Tuesday, February 26, 2008

the latest from Rumor Queen

Matching has begun
An agency has reported to their clients that matching has begun.
No word on how far along, or when they may be mailed......

So, as of right now the CCAA is 14 days away from our referral date of January 10th 2006. When this group of referrals comes out we will be closer not sure yet how many days closer but most likely inside a week.. I just got goosebumps and tears writing that.... OMG we are less then a week away from our referral date... It is really going to happen and soon... I can hardly contain myself...We really hope they get far into Jan. but realistically we believe that they will get to Jan 4th or 5th.... This will be 8 or 9 days worth of referrals..

And the good thing about this is our friends Cris and Brian will finally see Abby Grace and Angela and Bryan will finally see little Ella... I can't wait for them to get "The Call".. Congratulations you guys. I know you must be on the edge of your seats...

One day, I saw a wonderful old gal sitting on her front step, so I walked up to her and said, "I couldn't help noticing how happy you look. What is your secret for such a long, happy life?""I smoke ten stogies a day," she said. "Before I go to bed, I smoke a nice big joint. All my life, I've eaten only junk food, and I put away at least a fifth of Jack Daniels every week. On weekends, I pop pills, and never do any exercise at all." "Absolutely, absolutely amazing," I thought, and asked, "How old are you?" "Thirty-one," she replied.

Courtesy of my friend Susan L

1. Were you named after anyone? Well, Kind of my mother wanted to name me after a NUN that she was close to but her name was Ramona so my father vetoed it and they named me Susan Marie and my maiden name starts with a R so technically I was named after Sister Mary Ramona. 2. When was the last time you cried? Earlier this week when i posted the letter from Amy Eldridge (Love without boundaries) to my blog 3. Do you like your handwriting? No 4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Salami 5.Do you have kids? Yes, a daughter in China 6. If you were another person would you be friends with you? Sure. 7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Yes 8. Do you still have your tonsils? No gone at 5 years old all the koolaid and jello I could eat yummy 9. Would you bungee jump? H*#@ NO 10. What is your favorite cereal? I love all cereal especially the stuff that is not good for you LOL 11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Sometimes 12. Do you think you are strong? Most of the time .13. What is your favorite ice cream? Mint Chocolate Chip 14. What is the first thing you notice about people? Hmmmm Their attitude 15. Red or pink? Red 16. What is the thing that you like least about yourself? My weight 17. Who do you miss the most? My Dad 18.What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Both black 20. Have you ever re-gifted? Hmmm probably but I can't think of anything off hand .21. What are you listening to right now? The copy machine at work 22. If you were a crayon what colour would you be? Red 23. Favorite smells? That smell in the spring of being outside Oooo Rhonda I like those too but I really like anything baking Bread, Cookies, Cake any food smells... LOL you would not have guessed that right LOL 24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? A Client 25. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes! of course I do...She is a real Peach 26. Favorite sports to watch? If I am being forced to watch sports I will have to say Pro Basketball... Do Gymnastics and Figure skating count as sports? LOL 30. Favorite food? Chinese, Italian, Mexican... really not much I don't like though... 31. Scary movies or happy endings?Scary movies with Happy Endings... I love them both 32.Last movie you watched? The Zodiac 33. What color shirt are you wearing? Black with a white pattern 34. Summer or winter? Winter I live in central Florida for god sake LOL.. but summer is good for picnics at the beach or the springs too 35. Hugs or kisses? Depends on who is giving them Rhonda good answer i am going with that one LOL 36. Favorite dessert? Just about anything 39. What book are you reading now? Nothing 40. What is on your mouse pad? Do not have one 41. What did you watch on TV last night? It was on but I could not tell you what Riz was watching I think Antique Road show.. I was to busy replying to my e-mail LOL 42. Favorite sound? Laughter and Music 43. Rolling stones or Beatles?Both again love them both. 44. What is the furthest you have been from home? Don't laugh New Orleans oh and Maine once 45. Do you have a special talent? Kind of personal don't you think LOL 46. Where were you born? Willingboro New Jersey... Yeah I am a Jersey Girl LOL So the trend I see is I am either easy going or in decisive LOL What do you think.... and I am not going to tag anyone but if you want go ahead and play along....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Joke Day

OK now it is Joke day Monday..

