Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
What would Scarlet say? Tomorrow is another day.
AP Reports on End of Agreement
Sep 1st, 2008 by
US-Vietnam adoption pact ends, hundreds in limbo
Ben Stocking in Bangkok contributed to this report.
A U.S.-Vietnam adoption agreement expired Monday with the two sides unable to resolve disagreements over fraud and corruption, disappointing hundreds of prospective parents who will have to seek children elsewhere.
The two countries said they will continue trying to iron out their differences, but for now the program will be suspended indefinitely.
Vietnam will continue processing adoptions for parents who had already been matched with orphans before the agreement expired. But the vast majority of the roughly 1,700 families that had cases pending will be disappointed, according to Vietnam’s top adoption official, Vu Duc Long.
Long said he was still tallying the exact number and would release it later this week.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I can't believe it was almost a year ago Corey and I cried with happiness when we saw Thi's face for the first time. We feel like we've lost a child. She will always be a part of our family and I will forever wonder and worry about her. My Mom is making a final plea with a letter to Thi’s province. I know the decision is final, but I think the letter is incredibly sweet. I'll be visiting my friend, Tina, soon, to have her translate it so my Mom can mail it.
I wish to extend my respectful greeting to you.
My daughter and her husband received a referral to adopt a baby girl from your Province in August, 2007. The baby was born on June 28, 2007 and her name is Thi Thi _____. She lives in an orphanage in Phu Tho.
Our entire family, parents, grandparents (of which I am one), aunts, uncles and cousins have been making plans for this baby’s arrival into our lives. She entered our hearts on the day my daughter and her husband received the referral. We have waited and waited and waited to hear news of when the prospective parents could travel to your Province to make the adoption final.
Sadly we have learned today that Phu Tho Province will not release this baby for adoption. Our hearts are broken. I am writing this letter to you to plead for reconsideration of the decision not to release Thi Thi for adoption by Karen and Corey Hedge.
Every member of our family has the desire and means to provide this baby girl with a stable home life, a good education and a wonderful childhood. If you met with my daughter and her husband for just an hour, you would learn that they are wonderful, hardworking people who would provide this adorable baby with a wonderful home and upbringing. Part of their preparation to receive Thi Thi has been to learn more about the Vietnamese culture and find families who are of Vietnamese heritage so that this baby will always know her heritage.
I hope this letter shows you that I am just a grandmother who is pleading to you to allow this child to come to the United States and be raised by a wonderful couple and their family …”
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
It’s in the middle of the night in Vietnam, and when you wake up, you will be 1 year old! You have no idea how much your Mommy and Daddy wish we could be with you to celebrate your very 1st birthday. Even though you are very far away from us, we are celebrating the day that you were born into this world, and we are holding onto the faith that we will have you here at home with us for many, many birthdays to come!
Love from far away, but very, very close in our hearts,
Mom and Dad
Sunday, June 1, 2008
We are still waiting for the U.S. Embassy and Thi's province to work things out so that we can move forward with her adoption. We'll wait as long as it takes. She turns 1 year old next month. I can't believe it has been almost 8 months since we first saw the one and only photo we have of her. We can't do anything but have faith she is being taken care of and that everything will work out ok.
As most of you know, Vietnam is not going to renew the agreement with the U.S. to allow international adoptions in their country. This agreement expires Sept. 1, 2008. The news has devastated waiting families, and it will no doubt negatively impact waiting children.
The Joint Council on International Children's Services has launched a campaign for the continuation of adoptions in Vietnam. The focus of the campaign is to end corruption but not end a child’s right to a family.
Their website states:
"The U.S. Department of State has expressed concerns related to corruptive practices associated with intercountry adoption between the U.S. and Vietnam. In response to their concerns, the Department of State will allow the functional closure of adoptions on September 1, 2008 and thereby end one of the most basic of human rights: the right to a safe, permanent and loving family.
Not only will those orphans eligible for adoption continue to suffer the detriments of orphanage life, so will thousands of other orphans and vulnerable children. This is because the service providers engaged in finding U.S. families for Vietnamese orphans also provide a myriad of services to the most vulnerable of children.
As a result, the end of intercountry adoption with Vietnam also brings the end of social services such as family preservation and counseling. It also marks the end of humanitarian services such as educational sponsorships, clean water programs and many health related initiatives.
