Saturday, March 3, 2012

I'm figgering on biggering...

... or at least undergoing a semi-radical overhaul. On the ol' blog, that is. Which I think reflects some shifting priorities in our lives.

This post title is a homage to Dr. Suess, who would have been 108 years old yesterday. The Once-ler in "The Lorax" went on biggering his Thneed production- with horrible consequences... those poor Bar-ba-loots with crummies in their tummies :(

If you haven't read The Lorax, please do... before you see the movie that was just released. The Lorax has been part of our family life for years now- thanks to a thoughtful Christmas gift from close friends when the girls were young. Our son has grown up with it. My husband can recite it by heart (as he can most of the other Dr. Suess books we own). I have mixed feelings about going to see the movie. I'm sure we will go, but I don't want it to colour the way I think about The Lorax and the Bar-ba-loots, or even the Swomee-Swans.

The take-home message of The Lorax has been resonating pretty loudly for me lately. We live such a typical suburban lifestyle: 3 kids, 2 jobs, constant moving to and from activities- I can't imagine having less than 2 vehicles! I'm sensitive to our impact on the environment and our carbon footprint... we try to lessen it in the ways we can, but we could always do more, there's no doubt. The key is to set our priorities, and make time for them, I think. That's where I'm heading... or at least trying to.

Because UNLESS someone like me cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.
Its not.

Taking personal responsibility + making a plan for action = "biggering" in the right direction.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

No Posts in 2011

So, the ol' blog went a whole year without any posts... and, to be honest, I haven't been visiting blogs at all, probably for that same amount of time!

Why has this blog, and so many that I used to follow regularly, gone stale? Hmm...

1) No time... blogging requires time to reflect, and time to write... most of the blogs I have followed are written by moms (a few are dads) with young children and hectic lives... Personally, my worklife has become more demanding as I've ramped up by career and supervise quite a few (maybe too many) graduate students. I think time constraints have played a big role in the collective blog neglect of many of us.

2) Facebook... is Facebook replacing the blog as a means of expressing what's going on in our lives? I've only been a FB user for about 6 months or so, and I do find it much easier to read friends' "updates" or "walls" than to spend time going to blog links. And forget having blog posts sent directly to e-mail. My e-mail volume is already more than I can usually handle. Do people really want to read blogs any more? I'm not sure.

3) Shifting priorities... in my blogging world, most of my fellow bloggers have some connection to international adoption. Most of us started blogging as a means to communicate with other families in the same boat as we were: waiting for the process of international adoption to be completed, so we could bring our kids home. Thankfully for most (but still not all families, if you can believe it), our kids are at home and they have now become individuals to us, not mere concepts, who have a right to privacy. Its challenging to walk that line between respecting your children's privacy and being a proud parent. I've never felt that I've navigated those waters well, and I've probably erred often on the side of caution... meaning a boring blog for readers! But, that's OK, I came to terms long ago that this blog is for me, not for anyone else, when all is said and done!

4) Shifting interests... dare I say it? Is adoption as interesting a topic to me any longer, now that our family life with our son consists of everything that all families, whether formed through adoption or birth, experience: making lunches, piano lessons, weekend basketball tournaments, walking dogs, picking up groceries, cleaning floors (ok, I really don't do much of that!), etc., etc.... I can say that "yes", I am still very much interested in how families form through adoption and in advocating for adoption services. But since my own experiences with the process are not recent, I don't find myself as caught up in the stories as I once was. That's just life, I guess.

SO...what to do? Maybe nothing. I don't think Blogger resents the space that a mostly-defunct blog takes up. OR, maybe a re-invention, for reals this time... Not sure, we'll have to see...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snow Dogs!

Snow Dogs!
Originally uploaded by china-calling
Two of our dogs: almost 7 month-old Akola and 8 year old Suzy romping in the snow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our New Puppy

Ever Endeavor Akola- she's a Eurasier- and ain't she sweet!?!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Possible Changes for China's Waiting Child Program

I just saw this on I wonder if it will be open to Canadians as well? That decision will likely be up to each province.