In the earlier post is a joke from my friend Tamera. She sent it to me the other day and I laughed so hard I almost wet myself (I KNOW TMI)... But really it was cute so I had to post it here.

So of course as soon as I post it my good friend Layla and one of the funniest people I know commented with a funny story she heard on the Ellen DeGeneres show. She said "No need to post I just had to share" But it is to good so I am posting it here and now I think I want all my other funny friends to send me jokes so I can post them too... Maybe I will do this each Monday if you all are funny enough LOL....

Thanks Layla .....

Here is her story

I am sure you've heard this one. Ellen DeGeneres read this story on her show last Mother's Day. No need to post it...just wanted to share it with you. Have a great day. So, we had this great 10 year old cat named Jack who just recently died. Jack was a great cat and the kids would carry him around and sit on him and nothing ever bothered him. He used to hang out and nap all daylong on this mat in our bathroom. Well, we have 3 kids and at the time of this story they were 4 years old, 3 years old and 1 year old. The middle one is Eli. Eli really loves chapstick. LOVESIT. He kept asking to use my chapstick and then losing it. So finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to but he needed to put it right back in the drawer when he was done. Last year on Mother's Day, we were having the typical rush around and try to get ready for Church with everyone crying and carrying on. My two boys are fighting over the toy in the cereal box. I am trying to nurse my little one at the same time I am putting on my make-up. Everything is a mess and everyone has long forgotten that this is a wonderful day to honor me and the amazing job that is motherhood. We finally have the older one and the baby loaded in the car and I am looking for Eli. I have searched everywhere and I finally round the corner to go into the bathroom. And there was Eli. He was applying my chapstick very carefully to Jack's . . . rear end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said "chapped." Now if you have a cat, you know that he is right--their little butts do look pretty chapped. And, frankly, Jack didn't seem to mind. And the only question to really ask at that point was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's behind or the hundredth. And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment ever because it reminds us that no matter how hard we try to civilize these glorious little creatures, there will always be that day when you realize they've been using your chapstick on the cat's butt.

A Joke from my Friend Tamera

A cup of Tea... One day my mother was out and my dad was in charge of me. I was maybe 2 1/2 - 3 years old. Someone had given me a little 'tea set' as a gift and it was one of my favorite toys. Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I brought Daddy a little cup of 'tea', which was just water. After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my Mom came home. My Dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was 'just the cutest thing!' My Mom waited, and sure enough, here I come down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy and she watches him drink it up. Then she says to him, 'Did it ever occur to you that the only place that baby can reach to get water is the toilet?'

Friday, February 22, 2008

What to expect when adopting........

This is a wonderful, all be it hard to read letter written by Amy Eldridge, from Love Without Boundaries..I read it several months ago and it touched my heart. Today when I opened my friends Alyson and Ford's blog they had it posted and asked that we all spread it around to help raise awareness of the issues. So I gladly am posting it here today. It is long but very important to read, if you are adopting, are the family or friends of or are contemplating adopting a child. This issue is one near and dear to our hearts because we are adopting Sophia from China, but it should also be important to those of you who will be around us and her. The letter will help you to understand why we may do certain things a certain way. We hope that you will take the time to read it and ask us any questions you may be having. Thank you in advance for caring about us and Sophia to read this it means the world to us.

and here is the letter from Amy...

