Friday, September 21, 2007

Red Scarf Project

I just heard about the Red Scarf Project that provides donated, handknit red scarves to "send warmth and encouragement to college-bound foster youth" through the Orphan Foundation of America. I didn't know if I should post this here or on my personal blog (where I talk more about knitting), but I thought perhaps my friends in the adoption world may be interested. The website has several nice free pattern suggestions for unisex red scarves. Donated scarves will be delivered in care packages on Valentine's Day, 2008. Knit fast if you're interested - the deadline for sending completed scarves is October 15th.

-Robin

September Referrals

Our agency's September referrals (matching families with kiddos) have begun. Net friends Hirally and Tracy both received referrals this week, for two of the cutest kids you'll ever see. We're very excited for them. I hope their wait for TA (travel approval) goes quickly! Now we're waiting to hear back from our agency about where on the list this moves us to. I'm more curious than anxious. This part of the wait isn't as difficult as I imagined it'd be, because we don't know who we're missing yet. It's the wait for TA I'm more worried about.

-Robin

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nepal update

Instead of giving you an update on the political situation in Nepal, I'll show you where you can read all about it.

It's probably not clear yet, what, if anything, this means for the families waiting for their adoptions from Nepal. Some of them have been waiting for a long time.

You are in our thoughts. We hope for a speedy resolution.

-Kyle

Thai everywhere

There is an international studies office in the same building I teach in on campus...and the flags outside seem to periodically change.

Since I'm always looking for signs of Thai culture everywhere I go, I was quick to notice the new flags hanging outside the door this week.

It's great to see Thailand represented on campus!

-Kyle

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Lists

Just when I thought we were getting caught up on a lot of the projects we need to complete before the adoption, I now find myself adding a lot more jobs...enough to make a list.

Clean out the basement (this is a big one)
Fix or get a new back door
Fix a window with water damage
Adjust some rain gutters that are tipped the wrong way
**Clean and decorate the new room**

Since Robin and I are both excited about the last item, I'm making sure it stays last for now. Hopefully it will mean that we get the earlier, less desirable, items done sooner.

I'm sure there will be more items to add as we go.

-Kyle

Friday, September 7, 2007

Big Brother Binky

We read in Adoptive Families magazine this week that the cartoon "Arthur" on PBS was featuring an episode that dealt with an international adoption. We recorded the episode and watched it tonight.

Arthur's friend Binky finds out that he's getting a little sister from China. Much of the episode revolves around Binky getting used to the idea of being a big brother, but the details of the adoption are the closest to reality I've ever seen on television.

Binky and his family get to travel to China, and Binky is inevitably frustrated by all the waiting. Once his little sister comes home, be becomes concerned with wanting to become the center of his sister's universe.

It's nice to see a television show make such an effort to do an accurate portrayal of adoption, but it's only one out of millions of impressions made by the media each day. It would be interesting to see a television drama tackle this issue, but as numerous as adoptions are, pregnancy will always be easier for the audience to relate to...and goodness knows the media wouldn't want to muddle up a television plot with something as complicated as adoption :)

-Kyle

Hinduism in Thailand

When we first started on our journey to have children, we thought to adopt from Nepal. Hoping to learn more about the predominant religion there, I picked up an excellent book, The Little Book of Hindu Deities, to give me a crash course on Hindu gods. I feared this would be a very complicated and confusing subject for me to grasp, so I opted for this amazingly simple, adorably illustrated book, written and illustrated by an animator for Pixar of Indian ancestry. He takes a very lighthearted approach to presenting the symbolism of each god and goddess, and the book also covers the ten avatars of Vishnu, Hindu epics, the nine planets, animals gods, etc. The illustrations of even the more destructive gods are actually "cute". I've tried to educate myself about Hinduism before, and always struggled to understand followers' devotion to the more frightening gods and goddesses (Kali, especially), but the author's explanation of Kali finally makes sense to me, and, while she wouldn't be my first choice, I feel I've come to a greater understanding of her.

90-95% of Thais are Buddhist (the highest per capita Buddhist country in the world), but many aspects of Thai religious culture seem to be tied not only to Buddhism but also to folk beliefs and aspects of Hinduism. This article was very interesting in discussing the role Hinduism plays in Thailand. I had thought that when we switched countries to Thailand, this book would be of little use to me, but I have already used it as a reference several times when reading Thai folk stories. I highly recommend this book -I've enjoyed it's illustrations, and learned something about another major world religion as well.

-Robin

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Adoption Benefits

Lucky news today. After a stressful and uncertain summer, our division of my company was finally divested this week. The HR rep for our new company met with us today to not only give us offer letters (I still have a job!) but also go over benefits. I learned that they actually offer some adoption benefits to their employees. It's nothing major, and definitely wouldn't crack the "100 Best Adoption Friendly Workplaces" (Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption), but it's a lot more than I would have gotten at my last company (as in, zero). I'm thankful. If you're interested in finding out how you can encourage your employer to be supportive of employees who adopt, check out the website through the Dave Thomas Foundation. They offer a whole toolkit you can send to your HR department and a "convincing your employer" brochure.

-Robin