Monday, December 31, 2007

Should auld acquaintance be forgot...

Happy New Year to everyone out there in bloggyland near and far. Thank you all for making this experience a lot easier to bear. Your friendships, all of them, have meant a great deal to both of us.

Here's to hoping that 2008 brings us...something. I'd love to be positive and say a referral, but that's just not going to happen, so let's just say I hope it brings us CLOSER to one. *cough*

Since I'm lazy ...

I stole uploaded this off the Dyson site, and you asked for it, here's the pic. :)

(Oh, and I'll totally be waiting for that 50 cents in the mail.) :P

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The A-Team Summit

Last night, Josh and I had an A-Team summit at our place which included them, them, them, them, and these crazy folk all the way from P.E.I.

Wow, what an evening!

Everyone arrived by 6:00, except for them, and them who decided to ring our doorbell at about 6:30 like some crazed Avon lady needing to make that final sale. We sat around and talked for quite a while, gave everyone the 50 cent tour of our house (and yes, they all saw the Animal up close and personal). :)

We ate, we shmoozed, we ate some more...we drank...if any social workers are reading this, we only drank apple juice. Yeah, that's it, apple juice...or at least it started out as apple juice...but it ended up as iced apple wine from Magnotta wineries. ;)

A few highlights of the evening, which may only make sense to those who were there:

1. People in Australia speak Australian.

2. When you work as a CIT for the summer, you get to hit old ladies in your car and make $25 for the summer.

3. Bubka is not a former Soviet Republic.

4. Chocolate goes with ANYTHING.

5. Dishwashers should not foam at the mouth like a dog with rabies.

6. Bubka is not a Jewish holiday.

7. Bailey's is GOOD in Hazelnut Vanilla coffee...though what ISN'T Bailey's good in?

8. When chocolate and sushi are on a table, keep your hands and feet away from them.

9. Bubka is all-knowing, all-seeing.

10. My iMAC is NOT up for adoption.

11. Bubka sees you when you're sleeping, it knows when you're awake...

All in all, it was a fantastic evening with good friends, good food and lots and lots and LOTS of 'grape juice'. We're happy to say that we can now add them to the inner circle of the A-Team (and it didn't have anything to do with the chocolate sauce that they brought with them from P.E.I.) ;)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Animal...or why I love my husband...

No ladies, not in THAT way...that's a post for another day.

We went to Linens 'N' Things today and I saw the Dyson Animal and I've been wanting one FOREVER. Well, when Josh saw the price tag for it, he exclaimed a few...let's call them profanities...

I saw a sign that said if you signed up for their credit card that you could save 20% off your we had a $200 gift card (from our awesome friends). We went up to the till and they said that we couldn't combine the gift card and the credit card 'bonus', so I threw a bit of a snit and asked them where it said that...since that's a bit of bait and switch (or at the least, a little underhanded).

The manager came over and said that she happened to have a 20% coupon, that I could have...imagine that. What I didn't realize was that the vacuum was on sale as well, so...

Guess who walked out of Linens 'N' Things with a brand spankin' new Animal...for $159?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Kindness of strangers

Josh and I went to Mikasa yesterday since they're having their close-out sale (BOO). Just to look for last minute bargains, though really, they don't have bargains on the items you REALLY want. We were walking around the store with some things in our hands and a stranger walked up to us and asked if we were buying a lot. I said 'well, not really, just what we have here'. So he said 'well is it over $70.00?' and I said yes. He said that he had a gift card for about $70.00 and was willing to give it to me for $60.00.

The skeptical side of me thought 'what's the catch?!' and I asked him to come to the cash register with me and I'd pay him after we used it. He told me that he wanted to exchange the card for the cash value of it, but the cashier wouldn't do that, and he was stuck with a $70.00 card.

Anyways, when they scanned the card, there was actually over $74.00 on it. I asked him, again, how much he wanted for it and, again, he said $60.00. I guess it's all about being in the right place at the right time...

Friday, December 21, 2007

A must see...

For those of you who haven't seen THIS, go take a look at the video. I have to preface this by saying...have a box of kleenex beside you when you view it, oh and tell her that I sent you there. ;)

Remembering the move...

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that we've now been in the house almost three months! Sheesh, time sure does fly, except when you're waiting. ;)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ever have days like this?!

Though I think I would have titled the picture "Invisible Furball".

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oops, she did it again...

Well this time it isn't Britney, but her SIXTEEN year old sister who is expecting a baby. Now, I'm not going to get on a high horse about this, stuff happens, but did she not think of the consequences? Sheesh.

What I find sad/pathetic/humourous about this whole situation is her mother's comments...

I didn't believe it because Jamie Lynn's always been so conscientious. She's never late for her curfew. I was in shock. I mean, this is my 16-year-old baby.

Just because she's never 'late' for curfew doesn't mean she won't be 'late' for other things...

Oh yeah, and the father-to-be is her 19 year old live-in boyfriend. Umm, ex-squeeze me? Who lets that happen? Why didn't her mom step in and prevent that from happening?!

In the middle of all this, her mom was writing a book on how to raise daughters. That one is sure to be a bestseller... ;)

I wonder what's going to happen to her show on Nickelodeon. You can't exactly have a 'role model' for tweens being pregnant. I'll bet that they end up writing her off the show and come back when she's had the baby.

She wants to raise the baby in a 'normal' family, but not before she sold her story to OK Magazine. I wonder how much money she got for selling THAT story...

How many other 'stars', and I use that term loosely, have kids out of the public eye? Certainly not many sell their story. I find that part completely repugnant. Is she hurting for money? Does she think she's doing something noble by telling the world about it? Ugh.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Banned?! ***UPDATE -- AGAIN***

I've been wondering this for a little while, but it seems that either my comments are banned from the RQ site, or she has me on moderation. Lately, no matter what I post (good, bad, or ugly - realistic), it doesn't get posted on her site.

My most recent comment I posted this morning and I still haven't seen it up there...hmm. I've since posted another, and that isn't up there either.

I can't exactly say that I'm heartbroken over it, but I find it funny (if not a little pathetic) that this has happened. How funny that she can't handle anyone's opposing views?

Now join me in a little Nelson Muntz-esque laugh...HA HA!

Now watch, all my posts are suddenly going to appear on her site as soon as I hit 'publish post'. :P

***Surprise, comments showed up. I'm sure that I'm being moderated. Why else would it take 12+ hours to get my comments up? I didn't even write anything that was that 'controversial'. Weird.

Oh, and by the way, David in a way I take it as a 'badge of honour' but also I think it's utterly ridiculous that she's that worried about what little ol' me is going to say. Honestly, how sad is it that she has this kind of time to devote to censoring what I'm going to say when she has thousands of readers? Is the RQ army going to attack me because I disagree...and do I really care? ;)

If it weren't so pathetic, it would probably be a little funny...***

*** posted that comment from "RQ" made me spit my coffee out all over my snazzy new iMac. :P***

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow day! ***UPDATE***

Holy hell people, I haven't seen snow like this in *YEARS*. I'd take a picture, but well, there's just too much and it would be hard to get a perspective with it falling as hard as it is (and I'm too cozy inside). ;)

We've gotten *at least* a foot, if not more so far, it's about knee-high right now. They were saying that the snow was falling at a rate of about 2-5 centimetres (roughly 1-2 inches) an hour. Personally I think it was a lot more than that. Josh has done our driveway four times already and it still needs to be done at least once more. Luckily, he bought one of those power shovels, so it's not as bad for him to go out there and do it. He was going to get one of those $400+ snow blowers, but since we haven't had really bad snowstorms in years, he didn't think we would need it...oops.

He went out this morning to do the driveway and by the time he got to the bottom, he looked back and it looked like he hadn't even touched it. So each time he goes out, he ends up having to do the driveway twice. I know this because I've been watching him from inside our nice warm and cozy house. ;)

We saw one of our neighbours doing their driveway, he has to be a man in his mid-70s (give or take), so we thought we would do the neighbourly thing and offer to do his driveway, or at least let him borrow our power shovel. He turned us down and said that shovelling the snow was "good for me". Well, we tried...

