Thursday, June 28, 2007

What do all of these people have in common?


Alexander the Great - King of Macedonia, 356-323 B.C.
Aristotle - philosopher

Art Linkletter - comedian

Bo Diddley - musician, performer
Charles Dickens - writer

Crazy Horse - Lakota war chief

Dave Thomas - entrepreneur: founder of Wendy's
Edgar Allen Poe - poet, writer

Edward Albee - playwright

Eleanor Roosevelt - First Lady

Faith Hill - country singer

George Washington Carver - inventor
Greg Louganis - diver

Halle Berry - actres
Ingrid Bergman - actress
Jesse Jackson - minister

John J. Audubon - naturalist

John Lennon - musician

Langston Hughes - poet and writer
Leo Tolstoy - writer

Louisa May Alcott - writer

Malcolm X - civil rights leader

Marilyn Monroe - actress

Mark Twain - writer

Nancy Reagan - First Lady
Nat King Cole - singer
Nelson Mandela - politician
President Gerald Ford - politician
President William Clinton - politician
Ray Liotta - actor
Rep. Jim Lightfoot - politician
Sarah McLachlan - singer
Scott Hamilton - figure skater

They were all adopted.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Older Child Adoption

A lot of my reading lately has been adoption related. So many of the books I've read have been really general and I've skimmed a lot without learning things I haven't heard elsewhere. Older Child Adoption, by Grace Robinson, was a huge eye-opener. It had stunning accounts of the issues some families have had in adopting kids aged two and older. While the stories are (hopefully) on the far extreme end of the spectrum, it's good to at least know what to pay attention for. I don't think anyone can ever be prepared for the terrible situations families in this book had to handle. The author states that even a child as young as two, who has lived in a single foster home can have severe attachment problems. The majority of the cases in the book, however, seemed to involve older children, especially those who had multiple foster placements. I'm not sorry I read this book, but I'm definitely ready to read something more positive about adoption now.

-Robin

Friday, June 22, 2007

Connections

A few weeks ago, I came across a forum hosted by our (wonderful) agency, Holt Int'l. There's a forum specific to Thailand that is really nice. I found a lot of the people whose blogs I was already reading post there. Anyone is welcome to join. There are adoptive parents who are adopting through other agencies than just Holt. There's also a mom who keeps a database:
"to promote better communication and cultural resources for our families...with children adopted from Thailand. The group is limited to those who already have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, Thai children, as well as adult adoptees from Thailand."
If you're a current or future Thailand AP who wants to connect with others, send an email to Julia Higgenbotham at urghiggi@sbcglobal.net to get more information. When I got the database today, I found there's a family who lives only miles away with a daughter from Thailand. (start humming "it's a small world" here...)

I feel lucky that we've found such a supportive and helpful group of people not just through the forum, but also the Yahoo Thailand listserv, and other great people out in blog-land. It's awesome to not go through any of this alone. It's made this journey seem normal and totally do-able. Thanks to all of you...you know who you are!

Robin

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mail

It may be awhile before the mail brings us all the papers we need to travel to Thailand to adopt our child, so in the meantime, it's nice to get an occasional adoption related present in the mail. We've purchased Adoptive Families before, but today we got our first one in the mail.

It's amazing how the selection of articles always seems to coincide with things we're talking about. I'm sure it's just coincidence since there are about a million things we're thinking and talking about all the time, so just about any adoption-related article they would write about would be relevant.

-Kyle

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Babies

While Robin and I are very excited about adopting our child from Thailand, I have to admit it's still a little hard to see someone come home with their biological baby.

We've got our heart set on adoption, so it's not that I'm jealous. I just hope those couples are grateful that they are able find an easier way to form a family.

At these times, I remember the poem about a boat ride.

Robin and I sleep well knowing that we will someday have a family, and we're patient knowing the day will come.

-Kyle

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Talking fingers

Although it was a rather uneventful step in the adoption process, we took another one today by getting out fingerprints taken by USCIS. The only thing remarkable about it is that we had to go to Milwaukee to get it done, which meant time off from work.

So, now we can only hope that our fingerprints represent us well to the U.S. government.

