. Wishing all our friends, family and blog readers a very special Christmas and holiday season!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Child bride

Happy Anniversary to us! Twelve years ago today I walked up the aisle into the arms of the man I love (okay, he was just a boy back then).

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

On being an ancient mamma

Wow, and I sometimes worry about being a 'late-starter' and not beginning my family until my thirties. A 70 year old Indian woman has just given birth to a baby! Rajo and her husband had been married 50 years and felt there was a social stigma that they never had children. Eeek!

"We longed for a child all these years and now we are very happy to have one in the twilight years of our life."

Full article here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

3 months logged in

It's the eighth of the month, which means we are celebrating three months logged in!

All images licensed under Creative Commons. 1. Spot the difference!, 2. Pewter Number 3, 3. Dancing Kids

'All I Really Want for Christmas' music video

I watched this and was so glad to be reminded that I have the best gift of all, a family. This video suggests there are 50 million orphans who don't.

'All I Really Want for Christmas', Steven Curtis Chapman

Monday, December 01, 2008

Batch buddies

We (finally) got sent the names and contact details for the other seven couples in our batch today. Hrm now what. I guess someone has to initiate first contact, but it may be a little pointless this early on. Although I guess we don't have to meet up - I could just send a 'hello' email. Hrmmm...

We're not just the same batch; we're also the only files that went to China from Qld this year! It's intriguing to think we will be traveling together and that our children will have a lifelong connection. Maybe our children will all be from the same orphanage. Will we get a 'red couch' photo like the thousands before us?

I also wonder how much can happen between now and referral. How many of the eight couples will drop out / change plans / give up waiting?! (Not us!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Willow Trees

A few months ago I purchased a series of six China adoption related DVDs from Dr. Changfu Chang. One of them, The Willow Trees, documents a remarkable story that is worth sharing.

Bonnie was a single career woman. Bonnie's sister was married and unable to have children, so she decided to adopt. Sadly, she became ill and passed away before this could happen. A little while later Bonnie decided herself to adopt and in doing so fulfilled her sister's dream. She put in her application to China. Her first adoption took place in 1998.

Bonnie missed her sister greatly and thought that her daughter should also have the experience of having a sister, so three years later she decided to pursue a second adoption. This time Bonnie decided to use a new adoption agency upon recommendation by a friend. Interestingly the second agency was located in the building where her sister had first worked and in the area that Bonnie had grown up in. She signed the papers on the same date as her late sister's birthday.

When Bonnie's travel group received their allocations, Bonnie's was not included. She was understandably devastated, however a month later she finally received her referral. It was a complete surprise for Bonnie to learn that her second daughter was from the same city and in fact the same orphanage as her first.

A year later, Bonnie attended a reunion for families who adopted from the orphanage her daughters were from. Someone delivered a message for her which stated that her daughters had a closer link than most and were biologically related.

Of course, you know where this is headed right?! The two daughters looked similar and the older they got the more the similarities became apparent. DNA testing proved the girls were biological sisters. There was no human intervention, and it is not possible that the CCAA would have known they were sisters in order to refer them to the same mother. Bonnie believes this remarkable coincidence was the work of her sister!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Ladybugs. Some China-adopters love 'em, some think the whole tradition of good luck and/or good news on the way with a sighting is pointless as it purportedly originated with prospective adopters rather than in China.

I'm not obsessed with ladybugs, but when I see one (or ladybug paraphernalia) I smile gently and think of the future. I have purchased ladybug stickers and some cute ladybug hair clips in the past. Today I may have gone a bit far.

I walked across the road to the butcher and the fruit shop to get supplies for dinner. In between the butcher and the fruit shop is a chemist. Hanging in the doorway of the chemist was this little number which caught my eye.

I walked past and then took two steps back. Oh my. I took it straight to the counter. There were two sales assistants who began gushing at the cuteness of it, and then asked me if it was for Christmas. 'Ummm not sure when it's for really!', I replied. Then one of them asked, 'How old is she?'. 'Ummm, just a baby', I said. I felt a bit silly and couldn't tell them it was actually for a child who not only probably hasn't been conceived, but her birth mother may not have even been conceived yet (I jest, I jest).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

When life gives you bad milk, make... bricks?

Remember the tainted milk issue in China? I just saw this article at China Daily which suggests the contaminated milk could be used to make bricks and concrete. This is apparently a cheaper way to dispose of it than treating it as hazardous waste.