End Corruption, Not a Child’s Right to a Family
While Joint Council shares in many of the Department of State’s concerns, we believe the solution is not the termination of adoption and elimination of a child’s right to a family. Joint Council, its Member Organizations, NGO’s including Ethica—a leading voice for ethical adoption, the Vietnamese government and Members of the United States Congress firmly believe that the solution is a rational child-centered approach designed to strengthen services, regulate providers and prosecute violators.
A Child’s Right Campaign for Vietnam
In response to the looming crisis facing the children of Vietnam, Joint Council today--May 21, 2008—initiates A Child’s Right Campaign for Vietnam. A Child's Right Campaign for Vietnam proposes a series of rational recommendations that address the issues of abuse, protect the integrity of Vietnamese families and ensure the right of every child to a permanent, safe and loving family. The overriding goal of this campaign is very simple: to end corruption, but not a child’s right to a family."
For more information go to:
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
3. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessings of adoption.
4. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth.
5. You know what the word Dossier means and you can actually pronounce it.
6. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Some of you may know I've been feeding a feral cat we call New Kid for years. I have heated bowls outside and he lets us know when they need filling. Actually, my cats let me know he's waiting for his food.
I live-trapped him (he will not let us come near him) a few years ago to get him neutered using the TNR (trap neuter release) philosophy. Corey built him an insulated shelter which is placed under our deck. I should have never let him go. But I was trying to be humane. Regretting letting him go, I've tried to live-trap him again several times, but he's too smart to go in it again. Like Corey says, he must be a smart cat to have survived all these years outside.
I took this picture of him today sitting in his heated food bowl waiting for his breakfast.
I know Thi is in the loving hands of caretakers in her orphanage, but I also know she is in a huge orphanage where the number of orphans is high, yet resources and caretakers are extremely scarce. I also know that recently several babies have died or been hospitalized throughout orphanages in Northern Vietnam due to the harsh winter the region is experiencing, and due to the viruses raging through it. Not to be overly dramatic, but to be quite factual.
I can tell you this whole experience has been a slow torture for me. Weekends are particularly gloomy. Sometimes I feel like the joy I had when I first saw her referral picture was a world ago. But I can say the experience has given me some strength that will serve well when raising my daughter. I've learned some big life lessons in this short time that will help me help her get through tough times she'll face later in life. I’m thankful for my busy work weeks that keep me focused on something else and don't leave me much time to pine over a situation I can't do much about. And of course I'm staying focused on how intensely happy I will be when Thi is finally placed in my arms. It's a rare excitement, far more intense than waiting in line for the Dragster at Cedar Point. Like my little plaque in the nursery says, a baby fills a place in your heart that you never knew was empty. And right now my cat Monkey is filling the crib that is never empty. If Thi's allergic to cats, we're in real trouble.
I’m preparing myself for potentially handling attachment disorder or any other developmental issues that can affect a child who has been institutionalized for more than a year (it's just not a realistic expectation that we'll have her by her first birthday this summer). I’m not saying this will happen – we all know many children do very well – and I certainly do! - but the older Thien is, the more traumatic the adoption will be for her, the more she will mourn over being taken from her first home, and the more that the lack of bonding with her Mom during her early months will affect her into her teenage years and beyond.
I’m researching resources that will help us remain in touch with Thien’s culture, and that will help her become bilingual. All she knows right now is Vietnamese, her first words will be in Vietnamese, and I want to try to make sure her first language is preserved and nurtured.
We have a large Vietnamese community here in the Detroit area, and I’ve spoken with many people who are ready to teach her Vietnamese. So when she’s a teenager, she’ll be able to shout at me, “I hate you! I wish you never would have adopted me! My birth Mom would have let me stay out until midnight!” along with a few swear words and I won’t know what the heck she’s saying.
I’m trying to learn, but at 38 it’s more difficult than it would have been at 1-5 years.
There are hundreds of American families experiencing this incredible delay, thousands of people affected. I can say with confidence that within my family alone, there are dozens of people who just cannot wait for her to come to us. It’s particularly agonizing for my Mom and for my Mother-In-Law, who love her as much as I do.
Thank you everyone who has been so supportive. Like I said at my shower that took place in another lifetime, she is going to be blessed with an incredibly loving, supportive and nurturing family.
You can also visit the following website, created by adoptive parents in the U.S. waiting to bring their children home from Vietnam. Who knows, maybe you can help!
