Monday, September 24, 2007

Getting Closer

I spoke with Laura Trinnaman at FFC earlier today. I asked her where we stood in the wait process as we haven't received an update in the last two months. (Apparently, FFC did send one out to us this past month, but it was lost in cyberspace.) Anyhow, here's what I learned from Laura. I hope I understood what she said correctly; part of my attention was occupied by a very loud and exuberant Andrew who got to splash around in the tub for an extra long time while I spoke with Laura.

1) There are three families ahead of us on the waiting list for a healthy baby. The first two are currently considering referrals that have just been presented to them. The third couple is seeking a healthy male. We are waiting right behind them.

2) The timeframe for our wait could be anywhere between very soon up to two months from now. Apparently referrals often come in once a week, though lately they have not been as consistent. One possible cause could be the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Taiwan, which could be causing delays in the communication of referrals.

3) There's a strong likelihood that our child would come from St. Lucy's orphanage instead of Chung Yi. The latter's baby unit is undergoing renovations, so there are very few beds available for young children.

4) The age at which the child is when referred to us is dependent upon many factors, including delays in paperwork, whether the birthmother decides to keep her child with her for the traditional four week "lying in" period, and whether the child is initially relinquished for an unsuccessful domestic adoption.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Keep Voting for Dumplings

I really want to thank everyone out there who has been faithfully voting for my sister's book, Meiling's Dumplings. I know some of you have been logging onto the voting site (see the post below) and registering a vote every day. You guys definitely get a gold star!

I learned today from the contest organizer that an overwhelming 53,000 votes were cast for all the books the first day the competition opened. An additional 100,000 or so were received the second day. Wowee. Last year's winner pulled in about 50,000 votes, barely edging out the 2nd place winner by a narrow 100 votes or so. Thus, considering all the votes needed to win, we've got our work cut out for us.

Please help get the word out to everyone you know. The contest ends on September 30th. I don't know about you, but I'd really like a copy of this book and hope this competition will be the means by which I can get my hands on one.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mei-Ling's Dumplings

My younger sister, Jenny, has had a big year. She married a great guy this past June, graduated with an MA in Elementary Education from U.Penn, and was recently selected as one of 12 finalists in a children's book competition.

Mei-Ling's Dumplings is a story she wrote for her Master's program. She submitted it to the ABC Children's Picture Book Competition (, a contest that solicits works from unpublished authors. Finalists are paired up with an illustrator who draws a mock-up of their manuscript. (The illustration above was created by artist, Lisa J. Roberts.) The winner is then selected through an online vote and receives a royalty-based contract and 1,000 copies of their book to market on their own.

Mei-Ling's Dumplings was inspired by our own mother, Mei-Ling Hsu, dumpling maker extraordinaire. It tells the tale of a plucky young Taiwanese immigrant of the same name who attempts to befriend her classmates at her new school. Some of them mock her for bringing dumplings for lunch. Instead of retaliating, she rises above and wins them over by focusing on their commonalities.

This is the only children's story I've come across that features a young Taiwanese-American protagonist. Its message is not only hugely relevant to children of Taiwanese descent, but to any child who has ever felt alienated by his or her peers. It takes just a few minutes to place your vote. You can vote once a day.

Please join with me in making sure this important and inspirational tale finds its way onto bookstore shelves.

The Dream Life of PAPs

As of this writing, we are 25 days away from our 6-month wait (but who's counting?).

Keep in mind that our original projected wait time was 3-6 months to receive a referral of a child. From my conversation with the FFC program director this past Monday, that timeline still holds true. Do you realize that this means that any day now, we could get The Call? Wow.

Apparently I've been thinking about this more than I realize. Last night, my subconscious was in overdrive trying to process it in dream-form. In my dream, we received news of the referral by mail. There were several colorful pages enclosed in a large, clear envelope. For some reason, two obnoxious high school girls were going through my mail and found it. While sitting in their car, one of them opened up the envelope and started reading it aloud. I reached my hand through the crack in the window and furiously snatched the papers out of her hand.

The letter contained a blurry picture of a baby and a vague statement about being referred a child who was at least one year old. I was so ecstatic that I simultaneously cried and vomited.

In reality, when we get The Call, I don't think there will be many tears and certainly not any involuntary ejection of my stomach's contents. I'm just not that emotionally expressive a person. I didn't cry at my wedding, nor I did I shed a tear when Andrew was born. The weepy-eyed reaction is Craig's hallmark (gotta love my sensitive hubby :) I will however be internally overwhelmed with a million emotions, not the least of which is joy.