It's scary to think that it's too toxic for landfill yet humans were consuming it. Here's hoping China implements strict quality assurance measures/standards for all food and drinks (and toys and cosmetics and clothes...)

Image by mtlin

Saturday, November 08, 2008

2 months logged in

It's the eighth of the month, which means we are celebrating two months logged in!

All images licensed under Creative Commons. 1. More cute Chinese kids, 2. Your Number 2, 3. chopsticks, 4. Gongxi facai!, 5. Eyes Wide Open, 6. 2

Monday, November 03, 2008

Foot binding

For about a thousand years in China, ending officially in 1911 through government enforcement (though unofficially the practice continued in some areas for some time), the feet of young girls were bound tightly in bandages in order to make them smaller. The ideal size was 3-inches and a foot that achieved this size was known as a Gold Lotus.

There are diverse opinions on the origins of this brutal practice. You can read about some of them at the Wikipedia entry or this research paper. Another useful reference is this NPR radio report, Painful Memories for China's Footbinding Survivors.

The process was pretty gruesome. It involved breaking toes and folding them down towards the heel. The toes were secured tightly with wet bandages which were replaced every two days, at which time the replacement bandages would be pulled even tighter. Women with bound feet were not able to carry out physical work and often could only hobble, not walk. This guaranteed their fidelity to their husbands and also ensured their inability to participate in politics and other worldly business.

All images licensed under Creative Commons. Images 1, 2 and 4 by johnbullas. Image 3 by plassen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Run for the hills... or you might get tagged!

Right! That'll teach me for not posting for a while! Monica at Three Dumplings tagged me to post seven interesting facts about me. Hrmm I think I've done this a couple of times before, so I'm going to have to think of seven things yet un-shared.

1. I drink a lot of green tea (and other herbal teas and tisanes).
2. I own a lot of teapots. I just have a thing for nice tea pots. And I use them all.
3. I get cold easily. Everyone else can be wearing short-sleeves and shorts and I will most likely have a cardigan and jeans on - and still be shivering. Aaron reckons my thermostat is broken.
4. I wake up early just about every day. I'm often up and showered and dressed before 6am. On weekends I tend to laze around in bed til after 7am. However, I go to bed at night pretty early - usually asleep by 9 and definitely by 10... so if I have a late night that sometimes warps my waking time the next day.
5. I like word games. Actually I like most board games. Find me on Facebook and challenge me to Twirl, Scramble, WordScraper or the like. I'll take you on!
6. I'm not very good at staying still. Even when I'm sitting down at work or laying in bed at home I will still have a leg shaking or a foot tapping.
7. I'm a super fast reader. I devour books.

Hrm I just re-read those and realised you might mistake me as someone who is 70 years old!

I'm supposed to post the rules - here they are. Notice I'm a rule breaker:
1. Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules
2. Share 7 random or weird facts about yourself
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and link to them
4. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


That's how many days of dossiers need to be processed before the CCAA gets to our log in date (8th Sept 2008). Nine hundred and forty-two. I was planning to fill a jar with 942 M&Ms and each month when referrals occur I would take out and eat the number of dates they got through. Only thing is, the M&Ms would probably go stale by the time our date rolled around. With the average referral rate about 6 days/month, predictions are that we won't receive our allocation until August 2016. HA! So I need to think of another fun way to mark the referrals each month. Any ideas?

(And for the record, I do not believe it will take eight years to get to our LID... I hold hope that things will improve!)

I spy... something beginning with L!

We have a log-in-date! 8/9/08

Ok, just to confuse half of you, that's the 8th September. Americans would write 9/8/08... which to Aussies would mean the 9th of August. Bah! I have no idea why that is.

I'll be a little clearer.

Our LID is 8th Sept 2008!

After the previous post you would understand my excitement at scoring the number eight in there!

The CCAA have presently referred people logged in up to and including 9th February 2006. Anyone care to figure out how many dates are in front of us?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's a numbers game!

Last we heard there were eight couples in our batch, but that hasn't been confirmed yet. Apparently the Dept cannot release batch-buddy details to each other until everyone has consented regarding how much info they will share, and there are people who have not done so yet. I hope it is eight couples as it will add to the excitement with eight being a lucky number in Chinese culture.

