Sunday, July 30, 2006

Memo to me...

Next time I ask my hubby to get me an iced cappucino , don't put it in the freezer, forget about it and remove it six hours later. It's been out of the freezer for half an hour and it's still rock hard. *sigh*

The upside is that I'll probably lose more calories *trying* to drink it, than actually drinking it normally (reverse weight loss strategy perhaps?)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to jail we go...

My husband and I decided, pretty much on the spur of the moment, to go to Buffalo for the day (yeah, I know, we're real exciting folks). We left at 8:00am to beat the traffic, though I really wanted to leave earlier but that's besides the point. We hit the border around 9:15 and waited about 30 minutes which wasn't too bad.

We eventually got to the mall just before 10:30 and then we were off and running. (Well, in all honesty, I was running and my husband was unenthusiastically keeping up with me). ;)

I went into Kaufmanns and did a bit of looking around but unfortunately I didn't find anything that appealed to me so we went downstairs to the men's department. My hubby found four golf shirts that were marked down from $30 to $15. When we got to the till, it was further marked down to $12 (he was a happy camper).

Then it was time for me to head to my favourite store for some retail therapy of my own. I went a little nuts and got six hand soaps in coconut lime verbena *drool*, four body lotions (1 black cherry vanilla and 3 brown surgar and vanilla), a mesh sponge, and a bunch of hand creams for my sister-in-law. After some creative accounting and $70+ later, we walked out of the store. (Hey, it's my one indulgence, a girl's gotta have a bit of enjoyment...right?)

We decided to head off in search of lunch and went to customer service to ask for directions to Applebees . The twitty woman behind the corner gave us directions that, while given in English, took us a few minutes to understand. Now don't get us wrong, we're not stupid people but this is what she told us. "Head out of the parking lot this way (she pointed...yeah that helped), then head down the street until you hit the four corners, make a left and then it's a quarter mile on the right."

My husband looked at me like the RCA dog and I looked at him and we asked her to repeat the directions. Of course, she didn't bother to change the explanation or (g-d forbid mention street names), so we just walked away and tried getting there on our own. Apparently, by saying "four corners" she meant a major intersection, but had she simply said "at Walden and Union make a left" that would have made our life much easier, but I digress. We had a nice meal and then went to Target to get my brother some Slim Jims (ugh).

After that we had enough of Buffalo and decided to head home. Right before we hit the border we noticed that there was a bit of a roadblock, apparently Homeland Security was looking for someone. Everyone with Ontario plates they waved through, but anyone with U.S. plates they pulled over, asked people to get out of their cars and went through the cars with a fine tooth comb. They forcibly removed one gentleman from his car and went over his car VERY carefully. We were curious about what was going on, but we didn't ask any questions and simply headed on our way to the Customs booth.

We rolled up to the booth and the lady asked our citizenship and all the 'usual' questions, but we both noticed that she didn't ask about any alcohol, tobacco or firearms, as they normally do. She asked my husband what the purpose of our trip was and how much he spent (which he replied 'about 40', but she didn't ask me how much I spent.

We saw that she took a yellow piece of paper and scrawled '$40' and told us to pull up to the building up ahead to the left. We both got a sinking feeling at that point and got a little worried because we had to show our receipts. As soon as we got to the building I told the Customs official that the lady hadn't asked about what I spent and he just looked at me, rolled his eyes, as if to say 'sure lady, like I haven't heard that before...'

They asked us to get out of the car and they opened the trunk, looked in all our bags and compared the receipt to the amount on the yellow piece of paper. We had about $140ish, but thankfully it was too hot out for them to bother writing us up for a lousy $40 over and told us to go on our way.

I'm just glad I didn't find anything else to buy. :P

Friday, July 28, 2006

Why ladybugs?