Friends and Family- Please read this.What to Expect When You're Expecting (from China)…….A MUST Read for Adopting ParentsBelow is a letter from Amy Eldridge, from Love Without Boundaries, addressing the recent adoption disruptions and parental preparedness. If you are reading this, think about posting it on your site - a waiting parent who reads your blog may benefit from it.*****I have been so saddened by this situation. I most definitely wish there was a way to educate ALL adoptive parents about the truths of institutional care, however I have come to realize in my daily work that there are just as many parents who are not online reading everything they can find on adoption as are.There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parents out there who have no idea what life is like for a child in an orphanage, and who head overseas to pick up their perfect child only to be handed a baby who is unresponsive, thin, unable to eat….. and on and on and on.While adopting my son last month, I walked several times over to the White Swan to talk to parents, and over and over I spoke with moms and dads who had no clue whatsoever about the issues their kids were having. I heard so many times things like, "she won't eat solid foods" (oral aversion), "she has no muscle tone" (muscle atrophy from lying in a crib all day), "she won't smile" (pure grieving from being taken from her foster mom). I guess since I live China 24/7, I assume everyone adopting does, too, which is not the case.I talked to at least a dozen parents who didn't even know their child's orphanage name, and while I gently said "you might want to memorize that for your child's sake", at the same time I was trying to process how many parents get all the way to China without ever reading about post-institutional issues. It was sobering to me.Babies in the NSN (non special needs) as well as the SN (special needs) path can have issues with attachment, motor skills, emotional issues and more. I think all of us on the WCC (Waiting Children China) list acknowledge that, while also acknowledging that all children (whether bio or not) can have these same issues. Living in an orphanage of course increases the odds.I think the easy out is to say that agencies have to do more, as well as social workers, but I do think that most of them do try to give information to the parents but often parents don't want to hear it or else think it won't happen to them. Again, I am often surprised to talk to parents leaving soon and to realize they are not prepared. One family was adopting from our foster care program, and when I told them that the child was DEEPLY attached to the mom, the father said, "guess she might cry for an hour or so then?" An hour or so? She had been in foster care for over a year! I tried to explain that this little girl was about ready to lose everything she had ever known, and that they should not expect her to be sunny, happy, and full of personality after an hour. I told them to please remember the 72-hour rule.......that after 72 hours they would probably see her spark, but that she would probably grieve for a long time after that as well.I think for many adoptive parents, they just don't want to read the "bad stuff", and so I do think that ultimately it is the parents who are at fault for not doing more to educate themselves. There certainly are books galore out there about post-institutional issues. I equate this to when I was pregnant with my kids and I would read "What to Expect When Expecting", and I would get to the C-section part and always skip it. Each and every time I would jump to the next chapter as "that wasn't going to happen to me". Well, on my fifth baby, when they were rushing me in for an emergency C-section, I sure was wishing I had read that section earlier! But at that point in the OR, while they were strapping my hands down to the table, it was too late, and so I felt complete panic when I could have been prepared. I think adoption from China is very similar to giving birth...it is much more rosy to only read the happy stories on APC, but I now encourage every family I meet to read the harder ones as well, because if you are the family who is handed a child that is limp and listless and who looks autistic, what you have learned in the past will help you make the right decision for your family during those very emotional first few days.I have been called many times in the last few years by parents in China worried about their children. I agree that having a support network to help you through the initial time is essential. Everyone should go to China with at least one phone number of someone they can call if they are panicked upon meeting their new child. I remember feeling so alone when I was handed my daughter and she was so tiny and limp. Because our foundation often helps with the kids who have been disrupted, I am aware that sometimes there are children who have much more serious issues than originally reported…. and that is such a hard thing for a parent to get to China and then discover their child is truly autistic or has serious mental delays. I think everyone on both the China and international side would agree that it is absolutely wrong of an orphanage to not be honest in their reports, and no one would excuse that, but I also know without a doubt that the majority of kids who are disrupted are just suffering from institutional issues and would catch up quickly in a loving home. It is always a very sad day for the orphanage and everyone involved when a child that they know is absolutely fine, but perhaps thin and grieving, is returned by their new parents for being "delayed".I think far too many people believe their child's life is going to begin the