Yes, here's the Lucky Number Eight post I promised many weeks ago.

When we lived in China we were invited to the opening of an Irish bar at 8pm on the 8th day of the month. We questioned the late opening time and were told that it would bring good luck and prosperity, but we weren't entirely sure why. I asked our mandarin teacher why, and she said it was because the Chinese word for eight - 'ba' - sounds like the Chinese word for wealth - 'fa'. Which doesn't make much sense to me really considering so many words in Chinese sound similar. But the Chinese can be a suspicious bunch, and truthfully I find it quite intriguing.

The impact of the auspiciousness of number eight is quite significant. You may recall the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony kicked off at 8 mins and 8 seconds past 8pm on 08/08/08. My friend at work married her Chinese husband on the same day, along with presumably thousands of others of this heritage around the world. Mobile phone numbers and car license plates can fetch big bucks if they contain the right numbers too.

It's not just the number eight which is significant. You could devote your life to learning about the impact of numbers and number combinations in Chinese culture. The number 4 is unlucky - 'si' because it sounds like the word for death, and 14 is even more unlucky - 'shi si' - because it sounds like want to die. There's only one number I really want to know right now, and that's the date of our Log-In with the CCAA!

Image by KayVeeINC

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dossier to China

Oh, for the longest time I've wanted to be able to say we are DTC... and now we are! Two years and twelve days since lodging our Expression of Interest in being assessed, and 8 months and 15 days since being approved (we do things quickly in Queensland, have you noticed?) our dossier is on a QANTAS plane and making its way to China. I saw a QANTAS plane in the sky on my way home from work tonight and choked up a little.

We are officially Qld batch #1 2008. Don't hold your breath, I doubt there will be any further batches from Qld this year. The China officer advised that in 6-8 weeks she will contact the CCAA (China Centre of Adoption Affairs) and find out our log-in-date.

To say I'm relieved is an understatement.

I know there is a massive wait ahead of us, but I do feel like we have finished one chapter of a book and are starting a new chapter. And that feels good!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Can someone say... slow?

Coming out of hibernation for a quick update. Wish it was better news - looks like our excitement at having an August 2008 (08/08) LID was a pipe dream. Probably was a bit too ambitious to think it could take less than nine months from being approved to being logged in.


Anyway,first update came from the Dept's China officer ten days ago:
'The files were sent to the Notary on 8 August 2008. The files have now been sent back from Notary and I received them this morning. I have now couriered the files to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Once I receive the files back from DFAT I will take them to the Chinese Consulate.'

Then another one two days ago:
'I received the files back from the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday afternoon, and have now walked the files to the Chinese Consulate this morning.'

With a promise to keep us up to date.

That's all we know! No clue or indication yet how long things will take at the Consulate. I hope to share some DTC (Dossier-to-China) news in the not-too-distant future, followed by LID (log-in-date) news shortly after that.

And I will still update about the auspiciousness of the number 8 soon!

(photo by Randy Son of Robert via Flickr)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

We're still checkin' those boxes!

I spoke with the China officer from the Dept today. Good news, eight couples (yah, I know... eight is news to us too!) are ready to be batched and our paperwork is being sent off to be notarised. There is just one document from one dossier that is missing - whoever it is please hurry! We are now required to get some bank drafts in US currency made up to be sent with our dossier to be paid to the CCAA and also to cover translation services.

It's nice to progress a little.

I asked whether everything is on track for the dossiers to leave on the 15th and was told, "I think so". Apparently the Dept is not sure how long the notarisation will take for eight dossiers, as their usual time expectations are based on batches of approximately five.

I am so hopeful that we will get an August log in date. That would mean eight files in our batch in the eighth month of 2008, and eight is a lucky number for the Chinese. I'll do a post about that later this week to explain why.

Monday, July 28, 2008

International Day 2008

Sunday was IAFQ's International Day for 2008. As I wrote last year, International Day is a celebration of our state's adopted childrens' birth cultures.

It was bizarre, while we were waiting for the parade to start we saw a couple we met last year at a dinner for waiting parents where we chatted about having the same social worker and the differences in our experiences with her. This couple were assessed just before us, - and THEY HAVE THEIR BABY ALREADY! It was a mind trip for us. They adopted from Taiwan and received an allocation five months after approval, then travel four months after that. And their little boy looked so young and precious!

