Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New Rules for China Adoption

I have a condensed version of the new rules for adoption from China. These rules are issued by the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA). Many people wish to adopt, but many will not be able to when these new rules go into effect May 1, 2007. No more singles, the CCAA has become more strict about having age limits and length of marriage, a mandatory net worth requirement, stricter criminal history requirements, and specific health requirements. Had this been in place when we adopted Kenzie in 2004 - well, we wouldn't have been able to adopt at all because of my husband's age. We're still worried that it may not happen. We are capable (and healthy, financially secure, etc) of parenting another child. I hope the CCAA meant it when they said that those whose dossiers are in waiting are grandfathered.

According to the Chinese Adoption Law and current practice in China, in order to adopt from China:

* Both adopting parents must be at least 30 years of age and under 50 years of age.
* For Special Needs, both adopting parents must be between at least 30 years of age and under
55 years of age.
* Each parent must be at least a high school graduate.
* A stable marriage of at least two years should be evidenced. If either parent has been
divorced, you must be married for five years. You may have no more than two prior
marriages each.
* You must be financially stable, with an annual income that exceeds $10,000 per household
member (including the child you plan to adopt).
* You must have a net worth of over $80,000.
* Families with fewer than 5 children at home are permitted to adopt.
* Neither parent can have a criminal history with the exception of a DUI more than 10 years
* Both parents must be healthy, without evidence of any mental or physcial illness that will
affect their life span or ability to parent in any way, including conditions that require
permanent medical treatment or medication.

I have a list of things here that were previously posted on one of the Yahoo boards of illnesses that the CCAA considers disqualifying:

1. AIDS;
2. Mental handicap;
3. Infectious disease within infective stage;
4. Binocular blind or binocular parallax or monocular blind and with
no ocular prosthesis;
5. Binaural hearing loss or language function loss; adoption of
special needs children who have identical conditions will be exempt
from this limitation;
6. Afunction or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment,
incompleteness, numbness or deformation; severe facial deformation;
7. Severe diseases which require long term treatment and which
affect life expectancy, like malignant tumor, lupus erythematosus,
nephrosis, epilepsy, and ect.;
8. Post-surgery of major organs transplantation, not yet 10 years;
9. Schizophrenia;
10. Medication for severe mental disorders, like depression, mania,
or anxiety neurosis and etc. stopped not more than 2 years;

* You must have a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 40. You can go here to determine your BMI.

Just thought anyone wondering what it would take to adopt would appreciate knowing.

Lunar New Year...

I know I'm so late in posting this. Our local public library has a program that features children performing songs or skits for Lunar New Year. This year, there was a Korean school that had their students sing a song, and a Mandarin class that had their students do a "song" - actually it was spoken, not sung.

Then they had a couple of the college students do a Lion Dance. It wasn't very fancy, but cute. Everyone enjoyed it. Afterwards, they had crafts and some snacks (Chinese and Korean in nature)... that was yummy.

Here is the video for the Lion Dance.

Then when we had our local FCC (Families with Chinese Children) group's Lunar New Year celebration so all the adopted Chinese girls could get together and play - and the adults actually get to have adult time together... LOL! One of the mothers, Cindy, had bought a small lion costume and guess what all the kids wanted to play with!?!!! Kenzie is in the rear... She was so excited to be part of the lion.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Twisted Fairy Tales

When we brought home our daughter, it wasn't too long before we began telling bedtime stories. Or rather, Mommy would read her one from a book, and Daddy would tell her one. But poor Daddy, after the 5,728th time of telling Little Red Riding Hood, or the Three Bears, or the Three Pigs, or Billy Goats Gruff, he decided to mix it up a little. As he began mixing it up, at first, Kenzie fought against the mixing of stories, and was upset that he didn't tell the story "right," but after awhile, she caught on, as Mommy also got in on the act and started adding silly stuff. So... she began enjoying the stories and adding her own special touches.

This is one of the evenings I recorded with the infrared - so technically, we were in a dark room, but you can get in on the fun. She was so hyper that night... You'll wonder how she ever got to sleep after watching this. But I hope you can follow along and enjoy the story and it's crazy, weird mix... as well as our daughter's antics.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It looks like a white thread....

Aaaaaaahhhh, the perks of motherhood!

The other day my daughter was brushing my hair and said, "Mommy! There's something in your hair!"

M: What is it?
K: I don't know.. but it's white.
M: Well, can you put your finger on it and show Mommy where it is?
K: Yeah..
M: Do you have it?
K: Yeah!

So I go poking my finger all over the top of my head going, "Is it here? Is it here?" and she replies "No" each time.

I got a little frustrated because I couldn't "find" it.

M: Do you have your finger on it?
K: Yeah, I'm holding it.
M: Can you take it off?
K: I'm trying, but it's stuck.
M: (dreading the answer) What does it look like?
K: It looks like a white thread and its stuck to your head.

