Sunday, December 30, 2007

Santa Is Our Neighbor

I guess this is why, one should never go without makeup, they never no who will show up!!

Our neighbor dresses as Santa every year for different function and also goes to the local hospital (s) to visit the children. Little does our child-to-be know, but he will one day be living right by Santa himself.
Guess I should change my blog colors, huh? Maybe, I'll get a chance Tuesday!

Annual Wrap-Up Update & a Taste of Asia

Our agency sent a final update of the year. It was a very good year. They completed 85 Vietnamese adoptions in 2007 and during the year received a total of 73 referrals. 28 families are waiting to travel after having received their referral. There are 231 families, who are currently on the waiting list , just waiting for a referral. We are #110, so we are just a little past the middle of the list. What's good, for us at least is that there are less people ahead of us than behind us. Now what is scary is there are 174 families who have applications in and are waiting on their home studies and their 171H forms to be added to the list. Depending how quickly referrals come and how quickly people are added to the waiting list the waiting list can get close to 400 families. Now if you were family 400, you could bet unless you were really open to a lot of special needs or an older child, you'd have much longer than 2 years to wait for a child. The wait can get as long or longer than those wanting to adopt from China. Nothing is even definite that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be renewed later this year, which will determine whether adoptions from Vietnam continue in the future. Do they know something that so many of the other agencies, who have temporarily stopped taking applications don't know?

This past week has been a week of Asian meals. Last weekend, we went for Thai food. The first time for me and the first in quitew a long time for Kevin. By now, I can't remember what either of us had, but I had some noodle dish, which was quite tasty and not too hot, nor too mild. The day after Christmas, we had chinese. My usual General Tso's Chicken from this one place not far from our house. Then on Saturday night, I discovered a new Vietnamese restaurant had opened in Des Plaines. (For those who live in Northwest Chicagoland) It is call Dung Gia on Miner Street, aka Northwest Highway; it is a very small restaraunt, only 10 tables.) It was very good! I ordered something called Heo Uop Gung Sot Camwith marinated pork in ginger cooked with pineapple, bell peppers, onions, and orange sauce. Kevin got Ca Bong Lau Kho To, which was catfish in a clay pot. I tried it and it was quite tasty. After studying the take out menu better, there were several things I'd like to order sometime. Since Dung Gia is in the same town as the CHI office; we'll hopefully eat there when we go to evening waiting family meetings. It's also right by the train, so I can have Kevin meet me there after work, plus he works only a few miles away. Once the weather gets warmer I really want to venture down to the area of the city nicknamed Little Saigon or New Chinatown, where there are many Vietnamese restaurants and shops.

I also just realized that it was about a year ago today that our application was approved for adopting from Vietnam and we rushed down to pay our fee, so we can get in under our agency's 2006 fee policy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wishing You a Merry Christmas!!!

I haven't posted in a couple weeks; boy how time flies. Last time I posted I was going to find out what our place in line is; it turns out to be #110, but how many people ahead of us are requesting girls only is unknown, as well as how many are open to toddlers or special needs. So knowing we are #110 does not necessarily help a whole lot to know when we are to expect a referral; the best guess is probably the last quarter of 2008, but that time frame could be actually much sooner or later!

We spent Christmas Day at my sister-in-law's father's house. He recently lost his wife to cancer and wanted to host it this year. Christmas Eve was spent asleep on the couch, until we dragged ourselves to bed. Me, sleeping on the couch is rare, but I had a good excuse, since I was under the weather. I had not slept the entire night, just fighting chills the whole night and felt just awful in the morning. Unfortunately, I was one of the few who was suppose to work until noon that day. Since I knew no one would truly believe how sick I REALLY was; I forced myself to go to the train, which was made worse by the fact that the temperatures were in the single digits, (but I had medicated myself with Pepto-Bismol, Imodium AD and Tylenol). The train was rather empty, so I just curled up on a seat and slept until we got downtown. Not long after getting there, one of the attorneys just told me to go home on the first train that I could! Luck was on my side as it was about 8:40 and there was a 9:00 train. I slept pretty much of the day with only getting up for a drink of water or to eat a few crackers. Kevin was super and made chicken soup for dinner, not the canned stuff either. He did get soup starter, but the chicken was of the real fresh variety. I forced myself to eat the entire bowl and then since I was tired of lying in the bed went and lied down on the couch. I laid down before Seinfeld started and never even saw it finish. The next time I woke was a couple hours later and I went straight to bed. Believe it or not after all that sleeping, I slept through the entire night. In the morning, I couldn't believe how much better I felt! But so as not to overdue it, I think I will go to bed early tonight.

Before I go I want to leave you with another Christmas photo.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Over 16,000 Hits!

I've had over 16,000 hits, since I linked to soon after I started this blog on December 26th. I entered the blogging world back in May 2006 when I started my other blog, when we were expecting to start an adoption from China shortly, but oh, how things have changed.