Enjoy some International Day 2008 photos:

The China group on parade (my favourite part of the day!)

The gorgeous kiddies from the Philippines and their families

Our Ethiopian munchkins (just love their outfits! and the dancing!)

Hanging around outside

Aaron finishing off his Korean BBQ lunch!

We seem to be pretty lucky with the International Day raffle. Last year we won a DVD player and a Mrs Potato Head. This year we won a TV Game Virtual Pet (I still don't know what it is, but will hopefully work it out soon when it arrives!)

After International Day we headed over to the Coffee and Chocolate Affair, where there were far too many people to make it enjoyable, so we headed home after a while and enjoyed a lazy late afternoon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Previously, on Checking Boxes

Last week I wrote to the Department after receiving advice that they were now waiting to form a batch of seven dossiers, of which ours would be part of.

Here is an excerpt from my email:

"The inter-country adoption system in China works on a chronological basis, regardless of a dossier's country of origin. The China Centre of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) issues referrals each month. Presently couples receiving referrals from China have had their dossiers logged in for 28+ months. You can see from the referral table at the bottom of this web page that the eighteen month average is 6.3 days allocated/month. The twelve month average is 6.1 days allocated/month. This could potentially mean that for each week longer the current batch of dossiers stays in Australia, an extra month+ is added for the waiting couples."

"According to last week's telephone conversation, the Department wishes to create a batch of seven dossiers. As at July 4, 2008 four couples are ready to be batched and three are compiling their dossiers. We respectfully request that if these final three couples have not finalised their dossiers by end of July 2008 that they form part of a new batch. There are three weeks until the end of July. Three weeks is enough time to complete the dossier requirements. If it is not enough time for the remaining couples then they are really not close enough to be included in the current batch. At present referral rates, three weeks equals three and a half months extra wait after log-in. We are aware that referral rates can change, and are hopeful they do. All we have to go on at present is historical patterns and statistics."

I'm pleased that the response I received today included this information:

"Adoption Services Queensland has spoken with other eligible couples and has requested their documents be provided to ASQ by the end of July to ensure the timely batching of files for preparation and onforwarding to China.

I am confident that a minimum four files will be ready at that time and these shall be dispatched on Friday 15 August 2008 (allowing time for notarising and DFAT action).

Monday, July 07, 2008

"A girl, a photograph, a homecoming"

This 25 minute video tells the remarkable story of a Korean adoption in the late 1970s. It is told by a man who worked as a photographer for Time Magazine. He was given an assignment to photograph Amerasian children (kids fathered by American GIs throughout Asia and then abandoned, of which there were some 40 000 at the time). Through this assignment he came to know a little girl and her grandmother in Korea. The story that follows from there is bizarre, serendipitous, intriguing and heart-warming.

Friday, July 04, 2008

[un]Lucky number seven

I spoke with the China officer at the Dept today to find out the current status of our file and to see whether there were five files ready to be batched and sent to China yet. She advised that they had now decided to put seven files in this batch. Four are ready to go (including us) and another three still have to compile their dossier. While I love the fact that our child would have six other batch-buddies, I would also be happy with three or four.

I politely mentioned that we had been ready and waiting for months, and that every week longer at this end potentially adds months at the other end. She understands why we would be concerned and frustrated - although I'm not sure how much because from every conversation I've had with people in the Dept, I don't believe anyone there monitors the monthly China allocations closely and knows the stats, history, trends or realities. At least they have removed the '17 months wait from China' information from their website.

I asked how long we would wait for these last three files, and was it possible to draw a line in the sand somewhere and if they aren't ready by that date they could wait for the next batch. Apparently this is beyond her control and would need to be decided higher up.

I can feel a letter coming on.

Monday, June 30, 2008


With the Olympics around the corner, it's useful to learn to pronounce Beijing correctly - particularly the 'j' sound. This short video explains it well; now we just need the newsreaders and journos to get it right!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Is it okay if I have a little rant?

Ya know what, we've been 'officially' in this process for two years now AND OUR FILE IS STILL IN AUSTRALIA! Lol! I don't know what I'll think or how I'll feel if we aren't batched and Dossier-To-China in July. I always thought (way back before the time-lines blew out and before Expressions of Interest for adopting reopened in Qld) that we would be travelling to China and receiving our baby in 2008.