Well folks, I never thought of myself as a vain person... but I have to say that I had always prided myself in the fact that here I was 50 years old and never had one single white or gray hair... until now.

M: Can you pull it out Kenzie?
K: Yeah.. I'll try.

Ripping noises and pain ensues...

She had a handful of hair, but not the one I wanted to get out.

K: Want me to pull again?
M: NO, no... that's okay honey. (OUCH!) Well, it looks like Mommy is going to have to buy some hair dye.

Kenzie gave me a funny look.

M: Hair dye is another word for hair coloring. I'm probably going to start coloring my hair. What color hair do you want Mommy to have?
K: This color. (holding up a lock of my own hair)
M: Well, that may be pretty difficult to find that color, since Mommy's hair is a lot of different colors (mostly brown, but blond and red also). You know, mommy can color her hair A N Y color.
K: If you can color your hair any color, then I want your hair to be PINK!

Only if I lose a bet, honey. But then again, I did open my big mouth...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My 4 year old has some tough questions!

At what age do children begin to talk about death?

Lately, our daughter has been asking me questions that have taken me by surprise. Here is one conversation:

K: Mommy, I wanna ask you a question.
M: Ok, honey.
K: Mommy, are you going to die?
M: (while the shock is washing over me in waves) Yes, someday mommy will

K: But Mommy, when are you going to die?
M: Well, no one ever really knows when they’ll die. If we did, we wouldn’t
live our lives with the joy and happiness we have.

K: But what happens when you die?
M: My body won’t work any more, but my soul will go to heaven and get to
see God.

K: What does God look like?
M: I don’t know – but I guess I’ll find out someday!
K: I think he has a beard, and long clothes, and hands, and hair…
M: I’m not sure he looks like a person. He may not look like anything that we
can really understand as we are right now.

K: Yeah. God didn’t die, but Jesus did.
M: Yes, that’s right.
K: But why did Jesus die?
M: The Bible teaches us he died to save us from our sins. Do you know what
sin is?

K: No.
M: It’s when we do things God doesn’t want us to do. We aren’t supposed to
lie – that means not telling the truth; we aren’t supposed to covet – that
means wanting things we don’t have; we aren’t supposed to steal – that
means take things that aren’t ours without permission. It also means we
worship God and not things… Like loving money or cars or toys more than

K: Yeah!
M: Kenzie, I want you to understand that mommy and daddy are going to be
around for a long time. We’ll be here today, and in the future. We
probably aren’t going to die any time soon. In fact, we’ll probably be
around long enough to watch you grow up and become a young woman.

Then she went into talking about a Veggie Tales movie where Jr. Asparagus told a lie and the fib kept getting bigger and bigger… I guess unless you are a parent and watch Veggie Tales and can understand this story – it’s best just to say that Veggie Tales are cartoons that use imagery (the “fib” is from outer space – it’s name is Fib – which of course we as adults know that a fib is a lie – and the more Jr. lies, the bigger “Fib” gets. Jr. has to tell the truth for Fib to become small and insignificant).

Two nights later, we are in bed, and while daddy is getting ready (brushing teeth and washing his face/hands), Kenzie again starts asking questions about death.

K: Mommy…… When are you going to die?
M: Honey, I have no idea. I don’t dwell on that.
K: Mommy, when do you get up again after dying?
M: You don’t. Once you die, you don’t get up.
K: But when do you wake up?
M: You don’t wake up. It’s not like you go to sleep. You simply don’t know
anything anymore because your soul leaves your body.

K: Mommy, just before you die, I’m going to wake you up and make you walk
so you won’t die.

M: (smiling and laughing a little) I don’t think it quite works that way, but you
can try. Mommy would appreciate it.

K: What happens to me if both you and daddy die?
M: You would go to live with Mike and Cindy – remember them? They are the
parents of Emma and LiMei.

K: Yeah… OK. But what happens to me if you die?
M: If I die and daddy is still alive, you would stay with daddy.
K: (grinning) OK. (Pause) But what happens to me if daddy dies?
M: If daddy dies and I’m still alive, you would stay with me. If we are both
dead, you would live with Mike and Cindy.

K: Ok, that’s good. But mommy, when is the future?
M: The future is… “not now”. It could be 10 days from now or 10 years from
now or 100 years from now. It is what will happen next – but hasn’t
happened yet.

K: Yeah, but when is the future?

OK, that is a difficult concept to explain… I’m willing to take suggestions from anyone out there who can help.

Then I kept trying to tell her that her daddy and I would be around for a very long time. (My husband had to interject that we’d probably be around for longer than she’d care for us to be – that was supposed to be his attempt at humor, but it was a bit lost on a 4 year old…)

I can’t help but think how precious our daughter is. She is asking questions that I thought originally must have been because of some discussion at her [Christian] daycare… but found out that no one I talked with had said anything about death. However, a couple of the children have had relatives die… so perhaps she is trying to process that. I didn’t really expect questions about death until she was a little bit older. I feel a bit like that commercial “Life comes at you fast…”