I called my boss (my FIL) earlier today and asked what we were going to be doing tomorrow as far as work was concerned. After much hemming and hawing, he decided that I should call the patients and cancel tomorrow's day out. I called all the patients, but the last one surprised me.

I told her that her appointment was cancelled because of the weather, and she said "well it's only Sunday afternoon, the weather is going to clear up". This was coming from a woman who lived in the Barrie area (about an hour or so north of us, and they probably got the same, if not more snow than we did). She said "I've waited for a week for this appointment". I felt like saying "Lady, if you want to show up at the office, feel free, but nobody's going to be there...", but I held back. I couldn't believe my ears that she was trying to argue to have the doctor come in, in weather like this. She should try to get an appointment with another physician and see how long she'll wait...

Some people.

***Well, I just did our driveway...that makes five times it's had to be done...FIVE! Oh yeah, and it's still snowing. By the way, running a power shovel with a migraine is FUN. I recommend it to everyone. Ugh.***

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fifteen months ou quinze mois

No matter how you say it, it still sucks. ;)

So, we celebrated our fifteen month LIDiversary tonight with a kickass, if I do say so myself, homemade chocolate cheesecake. Yes, I know K1, cheese isn't considered dessert, but when it's this is. ;)

If anyone wants the recipe, here it is:

2 packages (8 oz each) of cream cheese (I used Philadelphia original cream cheese)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. (real) vanilla
1 tsp. coffee
2 eggs
4 squares of Baker's semi-sweet chocolate (though I used bittersweet chocolate)
1 pie crust (ok, I cheated and bought the crust)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat cream cheese, sugar, coffee and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and mix until blended. Stir in melted chocolate (without sampling). Pour into crust.

Bake 40 minutes or until centre is almost set. Put pie into fridge, again without sampling.

Refrigerate for several hours (or until your tummy starts grumbling and saying 'CHEESECAKE NOW!') Store leftover cheesecake (who are you kidding?) in refrigerator.

We had my mom over to enjoy the cheesecake-y goodness, and it tastes even better than you can imagine.

Since it was our 15 month LIDiversary, I also got a charm for the bracelet. The new charm is on the far right of the picture and it's a J for Josh's initial. Next month will be an R, for obvious reasons...and then a 'space saver' for Little Maple's initial.

So, how much longer do you think we're on this little sleighride hayride for? Are we even a third of the way there?

For Kathy and Cari...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Weird search...

Ok, this is just weird. As you know, I check Statcounter everyday to see how people are searching for my blog. Well, this one is just plain bizarre. Not one, not two, but THREE people did search terms 'little maple captain caveman' today. What the hell?! Two of them were in France (different parts...and different ISPs) and one was in California.

What do you make of that?!

Is it just me or did Bloglines explode?

I went to check my usual addictions blogs this morning and I had a bunch to read, but they were all dated back in October. I even had one on my blog, yes I subscribe to my own (since I have a few contributors, it's nice to know when they're posting).

Has anyone else encountered recycled posts this morning? Weird...

By the way since I, obviously, hadn't been online too much I just marked all the 431 posts that I had waiting on Monday to 'read'. If there's anything that I've missed in the past LONG week and a half, let me know with a comment below. ;)

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack

After a relatively long withdrawal hiatus, I'm back!

We had been having problems with our old computer for quite a while and had decided that we were going to upgrade to a new one. Well, the decision was pretty much made for us.

We were researching new computers and had decided to get an iMac. A *really* nice iMac...and really overpowered for our needs. Anyways, we took our old P.O.S. into the Apple store as they needed to transfer files from the old one to the new iMac. Well, something funky happened on the way to the forum.

They told us that we would have to take out the hard drive and then they would transfer the info we needed. Whatever. By the time we got our old computer back home, we plugged it back in and it wouldn't even boot up. Nada, nothing, nil. We're not sure if we've lost all our info on the old puter or not, we'll look into that at a later date. We already had all the adoption info backed up, so really all we lost were our emails and some other (less important) info.

The reason that I haven't been around is because we were waiting for the new modem for our iMac from our ISP. Wouldn't it figure that when we got our new computer that they would run out of the modem that we need?! Grah!

So after waiting for a very long week, we finally got the new modem today and, obviously, got online. Woo!

As some of you know, there are new requirements in Ontario that we have to get our paperwork updated for the adoption (ie., new police checks, new medicals, etc.) We ran into a bit of a snafu as our social worker doesn't do homestudies anymore and we had to start with someone new.

Last night, when I was getting changed for bed, I took off my ladybug necklace and it broke in two. I wasn't sure how to take that as we were going to meet our new social worker the following day. I got a little superstitious about it was a bad sign about the adoption.

We were a little nervous about getting a new social worker and I was asking some members of the A-Team (Josh's term for our adoption friends) and we really lucked out and found a great one based on Cari's suggestion and we met the social worker tonight. Wow, he was fantastic!

Not only did we get in to see him quickly, but he's doing the home visit this Saturday! I asked him when he would have the home study done and he said that it would be completed by the first week of January! Woo hoo!

Woo! When all is said and done...sometime in 2010? 2011? we're flying first class, bay-bee. :P

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Thanks for the many emails that I've gotten about us being out of the review room! I actually found out by calling Josh at work and asking him to check out the CCAA site. Our computer finally gave up the biscuit, so to speak, and died on us on Thursday. Josh is actually talking to a rep while I'm typing this...and we should be getting the new beast shortly. I probably won't be back online until sometime in the middle of this week. We're waiting for a new modem...grr.

While I know that this is a big milestone in our journey (being out of the review room, not the new computer) doesn't really feel as "good" as I thought it would.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Food for thought...

I was thinking about the adoption lately, though honestly when don't I, and I picked up a magazine and saw this article. It's an interesting read and you might enjoy it...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Not with the adoption, per se, but with this never-ending rollercoaster of emotions every month. Hoping, beyond hope, that things will speed up...or we'll be surprised that the referral batch eeks towards more than a week's worth of referrals.

I was hoping that the end of the year will FINALLY see the end of the 2005 referral batches. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for all my friends who are getting their referrals in the upcoming months, but every time I see that the CCAA (it's sad that I know that URL off by heart) is referring smaller and smaller batches, it just puts our (eventual) referral that much further behind. At one point I thought we would see our referral sometime in 2007 (don't laugh), then 2008 (again, don't laugh), then late 2009 or early 2010. I'm starting to get the feeling that 2011 is a little more 'realistic'.

If I calculated correctly, we're about 40 CALENDAR weeks away from a referral, but if the CCAA keeps referring a week at a time, we're actually 40 MONTHS away from seeing our referral...and that's assuming that they'll do one week's worth of referrals EACH and EVERY month.

Today, as usual, I checked the RQ site and saw that she's predicting that referrals might go from December 8 through December 14. Woo. Granted she doesn't put her 'reputation' (what reputation?) on the line unless the rumour is pretty much confirmed. I find it kind of laughable that while I knock her site, I keep going back for more, like one day she'll magically post that the backlog is finally over with.

Does RQ even bother to confirm anything or does she just publish it for all the (adoption) world to see, without really caring what her rumours do to the people who are waiting? I find it funny, this month, that she didn't get *any* rumours until almost the end of the month. Is she getting rusty? Is her rumour pipeline drying up? In a way, while I appreciate getting some of the rumours, it's really tough getting my hopes up and then having them come crashing down at the end when the batches come out.

I hate feeling like this. I hate feeling negative about the adoption. I never wanted this blog to become this 'tainted'.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ok, who's with me?!

I was watching tv the other night and noticed a commercial for Monopoly and I was pissed off awestruck by it. Click on that link and do the demo, you'll see why I'm ranting about it...

I remember playing the game with my brother when we were growing up. We would sit around and count our know, using our brain...shh, we can't let kids these days do that. I'm sure you all remember playing that game with your friends on a rainy afternoon. Well, Parker Brothers have now done away with all that pesky thinking! Instead of doling out money, everyone gets a debit card to start...yes, a debit card.