We got an update from our agency and although, there were no referrals and our agency does not expect any before the new year, there are 5 families that are currently in Vietnam adopting their children and 2 other families will be leaving next week to celebrate Christmas in Vietnam with their children. There will be a total of 85 adoptions completed in 2007 by our agency; I think in 2006, there was 50-something. I am feeling more positive and hope that 2008 will be our year. At least for a referral, but of course, it would be nice to travel before another year ends, but we'll have to see what is in store for us. I just have to remember that things happen based on God's timing and when it is meant to happen, it WILL! Another family, who got on the waiting list is #109 on the list, so we should be right next to them at either #110 or 108. According to my record-keeping, we are #112, but I could be wrong since there are reasons other than referrals that our place in line could change. I have e-mailed my SW and hopefully she can tell me where we are on the list, currently.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Another Referral and Positive News

Another referral was received by our agency; a 2 year old girl in Ho Chi Minh City. So we should have moved up one spot on the list to #112. Hope fully, it won't be too, too long until we are out of the 100s. Our agency is expecting more referrals in the near future, but aren't sure if they'll come this year, since medicals are still needed. Please keep these children in your thoughts and prayers that they will soon be referred to forever families soon. Also keep The Leonards in your prayers, they have been near the top of the list for over a month or so. Hopefully, they will receive their referral of an infant boy very soon.

As mentioned a few days ago, our agency received the first batch of I-600 approvals - 7 families in all received their approvals within two and a half to three weeks. 3 families left for Vietnam today and another 2 families will be leaving on Tuesday. The remaining 2 families will leave soon after they receive their G&R (Giving & Receiving) dates. Several of these families have blogs and are listed under the traveling section. So things are starting to look up! Hopefully, there will be lots of good things in store in the near future and in 2008.

On Tuesday, we will be having a home visit from our social worker, since Illinois requires yearly home visits. It's about 2 months early, but I think they get pretty busy at the beginning of the year. Also, I want to save as much vacation as possible next year, in case we are lucky enough to not only get a referral, but to travel also, before 2009.

Monday, December 3, 2007


I haven't posted any updates in the last few weeks. But as of this past week, 2 more referrals were received for a two and a half year old boy and a four and a half year old girl. I think about we received 2 or 3 other referrals since I last posted about referrals. We are about #113 on the waiting list. I guess we're slowly, but surely moving ahead, but I just wish it was not so slowly. I just celebrated my 39th birthday; 30 was no big deal, but 40 is looking to be quite difficult! Some really good news is that at least three CHI families got their I-600 approval and will be traveling in soon to get their sons Khai, Jake, and Mattix. It also seems that the Vietnam Summit meeting went well and hopefully the future of adoptions will as well

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Back from Extinction, but Returning to Hibernation

I've been around, but haven't been in the mood to blog. I've actually been meaning to but there's just nothing good to talk reallyabout. Things are moving so slowly and though we have been on the waiting list for almost 7 months, I don't see us making that much progress and there is so much confusion the past few weeks about adoptions from Vietnam in general. I feel I need to take a break from things and wait for some positive news. I probably will be around, but not as much as I have.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Turkey -

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, here is my favorite holiday video. I wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. I won't even say don't eat too much, because we always do; maybe a happy eating wish to all of you instead. Sorry that I haven't posted in so long, but I will.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The "S" Word

Say it isn''t true! Yes, S-N-O-W!!!! They're predicting flurries today! I'm not ready for snow yet. Not before Thanksgiving, please. At leaast wait until then. December would be better. Of course, Christmas Eve would be the preferred first snowfall; at least for me! I guess if it is only flurries, I can live with that. Snow flurries though would be highly preferred over rain though. At least, one wouldn't get as wet!

No adoption news to report. The adoption is just not-so-quietly waiting. Well, it has quieted some, but things aren't quite as intense as it was last week, with inappropiate things being said.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Awfully, Unproductive Day

This has been a terribly unproductive day. I really wanted to get a lot of work done, but I just can't focus on it and my mind keeps wandering to the situation with Vietnam adoptions. I got an e-mail, actually two from my agency's adoption caseworker and it hasn't really put my mind at rest. It's just that no one knows what effect any of this will have and it may be sometime before anything is really known. We need to have another home visit in another month or so, since the homestudy is only good for a month or so. And she suggests we can discuss our options then in more detail. I don't know how I can wait that long, but at the same time no one knows anything right now and any decision at the moment would be purely based on emotion. I'm grateful though to know that our agency is not working in any of the affected areas, so if those provinces close even temporarily, we won't be affected.

The filing of the I-600 at the time of your referral, instead of when you get to the country should prevent future families from being stuck in the country with their adopted child, but being unable to bring him or her to the U.S. by having any investigation done early on in the process. (Most times no investigation is needed after filing the I-600, because there are usually no red flags. Right now, these red flags that resulted in investigations were with only a few agencies that were in a couple of provinces.)

Hopefully, these families pleas in their blogs for people to write letters to the USCIS or embassy (I forget which they asked people to write too) will not cause these organizations to bend to the pressure and end their investigations and let the families return to the U.S. Although it is not these families fault, it is their agencies fault or the facilitator who got them these referrals. If the children were not legally available because of either kidnapping or lying to their birthparents, these children then would have birth families who love them and never wanted them to be given up for adoption. Although it would be terribly painful to the adoptive parents, these children should be returned to their rightful birthparents. Hopefully, if it is proven these agencies were involved in unethical means in acquiring these children, they will have their licenses yanked away and be kicked out of ever working in Vietnam again. Then hopefully, they will allow those ethical agencies to continue working in Vietnam and finding families for the real orphans. Well, I think I better get back to work. I had my say and think I can focus on things that I should be focusing on now. Please keep the future of Vietnam adoptions in prayer for us and all other families, as well as the children who are or will be affected.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Current Situation with Vietnam Adoption

Please check out Laurie's post about what is going on and how it may affect future adoptions in Vietnam.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Another Referral, But Holding Steady

Our agency received another referral, this time for a 3 year old boy. The family only waited 4 months until their referral! Since we have been waiting almost 6 months, this will not affect our place in line. We're no closer, but on a positive note we are not any further either. What we can conclude from this is that there are no families before us in line, who are looking for a 3 year old boy. I guess, there might be some who are looking for boys older, but probably most are looking for them to be under 3 years old. We also received a sibling group the girl is 8 and the boy is 10, currently none of our families are requesting siblings of this age, so hopefully, there will be someone who reconsiders and takes these 2 as their son and daughter.