Bring Our Children Home
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I've been tagged by Carissa to play this meme. Here are the rules:1. List 7 random things about yourself that people may not know.
1) I’m claustrophobic. I’ve been lifting weights and the mass in my arms has increased. I recently got “stuck” in a shirt in an Ann Taylor Loft dressing room. The shirt was gripping my arms behind my back in a fashion that made me feel like I was handcuffed. I thought I was going to have a mini panick attack but, after working up a sweaty fit, I was able to pull my arms free and had been perfectly willing to rip the shirt in half if need be. I was like a cat in a bag.
2) I’m a Sweets freak. I love cake and I dream about it. It’s a recurring dream, and the nice thing is I can eat as much as I want in my dreams, and I still want more cake. I especially love cherry chip cupcakes. I eat a King-sized Reese’s Sticks candy bar at least once per day (they typically only come in King).
3) As a child, I did not speak much. I preferred writing little novels under my sheets at night with the flashlight. One doctor thought I was deaf.
4) While I'm emotionally unintelligent I do have a high IQ (though my husband told me this doesn't mean anything, and he's smarter than me, so I believe him), which I inadvertently found out while doing protocol as a subject of study at NIH. Also have a keen short-term memory and recall (ability to quickly repeat large series of numbers and letters and rearrange them into an orderly string), and the useless ability to talk backwards. I think I would have made a good goalie (sp?) because I have quick reflexes.
5) I’m an introvert and a thrill seeker and I do require white noise to fall and stay asleep, as many of you PAPs seem to relate to. With an 8-month-old in Vietnam, I need to be in a wind tunnel in order to fall asleep.
6) I recently discovered one grey eyebrow. My Mom-in-Law had told me that chronic pain ages you, so I guess it's catching up with me.
7) Speaking of grey, I love opossums and respect them because they are the only marcupial living in North America. I feed them Iam’s catfood in my backyard and my neighbors hate this, but I’m a decent neighbor, so they respect it.
Link the person who sent this to you, and leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
If and when we receive it, we will then have to file a petition with the U.S. Embassy through a new system the Embassy implemented that will add a minimum of two months to the process.
I could sit here and try to spell out the convoluted details of the bureaucracy that is causing children in Vietnam to spend unnecessary months institutionalized.
Those of you in the Vietnam adoption community already know the frustrating details. Those of you who just want to know "when" probably don't want to hear the mucky details of "why" and "how" a hasty implementation of a process that was supposed to provide adoption transparency has caused such a negative effect on US/VN relations, adoptive parents and especially the orphans who remain parentless. You'd wisely scroll to the bottom of my 7-page post just to find out, "Ok, when?".
Right now, we're just focusing on the hope that the final outcome will be that we get to bring Thien home to us, period. Of course I am absolutely hoping to be with her by June 28th to celebrate her first birthday with her, but it's settling in that that may be too lofty a wish.
As of this morning in Vietnam, right now, Thien is exactly 7 months old.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
We should have gotten this months ago, and we have been very concerned for quite some time. Hopefully we will soon have some news regarding this, and hopefully it will be good news. Thi is exactly 6 and a half months old today.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
It will not simply feed the desire of those who like to gulp down tales of the tortured and tragic groping their way to spiritual victory, but should satisfy you if you like me tend to appreciate compact prose and a chronologically-driven story where action turns the pages. In other words you won’t have to waste any time lulling in the butterfly garden to see this amazing lady’s metamorphosis.
Darn, so much for my plans for cozying up with a great book on NYE, as I surely won’t be able to secure anything to top this at the moment.
I guess this is the type of thing I’ll post occasionally since life still happens even with no news of our baby. This was intended to be a blog on our journey to Vietnam, and I guess we are still on the journey, doing normal stuff along the way rather than just being in the grip of waiting.
I want to post my Leap of Faith that my husband insisted I do 3 times in order to capture an adequate recording, but I’m waiting for him to supply me an edited version.
Thi Thi completed her first 1/2 year of life on earth 2 days ago and she’ll be starting out her second calendar year in her orphanage in her birth country.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Boyshorts are great for waterslides that threaten to “shift” bikini separates (they were great!).
Boyshorts are NOT great for striking a bikini pose, especially when they don’t match one’s bikini top.
Next trip apply 30 SPF, not 55 SPF, prior to attempting a sexy bikini shot.