I think, and I might be wrong about it, everyone started with around $1,500 or everyone starts off with $1,500,000. Yes, $1.5 million. Mmmkay. Not only that, but all the pieces have changed too! Offhand, I don't recall what the pieces were, but they certainly weren't a big screen tv, a box of Altoids (I wonder how much the people at Altoids paid and/or are making off of this), a designer purse with a puppy inside, or a Segway scooter.

Another thing they did away with was one of the most popular phrases..."Do not pass GO, do not collect $200". It's now been updated to "Do not pass GO, do not collect $2,000,000". Ugh. Seriously, was that really necessary?!

Anyways, I tried the demo and yes, I know there are other versions of the game (ie., Torontopoly, Dogopoly, Catopoly, etc), but did they need to change all the old place names and still call it Monopoly? What was wrong with Park Place? Boardwalk? Now you can buy Fenway Park and Times Square instead. Oh yeah, you can also buy the White House. Umm, excuse me?! There are no more railroads, they're all major airports.

I remember when you'd pull a Chance card and get "You are runner up in a beauty contest, win $100" it's "You are runner up in a reality tv show, win $100,000". Sad.

I know that they're just trying to 'get with the times' but really, did Monopoly have to change THAT much? Personally I hope this version tanks, but sadly it probably won't.

Friday, November 16, 2007

For iCon...

The great debate...

Last night, after Josh read the post about our house, we were lying in bed and I turned to him and asked 'So, which is it? Itsy bitsy or eensy weensy?'

He turned to me and said 'it's grande, baby.'

Perhaps TMI? :P

I still think THE SONG is eensy weensy, so there...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'll give you what you want...what you really, really want...***UPDATE***

As most of you know, we had our housewarming on Sunday and, as promised, here are some pics of the house. Neither Josh nor I thought of taking pictures when people were actually there...duh. We ended up having just over 30 people at our housewarming, including Nic, Tim, and the adorable Zubin, Michelle and Mark, Dolores and Shawn, Kathy and Joel, and Catherine.

We munched on finger sandwiches and a HUGE sushi platter, which not surprisingly was the first to be finished. ;) Oh yeah, and the chocolate fondue set which I'm in love with...

I think the highlight of the afternoon was having the A-Team (Josh's term for the adoption gang) sit around and sing the Eensy Weensy Spider to Zubin. He was absolutely mesmerized. (Have I mentioned lately how unbelievably gorgeous he is?!)

Anyways, I know you're not here to read my ramblings when there are pictures to be gawked at, so without any further ado, here you go.

Our very warm and deliciously yellow kitchen.

The rest of our kitchen.

Our living room and dining room, with gratuitous picture of Deuce.

Our den/African themed room. We're looking to add a large map against one wall.

A close-up picture of two African figurines that our good friends got for us. The two ebony masks on the end are from when Josh's aunt lived in Ghana.

Our bedroom, but I didn't include a shot of the nice walk-in closet. ;)

Dizzying pic from the top floor...down to Deuce's litter box.

Since the other two bedrooms aren't decorated, I decided not to show pics of them...give me until 2010 and you'll see Little Maple's room. ;)

***Secret Agent, since you asked, those purple things on the wall are blinds. They're not really very purple, they're technically 'merlot' and look a lot better on the window, than they do in the picture. We also have the same colour blinds hanging in the den. :)***

For Special K...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Are we there yet?

The halfway point...probably not.

Today was our 14 month LIDiversary, and to celebrate we had my mom and her boyfriend over for dinner. We continued our 'cake tradition' with a honking big chocolate fudge (non-fat...yeah, right) cake. It was not only nummy, it was super-nummy.

On the weekend I also got my 14th month charm (early) for the bracelet and I chose a pig (as I'm year of the pig). Though really, if you look closely, the pig looks like a bloated pink sheep. :P

The space saver in between the rooster and the pig will be for our child's Chinese zodiac sign. I also got my American flag charm back which they replaced for free...whee. Sometimes it 'pays' to complain. ;)

I have enough spaces for two more charms (since I'm saving some as space savers for when we get our referral), so in February I'll be starting my 'friends and family' bracelet...that should be interesting, to see what everyone will choose. :)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Dr. Tam's Research Study

Hi all - Donna here.

Still waiting for the info about concurrent adoptions.

I saw this newsletter posted on the canadiansadoptingfromchina list and thought you might be interested in reading it. Some of you might've already read it if you're on that list. I remember being contacted by Dr. Tam just after we came home from China with our oldest daughter, asking if we would like to participate in this study. We chose not to only because we were already participating in a study being done by the Hincks Dellcrest Centre here in Toronto.

The results from both studies (thus far) seem to be quite similar. The only difference with the one done by the Hincks was that it showed of all the areas of development, speech & language seemed to be the most common delay amongst the children, BUT, that the majority of them caught up within 1 year.

Being a Mom to 2 children from China myself (and in dealing with families post-adoption in my job), I can attest to the results of this study.

Figured of most interest to all of you would be Dr. Tam's meeting with the CCAA. Alot of it is information you probably already have, but still interesting nonetheless.

Take care.

University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., EDU162, Tampa, FL 33620-8335 Tel: 813-974-6496 ● Fax: 813-974-5814 ●

Mission: The China Adoption Research Program at the University of South Flori­da seeks to conduct rigorous longitudinal developmental research on child and fami­ly outcomes associated with the adoption of children from China, and to use the findings of such research to inform the adopted children’s teachers, active and prospective adoptive families, as well as policy makers, managers, consultants, support groups, and agencies involved in the adoption process.

Director & Research Team Leader:
Dr. Tony Xing Tan
Psychological and Social Foundations
Tel: 813-974-6496 ● Fax: 813-974-5814

Members of the Research Team:
Robert F. Dedrick, Ph.D.
Educational Measurement & Research
Kofi Marfo, Ph.D.
CRCDL & Psychological and Social Foundations

Dear Parents:

I hope you are doing well.

In this letter, I will be sharing with you my meeting with the CCAA officials on August 14th of this year, and some prelimi­nary results on parents’ report of their children’s development.
Thank you very much for helping me with the research for the second time. I was able to gather data from 670 families (out of the 853 families in the 2005 phase of the study). Unfortunate­ly, there were about 120 families who participated in the 2005 study but their contact information was no longer valid. I am hoping that they will get in touch with me after reading this newsletter.

The 2007 study is designed to learn about the adopted child-ren’s development since 2 years ago. In this phase of the study, I focused on preschool children’s sleep patterns and sleep prob­lems. For the school-aged children, I focused on their social skills and academic skills. I asked the parents to fill out a blue form (the same as the one they filled out in 2005) called the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). I also asked them to fill out a Social Skill Rating System (SSRS) and Sleep and Parenting Sur­vey (for preschool children only). In this phase I also asked par­ents if they would be willing to ask their adopted children’s teacher to fill out a survey. I am sending the parents the surveys for the teachers this week.

I have again arranged the findings in a Q & A format so that you can choose to read the ones that interest you. I hope you find them informative.

On August 14th, I met with the CCAA officials in their new building. While there, I noticed that the CCAA was busy welcoming children in Beijing for heritage tours. When I was at the office of the deputy director Ms. Chu XiaoYing (who was the Director of Document Review office in 2002 when I last visited), I noticed a large poster with many photos of the adopted children (current photo, current residence, adoption photo, orphanage, as well as a short mes­sage the child wrote to CCAA). I believe a couple of the children are actually in my study.
At the CCAA, I had individual meetings with Ms. Chu and Ms. Tie Ling (Director of Infant and Todd­ler Care). I also had a brief meeting with Mr. Ji (Di­rector of Domestic Adoption) (who was Director of the Matching Office in 2002 when I last visited). I did not get the opportunity to meet with Mr. Lu (Di­rector of CCAA). Hopefully, when I visit again, he will have time to meet.