4 families are returning from Vietnam with their new children and 3 families are completing things up there this week. There will be 4 families leaving probably next weekend also for Vietnam. After that, families will have to wait until they receive their I-600, as explained in my previous post. Our agency hopes it won't take too long, but it is possible that it could take up to 60 days more, which would mean not until next year, but hopefully everything will be in order and no lengthy investigation will be needed. Hopefully, we will have some more families travel before Christmas and New Year's.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ch - Ch - Ch - Changes

The adoption world has been buzzing with changes that USCIS is making to the procedures that we follow in order to obtain permission to bring our child into the USA. As recently as earlier this week, the process was as follows:
  • File an I600-A, which gives us advanced permission to start an international adoption
  • Receive your referral, get your travel date, and after the G&R ceremony, start the process with USCIS to file the I600 (which is permission to bring a specific child- your referred child- into the USA)
  • The USCIS makes sure that the child is legally an orphan while you wait in country, and that no improprieties, bribes, etc. were involved
  • A visa is issued, and you come home.

Now though, people have to file for an I600 after getting and accepting a a referral. This may add time to the process, but lately a few families were not allowed to return to the USA with their children, until investigation on whether unethical practices were used in getting those children. So hopefully, this will prevent unethical practices from continuing. Although I feel sorry for these families, they are with certain agencies that are having incredibly quick referral times for very, very young infants and in the process, the agencies may be employing certain unethical practices. Many times, if things look too good to be true, they are and it seems now USCIS is catching on.

Hopefully, by having to file for an I-600 before being able to travel, the problem will be nipped in the bud and these agencies that are securing young infants inappropriately will be stopped and will have their license taken away, rather than ending Vietnam adoptions for everyone. Adoptions were closed down once in 2003-2006, let's not repeat it again and punish everyone when it's only a few agencies that aren't playing by the rules.

So if you are starting the process to adopt from Vietnam now, please make sure you research any potential agencies thoroughly. There is a Yahoo Group Adoption Agency Research dedicated to providing you with information so you can make a well-informed choice. Remember if something looks too good, it probably is. Do you really want to wonder whether your child was gotten ethically or if their parents were convinced to put them up for adoption for possibly financial incentives? Remember Vietnam is a 3rd world country and what we might not think is a large sum of money, may have a very different meaning in Vietnam. You could not only be risking things for yourself, but for all of us prospective adoptive parents now and in the future.

I'm feeling a little bit better; not great, but better!

Monday, October 29, 2007

10 months ago!

10 months ago, we had just been approved by the Vietnam program at our agency. A little over 4 months later, we finished our homestudy, received our long-anticipated 171-H and were added to the waiting list at #159, since then we moved down almost 50 spots to #111. That list though includes everyone who is waiting for a child from Vietnam, regardless of age, sex, or health. Two more referrals were received last week, both of which were for infant girls. It is good to see some infant girls, but there actually have been quite a few infant girls in the past month and a half or so and I would really like to see some boys being referred, so we can move some more on the list for those waiting for a boy; it seems as if we have been sitting at #70 for awhile now. I would really like to see the 60s soon.

We also have finally had our first couple nights of frost; it looks like we might be frost-free tonight, but being almost November that won't last much longer. We have been pretty lucky as far as temperatures go.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Only in Wisconsin

We returned from our little trip up north. Although it was a quick trip, it was great to get away and relax. The ride up there was kind of gray and dreary. We hit little pockets of rain, but nothing much. At least, it wasn't snow though. During the day, it was in the upper 50s-lower 60s. Saturday was sunny and very nice fall weather for our drive up to the Marquette to watch the football rivalry between Northern Michigan University and Michigan Technical University. The fall foliage was at its best up in the U.P. Most of the ride up to Marquette was spent just looking out the window at the gorgeous autumn colors (no reading for me). On the way home was another story, reading and napping was how I spent most of my time on the return trip. Of course, I always forget to take something when I travel and this time was no exception. After having reminded Kevin several times to bring his swimsuit for the indoor pool and whirlpool at the motel. Guess who forgot hers? Also, I forgot any short sleeve t-shirts; luckily Kevin had one that I could sleep in, because wearing a sweatshirt would be to warm and restrictive. Not having a t-shirt also posed the problem of me being extremely hot once we got to very southern Wisconsin/Illinois on Sunday, where the temps were over 70 degrees. Oh, for the reasoning behind the title of this blog entry, while we were driving home, we stopped for lunch somewhere near Fon du Lac, WI. I really wasn't that hungry, but Kevin got the breakfast buffet that they were still serving and where else but in Wisconsin would one find sauerkraut on the breakfast buffet table. Sauerkraut is not the most pleasant smelling stuff at any time of day, but when one is having breakfast, even if it is in the early afternoon, sauerkraut is not what you really want to smell or at least I don't.

Well to end this, I will add several photos of the wonderful autumn colors that we enjoyed.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Headed to Yooperland!