Enjoy attempting a sexy bikini photo despite offensive pale skin because you’ve heard that once you have the baby your figure will never be the same again.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
It’s hard to explain the bond that happens instantaneously the first time you view your child. Being told several days later you might not get her is similar, though not the same thing, to seeing your baby’s ultrasound picture, then being told she might not make it, and with the knowledge she might not “make it”, you wonder how you will feel about not knowing where she goes, or stays. And you wonder how you will feel if you no longer feel her, though you know that will never be the case.
Now I only allow myself peek at Thi Thi’s photo when I’m feeling particularly macho. Constantly seeing her sweet face “slightly” smiling at me through framed 5x7’s at every turn in my house reached the point where I felt like I was torturing myself having Thi’s photos arranged so, so I had to take them down. Still, viewing her picture has never done anything but make me smile, and there is not a day that goes by that I do not look at her in amazement and with intense hope that we will be allowed to adopt her. Even with the knowledge that she might not come home to us, that confident little face seems to hint to me that she’ll be aok no matter what.
My heart goes out to the 31 other families in this situation. And especially my 3 friends with babies waiting in the same orphanage as Thi, who have helped me get through this tough time.
Corey and I were supposed to be traveling in December, but rather than a long trip to Vietnam, we’re taking a short trip to the Bahamas. As a matter of fact, at this very moment Corey is coming home from Florida to catch the flight with me in the morning. It appears my company intends to spoil us while we’re there, so we certainly are looking forward to the diversion. And on the bright side, we’ll be closer to the equator, so we’ll be closer to Thi.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
While we previously thought December was a worst case scenario, we now have no hope of having our daughter with us for the holidays. It's a very depressing situation for me. If you know Corey, you can appreciate that he has accepted the news without a flinch since he seems to be able to calmly accept that we have no control over the situation. And he realizes one of us has to stay upbeat or at least neutral or at least composed or at least cloaked.
It's not the waiting I'm agonizing over. If time could stand still for her but not for us I could wait a decade (ok maybe not that long). It's the fact that our daughter is here and alive and growing and while I'm sure the orphanage caretakers are wonderful, I’m painfully aware of the lack of resources as well as the lack of one-on-one attention she is getting. I feel like a horse trapped in the starting gate.
We found out at the end of summer she was matched with us, and we have learned this fall that the road to her just got a lot longer. Now we will have had many wintery snowfalls before we are united with her - we'll have gone through 3 seasons and begun a new year knowing of her yet being without her.
She will be long past the "crucial 6 months" that last summer’s authors' voices still taunt me about. And well-meaning Moms empathizing with my frustration reiterate to me, "So much happens during those months. There's so much development that takes place." I hate paperwork! Especially when I'm not the one pushing it.
We realized going into international adoption that we would be tossing our hearts to the wind – we knew it would not be a romantic journey. Many adoptive Moms have told me that once our daughter is placed in our arms we will no longer be tormented by the time we were not with her because we will now have her for a lifetime. Thanks Ladies! I’ll sleep a little better tonight.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
We have decided to proceed as planned with our current referral. How can we give up on Baby Hedge? Our agency is recommending that if we choose to proceed with our current referral, we consider filing a petition with our local U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services in Detroit to obtain what one might consider a “pre-approval”. Obtaining this document prior to our travel to Vietnam would mean there would be less concern about the U.S. Embassy denying our adoption after we’ve spent 3 weeks with our daughter in Vietnam.
Unfortunately we don’t consider obtaining this “pre-approval” document an option for us. This is due to the fact the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services office in Detroit has a huge backlog, resulting in long wait times in receiving these documents. While most states take a few weeks, the Michigan office is posting that it would take four and a half months to receive this particular document. And we understand this from experience when we had to obtain a similar document prior to submitting our adoption application – it took four months. I guess there are a lot of people who want to come to Detroit! Go figure!
Since we don’t want our daughter to have to wait in her orphanage an additional 4-5 months for us, and we certainly don’t want to wait that long to meet her, we are choosing a bit of a riskier, yet traditional route - to file this petition in Hanoi, where it “generally” takes only 3 weeks to receive approval. While we will be going to Vietnam without complete assurance that everything will go smoothly, most of these situations turn out positive despite a few potential bumps in the road. We understand that this is the nature of adoption! We really believe everything will go fine – our anxiety level has just been raised a few notches, that’s all.