My meeting with Ms. Chu focused on the current CCAA policy. We discussed some of the policy changes that had evoked strong reactions from the adoptive parents. The discussions were open and Ms Chu offered her insights that might help us better un­derstand the policy change. The summary of the dis­cussions are as follows:

1. Why did CCAA change the adoption policy giv-en that it has been working well?

According to Ms. Chu there were no fundamental changes in the CCAA adoption policy. The current practice was a reaction to the decrease in the number of children available for adoption. As the number of children decreases, it is necessary for CCAA to iden­tify families that are deemed to be most suited to raise the orphanage children.

2. Single parents have been shown to be just as successful in raising adopted Chinese children, why are they not allowed to adopt any longer?

Again Ms. Chu suggested that it was not because they did not believe in the single parents’ ability to raise children. It is because of the limited number of children available. She also raised questions about whether adolescence will present more challenges for the adopted children, especially those from single-parent households.

3. Why is it taking so much longer than before to adopt?

Ms. Chu commented that this was occurring because there were too many applications piled up. The CCAA must process these applications before they can get to the newer ones. We talked at length about how the extended waiting might have affected the children as well as the parents. I mentioned that ex­tended waiting might push people away from China and some parents might experience major life events while waiting, which might lead to a change of plans and decisions to adopt (I borrowed these thoughts from another adoptive mother). Ms. Chu was sympa­thetic about this but was unable to offer any better solutions. I subsequently visited their matching office again. This time, there were between 12-16 staff members working (in 2002, there were fewer staff members working on matching). Some of them have their cubic walls covered with baby headshots. I asked Ms. Chu about matching and she said it was more like an intuition than science. The staff mem­bers typically read through the applications to gain some sense of whom the adoptive parents are and based on that, they try to find a child that they believe is the best match.

4. Why is that the new policy requires a very high income? Many families who have adopted and raised Chinese children would not have been able to do so if the policy was in place at that time.

Ms. Chu said that it was not true that they required an income of about $80,000. She said they wanted the potential adoptive parents to show evidence of assets of at least such a value. She commented that it would be much easier for a family to qualify if they own their house/apartment.

5. Will the policy change back after the Olympics?

Ms. Chu said that the Olympics did not have any­thing to do with the policy change. I suspect that the CCAA is not responsible for policy-making/change. It is likely that the Ministry of Civil Affairs plays a central part in policy issues. As evidence, while in China I visited an orphanage and was somewhat sur­prised to find out that among the staff members greet­ing me was the Director of Civil Affairs from the lo­cal city. She was clearly the person “in charge” from what I could tell.

6. Will the adopted children one day have easier ways to locate their birth parents?

Ms. Chu felt that the current reality of child aban­donment makes it very difficult to search. She said usually they would tell the adoptive parents that it is not likely that the birthparents will be located. She was very curious about the recent case of a child in the Netherlands who found and reunited with her birth family (parents and two older sisters), who live in a remote part of Chongqing.

7. Has there been an increase in post-adoption disruption?

Ms. Chu said that she was not aware of the increase. She mentioned that while the CCAA was sad to hear that some of the adoptions did not work out, they were unable to do much once the adopted family left China.

8. Is it possible that China will close international adoption if the number of children continues to decrease?

She did not believe that this would happen any time soon. She cited South Korea as an example. She sug­gested that more children out of wedlock would like­ly become a source of international adoption.

Meeting with Ms. Tie

As I am very interested in using research to inform child care in the orphanages, I scheduled a meeting with Ms. Tie, Director of the Infant and Toddler Care Program. In addition to talking about the current pol­icy change (her response was similar to that of Ms.
Chu), I focused on what was needed to improve the child-caring quality in the orphanages. Ms. Tie men­tioned that the CCAA was very interested in finding effective ways to identify high-risk children so that early interventions could be implemented in a timely manner. She felt that some systematic applied re­search on these children while they are in the orpha­nages would be very useful. Additionally, Ms. Tie also mentioned that the CCAA was interested in find­ing better ways to identify potential adoptive parents for older children. I told Ms. Tie that as a researcher, I would be happy to take on the task of developing usable tools that could be used to identify high-risk children, to help train staff members, and to help identify potential parents for older children. The dis­cussions are still at a very preliminary stage. There are several things to consider very carefully. For in­stance, is there a way to ensure that children who are identified as high-risk indeed receive intended early interventions (instead of being removed from the list of potential adoption)? Additionally, Ms. Tie made it very clear that copyright of any research results would belong to the CCAA. This makes it hard for researchers who might be interested in conducting research in the orphanages. Of course, funding is also very big concern as the CCAA would not be willing to sponsor any of the research initiatives. I am cur­rently brainstorming and conversing with other re­searchers regarding this issue. It might be possible to work with other organizations to test some of the ideas first.

Brief Meeting with Mr. Ji

Finally my brief meeting with Mr. Ji Gang, Director of Domestic Adoption, taught me something quite interesting. He told me that about 20,000 to 30,000 children were adopted domestically a year (I assume he was talking about recent statistics).
Overall, I found the CCAA to be very interested in learning about the children, their adoptive families, their schooling, and their overall life experiences as adopted individuals. They are eager to find out whether over the years there is any improvement in the children’s developmental status at the time of adoption. I am currently compiling data on the per­centage of children with delays by year of adoption (e.g., 2004 versus 2000) and by provinces. I will use the data that I collected while at Harvard in 2002 and the data that I collected in 2005 and 2007. Hopefully, this will give the CCAA a better picture of the condi­tions of children at adoption over the decade.

They are very excited to hear that some of the child­ren have done exceptionally well (e.g., in 2000 One child was featured by the Australia Post on a special sheetlet of 25 stamps) (I recently learned that the same child, now in high school, has just won a writ­ing award and is now one of six finalists at the na­tional level). They want to know where these high achievers were adopted from and what their adoptive parents were like etc. On the day that we met, Ms. Chu was actually getting ready to host an 11-year old boy in her home. She was very excited and wanted to make sure that the child would enjoy the experience. She mentioned that she wanted to do some “Ameri-can-like” things at home so the child would feel more comfortable. I suggested that it would be just fine for her to conduct her life as she usually would, so that the child could learn about Chinese culture.

Preliminary Research Findings

In my meetings with Ms. Chu and Ms. Tie, I also shared with them some information about the re­search that I have conducted. In addition to sharing with them that the Chinese children showed favorable post-adoption development, I also discussed a few findings that seemed to indicate elevated risks (e.g., observed signs of neglect at the time of adoption, de­velopmental delays at the time of adoption, sleep problems, learning disabilities, and identity develop­ment issues). I believe some of these findings are also of great interest to the adoptive parents.

Below is a summary of these findings (Some findings were from the 2005 Data).

1. Observed signs of early neglect and later development.

In 2005, parents were asked to report whether they observed any of the listed 11 signs (e.g., scars, rash­es) on the children on the day of adoption. We only asked parents to check on signs that could be easily observed. Data analysis showed that more signs were associated with more adjustment problems in the children. One of the ways that I interpret the results is that these signs reflect, to some degree, quality of care that the adopted children received while they were in orphanages. More signs of early neglect re­flect poorer quality of early experience, which might have presented more challenges in these children’s post-adoption development. I have not looked at the recent data to see if these signs continued to have an impact on the children’s behavioral development or social skills. I am hoping that as time goes by, the impact of the children’s orphanage experience will gradually diminish. From a policy perspective, this finding points to the critical need to ensure that ade­quate care be provided to orphanage children.

2. Sleep problems among the adopted children.

As a group (total: 410 children), from 2005 to 2007, preschool-aged adopted children’s sleep problems did not seem to decrease, despite the fact that many psy­chologists have believed that as children get older they are likely to experience fewer sleep problems (I did not ask parents about older children’s sleep prob­lems). In 2005, about 9% of the children had sleep problems severe enough to be considered clinical or borderline clinical. In 2007, about 7% of the children were in this range.

Sleep problems in children seem to have a distinctive etiology (as compared to other behavior problems). So far, factors such as age at adoption, current age, foster care prior to adoption, developmental delays at adoption and signs of pre-adoption neglect have all failed to explain the adopted children’s sleep prob­lems. In the 2007 survey, I asked parents more ques­tions about their children’s sleep problems/patterns, their family sleep arrangements, and how they felt about bed-sharing. The data showed that 43% of the children require an object (e.g., teddy bear) to sleep, 31% do not want to sleep alone most of the nights, 21% are afraid of sleeping in the dark, about 20% suck thumb/fingers, 17% frequently come to parents’ bed at night or early in the morning, and about 12% kick and thrash a lot when asleep. Frequent night­mares and night terrors only occur in about 2-3% of the children. Note that it is common for one child to have several of these behaviors.