Does anyone know, exactly, what the relevance of ladybugs are in relation to Chinese adoptions? I've heard various things over the past few months, ranging from the interesting to the truly bizarre. If anyone could clear this up, I'd appreciate it, or if you just want to discuss your own theory about it that's fine too. I'm interested in what you have to say. :)

I went out, when we started the process, and got a ladybug pendant and earrings, yes, I'm a little sheep...following the herd. :P

I told my mom about the significance of ladybugs early on and she reminded me of a picture that she has when I was about 8 years old. It's a picture of me with a ladybug sitting on my arm. I guess that 'red thread' started forming way back then. :)

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I got a little nervous yesterday, having sent in all our documentation, I forgot to check with Canada Post to make sure that the package was received. So while I was at work I went into the UPS store, used the computer, and wrote a quick email to our agency to make sure they received it. (The joys of working in a non-computerized day I swear I'll learn how to connect to the internet with my typewriter...) Anyways, it *WAS* received and all our paperwork has already been sent out for translation. So we're on our way now.

They are still standing by their claim that it is going to take four to five weeks for translation to be completed. I hope that it won't take long. We want to have our dossier sent over and, hopefully, logged in before the middle of September.

Why the middle of September? Well, my husband and I are taking a two and a half week vacation to Glasgow and Rome! It's our tenth wedding anniversary this year, so I decided we would just go there. He has family in Glasgow so it's going to be nice to get together with them again. We haven't been over since 2000.

On a side note, M3 and her husband , whose blog I've been following for a while, usually as a lurker, received some bad news yesterday. They missed the cut-off date for their referral by ONE day. The recent referral batch was from June 29th to July 13, and their LID is July 14. I can't even imagine how crushed she and her husband must feel. The only consolation is that next month they WILL be next and they will be able to see their precious daughter's face for the first time. I hope with CCAA having moved to their new office, once they get settled the referrals will have to may come quicker. It's a nice thought at least.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The cheques are in the mail! No, really, they are.

Quite literally, the cheque(s) and all our documents were sent in the mail this afternoon to our agency and will slowly be translated over the next 4 to 5 weeks. I didn't realize it would take that long to get our documentation translated, but I guess it's all a part of the joyous 'hurry up and wait' part of the paperchase.

Assuming that it takes the full five weeks, which I hope it doesn't, we should get the documents back by August 30th. If that's the case, then our dossier should could go to China at the beginning of September...and hopefully a log in date won't be far behind.

So far we've been lucky as far as timing goes, everytime someone says something is going to be X number of weeks, it seems that we get the document/information sooner than that. Let's just hope that our agency is just covering their proverbial butts by saying that it's going to take 4 to 5 weeks. ;)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Lion dance...

We went to D and K's wedding on Saturday evening, and I have to say that it was awesome! The wedding was held outdoors and while it poured during the day, thankfully it did not during the ceremony.

The ceremony itself was nice, quiet and intimate, but as they walked back down the aisle we were all blown away as they had a traditional Chinese lion dance! There were drums, cymbals, and two 'lions' that walked, jumped and rolled down the aisle. It was cute, as the lions were coming towards the guests, they rubbed up against people and wanted to be 'pet'; everyone had a blast. (...and I thought we were unique when we had a piper at our wedding)!

My husband was able to get some pictures of the lion dance along with D and K. We asked D if we could submit the picture for our dossier and he said 'anything that gets that baby here faster, by all means go ahead.', (thanks D).

I know on Friday I mentioned that we were going to submit our dossier to our agency today, but most likely it's going to end up being Tuesday instead.

Adoption Acronyms

I've gotten a few emails and questions from some people who aren't kneedeep in the hoopla of adoption matters, so I wanted to help them out with some frequently used acronyms.

CB: Children's Bridge
CCAA: China Centre for Adoption Affairs
DTC: Dossier To China
IA: International Adoption
LID: Log In Date
SAHM: Stay At Home Mom (what I'm going to be)
SW: Social Worker
TA: Travel Approval

Any other suggestions?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Our Timeline

This is a post that will be updated from time to time which will detail the steps as we get closer to adopting "Little Maple".

Early January, 2006 Contacted S.W. and set up a date to start homestudy.

February 1, 2006 First meeting with S.W. at her office.

February 2, 2006 Sent in application to adoption agency, S.W. recommends that we get a three-year membership.

February 21, 2006 VERY busy day:
1. Medicals for both of us.
2. Police checks, first the RCMP where we got fingerprinted, then the local police check (where we find out that S.W. gave us an outdated form and have to reschedule this. I ended up calling the S.W. from the police station and asked her to bring a new form when we meet her the next day).
3. Appointment with lawyer to arrange our wills.