moment they meet them. The truth is, and everyone must realize it….. a child's life is going on RIGHT NOW in China, and all of their experiences are shaping who they are. The vast majority of aunties that I have met in China are such kind and caring people, but it absolutely is not the same as having a mom and dad at your beck and call. I have had new parents call and say "we didn't think living in an orphanage would affect her at all", and those statements truly puzzle me. How could they not contemplate life in an orphanage?Walk through Babies R Us and you will see every gadget known to man to make our children's lives here as ideal as possible. Now Americans have two way video monitors, so that when baby awakens not only can mommy see when to immediately rush in and comfort him, but she can talk to baby so that he doesn't even have one single second where he feels alone. How many new parents would have a newborn and then put that baby in a crib 22 hours a day on their own? How many would only feed their baby, even if they were really crying hard, every 8 hours? Or prop the bottle in her crib and then not watch to see if she ever really ate?Of course no one would do that…... we feed newborns on demand, comfort on demand, love continuously…. and whether people want to recognize it or not, that is NOT the life of an orphan in an institution. .….. even when the aunties are as good as gold. I remember one night when I took some volunteers in for the night shift in an orphanage, when normally just a few aunties are working. One mom looked at me with tears in her eyes as she slowly realized that it was absolutely impossible with just two hands to feed every child, to comfort every child, to soothe every baby who was crying. She said her heart was aching to realize that her own daughter most likely had many, many times where she cried without someone to comfort her..... and she told me that for the first time she finally understood why her daughter had such a deep seated fear of being out of her mom's sight.The aunties are trying their absolute best, but that doesn't equal mother/child care. I remember being in an orphanage in the north this past winter and the aunties were so proud of how they had 6-8 layers of clothes and blankets on every baby to keep them warm. They were swaddled so tight that they couldn't move, but it was freezing in the orphanage and so the aunties wanted the babies to stay as warm as possible. What alternative did they have? It really was freezing there…... I was cold in my wool coat, so the babies couldn't be up and about with just 1-2 layers on, with the ability to move their arms and legs. To stay warm they had to be immobile, and so of course all of those kids have weak muscle tone. But the aunties were truly trying their best, and when a parent is given one of those beautiful children on adoption day, I am sure they will go back to their room with concern and say "she can't sit up by herself…. she can't put weight on her legs". That is absolutely the truth, but she also survived 10 degree weather in a very cold province and she will catch up soon enough with parents to encourage her.To not acknowledge that living in orphanage circumstances can cause lower body weights, low muscle tone, inability to make good eye contact is very sad to me. Can it be overcome? Most definitely! The one thing I have learned over and over again about the kids in China is that they are fighters and survivors. But for some reason, people seem to want to ignore these issues in public forums.Recently, one of our medical babies that we had met several times in person was adopted, and we all knew that this child was a "spitfire". When the family arrived and spent a few days with her, they decided she was too much of a handful for them and they wanted to disrupt. She absolutely was not what they expected. When they called their agency, they were told they had two choices: adopt the child, bring her to the US, and change their expectations of what they were hoping for, or adopt the child, bring her to the US and the agency would have a family waiting at the airport to adopt her locally. Option three of leaving the child in China was never once given. I admire that agency so much, as they were thinking of the child and the child alone. The family followed through with the adoption and handed the little girl to a new family upon her arrival in the US. As horrible and tragic and emotional as it was for everyone involved...I still feel this was the right decision for the agency to make. It was done in the absolute best interest of the child, who had waited a long, long time for a family. I wish more agencies would advocate for the rights of the child, instead of always seeming to give in to the parents, especially in those cases when they know with absolute certainty that nothing is permanently wrong with the child. Recently with another disruption, the agency I spoke with told me that it was "easier" to just get the family a new baby.Sometimes easier does not equal right. The first baby who was rejected has now been labeled "mentally challenged" even though the agency knew the child was really going to be okay.I think all of us, who do realize that delays occur and that babies can usually overcome them, should be these children's advocates by continually trying to educate new parents on what to expect in China. By helping them be better prepared, we just might help stop a disruption in the future. I love Chinese adoption with my whole heart, and it is my life's work…. but I also want every family who goes to get their baby to go with their eyes open and to be as emotionally prepared as possible, for the child's sake.Amy Eldridge, Love Without Boundaries