Yes, Kevin and I will be heading up to the good old U.P. tomorrow to see his dad and brother. I took a couple days off this week, as well as Monday. It'll be a short visit, but it will be nice to get away. At least Kevin was able to get tomorrow off, so we will be able to head up early and avoid heavy traffic. There's suppose to be construction by Milwaukee, so that may be the only place we get slowed down.

Last Saturday, our agency had a speaker talking about attachment, which was interesting and informative. Then we headed over to my parents or I did while Kevin went to a high school football game. We then all went out to eat at Red Lobster, which is probably one of my favorite places to eat. I just love their Mushrooms, Cheddar Bay Biscuits and Shrimp Scampi; probably not very healthy, but oh so.

I just checked my e-mail and was sent the weekly update by another PAP (pre-adoptive parent). Unfortunately, there were no new referrals received, but there were 4 families who left for Vietnam today and there will be 3 more on Monday. I pray there will be some more referrals next week, so we can keep moving up the list, as well as everyone else.

Looking forward to a couple days of pure relaxation, even if the weather will probably be downright chilly up there. Today, the weather was gorgeous, in the 70s. Just a few days ago, it was so cold, but we have not yet had a frost, so I'm not sure if this is Indian summer or if we will be blessed with some more warm weather again. I won't get to check my blogs or e-mail, but that will have to wait until Sunday when we return.

Friday, October 12, 2007

More Referrals and Another Orphanage

Our agency got 4 referrals this week: 2 healthy infant males 4 1/2 months and 2 1/2 months and 2 waiting children: an infant girl and a toddler boy. This moves us 4 and 3 places, respectively down the list to 113 overall and #70 for those open to a boy.

In other agency newss, our agency is now working with another orphanage and in the future, they hope to work with additional agencies. Hopefully, the more orphanages that we work with the more babies and children will be reffered and the more the waiting list will go down. This orphanage is a very large, but has mainly handicapped children, but about 10% are healthy. Of course, there are other agencies who work with this orphanage. But with 6 other orphanages and hopefully a few others added in the future, hopefully we will start moving down the waiting list quicker than we have been.

Lastly. there will be 7 families traveling in October around next weekend, so that will be exciting; so far I have one of the families' websites.

One more post, tonight before I head to bed

Calif. bans smoking in cars with kids
By STEVE LAWRENCE, Associated Press Writer Thu Oct 11, 6:04 AM ET

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California motorists will risk fines of up to $100 next year if they are caught smoking in cars with minors, making their state the third to protect children in vehicles from secondhand smoke.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday signed a bill that will make it an infraction to smoke in a vehicle if someone under age 18 is present. But the traffic stop would have to be made for another offense, such as speeding or an illegal turn, before the driver could be cited for smoking.

The ban, which takes effect Jan. 1, joins a string of smoking prohibitions adopted in California, including a ban on smoking in enclosed workplaces and within 25 feet of a playground.

A Harvard School of Public Health report issued last year said secondhand smoke in cars can be up to 10 times more of a health risk than secondhand smoke in a home.

"Protecting the health of our children is among government's highest responsibilities," said the bill's author, state Sen. Jenny Oropeza, a Democrat. "It is clear that increasing public awareness about the dangers of secondhand smoke is the right thing to do."

At least 20 states and a number of municipalities have considered limiting smoking in cars where minors are present. Arkansas now bans smoking in cars with children age 6 and younger, while Louisiana has limited it when children 13 and younger are in the vehicle. Maine lawmakers will take up the issue in January.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How Has God Provided Financially for your Adoption;

Our adoption agency posted on their blog a post called How Has God Provided Financially for your Adoption; you could say this kind of applies to what we have been studyiong and talking about in our small group. Not adoption per se, but how god has provided financially in our lives over all.

Can you believe 4 posts in just over 24 hours??!!??

Impossible Question of the Day

Question: According to a recent survey, just over 20% of people have seen their neighbor do this. What is it?

Answer: Get the newspaper in their underwear.

Now this is kind of disturbing. Hopefully, these neighbors get their paper on their doorstep, because I know in our neighborhood, the newspaper is at the end of your driveway. I definitely wouldn't want to see any of our neighbors in their skivvies and definitely don't want to know if they wear boxer, briefs, or even thongs, god forbid!

45 Degrees

With these cold temperatures, some more pictures of flowers from my mom's gardens are in store to remind us of the warmer days that we had, even just a few days ago.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Autumn is Really Here!

Brrr! It is finally getting cold. Just a few days ago , we were in the upper 80s and low nineties and today, we did not even hit 60. In fact, it is about 47 degrees outside as I type this. This weekend, I even resorted to putting the air conditioning on, which I haven't done in a few weeks. The temperature inside is lower than it has been with the air on. Usually, in the summer, we keep it at 72 or warmer and right now it is in the mid 60s at the warmest. I just can't rationalize putting the heat on, yet. But another couple days like this or colder, I most likely will.

I can't believe I have been such a bad blogger. I keep up with other blogs fairly well, although not as well as I had been several months ago. I think it may partly have to do with how much more typing I have been having to do at work. I just don't feel like typing all night, like I've been doing for most of the day. Now if I was a 60, 70, 80, or more word a minute, typist like the legal secretary at my office, but I'm far from that. But regardless, there also hasn't been that much happening this past week adoption-wise. The update from our agency reported that seven families brought their little ones home from Vietnam this week, as well as 7 other families getting news of traveling later this month; no referrals were received, but they hope to receive more soon!