No, we didn't get chance to boo Barry Bonds at Miller Park. This trip to Milwaukee was strictly business (a man only gets so many chances in life to ridicule a living legend, in person).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Around the world

The red dots on this map represent all of the visitors our adoption blog has had in the last month. I know who some of the hits are in Alaska, Montana, the US Midwest, Belgium, Australia, and New Zealand. But most of the rest have me amazed. How crazy to be visited by people in Russia, China, and South America, for instance, when we don't know a soul who lives there. According to our web stats, 70% of you return for more than one visit, so don't be shy - leave a comment and tell us about yourself! Thanks for stopping by, and come again.

(If you're wondering, this image is from Google Analytics, which is a very sweet and easy way to see what traffic your site is getting.)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Fingerprints

We got our appointment information in the mail for USCIS on Friday, so we'll have to take some time off work to go to Milwaukee to get our fingerprints taken in the coming weeks. Just another step in this long journey.

Robin and I are excited to be following another family who is actually in Thailand right now. It's an amazing gift to be following their adventures and see their pictures while they're still there. It helps to see that after all the waiting, adoptions actually happen.

The couple that lives next door is due to have their first baby any day now. It's interesting to watch them go through the preparations we will likely go through as our time arrives. It's also interesting to think that their child may actually be about the same age as our own.

Oh, I should mention that I had nothing to do with the previous post titled "IT'S A GIRL". That was a cruel tease formulated by Robin. We are both excited about Kelly's arrival. It's sure to shake up what would have otherwise been a rather status quo summer.

-Kyle

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

IT'S A GIRL!

She's 16, she's from China, and her name is Yangfei (aka Kelly). Oh, and she's only staying with us for 3 weeks. =) OK, perhaps that was mean to lead you all on. (I seem to recall someone mentioning we should just go ahead and adopt a teenager, considering how long the whole adoption process takes, however!) We're actually quite excited - we just signed the paperwork to host an exchange student for three weeks during the end of July and the beginning of August. Kyle found out at work that there were 29 students from China who still needed host families and we talked about it, and got more excited the more we talked. Woo hoo! I think it'll be great to show her around Wisconsin. I've always wanted to host a student (ever since I returned from being an exchange student in Belgium for a year). The thing that's held us back is that we wanted to have kids around their age. But the woman leading the program assured us they really need families, and they will be with kids all day at ESL classes and on field trips. So, she's stuck with us at night and on weekends. And I hope she'll have lots of fun! We're starting to brainstorm ideas for activities so send us any good ideas.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Borders

Robin and I stopped by a Borders bookstore today while in Madison so we could explore the kids' books. We had a good time looking through all the great books there are for kids these days.

We really liked this "responsibility chart".

By the way, we will eventually make wish list on Amazon for all the things we would like to have for junior.

We're not sure if this is the case for all Borders stores, but the store we went to had a PATHETIC collection of adoption books. There was about one full shelf (compared to the 12 on pregnancy). We know this is not normal because we have been to other bookstores that have a much larger selection of adoption books. Further, Borders didn't have the adoption books anywhere near the pregnancy books. They were at the very end of all the parenting books (after adolescents). We couldn't find them at first and were beginning to think Borders even have any adoption books.

-Kyle

Friday, June 1, 2007

Dossier Frequent Flier Miles?

Our paperwork has taken many long journeys, but today is the longest of all - it's off to Thailand.
Woo Hoo!

USCIS Fees Increase

I'm glad we filed our I600A ("Advance Processing for Orphan Petition") already. That's the form we send to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. As of July 30, the fees will be increasing.

We paid $685 for filing and both of us to be fingerprinted. The new cost will, I think, be $830. From the fee schedule posted on the USCIS website, it looks like the new base fee of $750 includes the form and fingerprinting of the filer, and each additional adult living in the home pays $80 for fingerprinting.

Another change includes the possibility of getting one fee waiver if you need to get your I600A renewed because it's about to expire. We're going to probably need that, so woo hoo! The I171H (received upon approval of the I600A) is good for 18 months, but the fingerprinting is only valid for 15 months, so if we aren't assured of traveling by September 2008, we'll need to be refingerprinted and file for an extension.

Filing the I600 ("Orphan Petition" - once the child is identified) is still at no cost if you already have an approved I600A. Clear as mud? All the gory details are can be found in the press release put out by USCIS.

-Robin