Actually, the plan in my head went something like this:
2008 - adopt
2009 - bio baby
2011 - bio baby
2012 - adopt

I had it all worked out. I know, four kids in five years. I'm nutty like that, but let me live in my utopian world for a moment. Now the reality is probably something like this:

2013 - adopt
2014 - realise I'm probably too old for a bio baby. cry. raise an only child.

I'm being a drama queen. The wait is kinda getting to me, and we haven't even STARTED the real wait. I just want the security of being logged-in.

The Department has these insane rules, like you can't have a homegrown baby while you are in the adoption process because you need to show that you are 100% committed to the adoption, and apparently if you are pursuing pregnancy that means adoption really isn't what you want to do. No recognition there for people who choose to have a blended family and who ARE 100% committed to adoption AND having bio children (unless you have already finished having all your bio kids and are adopting to complete your family). It's one or the other. It stinks.

People go around the rules. They just don't tell the Dept they are having a baby and then at their two-year update go, 'surprise!'. I don't know if I could that. Aaron wouldn't do that (have you met the guy? he's the most rule-abiding, integrity dripping, straight down the line person God ever created).

So we sit here in limbo, wondering... waiting... aging LOL!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I know you love pics...

No adoption news. File is still in Australia. The new China officer started with the Department and sent us an email to introduce herself. Who are these other couples we are waiting for? PLEASE HURRY UP! Every week the file stays here could potentially add months to the wait. I've even had a few fleeting thoughts of trying to have a baby in the meantime. Don't get excited, there's been no serious contemplation, just fleeting thoughts as I ponder the extending wait and my age.

To more positive news, the IAFQ 30th Anniversary picnic was held three weeks ago. That's how long it has taken me to make the time to get the pics of my camera and write about it.

Official reports are that there were about a hundred attendees.

Country flags flapping in the wind.

Lainie, my adoption blogging sista, and I.

The patient couple.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Telling the kids

How gorgeous is this:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

An update, for what it's worth!

The latest info is that there are two dossiers ready and waiting (ours and another). The Dept will only send dossiers to China in batches of five. Apparently there are three more 'not far behind' that the Dept was going to follow up this week. A new officer for the China program has been appointed and starts on the 28th April. I never would have imagined that we'd get to May and still not be DTC (dossier to China), but it's starting to look that way!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Something? Anything?

Working for the Intercountry Adoption Unit (which I just always refer to as 'the Dept' because it's part of the Department of Child Safety) must be a tough gig. We've seen three coordinators for the China program come and go.

Right now there is no dedicated coordinator until they appoint a newbie. The team leader is looking after the China program, but she's a hard lady to catch. She only works Mon, Tues and Wed. I rang on Wednesday and was told she didn't start work until 1pm. I left a message asking her to call, but I guess she's snowed under. I'm not an annoying stalker. I've probably phoned the Dept twice in past two years (and if I hadn't, our file would still probably be on hold for no valid reason).

I would like to know whether there are any other files ready for our batch! I'd like to know an estimate of when our dossier might finally leave these shores. Actually, I'd just like any information at all. And I'd like to suggest that they might update their dossier paperwork so they're not still telling people it's a 14 month wait for a referral from China.

This probably sounds like a rant, so I want it to be known that I respect the team working at the Dept and I hold them in high regard. They do a good job under difficult circumstances and like most Government agencies are probably understaffed. So they should give me a job there to come and look after the China program :-) I'm a fully qualified hoop-jumper and box-checker. And I return phone calls. Sometimes. (Ok, I can work on that one).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One Child Policy to Continue

There has been speculation recently about whether China's family planning policy (commonly known as the One Child Policy) would change or continue. Earlier this month, China's Family Planning Minister announced that the policy would continue for at least another ten years.