In terms of sleep arrangements, about 11% of the children co-sleep with their parents, around 55% of the children sleep alone in their own bedroom, and 23% of the children share a bedroom with their sibl­ings. Single parents are more likely to co-sleep with their children. For most families, co-sleeping oc­curred after the parents had exhausted options in managing their children’s sleep problems. Overall, adoptive parents tend to be rather neutral towards co-sleeping. Many parents commented that if it is needed, they would use it. The most frequently cited method used to help improve the child’s sleep pat­terns is strict/consistent bedtime routines.

Interestingly, I found that very few parents asked their children’s doctors about co-sleeping. For those who did ask, the doctors usually discouraged it. Fam­ilies who struggle with this issue tend to use the adoptive community as a resource. When these par­ents do ask questions about co-sleeping, they fre­quently received mixed messages. The adoptive par­ents’ extended families also frequently discourage co-sleeping. This is not surprising as solitary sleeping is heavily favored in the Western culture. I suspect that culture preference to solitary sleeping might make it hard for parents to ask about co-sleeping. I will be sharing with you more findings on children’s sleep behaviors soon.

3. Preschool–age adopted children’s behavior problems over time.

For the preschool-age children (total: 400 children), from 2005 to 2007 (The average age of the children was 2.5 years in 2005 and 4.5 years in 2007) their Internalizing Problems (e.g., anxiety, withdrawn) in­creased significantly but there was no significant change in Externalizing Problems (e.g., aggression). I am currently looking deeper into the data to find out more about why there was such a big increase in their internalizing problems. From 2005 to 2007, the num­ber of children who were in the clinical/borderline clinical category increased from 7% to 12% for In­ternalizing Problems. For Externalizing Problems, the number of children in clinical/borderline clinical cat­egory remained 5%. For the normative sample in the US, 17-20% of children of this age range are in clini-cal/borderline clinical category. Thus, the Chinese children are still better adjusted than the US norma­tive sample, even if they have more Internalizing Problems than two years ago.

4. School-age adopted children’s behavior problems over time.

For the school-age children (total: 276 children), from 2005 to 2007 (The average age of the children was 8.8 years in 2005 and 10.6 years in 2007) their behavior problems did not change much over 2 years. However, the number of children who fell into clini-cal/borderline clinical category increased from 15% to 20% for Internalizing Problems (e.g., depression, anxiety) and remained at about 15% for Externalizing Problems (e.g., aggression). Among the US norma­tive sample, about 18% of the children in this age range are in clinical/borderline clinical category. In other words, the school-aged Chinese children’s be­havior profile is very similar to that of the U.S. nor­mative sample.

5. Adjustment of children who have crossed over from preschool age into school age.

From 2005 to 2007, 194 children had “crossed over” from the preschool group to the school-age group. For 130 of them, they have entered grade school; for the rest (64 children), although they are of school age they have not yet started grade school. For the 130 children who have entered grade school, the number of children in clinical/borderline clinical category of Internalizing Problems increased from 10% to 18%; the number of children in clinical/borderline clinical category of Externalizing Problems increased from 5% to 12%. For the 64 children who have not started grade school, the number in clinical/borderline clini­cal category in Internalizing Problems increased from 12% to 21%; the number of children in clini-cal/borderline clinical category in Externalizing Prob­lems remained at about 9%.
For the 64 children, I will be asking their parents to complete the older version of the blue form (i.e., for children who have started school). Their input will help me understand whether it is age increase or school environment/experience that contributed to the increase in maladjustment in the adopted children.

6. Between Preschool and School-aged children, why is there a big jump in number of children in clinical/borderline clinical range?

I have also been very baffled by this finding. Among the non-adopted children, the number of children in clinical/borderline clinical category seems rather con­sistent (between 18-20%) for both preschool and school-age children. This is, however, not the case for the Chinese children. There are several possible explanations: a). Transitioning to grade school is more challenging to the adopted Chinese children than non-adopted children. If this is the case, it is conceivable that the Chinese children will have a harder time during school age. However, this specu­lation does not explain why these children continue to show more problems (e.g., after they have com­pleted the transition) than we would have expected based on their preschool adjustment. b). School envi­ronment, coupled with the children’s increased un­derstanding of adoption, makes it more challenging for the Chinese children. It is possible that as the children get older and start spending more time with­out their parents, they will learn to deal with ques­tions that many other children would not have to face (e.g., Why are you adopted? Why do you look differ­ent from your parents?). c). Methodologically, it may also be possible that the form that I use (the Blue form that you filled out) might have led to more children at school-age to score in clinical/borderline clinical range. The blue form (called the Child Beha­vior Checklist) has a preschool version and school-age version. Even though the two versions largely overlap, they do have some differences. However, I should point out, that these two versions have not been reported to create discrepancies among children who are not adopted. I am hoping to talk with some parents whose children have recently transitioned from preschool to elementary school, to learn more about whether the transition tends to be more difficult for the adopted children.

More importantly, in order to learn how the school environment might affect the adopted children, I think a better source of information would be the children’s teachers. I would like to see if information provided by the children’s teachers can offer some insights into their school adjustment. For parents who have agreed to pass along a survey to their children’s teacher, I will be sending them a survey soon.

I will be sharing with the research findings periodi­cally.

Tan, T. X. (2007). History of early neglect and mid­dle childhood social competence: An adoption study. Adoption Quarterly, 9 (4), 59-72.
Dedrick, R. F., Tan, T. X. & Marfo, K. (in press). Factor structure of the child behavior checklist/6-18 in a sample of girls adopted from China. Psychological Assessment.
Tan, T. X., Dedrick, R. F. & Marfo, K. (2007). Factor Structure and Clinical Implications of Child Be­havior Checklist/1½-5 Ratings in a Sample of Girls Adopted from China. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 807-818.
Tan, T. X., Marfo, K. & Dedrick, R. F. (2007). Spe cial needs adoption from China: Child characte­ristics and behavioral adjustment. Children and Youth Services Review. 29, 1269-1285.
Tan, T. X., & Marfo, K. (2006). Parental ratings of behavioral adjustment in two samples of adopted Chinese girls: Age-related versus socio-emotional correlates and predictors. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27(1) 14-30.
Tan, T. X., & Yang, Y. (2005). Language develop­ment of Chinese adoptees 18-35 months. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 20, 57-68.
Tan, T. X. (2004). Child outcomes of single-parent adoption from China: A comparative study. Adoption Quarterly, 8(1), 1-20.
Tan, T. X. & Nakkula, M. J. (2004). White parents’ attitudes toward their adopted Chinese daughters’ ethnic identity, Adoption Quarterly, 7(4), 57-76.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's HOW many inches?!

I can't remember when I started this little rug hooking project, it might have been around the time that we decided to adopt from China, or even before that. I pretty much gave up on it for quite some time, for obvious reasons.

I finally finished it last week and got it framed and we picked it up today. To get a full perspective of its size, it measures 28 inches by 40 inches...

After we took the picture of it, we wrapped it back up and it's sitting in Little Maple's room until 2009...2010...whenever.

I also have a white tiger which I might eventually complete, we'll see.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Taking the bullet train...

* Once again it's time to tally this month's 'savings' for the Little Maple fund. I'm still amazed by how much we're able to save each month just from our loonies and twonies.

* Oh, the previous post on the blog (from Donna) was the 500th post. WOW. I was thinking of doing something 'special' for it, but I just don't have the enthusiasm to write something when everything is SO far away. Blah.

* The CCAA released the latest referral batch and it consisted of eight days. I guess that's better than it has been, but not by much. I don't know what I was's not like they're suddenly going to go from 5 days a month to 30 days. HA!