Last week, we started our church's small group fellowships. This is the first year we joined a group and we are really enjoying them. There are 5 couples in our group including us and we are all in our 30s and 40s. For these first 6 weeks, all small groups are studying A 40 Days Spiritual Journey to a more Generous Life. Since when I was a child growing up, my parents never attended church, it should be very informative and enlightening.

I'll end this entry with a few pictures from my mom's garden. I took these few weeks ago and with the weather the past couple days and the weather continuing to be the same, these will probably be the last pictures I get to take for this year.

I'll try to post some more later on!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Mom Song Sung to William Tell Overture with Lyrics

This is great. You have to take a few minutes and listen to this! I promise you'll ROTFL!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

2 More Referrals

Our agency sent us the good news that 2 more referrals were received; both were for 2 infant girls, one 4 months and one 5 weeks. In two weeks, we've received 7 referrals at our agency; if this keeps up maybe eventually, the wait will go back down, at least to where it is. We should be about #117 on the waiting list as a whole and about #73 for a boy. This is going to be a very short post, since I'm feeling tired and want to get to bed. With the weather changing all the time, I don't want to get worn down and become sick.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy 4th Annversary

Yes, today is our 4th wedding anniversary! We went out to dinner at Outback, where the meal took forever. The cook didn't receive it, so we were offered soup or a salad, which we really didn't want. we finally got our meal, which was very good. I got a fillet and Kevin got the fish of the day, mahi mahi. When we got home I was surprised to find a bouquet of roses on the kitchen table. They are gorgeous as you can see. I can't decide which picture is better, so I'll post them all.

Also, here is a picture of us that was taken last month at my cousin Amanda's wedding.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Finally Referrals!

Our agency finally received several referrals today! 5 in all! 3 were of healthy children ( one was even a 3 month old girl!) and 2 were of waiting children! This means we are now #119 overall on the list and #74 for those open to a boy Let's hope this is the start of a our agency getting a lot more referrals. A deluge of referrals would be nice, but just a steady amount of referrals would be a positive step forward to bringing the wait times back down! In other agency adoption news, 3 families returned this week from Vietnam with their children and 7 other families will be leaving tomorrow to get their children, all in orphanages in Ho Chi Minh City. Congratulations to all the lucky families. One day it will be our turn!

Even without this good new, I am in a much better mood. I just needed a break from blogging, but hope to post regularly again.

The other weekend we went to the last county fair of the year here in Illinois. We also saw my cousin and her husband, who live a few miles away. It was great getting together with them. They are going to be opening a coffee shop in their town. It will be the only coffee shop in that town and one of the only meeting places in the town other than a couple bars and an ice cream shop that closes for a good part of the year. We wish them all the luck in the world; although we think they have a real moneymaker there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Japanese Toilet Training Video

Oops it disappeared from my original entry! So, here's a reposting!

Japanese Toilet Training Video

I've just not been in a blogging mood, but I plan to get back to posting on Friday night. Until then enjoy this cute video. It's from Japan and in Japanese, but it's really cute! Probably would get annoying after awhile though!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No News is Good News, and This Definitely isn't Good

Finally, we received an update from our social worker. Unfortunately, no new referrals were received, but a 12 year old girl was placed who was a waiting child. It's always so nice to see older kids getting to have a family of their own, but especially when that older child is at the age of adolescence. That is incredibly difficulty age group for almost any parent, but to bring a child of that age into your family really shows that family is very special. There are about 6 families curremtly in Vietnam with their children.

The big news, but definitely not the news any of us waiting families want to hear is that wait times have increased. New families being added to the list are being told over 2 years for a girl (this has been so, for many months), but they are now saying the wait times for those waiting for a boy will now be 18-24 months. Our agency does expect the wait times for many people currently on the list for boys to be closer to 15-18 months, but this is just an estimate. Referrals the past few months have really been slow, so they say if referrals continue to be slow the wait times could increase even more, but then if we start getting more referrals, wait times could speed up. Expect the wait to be longer and then if it turns out to be shorter than one can be pleasantly surprised. So who knows we can have anywhere from a year or two wait. This is especially depressing when you are waiting for your first child and getting to be an older parent. The way things are looking I'll be past my 40th birthday, before a child is even a possibility. What's even worse is that since adoption in Vietnam isn't centralized like in China (each agency works with one or several orphanages, so wait times and referrals differ from agency to agency and orphanage to orphanage.) Because of this difference between agencies and orphanages, there is a big fluctuation in wait times. Also, there are unfortunately several unethical agencies, that find ways to get many young healthy infants; thus the quick wait times and large numbers of referrals. Hopefully these agencies will be shut down and not the entire Vietnam adoption program. Anyone considering agencies, please do your homework and if things sound too good they usually are. There is a yahoo group where one can research agencies that are licensed in Vietnam. I do not have the link, but search under Yahoo Groups for "researching Vietnam adoption agencies". Also anyone considering agencies, use only licensed agencies. The Vietnam Embassy requires all adoption agencies to be licensed for Vietnam adoption. Some agencies umbrella or piggyback with a licensed agency and this too is illegal. Sorry for being such a downer today, but I now feel somewhat better.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

We had a pretty busy Labor Day weekend. Friday, Kevin went to his 2nd high school football game of the season. Saturday morning, we spent at the Immediate Care Center. I started getting an earache and since my doctor was not in, I decided I better go get it treated before it got bad. In the evening, we went to watch the races at Rockford Speedway. NOT a good idea to do when you have the startings of an earache! Sunday, we went to church and then my parents came over and we went to a dinner at a steakhouse about 30-35 minutes from here. It was so good 3 of us had pork chops and Kevin got a steak. I gave him one of my porkchops and he gave me half his steak. The porkchops were good, but the steak was even better. Then on Monday, we went to another county fair in nearby Wisconsin (Walworth County). So, it was a pretty packed weekend.