While the policy is commonly deemed successful in curbing population growth, there have been massive social, economic, environmental, ethical and other implications and consequences as a result of this policy, directly and indirectly, including

  • child abandonment, especially girls
  • female gendercide
  • child trafficking
  • wife trafficking
  • forced abortions / forced sterilisation
  • gender imbalance
  • 4/2/1 dependency ratio
  • declining birth rate, hence declining population replacement rate
  • aging population
  • little emperor syndrome
  • hugely disproportionate number of marriageable age males without female counterparts
    (this list is just a quick brain-dump and is by no means exhaustive)

The One Child Policy is not a blanket policy imposed on all families. In fact, the current birth rate in China sits at around 1.8 children per family (not down to 1 per family but certainly a shift from the average of 7.5 children per family in 1963). Here is some information about the policy:
  • families are allowed to have two children if the first born is a girl or is disabled (resulting in second and third born females being abandoned)
  • rural families are permitted to have two children
  • if the mother and father are only children themselves, they are allowed two children
  • the policy is enforced in different ways in different provinces
  • ethnic minorities (the 55 different Chinese ethnic groups, ie. non-Han Chinese) may have two and sometimes three children
  • breaching the policy can result in fines, withdrawal of family allowance, demotion or discharge from jobs, social rejection

I wonder what the Chinese would think of the policies of my nation's Government; we are paid to have children and encouraged to have larger families in an attempt to increase the fertility rate.

Similar/related earlier posts: The right to live, Family planning slogans, Population stuff.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Update on Aussie adoption petition

A quick update on my post earlier this month about the adoption petition for the Australian Federal Government. There is a new link to the online petition -

There are eleven initial changes that the petition targets. Most interesting is the need to provide potential for NGOs to facilitate adoption services, rather than the current requirement of working with government departments only. Also a push for Australia to open up new country programs and to reduce waiting lists.

Please join with me in signing the petition - and please share the link with your networks. The link also provides a draft letter that can be sent to your local MP (for those in Australia).

It's everywhere

Is adoption increasingly prevalent, or is it just that I'm more aware of it..? Last week I returned from a work trip to the US and there were three (count 'em, THREE) movies on the plane featuring adoption. This was right after I watched December Boys the previous weekend which makes strong reference to adopting.

I managed to catch Juno (loved it) and August Rush (liked it), but didn't watch Martian Child cos the write up was average.

Pics from the trip:

Seattle Sky Needle

At an NBA game baby!

Doing my thing

(more photos here)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Initiating change

**ETA: Not sure why the petition link is down... hopefully it will be back up again soon! Hopefully it's collapsed from too much traffic!

Australians wishing to adopt from overseas have limited options due to the small number of inter-country agreements. An online petition has been developed to present to the Federal Government to accelerate the opening of new programs as a matter of priority.

Please join with us and sign the petition .

Monday, February 04, 2008

Taggedy shmaggedy!

I run but I can't hide! Kristen tagged me to post seven weird/strange things about me. I think I did a 'random facts' post last year some time, so I sat here thinking for ages about seven different things I could write and couldn't come up with anything. For this reason I'm going to post seven websites I can't get enough of (maybe one of my random facts should be that I'm a rebel and can't follow instructions!)

Here we go...

1. Post Secret. Who doesn't love reading other peoples' secrets?

2. Perez Hilton. I have no idea why I go here. I don't especially care about celebrities, but I keep going back.

3. My local Weather forecast. I am a weather freak. I can't cope if I don't know the weather forecast. Even when I lived in Mt Isa where it was HOT and DRY 360 days of the year, I still needed to check the forecast several times a day.

4. Xinhua Chinese news. Gotta keep up to date with all the propaganda news from the Middle Kingdom!

5. Bloglines. I don't know how I could ever keep up with all the blogs I read without this baby!

6. Indexed. Random amusing scribbles by a witty chick.

7. Ummm... I'll make number 7 your chance to ask me a question. Ask away! Or just share a website in the comments that you can't get enough of!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Goodbye twenties!

A year ago today I wrote about being desperate to turn thirty so our file could go to China. Well, the day has arrived! I'm thirty! Unfortunately our file isn't going anywhere until we've completed the dossier and there are four more couples at the same point, but I'm still very excited! This is the biggest box to check yet!

I had a super fun weekend with a couple of quiet, last minute get-togethers with the excuse of my birthday, and there was a certain theme to my gifts... a jade bangle - my parents organised a friend in China who went shopping with an ex-jade dealer to select it, green tea caraffe, stunning Chinese cookbook and story, beautiful adoption book , red eggs (my cousin and her family are so awesomely thoughtful!), a red packet, a gift voucher and a cute shirt that says 'my heart is in China'. I also received a big slow cooker which I'm looking forward to using, and Aaron bought me a stunning diamond and gold locket pendant for my belcher bracelet.