* Oh yeah, we're STILL stuck in the review room. Does it seem like a long time to anyone else, or is it just because this time it *actually* affects us? I was hoping we would have been out with this last referral batch, perhaps later this week? Meh.

* For those of you that remember this post, you'll remember how annoyed I was with my movers. They had someone come into the house a couple of weeks ago to look at the damage and he told me that he could only match the colour of the table "about 80% or better". As this was my grandmother's antique dining room table, I wasn't satisfied with that and decided to follow up with the moving company.

* Much to my annoyance, I got the run around from the company and I told them that I wasn't happy *at all* with how I was treated by the movers originally, nor was I going to settle with "80% or better" with regards to fixing the table. I told them, "it was either going to be done properly or not at all." The following day I got a call from someone at the company and they decided to give me a settlement. They decided the damage was worth about $400. I wasn't happy with that number and I called her supervisor and got it bumped up to $500. It's better than a kick in the teeth...

* While I'm not happy that the table is still damaged, I have to admit that it's always covered with table pads and a table cloth, so the only ones that are ever going to SEE the damage will be Josh and I. I think in the fullness of time I'll probably get the table refinished...again.

* Six days until the housewarming...YAY!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I'm confused.

Donna here.

I honestly don't read the RQ site - never have. I had a boo a couple of weeks ago after getting a question from Rhonda on the homestudy update thing. I just checked it again after speaking to a family who read something on there that they wanted clarification on.

According to the RQ, apparently there's a note posted on the CCAA website saying that it IS alright to do concurrent adoptions.


I have to tell you - I'm confused. We were told last week that this was NOT allowed.

I've sent an email to the "powers that be", asking for clarification on this. I will let you know what I find out.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Just because...

The picture doesn't really do it justice...

We had my mom, her boyfriend, and Josh's dad over for dinner last night (his mom was out of town) for our first Shabbos dinner in our house (we usually go over to Josh's parents). In honour of that, and the work that went into it, Josh decided to get me two dozen roses. How sweet is he?!

(I know, I know, I've been bad and haven't posted any pics of the house yet...I will, if you're all good little girls and boys - maybe after the housewarming party next Sunday.) :P

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I don't know why...

I don't know why I keep going to the Rumour Queen site, but I do.

I don't know why I keep believing her 'rumours' of a speed up, but I do (only to have a crushing realization when things go *SPLAT*).

I don't know why I keep getting on this stupid roller coaster every month, hoping that something is going to change, but it doesn't.

I don't know why I bother, because it's not like anything is going to change for us in the foreseeable future. We've *easily* got another two years of this, with really no end in sight. I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic.

I know I'm not the only one that feels this way, and I know there are a lot of you who are closer and are feeling this even more. I just wish we had some kind of idea as to when this would happen. I'm tired of having to tell people 'another two years' and being asked 'I thought you said that six months ago?!'

How can you miss something that you've never had?


Hi all - Donna here.

1. Is the new rule about not allowing concurrent adoptions effective immediately or after a certain date?

- my understanding is that it is effective immediately. CB families, you could call the office and check with Susanne on that though.

2. Is this the CCAA's attempt to purge the waiting list?

- no idea.

3. When will CB be sending an email about the homestudy updates?

- sorry, no idea. Money wise, unless they've changed the requirements since they first sent out the notice, I believe you'll need to pay for a homestudy update visit with your AP (and they all charge differently - maybe around $200 or so??), and for your medicals, IF your doctor charges for those. Lastly local police clearances - IF you have to pay for those in your area - some charge, some don't.

I really hope that some day I'm posting wonderful awesome news on here - I feel like the "doom and gloom" person. :-(((

Happy Halloween???

Friday, October 26, 2007

What's this pedal for?! (and other bullet-y goodness)

Since everyone seems to be jumping on the bullet bandwagon, and I'm never one to miss the 'in' thing, here's my attempt...

- Wednesday morning I got a call from my mom saying that she was in a car accident (she's fine). She was in a four car accident. The a-hole that hit her, who was driving a 2007 BMW he only had for a week, mixed up the brake and the gas and hit her three times which forced her to hit the car in front of her...and that person hit the person in front of her. There was at least $3,000 damage to her car, not to mention the damage to the other two. The a-hole's car barely had a scratch.

- At the accident scene, he gave out his business card (who does that by the way?!), so I decided to Google his ass and I found out that he's a director at a company...Director of Transportation (insert guffaws here).

- He tried to 'settle' at the scene of the accident with everyone and said he would pay for all damages. My mom turned to him and said 'I work in a law office', and he turned white. Unfortunately in Ontario we have 'no fault' insurance, so my mom can't sue...or rather, you have to be half-dead to do so. Instead his insurance will go through the roof. Maybe now he won't mix up the two pedals. ;)

- I got a call from the vet the other day and Deuce is fine. He doesn't have feline leukemia. As happy as I was to hear the good news, I wanted to strangle the doctor for making me worry for nearly a week.

- We finally got our kitchen pantry installed today. WOO! We also got our bedroom closet 'system' in as well. Now I can finally hang up my clothes, or rather, gather them all up from the other bedrooms and hang them in ONE room. You have NO idea how excited I am about that. (I know, I'm weird.)

- Tomorrow we get our other set of kitchen shutters installed. The idiots who measured (twice, no less) forgot to take the valance into account when they were originally taking measurements, so we've had to wait almost a month for this set.

- Everything seems to be coming together, finally, for the housewarming in just over two weeks. Now if I can just unpack the last 20 boxes in time...GRAH!

- Tomorrow is my friend E's (AKA Spitgirl) wedding and we hope she and A are VERY happy together! Send them your best in the comments...hopefully, when she has a chance she'll read them. ;)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

For Doris...

Me again...

I know it sucks. It sucks BIG time.

As for all of this causing waves - it might, but as I've said before, the "waves" don't necessarily mean a thing to China. Remember they're a communist country....not a democratic one. Their country, their rules. They can tell us to piss off if they want to - we can't do a damn thing about it unfortunately.

I know that this is a CCAA policy because our Cultural Liaison person just spoke to the CCAA over the weekend. This isn't something posted on their website (that I know of anyways - maybe it will be eventually).

Re: South Africa - unfortunately the program is available only to Ontario residents right now. I don't know why. For Korea the reason is because the Korean gov't feels that a child would be exposed to the Korean culture moreso here in Ontario than in other provinces of Canada. Not sure if the same applies to SA? (we don't make all the rules as an agency - the countries set the rules). Definitely contact whomever you need to in your province, and ask if they can be licenced.

Let me know if there are any other questions. I'll do my best to answer them!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Information Update (*updated*)

Hi all - Donna (Paonessa) here.

I thought you should all know about some new information that I just received since it was one of the topics of discussion on here a while ago. Rhonda has given me permission to post.

I know you're all down about the process right now so I certainly hate to add insult to injury, but better that you always have correct information.

Some of you have asked if you can be in process to adopt from more than one place. In the past it has been allowed (in Ontario) to adopt domestically at the same time as being in process to adopt internationally. This has now changed (insert spit balls here).

The CCAA is now saying that an adoption application has to be withdrawn if a family would like to pursue a domestic or another international adoption. I'm not sure if this goes for the United States as well (since this is a CCAA rule, I'm assuming it does, but best that you all check with your respective agencies).

The good (!!!!?????) news is that if someone gets pregnant while being in process to adopt from China, the file can stay as is, as long as the family is not close to referral. In the past a family had to withdraw from the CCAA right away. The CCAA requires that there is a 1 yr age difference between your children.

Lastly, I think someone asked me some questions about South Africa that I never did answer. If you want to post them again, go for it.

Ontario CB families - Martha is still waiting to talk to the Ministry folks about the new homestudy guidelines. They're all in meetings for the early part of this week. She has put together an email blast that Nick will send out tonight. Just to clarify, these guidelines have been implemented by the Ministry, NOT the CCAA.

**update** - Martha is still in discussion with the Ministry who apparently will be sending something further out to the AP's - the email blast will not go out until we have further info (I KNEW I shouldn't have said anything yet!! Should've stuck to my initial instincts).