China Opens New Program!
Special Focus Children Program Begins September 1st
August 01,2010 / Martha Osborne

The following information is what is known at this time about China's new program. This article will be updated as further details are revealed.

On August 17th , the CCAA sent a special notice to all licensed adoption agencies concerning a new program that will begin on September 1st .

The CCAA is creating a new category of waiting children called "Special Focus" children. These are children who have been on the shared waiting child list for more than 2 months. It is unknown whether or not all children who have been on the list for over 2 months will be included, or if only a select number of these children will now be categorized as Special Focus.

What is known is this: Children who receive this special status will have three unique advantages.

First: they may now be assigned to specific agencies, which can then begin concentrated advocacy to find a family for particular children. Individual advocacy for older and special needs children by a single agency has remarkable advantages over the current system . As it is now, over 2,000 children wait on China's Shared List. Children who were listed months ago receive almost no advocacy or inquiries, as new children are added frequently and receive the most attention.

Second: Adoption agencies may take the time to focus on gathering information and background on specific children, to better match the child with a family who is a good fit. Older children and those with special needs have the best outcome in families that are well prepared to parent them.

Third: Families pursuing a Special Focus child will have 6 months (instead of 3 months) to get their dossier into CCAA. This may will enable families to take the appropriate time needed to learn more about a child's medical or other needs, and make a decision without undue pressure to submit documents.

For some experienced families who are thinking of adopting more than one child, the news only gets better. Families pursuing a Special Focus child will be allowed to adopt a second child, either at the same time or within a one year time frame. One of the children must be Special Focus, but the other can be either healthy, Special Focus or a regular special needs child. CCAA emphasized that families need to be well prepared for the adoption of two children or special needs children in general to avoid tragedies.

Marci Siegel-Kittrel of Associated Services for International Adoption, voiced her enthusiasm for the program, This is a great opportunity for children who have waited the longest on the Shared List, but added this caution, We must also focus on the best interest of each child. ASIA will allow families to pursue the adoption of two unrelated children on a case by case basis after the family fulfills some requirements to prepare for the additional challenges of adopting two unrelated children at once or in quick succession.

While several families have requested the opportunity to adopt 2 children at one time, China has officially been against the practice in the past. Over the last few years, the CCAA has unofficially loosened their stance on non-siblings being adopted simultaneously, granting experienced families with the financial ability and support systems in place to do so.

Kelly Rumbaugh, founder of Lady Bugs N Love, came home from China in February of this year with Samantha and Piper. Samantha was just days away from her 14 th birthday, when she would become ineligible for adoption. Piper, age 11 years, has some special needs. Our daughters did not know each other before adoption, Kelly told us, This caused me worry because Samantha did not have any special needs, and Piper did. The truth is, both girls have great attitudes. It hasn't been about adopting two older children at the same time. Honestly, it has been the most challenging because we adopted two children while having 3 toddlers as well.

Kelly's advice to other families considering adopting two at once? I would want to make sure that the family knew that saving money is NOT a reason to adopt two children at once. I would want to make sure that they realize how the dynamics of the family changes when you add a new sibling to the family, let alone two. Any regrets? It is harder than I thought, but no. Every hug, every smile, is worth it. I just think families need to understand that it challenging.

Update: Although part of the Notice sent to agencies indicates that there may be some leniency or relaxing of adoptive family qualifications (could this mean singles may be able to adopt in the future?), there are no clear indications of what this may entail. We wil update our readers as more information is release

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Cookin'

With apologies to vegetarians, here is my organic-humanely-raised-local chicken (from Ellie's Chicken Coop) stuffed with lemons and mint from our organic vegetable co-op (the mint, not the lemons!).

And here is my child voted most likely to follow her mother's domestic inclinations:

She's making a picnic quilt- I'll be sure to post her pictures when she's done!