February 22, 2006 Second meeting with S.W. at our apartment. (She failed to remember the form and called us 10 minutes before our meeting to say that she was on her way to the police station to get it).

February 27, 2006 Local police check (with proper form). :P

March 8, 2006 Sent in Retainer and fee to C.B.

March 10, 2006 E-mail from C.B. confirming that this was received.

March 11, 2006 Attended all day seminar held by Sofie Stergianis which I highly recommend.

March 19, 2006 Seminar with C.B. in Cambridge (we ended up getting lost).

March 22, 2006 Final meeting with S.W. at our apartment where she promises to have homestudy completed by April 22.

April 8, 2006 All day seminar held by S.W.

May 4, 2006 Attend first of six (weekly) Adoptalk seminars held by C.B.

May 6, 2006 Get very rough draft of our homestudy (which we then spend several hours correcting errors). We asked her to send us a signed copy of our homestudy, and to notify us when it gets sent in to C.B.

May 18, 2006 E-mail from C.B. that they received our homestudy and it was being sent on to the Ministry for approval. We are told it should take anywhere from 10-12 weeks (ends up taking exactly nine weeks).

June 4, 2006 Attend "Grandparents Day" held by C.B.

July 21, 2006 Receive call from C.B. that our Ministry approval is in and we can finish putting together our dossier.

July 25, 2006 Completed all documentation for dossier and sent in to C.B. and sent in all required cheques.

July 26, 2006 E-mail from C.B. to let us know that everything is in order and our documentation is being sent out for translation. We are told that this process takes about 4-5 weeks (ends up taking exactly three weeks). We were also told to be prepared for an 18 month timeframe until referral.

August 16, 2006 Found out at 11:00am that we're DTC today! We are told that it might take up to three months to get our LID.

August 23, 2006 Got an email this morning with our group member's names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.

October 16, 2006 Found out this afternoon that our LID is September 13!

November 29, 2007 Passed the review room!

December 10, 2007 Met with new social worker so he could do the update letter for our adoption.

December 12, 2007 Did our York Region Police check.

December 15, 2007 Had our home visit.

December 19, 2007 Medical checkups for both of us.

January 31, 2008 Update letter complete.

February 11, 2008 Submitted update to CB.

February 25, 2008 Letter of Approval arrives and is valid until February 25 2010.

March 1, 2010 Contacted new social worker.

March 6, 2010 Did our York Region police check - completed while we waited.

April 1, 2010 Met with our social worker.

April 6, 2010 Update letter complete.

April 13, 2010 Submitted update to CB.

June 1, 2010 Letter of Approval arrives and is valid until May 20, 2012.

November 29, 2010 Submitted Part 1 of Citizenship paperwork.

Friday, July 21, 2006

...and so it begins!

Well, this is my first attempt at writing a blog entry about our adoption journey. Before anyone asks, no, we are not naming our child "Little Maple", it's just a term that my husband and I came up with. We have picked out a name for her but we refer to her as "Little Maple" because in Judaism you're not supposed to talk about a child by name when no child exists (yet), hence the uniqueness of her 'name'.

We started the process of adopting a child from China back in February (on the 1st to be exact). After three interviews with our adoption practioner, filling out forms and being fingerprinted, etc., she completed our home study in May and it was sent in to our agency . They reviewed our homestudy and it was sent on to the Ministry of Child and Youth Services so that we could move forward with the process.

Today we got a phone call from our agency telling us that we got our Ministry approval! We can officially begin assembling our dossier and send it in.

We were approved in nine weeks, which isn't too bad. Right before our homestudy was sent to the Ministry, the Ministry had added more staff and cut down the wait time from 10-12 weeks to 8-10 weeks.

We're going to be feverishly finishing various forms, assembling pictures, and other documents over the weekend so we can hopefully send it in to them on Monday. After that it will get translated and sent over to China. Right now I don't want to estimate when we're going to have our paperwork over there or *gasp* a LID. I'll gladly take this one day at a time for now (famous last words)...