I'll exit stage left now - please don't shoot the messenger! Just thought it was important info for you all to have.

Take good care of yourselves.

Friday, October 19, 2007

He has to be wrong...right?! ***UPDATE - AGAIN***

I took Deuce into the vet this morning because the rash on his chin wasn't healing properly and he was bleeding a little the other day. I figured it was better to have him checked out than to leave it like this. He wasn't in *ANY* pain from it, I could stroke his chin and he wasn't scratching at it.

This all started when we were packing up to move, he would go up to the boxes and rub his chin on them. At first I thought he was just trying to rub his scent on the boxes (as most cats do), but he persisted, and I felt it was high time to get him seen. He also needed a few shots today as well.

He was good in the car, I opened the cage door so he could poke his head out and he ended up sitting on my lap (my FIL drove us). We got to the clinic and he knew where he was, but for the first time EVER he let me put him on the scale (he's 14 pounds).

For those of you who don't know Deuce, he can be a bit pissy hissy at the vet and they usually need a few techs to hold him down.

We were finally seen by the vet and he told me that they don't do the shots for FIV (it's basically HIV for cats - yes, THAT HIV), but they would test him to make sure he didn't have that. They also don't do the vaccination for Feline Leukemia anymore, but would do a blood test for that as well.

Deuce got a bit upset on the exam table so the vet ended up taking him downstairs for his exam. He came up a few minutes later saying that Deuce has...acne. Yes, acne. Apparently he has a few in-grown hairs, so they ended up shaving his chin (poor baby) and I have to apply a warm compress to his chin a few times a day and rub a cream into it afterwards.

Anyways, while Deuce was being examined downstairs, the vet told me that cats who get this kind of thing are prone to having Feline Leukemia. Great.

I told him that we've had Deuce for nine years and that he's been healthy all along. He told me that it could be dormant and then show up all of a sudden. Long story short, they took the blood sample but I won't find out if he has that until sometime next week.

I hate weekends...

***I'll be updating the post and answer all your questions/concerns here (so the post might get REALLY long), rather than posting a comment on my own posts (if that makes sense). I don't know how many of you would bother to come back and re-read it.

M, the reason they aren't vaccinating him anymore against FeLV (Feline Leukemia) is because he's a 100% indoor cat. He's never been outside and he's never been exposed to any other cats (and those are the main ways he could become infected). I'm not really sure why he said that Deuce could have it though, but I'm still more than a bit worried (and will remain so) until the results are in.

No, Robin he doesn't have a new food bowl. I thought at first he might be allergic to the new carpeting or perhaps it's just a stress reaction from all the 'new'.

Heather, thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only freak (and I mean that in the nicest possible sense) out there with a cat that has acne. ;)***

Thursday, October 18, 2007

This, that, the other, oh, and that too...

I heard from the jeweller about the charm that I gave back to them and they're going to be replacing it in the next few days, no questions asked. Which is really good of them, considering that it most likely got scratched during the packing, moving and unpacking...

We're getting out kitchen table at some point today. I was told originally it would be between 9:00 and 5:00, but I got a call this morning saying it would be between 1:00 and 4:00. So it *SHOULD* be here any time now...

I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but when we had our shutters installed in our kitchen, neither the salesman nor the installer took the wooden valance into account, so they had to re-do the second set of shutters. I hadn't heard anything for the past week or two from Sears, so I called the salesman yesterday. He called me this morning to say that the shutter would be ready next week. WOO!

It seems that everyones in the adoption community is down lately. It seems that not many people are posting nearly as much as they used to (count me in there as well). It's pretty tough to always put on a smiley face when there's absolutely no news. There's so little news out there that our agency is starting to suggest that we read the rumour site. How sad is that?!

For quite a while now, this blog which was originally intended to be a record for our child of our adoption journey, has been more about our daily (boring) lives than anything even really resembling it's original intention.

That sucks.

The only thing that's getting me through the long wait is the incredible friendships we've made through the process.

Whenever I bring up the topic of the adoption to my family, I can't even say when we're going to get a referral, or even take a guess. All I seem to keep saying is 'at least another two years'. It seems that I've been saying 'another two years' for quite a while now, and we're only logged in a little over 13 months.

What do you all think, are we even a third of the way through the wait?! I think it would be 'easier' if I knew that definitively...but of course nobody knows the answer to that question. *sigh*

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lucky 13?!

We started off yesterday running around like crazy, buying yet MORE furniture for the house and we finally settled on a kitchen table, and we got a SWEET deal on it. We got it from The Brick, but not the same one as Stalky McStalker worked at. They basically built the $50 delivery charge into the price of the table. Woo for us. We'll be getting the kitchen table this week. YAY!

Then we went into Sears and bought a front hall table which, while a bit pricey, is going to look SO nice in our entryway. They were having one of their scratch 'n' sniff save sales, and you could get anywhere from $20 to $100 off any item in the store. We had been in the store a few times last week to measure and examine the table before we bought it. Anyways the saleslady had us both pick a card and which ever one was a higher discount, she would give it to us (she didn't have to do that). So, I went first and I got $20 off, which doesn't really amount to much...then Josh picked and he got $100 off. WOO! On top of that, it was double points day, AND he got a $30 gift card. Niiiice. We'll be getting the table delivered on November 1st.

Also, yesterday Josh and I celebrated our 13 month LIDiversary (and our first in our house). Woo. We decided to go with a Bavarian chocolate mint ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins...*drool*

I also went out and got another charm for my bracelet. This month I got Josh's Chinese astrological symbol (a rooster <---insert obvious jokes here).

I had noticed that one of my charms had some enamel scratch off (probably due to the move...I have a bad habit and NEVER take it off). Anyways, I decided while I was at the store I may as well say something and see if they would do anything about the charm. They documented the scratch, took the charm and they'll probably give me a new one or my money back...even though it's been two months since I bought it AND I didn't have the receipt for it. Granted it was in their computer, their policy is that you have 14 days to return any item. I should have an answer from them in the next few days.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mexican Thanksgiving...and other 'fun' adventures

Yesterday Josh and I went over to Michelle and Mark's for Thanksgiving brunch, along with Cari and Dateboy*, and Nic and Zubin. We had a GREAT time (as always) getting together with everyone. We had super nummy fajitas and "THAT" salad which Michelle needs to give everyone the recipe for because it's really THAT good.

There was plenty of cuddle time with Zubin, who I swear keeps getting cuter and cuter.

As many of you know, we recently bought a house and we're currently buying some things for it. Long story short, we're looking for a table to go in our front hall and we've been to a number of stores looking for the right one. We decided to go into The Brick after work today.

Have you ever gotten the feeling that you were being followed while you walked through a store?

We walked into the store and a woman (obviously an employee) started walking near us...not with us, not behind us...just near us. I asked Josh if he thought she was following us, and he wasn't quite sure, but every time we turned around and looked at her, she 'pretended' to be writing something down in her notebook. I said to Josh 'let's have some fun with this...'

For shits and giggles we started walking up and down each aisle, turned around and did a 180 and giggled as she did the same thing. We literally covered every inch of the store going up and down every aisle, and in and out of every nook and cranny. By the end of it (since we ran out of space in the store), we were laughing so hard we had to run out of the store, but not before I turned to her and said 'is there any reason you were following us?!' to which she replied 'it's my job'.

She'd make a GREAT stalker...

Anyways, we went to Sears and FINALLY found the table that we want and we're going to go back on the weekend and buy it. WOO! Now we just need to find a mirror and a lamp to go on it. :P

*I'm not sure if I'm allowed to use his name Dateboy will have to do. :P

Friday, October 05, 2007

Short, sweet and to the point

Thanks i-Con for the ducky reminder!

Another month, another trip to the bank. Whee. I decided that since the dollar is above par that I'm going to take advantage of it and switch over a chunk of it to U.S. dollars for whatever year we're going to need it... ;)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's better than a kick in the...teeth ***UPDATE***

...but not by much.

As a few of you know, Josh got an offer for a new job.