Not a lot to report adoption-wise, but our agency did receive one referral for a healthy 4 month old infant boy. There are 3 families currently in Vietnam and 3 more families will be leaving this week. So we have moved one more place on the list. We are # 129 overall and #76 for those open to a boy. Come on referrals, e need to make some more progress. A nice leap would be nice! I'm trying to wait until the end of next week to check with our social worker to see where we are on the list. I try to wait at least 6 weeks between e-mails about our current status. I'm sure as we get closer, it will be more frequent, but at this point 6 weeks is adequate.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Another Game of Tag

1. You must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name.

2. If you don't have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

3. When you are tagged, you need to write your own blog post containing your own middle name game facts.

4 At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged & to read your blog!

Here we go:
M - Married - to the most wonderful guy in the world, Kevin!

A - Adoption - How we are forming a family.

R - Reading - Something I really enjoy doing.

I - Impatient - How I feel about this process.

E- Excited about being a mother.

Let's see. I have to tag 5 people. How about Kelly at snips & snails, Elizabeth at Fajitas & Pho, Sue at Waiting for Our Sweet Pea, Jennifer at This Is Now, and Gina at the Leonards at Large

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Since I last posted on Tuesday, we had even more rain on Wednesday and Thursday. The worst was on Thursday with lots of areas flooding, lots of downed trees and lots without electricity. Luckily, we were fine, but it took me over an hour and a half to get home on the train and Kevin over 2 hours driving and it usually takes about 40 minutes. The rain was so bad on the roadway.that Kevin put his arm out the car window and it was well past half of his forearm. When we got to one of the train stations; a couple of the parking lots were submerged with water between the door handle or higher. The Fox River a few blocks from our house has gone over its banks, Here's a couple photos that I took this afternoon.

The playground is usually a ways away from the water.

None of these trees should be surrounded by water

Those are young kids who ventured out into the water. The picnic bench behind the guys is usually several feet away from the shore.

None of the homes around here that I know of were affected, but there were many homes that were in other suburbs.

Yesterday (Friday), one of my cousins got married in an outdoor ceremony. Unbelievably, it was dry and not really even humid. The wedding was very nice and the weather was just about perfect for August. I had heard the reception was going to be outside under a tent, but it turned out it was inside in a very nice room in the banquet hall.

High school football has officially started; yesterday was actually suppose to be the first game, but with the weather as it had been with more rain expected last night (although it did not happen), the game for the local high school was postponed until tonight. Kevin was quite glad it was rescheduled, since he loves attending high school football games and the neighbor, some friends, and him try to go to all the games. They were undefeated the last 2 years until the quarter finals. A very interesting bit of trivia, the founder of Jimmy John's graduated from the high school.

One more bit of news; this one adoption related. A waiting child was placed, so we move down another slot on each of the list. We are now about #130 overall and #77 for those open to boys. There are also 3 families traveling to Vietnam this weekend to get their children.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rain, rain, stay away

We have had so much rain since the weekend. In less than 48 hours we probably had 3-4 inches; luckily today, has been dry, but the humidity is definitely back. It is suppose to possibly rain on and off the next three days. I definitely hope not, especially not on Friday, since my cousin is getting married. It is to be an outdoor wedding and reception, so it would definitely be nice for it to stop raining a day or two before, so the ground can dry. In addition several areas of Chicagolandare experiencing flooding. More rain is the last thing we need right now!

We had our work outing to a Chicago Cubs game. The weather was beautiful. It did not rain at all as they had predicted for the morning. Because of the prediction of rain, the picnic we were going to have in Lincoln Park was instead held in our office lunchroom. It almost turned into a catastrophe of sorts, because we had all the pop and chips and Subway sandwiches on this one table. Well, what haappened was one of the legs broke and everything started sliding down the table. Luckily, the soda had not been opened, otherwise we'd really have had a mess. It seemed to happen in slow motion and everyone just stared increduously while it happened. Luckily, we only lost a few sandwiches and the rest stayed on the platters. The game was great. We played the Cincinatti Reds, who we had already 2 games of the series to, but we started with 4 runs in the 1st inning and by the end of the 7th inning, we scored several runs again in a row and won 12 to 4. I left after the 7th inning in hopes of making my usual train. Iended up having to run a good part of the 8 blocks from the subway to my train station, but I made it. And a good thing I did, because one of the trains after mine hit a pedestrian or bicyclist and some trains were delayed 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

The next day I was off work, so I decided to take the train downtown and go to my parents, where Kevin would meet us for dinner that evening. Well, as I was walking to the train. There was a bunch of police officers and emergency personnel gathered down near the tracks. It turned out that one of the train engineers from an earlier train had reported a body near the train tracks and it turns out sure enough that someone had been hit by a train earlier in the morning. What they were doing at that section of the tracks is questionable, since there isn't a crossing right there. An investigation is still ongoing whether it was a suicide or an accident or what. But the victim's car was found in the parking lot nearby, so I think it looks like it might have been suicide. It turned out the train was only a little over an hour delayed, so I did end up getting on a train, just a little later than expected.