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Registering for my Baby Shower(s)

I always thought it would be fun to do this and it was more fun then I imagined. We have waited so long for Sophia and finally we feel close enough to do this. I did register way back 2.5 years ago but with the wait being longer then we expected my registries expired LOL .... Riz and I spent last Friday at Babies-R-US. Riz really indulged me because he really hates Babies-r-us he said it make him nervous and gives him hives LOL (not really).. So many of our friends, family and co-workers have asked us what we need and if we are registered. We decided to go ahead and register at Babies-r-us, Target and One Step Ahead because each has things that we would like to have for Sophia. It is really strange trying to register for a baby when you do not know how old she is. If you go and look at our registries you will see everything from Diapers to toys. We did this because we for sure will need some of the baby things and for sure need toys no matter how old Sophia is. Speaking of toys, I love this site called Mahar Dry Goods they have lovely hand crotchet toys among other things. We decided to create what they call a wish list over there. We found out today that the great people we work with (Riz and I work for the same Co.) will be throwing us a baby shower in April, we are very touched that they want to do that for us.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ladybug Sighting

Yesterday on our way home from work we stopped at Lowe's for some home improvement stuff. It was gloomy humid Florida afternoon. We were talking about a conversation I had earlier in the day with my good friend Amy (Hi Amy). Out of the corner of my eye I saw a bug crawling on the inside of my window. When I turned and looked at it I saw a big round red Ladybug crawling on the window.. We both stopped talking and breathing for a minute and then we opened the window and let her go. We are taking it as a sign that good things are coming our way soon....

Monday, February 18, 2008

Blog Change

Those of you who comment on our blog will notice that I have changed the setting so that I can moderate the comments. I only did this because I feel like I miss comments on old post some times. Nothing has happened, no one was mean or anything just wanted to be sure I see and respond to any comments you all leave. Thanks for taking the time to follow along and commenting. We love to know that you care and to read what you have to say. Many people go password protected on their blog after returning home from China to protect their children. You see anyone can click on the pictures on your blog and use them how ever they chose. Many people (us included) find it creepy to know that a stranger could be looking at their daughter. We Will be going password protected after China. I wanted to wait until after China because I want everyone to have the chance to follow our trip. Once we are home I will set our blog to password protected. I will send any of you who want to continue to follow Sophia's blog as she grows an invite to join. You will still be able to see and read everything that you do now, you will just have to sign in to do so. I will post an other message about a week before I do this so everyone has time to e-mail me their request and so I can send out the invites. Thanks again for caring enough about us and about Sophia to come here and read about what is going on...


Friday, February 15, 2008

and here we are......

Rumor Queen Projections for the March Referrals

It is awesome to see our dates at the top of the projection chart.. as you can see we could be weeks away from FINALLY having our referral. If the CCAA is able to do 14 days we will see our referral in March if not then we are confident that we will have it in April. Remember our LID is Jan 10.... How exciting..

WE are either 2 or 6 weeks away from knowing all about Sophia.

To get ready for our impending referral we have been busy getting ready for our baby.

here is our short list LOL

  1. Sent to USCIS to be fingerprinted for the 3rd time

  2. Copied Dossier to leave behind while in China

  3. Made a list for mom of things to do while we are gone along with some groceries to get for us right before we come home.

  4. Painted our foyer

  5. Cleaned attic

  6. Had a garage sale

  7. Organized closets and drawers

  8. Registered for baby shower at Babies-r-us

  9. Put together red wagon and table and chairs for Sophia

  10. Hung curtains in Sophia's room

  11. Gathering items for care package

  12. Wrote letter for care package

  13. Had Dr. Ritterbeck (one of the doctors we work with) write out labels for photo album and put album together

  14. Shopping for video camera

  15. Shopping for new car

  16. Washed all baby clothes (9-12 months close)

Friday, February 08, 2008


We have waited so long to make this post. Now that we feel our time is drawing near we think it is time to start the guessing.... Where is Sophia?

