Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chinese lessons

Everyday, I spend at least 2-3 hours in the car driving children to and from their activities. No lie. I fill up the gas tank several times each week, and I only drive the kids back and forth to school and sports. The upside of all this driving, is that I am able to listen to my Chinese lessons, uninterrupted, for several hours a day. Boring? Absolutely. But, I am slowly, slowly beginning to understand a little Chinese. I also think it's good for Ben to hear Mandarin everyday. He is forgetting so much of his language so fast, that we have to make a concentrated effort to help him remember. I hope that Ben will be able to speak to Logan when he comes!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

homestudy visit

Yesterday was our first home-study visit. It was great to see Sue again and fill her in on all the boys' activities. I wasn't stressed out about the home-study at all, although David was a little tense. He doesn't like the feeling of being put under a microscope. The only preparation I did for the home-study visit was to quickly mop the kitchen floor. The last time Sue came for our post-placement visit I was a nervous wreck, and cleaned the entire house, top to bottom. After all my stress and fuss, Sue didn't even step out of the kitchen! This time I was much more relaxed. Actually, it was nice to openly talk about our pending adoption with Sue. We haven't told very many people that we are adopting again, simply because we don't want to hear their criticism. We heard enough of it the first time we adopted, and we already know people don't understand our motivation to adopt. People often wonder why we'd want a large family; they can't fathom taking care of 4 boys, let alone 5!! After dinner last night, we all sat and watched the video of Fu, KangChao (Logan) again. Did I mention that we already refer to him by his future American name? It took us months and months to name John, and this time it was so easy. David has always liked the name Logan, and Ben likes it too.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Today I spent the morning getting ready for our home-study visit, which is on Sunday. I had to gather six photos of our family and finish up the online coursework. We take a million photos, but I had a hard time finding six photos that had all six of us in it, and all of us smiling. At Christmas, I asked Aunt Shan to take some photos of all of us, and of the ten pictures she took, not one of them is very good. I ended up just picking the best of the photos available, which I posted above. I also filled out another financial form, and printed certificates proving that we completed ten hours of online training. Tonight we have the 90 minute webinar to attend, entitled: Coming Home, adopting an older child. The webinar will be broadcast over the internet, from 8:30pm until 10pm. That will complete our training for the home-study.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Paperwork again

Today I'm working on the pre-approval paperwork. This paperwork overlaps (and is often duplicate of) the home-study paperwork. Since I have copies of the paperwork we did in 2008, I am getting this round of paperwork done quite easily. Hooray!! We have been listing to Chinese tapes everyday in the car on the way to and from school. I keep telling Ben that he has to relearn Chinese so that he can talk to Logan when he comes home. I'm slowly, slowly, slowly making progress with the language myself. I'll probably never be fluent, but I'd like to become at least conversational. I also found an online language program that is offered through the public library. I wish I had more time to devote to studying Chinese. Instead, I spend half my time driving kids around. Yesterday, I was four hours in the car driving kids, and tonight I have to drive 90 min. each way to pick up Austin from a track meet! I wonder if Logan will like to run races, play basketball, or take Taekwondo?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Homestudy visit scheduled

Almost a month has passed since we filled out the application to adopt Fu, KangChao. I've been busily completing documents, including the financial statement, the medical forms, the letter of intent to adopt, the nurture plan and our autobiographical histories. The autobiographical history takes the longest to write, in my opinion. Last week, David and I had to go to Rochester to have our finger-prints taken. For the life of me I can't figure out why we have to have our fingerprints done yet again. Both of us have had our fingerprints done at least a dozen times. When a criminal leaves prints at a crime, the police look-up a database of prints and find a match. I can't figure out why they can't just re-run our security check using the prints they have on file. However, my role is to follow the directions for the home-study, and new prints were required. We also have to take courses to prepare us for the adoption. These courses were not necessary the first time we adopted because we had taken the Department of Social Services MAPP class (30 hours) within a year of the home-study. We also have to participate in a webinar on Jan 18th, and then our first home-study visit is scheduled for Jan 23rd. If the social worker is really fast with her report, and she can get three more visits in within a month (last time it took 2 months to complete), then we can have our home-study into the US government's hands by the end of Feb. The US department of immigration needs our home-study, along with our I800A application, before we submit any documents to China. Adoption is a long and tedious process, but it should be faster this time because we have most of the documents we need already. It took me months last time to even gather our birth certificates, marriage certificate etc. etc. Even our medical reports took longer because we had to get tested for HIV and TB; with China reusing our dossier, we don't need to have those tests redone. Hooray for progress!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dec 15th, 2010. The beginning!

It's not really December 15th, 2010. In fact, it's Jan 12th, 2011. But I decided that I should start writing about our adoption of Fu, KangChao. Yep, we're at it again. Around Thanksgiving Nov. 2010, I started looking at waiting children on WACAP site. Now that we have three teens, we're finding that Ben is often left out. The big boys go play basketball, go for bike rides, ski and play pool, and Ben is always left behind with Mom. He so, so, so wants to be with the big boys. He will gladly give up a cartoon movie to watch Star Wars, if only it means the big kids will stay and watch with him. He started telling me he wanted a little brother, and I started once again looking online. I sent family finders an email saying that in the next few years we might like to adopt again. Could they please send us videos of boys between the ages of 4-6 years old. A few days later, we received a Cd with three videos on it. It just so happened that John and Ben were hanging around when I watched them. They had me replay the videos a few times (and they were each over 15 min long!) and John declared that he thought we should adopt Fu, Kang Chao. Wow! I did NOT expect that response. John wasn't overly nice to Ben when we adopted them both, and if anything, I thought that John would be dead against the idea of another adoption. But I couldn't have been more wrong. We watched the video of Kang Chao at least three more times that evening, and John translated everything Kang Chao said, word for word. John thought he was smart and cute, and he would be a good brother. So..I sent the photo to David the next day by email with a note to think about it. This was probably in late November or maybe early December. December 13th, David finally watched the video and said yes, let's move forward with another adoption. We found out that we can reuse our dossier, since it's been less than a year since our adoptions, and that absolutely clinched the deal. It'll eliminate some of the paperwork and make things easier for us overall. We also decided that don't want to wait two more years because that will put Ben in 3rd grade, 10 years old, and to adopt a child near Ben's age means we need to adopt a child at least 8 years old. The older the child is upon adoption, the more difficult it is for him to catch-up in school etc. If we adopt a child now, he will be 6 when he gets home, which is the same age that Ben was when he came to the US! So, December 15th, which is the title of this blog, is when we submitted the first application to WACAP to adopt again. Hooray!! And what's really funny, considering all the trouble we had the last time, David has already named him Logan. We now often refer to when Logan comes home, and what we will do for Logan. Ben outgrows clothes and brings them to me so that I can put them away for Logan. What a difference a day makes!