Rather than the required one month's notice, as stated in his employment contract, his new employer wanted him ASAP and so he offered two weeks notice. When he offered his resignation, he received congratulations from his boss and silence from two other high level directors who had been his bosses in the past. The owner of the company wished him well and thought it was a calculated risk to buy a house and try to find a new job in tandem.

With a sudden change of staff comes a transition plan, who does what when Josh is gone? Nobody volunteered to do his job as they knew how much 'fun' and challenge that the job offered.

His boss asked the other directors to hold a 'going away' party for him today, complete with cold pizza (kosher and not), birthday cake (umm, whose birthday WAS it?!), and a 'going away' present.

The going away presents, which were gift-wrapped, included one broken motherboard taken from a project completed ten years ago (he's only worked there for four), and a phony Swiss watch, purchased for $20 on the streets of Kuala Lumpur by his boss on a business trip to Malaysia. The watch crown (winder) is broken and needs to be fixed.

I don't think his boss realized the symbolism of his gifts...

Broken technology from a company that has run out of time. :P

***I forgot to add that the watch was KNOWINGLY broken at the time it was given to Josh. His boss told him the other day that he broke his 'cheap watch'...then he turned around and gave it to him. Nice, huh?

I'm still stumped as to why they would give him a chipboard from a project he was never involved with. They were probably so taken aback that he was leaving that they just threw anything at him and thought that he would appreciate it. How much thought or effort is involved in getting him a good bottle of scotch? (something he can...use) :P***


What wonderful news to wake up to...

I just found out that a bloggy friend of mine got her referral! Go and wish her a hearty congratulations.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

5 days...

really, they couldn't even get into December. *sigh* Fling the streamers around and dance the freaking hokey pokey. I don't know how much more of this I can take.

The only upside is that December is SUPPOSED to be smaller than November we might be finished with 2005 in December? I know, wishful thinking. At this rate 2010 is a real possibility...unless things slow down even more, and I refuse to even think about going there.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Review shmeview

While I was busy moving, I found out that we're now officially in 'review'. Woo. I think.

Yes, it's a big milestone and it's great and all, but I can't see the end of the proverbial rainbow. I know, deep down (REALLY DEEP DOWN) that our daughter is out there somewhere (though some days, like today, I doubt it's going to happen anytime soon), I just don't feel all that excited about being in review.

We don't have anything to worry about with being in review (as far as I know) so I'm not nearly as excited as I've seen others get. Now don't get me wrong, I don't mean to downplay this, it's just that I'm not all that jazzed about being in review when we still have 2? 3? (who knows how many) more years ahead of us.

I think I'd feel a bit better if we had some sort of crystal ball time line as far as WHEN.

With the 'rumour' of the next batch being 5 days, I can't get excited about that either. The only upside in that is we'll finally be out of November 2005. Perhaps we'll be out of 2005 at the end of the year...who knows. *sigh*

Who knew that trying to have a child would take this long and cause this much heartache? Is there something wrong with me that I can't feel any excitement about this?

I don't mean to sound trite, it's just the way I'm feeling tonight. I'll get out of my funk soon enough I'm sure. I think I'll go to the kitchen and pop some bubble wrap...

My bloglines exploded...

It seems that while I was busy moving my Bloglines exploded and I had 455 updates to read. Umm, no offense people, but there's no way that I'm reading that many...

If there's anything that I've missed, leave me something juicy in the comment section (it doesn't even have to be true - I just need a break from unpacking). :P

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Asshat movers...

So, as you know, Josh and I moved this week. I thought I was doing the right thing by booking the AMJ Campbell, the largest moving company in Canada. I figured that if they've been in business for 70+ years, they would have to be good, but I was SO wrong. So very wrong.

First off, I was told that they would arrive on Monday between 8:00am and 9:00am. At 8:50 I called and was told they would be there momentarily. I called again at 9:15, because 'momentarily' means something different to them than it does to me. They finally arrived at 9:30.

They came in, moved everything out and all seemed to be right with the world. I offered them a pop or water, since that was the only thing that we had left in the apartment that wasn't surrounded with bubble wrap (and no, we didn't bubble wrap the cat...he was in boarding for a few days to get him 'out of the way' and make sure he was safe). Anyways, they said they didn't want anything and they continued moving everything out of the apartment.

By about 1:00pm they were finished loading all our belongings in their truck (and safely wrapped...or so I thought). They said they were going to go get a drink and come to our house to unload our truck.

They came to our house and started unloading our belongings. It seemed to go smoothly until I took a look at my Grandmother's dining room table...

I noticed two deep scratches on the table which the movers claimed 'were already there' (they weren't). I figured we'll put in a claim and well, shit happens. Then they unpacked the leaves from the table and I noticed this...

<----- Undamaged
(Click on photo for a better look)

<----- Damaged
(Click on photo for a better look)

Apparently something was hitting the leaves (repeatedly) while it was in the truck. I told the movers that something scratched the leaves and they said 'it was like that'. Umm, no it wasn't. By this point I got really annoyed and asked them who to contact in order to get things repaired. Two of the three brainiacs shrugged their ape-y shoulders and said 'I dunno know'.

They then picked up the mattress from our king bed and proceeded to scratch the freshly painted walls. Not only did Josh and I SEE it happen, but we heard the scratch occur. I spoke to the mover and said 'You just scratched our walls'. Of course, he replied 'it was already there.' (insert massive eye roll here)

I called up the company and talked to the receptionist who told me to contact head office. I called up the person in charge of repairs and she said that I should submit a claim and tell the movers to write down the damage right then and there. She also said that once the claim is put in, they will send out an assessor who will determine if the damage was done beforehand or if it is new. I'd like to see how they determine that...

I put the movers on the phone with her and that's when things got nasty...

The driver then came out of the truck and said, and I quote 'We should have told you that we would have scratched your paint bringing the mattress upstairs, or we could have left the mattress in the living room and had you move it yourself.' Umm, what?!

Is that how a mover (or anyone) should talk to a customer?! I called head office again and left a message on the woman's answering machine telling her about everything that was done and how I was treated by their movers...I've yet to hear ANYTHING back from her (tomorrow will be one week). Isn't that nice?

I'm not sure if I'm more annoyed by how I was treated or how they looked me in the eye and claimed that everything was scratched already. How can people lie like that?


They also lost the brackets for my dresser mirror. When they were about to leave I noticed that my mirror was in the en suite bathroom. I asked them to attach the mirror to the dresser and they said 'I think we left them in a pile of dust in your apartment.' Umm, ex-squeeze me!? I know that they were lying about that because I saw the guy wrap them up and take them out of the apartment...

Oh well, live and learn I guess...Suffice it to say that we will NEVER use, nor recommend AMJ Campbell to anyone...ever.

I have until October 24th to submit a claim...I'm going to unpack a few more boxes and see if there is any other damage, but I think that's the brunt of it. Now, granted I know in the 'big picture' we didn't have that much of a loss or damage, it's just the principle of the matter.

When Josh was putting the computer together this morning we realized that our printer went to printer heaven...he killed it. He accidentally packed the printer with a full cartridge of ink still in it. Needless to say that the cartridge exploded all over the box. At least we had a bit of a chuckle over that today...while we were buying our new printer. :P

I'm baaaaaaaaaaack...

As you can tell, I'm baaaaaaaaaaack (didja miss me? huh? huh? didja?), and as promised here are some pictures for my favourite kayaker. If you remember this post or even this one, you'll remember the run around that I got from the new tenant of our apartment. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when she walks into the apartment today or tomorrow and finds NOTHING on the windows. ;)

I cut down one set of blinds in the bedroom, as you can see below. Another set I just yanked out of the ceiling (though really I was just trying to yank down one single slat of the blinds...but the whole thing came crashing down and missed me by a mere inch of so)...oops. My brother (AKA Ugly) came over and brought the rest of the blinds down, and then cut the valances and the metal bar so nobody could use them. So, basically, if someone were to dumpster dive and retrieve them, they couldn't hang them again. I know, I'm evil. He also took the air conditioners out and I gave the cord a little bris (snipped off the end). ;)

I'll post later about the actual move...I'm still fairly pissed off about it.