Where do you think Sophia is from? Above is a map of China and all of it's provinces. Over on the side there is a poll, go click on where you think Sophia will be from. Remember that most of the Children adopted through international adoption come from the Southern Part of China. We have seen EAC go to Sichuan, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Hubei, and several other provinces. Riz has always had a Hunan feeling, I have always thought Hubei..... We of course will be happy no matter where she is from...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Guang Hei Fat Choi

Happy Chinese New Year

The Year of the Rat.........
(My Mother in Law, Sandy was born in the year of the Rat)
The first of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac calendar

From Wikipedia
Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is sometimes called the Lunar New Year, especially by people outside China. It is an important holiday in East Asia. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival

It is unclear when the beginning of the year was celebrated before the
Qin Dynasty. Traditionally, the year was said to have begun with month 1 during the Xia Dynasty, month 12 during the Shang Dynasty, and month 11 during the Zhou Dynasty. However, records show that the Zhou Dynasty began its year with month 1. Intercalary months, used to keep the lunar calendar synchronized with the sun, were added after month 12 during both the Shang Dynasty (according to surviving oracle bones) and the Zhou Dynasty (according to Sima Qian). The first Emperor of China Qin Shi Huang changed the beginning of the year to month 10 in 221 BC, also changing the location of the intercalary month to after month 9. Whether the New Year was celebrated at the beginning of month 10, of month 1, or both is unknown. In 104 BC, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty established month 1 as the beginning of the year, where it remains. This year the Chinese New Year will be on Thursday, February 7, 2008.

Hand-painted Chinese New Year's
poetry pasted on the sides of doors leading to people's homes, Lijiang, Yunnan, China.
According to legend, in
ancient China, the Nián (年) was a man-eating beast from the mountains (in other versions from under the sea), which came out every 12 months somewhere close to winter to prey on humans. The people later believed that the Nian was sensitive to loud noises and the colour red, so they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and the liberal use of the colour red. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations.

Public holiday
Chinese New Year is observed as a public holiday in a number of countries and territories where a sizable Chinese population resides. Since Chinese New Year falls on different dates on the Gregorian calendar every year on different days of the week, some of these governments opt to shift working days in order to accommodate a longer public holiday. Also like many other countries in the world, a statutory holiday is added on the following work day when the New Year falls on a weekend.
It is also important to understand that informal celebrations, which may span a period of several weeks before and after the official holidays, are the time when many businesses operate in 'holiday mode', and generally aren't the time for making decisions or business negotiations.
The Chinese New Year celebrations are marked by visits to kin, relatives and friends, a practice known as "new-year visits". New clothings are usually worn to signify a new year. The colour red is liberally used in all decorations.
Red packets are given to juniors and children by the married and elders. See Symbolism below for more explanation.
All these festivities may vary from region to region and from family to family.
Clothing mainly featuring the colour red is commonly worn throughout the Chinese New Year because it is believed that red will scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. In addition, people typically wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning in the new year.
Good luck
Opening windows and/or doors is considered to bring in the good luck of the new year.
Switching on the lights for the night is considered good luck to 'scare away' ghosts and spirits of misfortune that may compromise the luck and fortune of the new year.
Sweets are eaten to ensure the consumer a "sweet" year.
It is important to have the house completely clean from top to bottom before New Year's Day for good luck in the coming year. (however, as explained below, cleaning the house after New Year's Day is frowned upon)
Some believe that what happens on the first day of the new year reflects the rest of the year to come. Asians will often gamble at the beginning of the year, hoping to get luck and prosperity.
Wearing a new pair of
slippers that is bought before the new year, because it means to step on the people who gossip about you.
The night before the new year, bathe yourself in
pomelo leaves and some say that you will be healthy for the rest of the new year.

Bad luck
Buying a pair of shoes is considered bad luck amongst some Chinese. The word "shoes" is a homophone for the word for "rough" in
Cantonese, or "evil" in Mandarin.
Buying a pair of pants is considered bad luck. The word "pants"(kù) is a homophone for the word for "bitter"(kŭ) in Cantonese. (Although some perceive it to be positive, as the word 'pants'(fu) in Cantonese is also a homophone for the word for "wealth".)
Washing your hair is also considered to be washing away one's own luck (although modern hygienic concerns take precedence over this tradition)
Sweeping the floor is usually forbidden on the first day, as it will sweep away the good fortune and luck for the new year.
Talking about death is inappropriate for the first few days of Chinese New Year, as it is considered inauspicious as well.
Buying books is bad luck because the word for "book" is a homonym to the word "lose".
Avoid clothes in black and white, as black is a symbol of bad luck, and white is a traditional funeral colour.
We are planning to celebrate tonight by having a picnic of Chinese food on Sophia's Nursery floor. We have collected several children's books about Chinese New Year so we will read those and think about Sophia in China. Tomorrow night we are celebrating with our FCC group at a local Chinese Restaurant and on Sunday we are going to celebrate at EPCOT CHINA with my mom and my Mother in Law and Father In Law with you guessed it Chinese food... LOL yes we love Chinese food....