The rest of my weekend was pretty much uneventful, except for all the rain that fell from Saturday night through Monday. On the adoption front, we did move down the list one place. A referral was received for a healthy 9 month infant boy. Our agency also received referral for a few waiting children, a healthy 12 year old girl and 2 healthy brothers, 8 and 14. A family is reviewing the girl's information, but so far the brothers have been placed on the waiting children's page, since no agency family is requesting this age group. They are really cute boys, so hopefully someone will decide to adopt them. We now are #131 overall on the list and for the list of those open to a boy, #78. So we are slowly moving on the list. Hopefully, there will be more referrals over the next 2 weeks. A few more families received travel dates, so their should be 3 or 4 families traveling next week.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Our Flower Garden

On the other blog last year, I would post updates of our flower garden. This year I haven't done that and fraankly, I think it's better this year than last. We have a couple more varieties and last year actually was our first year with a garden. Because although we moved in here in May 2005, there was no time to really do much planting. So here's a shot of most of our petunias.

Our rabbits ear and if anyone knows the name of deep purple plant, I'd love to know! Even my mom who is quite the gardener has never seen it.

Our mum has just started blooming in the past couple weeks and there are many more buds waiting to bloom soon.

Our begonias.

And a cropped shot of our entire flower garden.

Well, today is our work summer outing. We are going to go to a Chicago Cubs game! We were suppose to have a picnic in Lincoln Park, but they have been saying morning showers all week on Thursday, so they ecided to have the lunch in the office and then go to the gasme. This actually works better for me and probably several others who live in the noth and west suburbs, because to reach that area at leat I'd have to end up taking a bus. Instead I can just take a train into the city, stop at the office for lunch and then walk to the el/subway and take it straight to the ball park.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


You too can Simpsonize yourself at, I think. I don't think I look too bad Simpsonized.

3 New Referrals!

Good news now that the visiting Vietnam officials are back at the IAD (or is it the DIA; actually heard it referred by both names). O our agency received 3 referrals: a 14 month old boy, a 3 and a half year old boy and a 4 and half year old boy, so we have moved up three spots on both of the list . We are now # 132 on the overall list and #79 on the list for those open to a boy. Just to memind you when we started out we were #159 and #95 on each of the lists. So not bad for a little over 3 months. They are expecting more infant referrals in the near future. We have one family traveling from our agency and their website is under my traveling links under The Needhams. Also, our agency's 1st Ethiopia adoptive family should be on their way back to the United States, with another family leaving for Ethiopia this upcoming week.

Vietnam Provinces

Can't remember if I ever posted a province map of Vietnam. Our agency is in 3 provinces, Kien Gang, Vinh Long, and Ho Chi Minh, which are in the very southern part of Vietnam (all of which are in pink).

Monday, August 6, 2007

3 Month Anniversary

Well, it has been 3 months since we were added to the agency's waiting list on May 7th. If all goes as they predict, we can expect a referral in 9-12 months. I guess this means we should start getting busy preparing for our son. Several months ago, we started removing some wallpaper in what will be the nursery and discovered at least 3 layers of wallpaper. Well, we got vwhat people recommended we use to remove the wallpaper, but with so many layers, we are having a heck of time with it. We have decided we will hire someone to remove the wallpaper, who has experience doing things quickly. One of the couples at work has a son who has a decorating business, so we will go with him. We will do the painting ourselves most probably, but the wallpaper will be someone else's job. Hopefully, we can get this done in the next month or so and then paint before, it gets too cold where we don't want to open the windows.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Don't Know If Any One Noticed...

But we have moved somewhat on the list. We are now #135 overall and #82 for those open to a boy; the wait is still 12-15 months from when we got on the list. We got on the list back on May 7th, so we have about 9-12 months if their prediction is right. You never know, but hopefully it will be!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tag, I'm It!

I've just been tagged by Sue!

5 things I was doing 10 years ago:

1. working temp jobs to get some paralegal experience
2. playing volleyball on Friday nights
3. sharing an apartment in Berwyn
4. E-mailing, no internet yet for me!
5. Reading lots!

5 snacks I enjoy:

1. Popcorn
2. Ice cream
3. Cheetos
4. Pretzels
5. Chocolate brownies and chocolate chip cookies

5 songs I know all the lyrics to:

1. Numerous songson the Grease, especially Hopelessly Devoted to You.
2. Lots of 80's songs. (I hear you Sue!!!)
3. The Star Spangled Banner.
4. If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands
5. Happy Birthday to You! (I'm getting desperate here!)

5 things I would do if I were a Millionaire

1. Pay off house & adoption
2. Travel all over!
3. Invest wisely!
4. Adopt more kids!
5. Have a housekeeper!

5 bad habits:

1. procrastinate
2. Spend too much time online
3. Get upset to easily.
4. A little too messy

5 things I like to do:

1. Read
2. surf the internet
3. Blog
4. Travel
5. Spend time with Kevin

5 things I would never wear again:

1. Spandex
2. Anything neon green
3. crimped hair (Forgot about that one, Sue!)
4. (or ever) fishnet stockings
5. a bikini (well maybe if I had the body for it again)

5 favorite toys:

1. computer
2. DVD Player
3. Digital Camera

Now, who should I tag: Becky over at Our Little Russian Peanut and Christina at Our Vietnam Adoption Journey.