Meanwhile, the long-distance nesting continues. I've picked up a couple more things to mail to our baby once we receive and accept his/her referral. (I realized all too late that the turtle book is upside down in this picture - whoops!) If there's a positive to waiting 4-6 months until we pick up our child, it's that our agency will mail one care package per month to him or her. That's great news because there's no way all this stuff is going to squish into the single gallon-sized Ziploc bag to which we're limited each month.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Now You See It, Now You Don't

No, your eyes weren't fooling you.

If you've been following this blog closely, you would've noticed a post on August 29th, 2007 entitled "The Big Ai-Yo!" It summed up an unexpected invitation we received to adopt a baby girl independently from Taiwan. It concluded with a promise to follow up the next day with our final decision. That post mysteriously disappeared the day after.

I wasn't trying to be coy in the cybersilence that ensued during the subsequent two weeks - I promise! In the interim, I was writing back and forth to the woman who referred the little girl to us. We tried unsuccessfully to find another family with Taiwanese contacts who would be interested in adopting the baby. (I understand from her that independent adoptions can be notoriously difficult unless you have someone in-country willing to shepherd the paperwork on your behalf, assuming you are unable to do it yourself. In addition, finding someone to foster the child in Taiwan for 4-6 months can be challenging.) We also gave a great deal of thought to posting the lead to the Yahoo group of which we are both members. In the end, at the moderator's suggestion, we chose not to since there were far too many variables and risks, not to mention the possibility of compromising the birthmother's privacy.

As for us, we chose to remain with our agency. We feel we are so close to receiving a referral that we wouldn't want to jeopardize that adoption by pursuing a route that may never come to fruition.

So why am I re-instating the original post? In answer to much prayer, I am quite delighted to report that Little Miss Baby Girl was born this past Monday via c-section, two weeks before her due date and healthy. The hospital in Taiwan found a Taiwanese-American family to adopt her. She'll be staying with their relatives in Taiwan until the adoption clears the courts. I'm sure this takes a huge load off the birthmother's mind to know that her daughter will soon be joined with a loving family.

So, all's well that ends well. God speed, little princess.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Note to Self

Presbyterian heavyweight, Tim Keller, once pointed out that we humans have a tendency to sell ourselves short. He cited the case of Olympic athletes who spend the best years of their lives training for their one moment of glory. They devote and perhaps even deplete themselves, physically, mentally, emotionally towards this singular pursuit. Then, when the Olympic flags come down, the medals are hung up (if they were fortunate enough to have snagged any), when the humdrum pace of real life returns, disappointment sets in. Some of them even fall into severe depression. They begin to realize that that one moment of glory is not grandiose enough to continually sustain the heavy burden of their high hopes and expectations.

I've been thinking a good deal about this case as we are hopefully rounding the corner toward getting our first glimpse of our child. It's so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the adoption process, to be buoyed by the joy of those parents we've "met" online who write with news of receiving their referrals, to thrill at the thought of coming face to face with our little one for the first time. But then I wonder: will we, too, feel the big letdown in the months after our child comes home? Are we setting ourselves up the same outcome? Certainly some shift in emotions is to be expected once the reality of 3 a.m. diaper changes, feeding wars, and general baby chaos sets in. And for some families, PAD - Post-Adoption Depression - might be a valid diagnosis (incidentally, there's a good article about this subject in this month's issue of Adoptive Families magazine).

As Christians, Craig and I are painfully aware of our own tendencies to try to make gods out of anything and everything. Me? I worship my own comfort and status, my immediate family, and sadly enough, potato chips. (I'll let Craig rattle off his own top 3 some other time.) Lately, the adoption has been edging in on my list of God-wannabes. It's not that there's any wrong in getting really, really excited about meeting our child - not at all. The problem comes when I look to the adoption for spiritual fulfillment, comfort, and identity. Like the 30 seconds of glory on the Olympic podium, the adoption of our child can in no way sustain the weight of my worship. As someone once put it, there's a God-shaped hole in everyone's heart that will perpetually yearn until we allow God to fill it with himself.

Lest I forget in all of my adoption frenzy, I write this as a reminder to myself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In specific adoption news, we are still awaiting a referral. We're hoping to receive our monthly update from our agency sometime in the next few days. It should give us a more solid idea of how much longer our wait will be. Since we never received our update last month, we're particularly curious to see what this one has to say.