I can not recognize today without thinking about all of those people in China including the children who are suffering through this terrible winter weather. We ask that you keep them in your prayers. If you want to read an update on the situation with the orphanages please go to Halfthesky.com... You can continue to donate to the Little mouse Fund here

One last thing, Don't forget to vote on where you think Sophia will be from....

Monday, February 04, 2008


How many sunflowers are in this picture?

Fourteen Sunflowers in a Vase by Van Gogh
The number 14 is very exciting to us because that is how many LID days we have left between the current cutoff date of Dec. 27th 2005 and our LID of Jan. 10th 2006. We are realistically looking at a referral in April (OMG I can't believe I can type that WOW! after all this time). It could be April when we finally see Sophia's sweet little face. It could be April when we know what orphanage she is from and if she is being effected by the winter storm China is suffering through. Please take a moment and read the post below also if you go to the Half The Sky Website here you can read updates on the orphanages. We ask that if you can spare anything to help you do so we have made a contribution in hopes that it will help Sophia or any child that might be hungry or cold because of the weather.
We want to take a moment to say congratulations to all the families who are receiving referrals this month. We know where you are and how wonderful this feeling must be.
These are 2 great blogs and friends who just today officially became Mommies and Daddies.
Kim and Kevin adopt Hannah Ruth
Wendy and John adopt Catherine Ellen Mei

Friday, February 01, 2008


The message below is a letter sent to all members of Half the Sky asking for help. The blog entry is long but we ask that you take the time to read it and help all of the children in China if you can.

Thank you Susan and Riz

this one really hit home. In all likelihood, most of our daughters-to- be (INCLUDING SOPHIA) are experiencing something pretty horrific right now. Please read, and if your financial situation allows, help:

Welfare institutions in south and central China are having the hardest
time dealing with the weather disaster. This part of the country is
simply not equipped to deal with extreme cold or heavy snow and ice.
most common critical problems are power outages, lack of safe drinking
cooking water, lack of fuel, diapers and public transportation. In
places where buses have stopped running, our Half the Sky nannies have
been walking hours (in one case, 4 hours) along icy roads to get to
children. As conditions worsen, our nannies and teachers are
the institutions day and night. They have given up the idea of going
to their own families for the holidays. They need quilts. They need
clothing. They need coal, water, disposable diapers and food.

Here are the reports I have thus far, while in-flight. I will send
soon. Where you don't see a report, either all is well or I don't yet
have information. I will tell you when we've heard from everyone.
also given all the directors an emergency number to call when/if the
situation changes.

Hunan Province –

Chenzhou has had no electricity or water for six days. They are
on coal for heat and cooking. The supermarkets and banks are closed.
Staff is using personal money for baby food, diapers, coal and water.
Costs are rising due to shortages. They have a natural well which,
thankfully, is not frozen. Even the older children are helping to
water. They have perhaps six days of food remaining. The local
government is overwhelmed by the disaster and is unable to help much.

Shaoyang has seen heavy snow every day for 20 days. There is
water and, for the moment, there is power, so the children are warm.
However, 5 of 6 power poles have been downed by weather. Only one
and the institution fears it will fall as well, leaving them without
electricity. Much of the rest of the city is already dark. Children
caregivers continue to work and play together. High school students
cramming for exams and trying to ignore the cold. Everyone prays that
power pole will continue to stand.

Yueyang also has no electricity. The one functioning power generator
being used in the children's dormitory. They are relying on coal heat
the price has tripled in recent days. They are running out of food
have applied to the local Bureau of Civil Affairs for funds to buy
Our HTS nannies have been walking for hours to get to work, often
on the ice, "even though they try to be cautious."