Oinking and Mooing in Kane County

Thought I'd post a few photos from the other weekend when we went to the Kane County Fair.. It was feeding time at the pig barn and boy, if you've never been around a pig barn during feeding time, the squealing is crazy. Somehow, this guy was able to sleep through all of it. He must be hard of hearing or something

And this little beauty had just been born in the past couple months. There really weren't very many baby calfs.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sorry I don't update this blog as often as I should, after typing so much of the day at work, I really don't feel like typing that mch in the evening. I do, visit your blog and websites quite often. It just seems lately I have been leaving fewer comments, also. But do know I am following along with you on your journeys

Saturday, was a busy day, we got up and took the train downtown to go to Chinatown, where the local Families with Children from Vietnam group were meeting for the Dragon Boat Festival. There were several waiting families there and I finally got to meet Tommy, who Tara and Doug adopted back in April, whom I met at the FCV Tet celebration in February. He is even cuter in person than on his blog; and you have to admit he's probably the cutest baby ever! I also got to meet Christine & her, husband, who live a couple towns away from us. They have had one heck of a time with their dossier. They are waiting again for another document and hopefully it can be submitted to Vietnam. They also have a blog that I follow.

We also ended up going to the Kane County Fair later that same evening. I'll have to post some pictures, soon. So, we had quite a busy Saturday. On Sunday, we went to church as usual then came home did some cleaning and mowed the lawn, etc. and then had my parents over. We ended up having a delicious meal at Red Lobster. That has to be my favorite restaurant from the Lobster and Crab Stuffed mushroom to the wonderful biscuits they have to the garlic shrimp scampi and grilled shrimp, everything was just wonderful.

On July 19th, our agency was privileged to have a couple of the officials from the Department of International Adoption (DIA) in Vietnam visit on their first stop in their American tour. Interestingly enough, we found out our agency is one of the top five agencies in Vietnam. Also, it was learned that of 43 licensed agencies in Vietnam, only twenty are doing a good job. Here's the story on our agency's blog.

We just received an update from our agency, but nothing was said about referrals or anything. Either we did not receive anything or the Vietnam coordinator is on vacation and didn't send out her personal e-mail or maybe they were just very busy with officials' visit last week.

Tomorrow, our agency is putting on another waiting families forum with a pediatrician who is familiar with adopted children. What is really great is she has an office in two of the adjoining towns! So, there is a good chance, she will probably be the one we take our child to once we get him home and possibly even be our regular pediatrician. Well, it looks like I should call it a night, since I have to be up early for work.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ladder of Dreams

We are slowly making up our way up the waiting list ladder. I officially received the e-mail our agency received 2 more referrals, a 6-week old healthy boy and a 3 1/2 yr old female waiting child. So we know moved to #141 overall and about #86 for those open to a boy. We are lowly, but surely making progress. Hopefully, we will be seeing some more movement soon. Come on referrals!

In other agency news, there are 4 families leaving for Vietnam this week. 2 of their blogs will be under the traveling section if you want to follow along for now they are under CHI.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Starbuck's news

Well as you may or may not know, I use to be addicted to Starbucks. Now I may treat myself once a week or if I'm really good less often than that. Of course, I found a new addiction that I am fighting "McDonald's Iced Coffee. It's about half the price for about twice the size. But when I got on the internet I was met with the headline "Starbucks shut controversial China store" It just doesn't feel right that there should be a Starbucks in the Forbidden City. Now, I checked where in the world, they have locations and there are no starbuck's located in Vietnam. There are about 100 in neighboring Thailand and many other Asian countries, but none so far in Vietnam. Now, I really think, they really need to consider opening a few stores at least Ho Chi Minh City and in Hanoi. The two main cities and the cities where most adoptive families spend time.

Not much adoption news. I did not receive the weekly update yet from our agency, but according to a couple other bloggers with our agency 2 more referrals were received. I'm expecting I will hear something, tomorrow and will post our updated position on the waiting list then.

Vietnam airlines direct flights to the U.S. delayed

I found the following interesting news article. We won't be traveling for well over a year so hopefully by then they'll be up asnd running here.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Oh Danny Boy ( A Final Farewell to John)

Our former co-worker would often sing this, during to paries or other work social gatherings. (of course, at the time sung, he was often the result of some beverages that he was enjoying a tad too much.) But I will never be able to hear this song again without thinking of him!

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.

And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me
I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.
I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

You may be gone, but never to be forgotten!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The end is drawing near

The final day before we left, we drove up to L'Anse, where we ended up having the largest cinnamon rolls one ever saw. I also got to see Lake Superior and feel how cold it was, even in late June. Being so far north, it really never warms up.

Before we left I snapped father and son posing by the gorgeous rose bush in their back yard. (Actually this photograph doesn't do the rose bush justice It was just gorgeous!)

This one is better!

It was a real relaxing trip. It was great to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle of the U.P.

Piers Gorge

We got some gorgeous pictures of Piers Gorge, in which the Menominee River flows. It's hard to decide which ones to post here!

These rock formations were formed by the glaciers.

Weird, I can't create a title for my entries. The box is there, but the cursor won't appear in there. I guess, Ill guess that I'll have create my own title seperately from the way I use to.

Our Trip to the U.P. of Michigan

I just realized I never posted about our trip a few weeks ago. We took a couple days off end of the week and went for a long weekend to visit Kevin's brother and father. The weather was great warm during the days, but the evenings and nights really cooled off. I took tons of pictures, so this will be more of a pictorial essay.

Here's a couple views of Pine Mountain. The sun was just starting to set somewhat so we got to see a beautiful sunset.

Here's one of the ski jumps in the area. This one is at Pine Mountain.

I believe this is the peaceful waters of Lake Antoine.