The pic is from my fourth birthday.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Happy Australia Day!

Happy Australia Day! Because we're so isolated, Aussies came up with our own lingo which makes no sense to the rest of the world. Inspired by an article in today's paper, I put a quick quiz together. Have a go and test how 'strine you really are (or whether you'd need an interpreter if you ever visited)!

  1. What does it mean to chuck a u-ey?

  2. Turn your car around

    Throw up

    Throw a sheep

  3. What is a Hills Hoist?

  4. Climbing apparatus

    Party on Ayers Rock

    Clothes line

  5. What do you do with a lamington?

  6. Kill it before it bites you

    Eat it

    Wear it

  7. What is vegemite?

  8. The greatest food known to mankind

    The greatest food known to mankind

    The greatest food known to mankind

  9. What are budgie smugglers?

  10. Drug dealers

    Bird watchers

    Swimmers for men

  11. Fair dinkum, ridgy didge and true blue are all what?

  12. Types of beer

    Ways of saying something is real or authentic

    Aussie cartoon characters

(after you get your score, click back and let me know how you went!)

** I've posted the correct answers in the comments

Friday, January 25, 2008

USA here I come!

Do I have any bloggy buddies in Seattle? I was told today that I'm heading there in March for a few days for work. Sadly I am not able to add any days before or after to scoot around America visiting people I would love to meet and checking out the sights, so I'm a little restricted... but if you're in the area let me know so I can work something out!

I'm a little concerned about how COLD I will be and whether I'll have enough warm clothes. I live in beautiful, warm Queensland where I get to wear a jacket only about three days each year.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

About the dossier...

As I mentioned a few posts ago, we were approved for adoption by the Qld government last month. What that means now is that we are required to compile our dossier to be sent to China. The dossier must contain certain documents and information, so we've spent a few weeks chasing some of it up and still have more to go. We've been told we'll be the first couple in a new batch, and that we need to wait for four more couples to be approved and compile dossiers to they can all be sent to China together. This means that some of the documentation and requirements that have a life span (like finger prints and cheques) we have to hold off on arranging until further advice from the Dept so they don't expire too quickly.

In the meantime we've been busying ourselves with other dossier requirements, like doctor appointments - because the first comprehensive medical we did last year to prove eligibility isn't sufficient. Ewww. We have to have blood tests. Not cool. Ewwww.

When we've got everything ready for the dossier we'll be officially batched. It's not looking like it will be shortly after my birthday (next week) like we planned all along. Unfortunately for us, Queenslanders are no longer rushing to be part of the China program due to the massive increase in wait times. We were advised four more couples could be approved by March/April 'if we're lucky'. And then, if we're really lucky, we could even have a referral for a baby by the time the next millennium rolls around ;-) If you've got friends in high places, please send up a prayer for us!

**I added a new email subscription option - check out the right side bar to sign up!**

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A strange attraction

Two posts in two days. Try not to go into shock.

I read an article today about unknowing twins in the UK marrying each other. The twins were separated at birth and adopted to different sets of parents. They only discovered they were brother and sister after they married, at which point the marriage was annulled.

Mess mess mess mess mess.

Read the article here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

About names... again

I think about names a lot (hence one of my other blogs, The Name Warehouse), so anything to do with names AND China is going to get my attention. On the Eastern Journey blogged about Chinese people using English names last year, and then when Nancy shared the link to the video below I thought it might be timely to write an entry too.

When we taught in China our students mostly had English names. They really did it to make life easier for the foreign teachers. Many of them were given their English name by their elementary school English teacher (often a Chinese national who has never conversed with a native English speaker) from the back of some book from the 1950s. Consequently a great number of our students had names reflective of that era. Other students chose their own name based on famous westerners or movie characters, or they used a dictionary and picked something with a useful meaning.

I had a student who named himself Little Pig. Others were self-named Apple, Secretary, Hamlet and Eagle. Marking the attendance roll was fun, especially when someone would forget their English name. I remember a guy in my class had a girlfriend in one of Aaron's classes, and when I asked him who, he had no idea of her English name - and we had no idea of hers or anyone else's Chinese name!

This clip about English names in China made me smile, hope you enjoy it too! Long live Samanfar!

(In other news, I could have done the interviewing in this video! I understand and can speak just about all the Chinese that's used! It's pretty basic, but I guess I'm progressing!)