Xiangtan has had snow for the past 10 days. The main water pipe is
"broken again." There is no water for cooking right now but they do
electricity, coal and blankets. They are still able to buy food but
prices have gone way up. Not all of the HTS nannies can get to work
day. They are keeping the programs going as well as they can and make
sure that at least five nurturing nannies are there with the babies
day, along with the institution' s caregivers.

Jiangsu Province –

Changzhou has seen some heavy snows but the director reports that the
children are fine. The director says that he's doing his best to
that the children do not suffer. Public transportation is crippled by
snow and HTS nannies and teachers are waiting for hours to catch a bus
home or even walking home in the snowy dark.

Nanjing reports no problems at all despite the heavy snows. I tried
fly into Nanjing yesterday but it was not possible.

Anhui Province -

Chuzhou has both water and power. Only public transportation has
HTS nannies and teachers are walking to work. They are leaving home
early to be there for the children.

Guangxi Province –

Guilin has two broken HTS heater/air conditioners in the Infant
rooms and they've asked us to replace. The rooms are very, very
They ask for more soft matting for the floors and also snow boots for
HTS nannies who've been slipping and falling in the ice and snow as
come to work. They are so ill-equipped to handle severe weather.

Jiangxi Province –

Fuzhou lost power for a few days but now it is back to normal. The
stopped a couple of days ago but now is falling again. The directors
HTS staff have gathered all the children into one big room to keep
warm. They've bought New Years clothes for the children and will have
party no matter how bad the weather. This year, however, the foster
parents will stay home to keep the children safe. The institution has
enough food and water. They want us to focus on those in more serious
trouble and ask us please not to worry.

Jiujiang says they've never faced such bitter weather. They
need disposable diapers. Washable diapers cannot be dried. They need
warm clothes, shoes, gloves hats quilts and warm mats for the floors.
They need medicine for infant coughs and colds.

Hubei Province –

Wuhan suffers heavy snows but they still have power. Heaters are
but there is no water for bathing. The local community has offered to
take children in for the Chinese New Year and the institution feels
may be the best decision to keep them safe.

Huangshi reports that the freeze is so severe that all heater/air
conditioners have stopped functioning. They need quilts and warm
for the children. They need disposable diapers. Several HTS nannies
fallen on the ice on their way to work and they need medicine to treat
cuts and bruises.

Gathering these reports together makes me think about how careful we
always been at Half the Sky to maintain our focus on nurture and
programs. Ours is not a medical or relief organization. There are
wonderful groups who do that work. Probably the primary reason we've
able to accomplish so much and reach so many children is because we've
maintained our focus on our core mission -- providing nurturing care
children who've lost their families..

But a moment like this really cannot be ignored. The tragedy of
Katrina in the US taught us that no matter how wealthy a country might
its vulnerable citizens (old, poor, ill, and orphaned children) are
ones who suffer most when disaster strikes. Even as China seems to be
entering the first world, a disaster like this is quite simply
We know that orphaned children will be among those who suffer the

I say this because I think we should break one of Half the Sky's rules
and, if there are sufficient funds raised in the Little Mouse
Fund, we should offer relief (water, food, diapers, quilts, clothing)
any orphanage where children need help. Let's see how this goes. If
people are as generous as I think they might be, we will work with the
provincial Bureaus of Civil Affairs in every hard-hit community, and
assistance to all welfare institutions where there is need.

Please lend a hand, however you can. You can donate to the Little
Emergency Fund by calling us in the US at +;1-510-525-3377 or in Asia
+852- 2520-5266 or by visiting us at http://www.halfthesky.org/. Once there,
can click on "Donate Now"
or go to http://www.halfthes ky.org/help/ docs/usdonation- orderform. pdf
download a form to mail or fax. Donations are tax-deductible in US,
Canada and Hong Kong.

Please forward this message and tell your friends and family

I will be back with an update very, very soon.

Thank you!JennyJenny Bowen
Executive DirectorHalf the Sky Foundation